Vacation Rental Property

10 Replies

Purchasing an ocean front vacation rental property  in Vero Beach Florida and would like to know the best way to market it.  I know of VRBO and AIRBNB but have no experience as an owner.  Any advice appreciated. 

Word of mouth and CraigsList advertising account for at least 90% of my bookings.  24 STRs in the worst town to live in Kansas.  I rent to those guys you see working on the large erections of steel at a petrochemical refinery and associated fertilizer plant.  Welders, boilermakers, pipefitters and other sorts of rednecks.

@Brenda Rogers personally Homeaway / VRBO keeps my place slam full. I only get a few rentals off of Airbnb, but I would recommend you have both. I use Craigslist to direct to my HA/VRBO page and I know I get a few bookings from this advertising. Facebook marketplace is also pretty popular for selling things not sure about the vacation rental market but it is free.

I doubt you need much more than Homeaway and Air to keep your place booked.

Look at other properties that would be similar to yours and see how full their calendars are and what rates they are getting.

I have been using VRBO for my vacation rental in Lake Placid FL for almost a year and so far it has worked well. I do believe their customer service needs improving. Someone in another country made a fraudulent listing using my property's pictures and description. VRBO took two weeks to weeks to remove it after I reported it and proved it was my property.

John I just spoke with VRBO and looks like they have raised their annual fee to $499 and a 3% fee.  This unit rents for $5000/mo.  I would be great with the $499 but another $1500 a month charge from VRBO seems like a lot.  Jan -  April high season would cost $6000 in fees alone.  I'm new at this but does that seem high for marketing?

@Brenda Rogers Congratulations on your new vacation rental condo! I love working with vacation rentals! I have three in Fort Walton Beach, FL. They have been very lucrative for me. I also provide rental assistance, listing set up assistance and consulting to vacation rental owners who manage their property on their own. Feel free to ask me any questions, etc. You can message me if you like and I'll give you my phone number if you would like to call me with questions. 

I use VRBO and Airbnb. I would be more than happy to tell you about my experience with both of these. I have tried TripAdvisor and did not like it. I am currently considering trying out Emerald Coast by Owner, but I really don't know that I need it.

As for the fee on VRBO. I believe that it's "either/or". Either the $499 flat annual fee OR the 3% pay as you go. I'm not sure why the VRBO rep told you to pay both. 

I know that some people use Craigslist to market vacation rentals. Perhaps for some type of properties that is ok. For me and the kind of rentals I have it is absolutely not the right venue to market. I'm also very leery of the numerous cases of fraud, etc on Craigslist. 

I also take some "direct bookings" from repeat/loyal guests or people that I know personally. I definitely have everyone sign a rental agreement via electronic signature.

I hope your rental is very successful. Keep us posted.

Thank you Villy!  Sounds like you are doing great with it.  I called VBRO today and that is what they told me.  I will go ahead and try to make an account and see if it is true.  


I have 2 vacation homes in Florida and I advertise on Zillow, VRBO and a local website. I receive at least 1/2 of my booking through Zillow which expands out to Trulia and Hotpads. Good luck, l hope you love this market as much as I do.

Hi @Brenda Rogers and congratulations on the purchase of your vacation rental property! My family used to vacation in Vero Beach, FL at a campground on the beach when I was growing up...great memories!

We own 3 STRs in Fort Walton Beach, FL and get most of our bookings from VRBO/Homeaway. We get a smaller percentage from Airbnb. And being on the Gulf Coast we advertise on Emerald Coast by Owner also, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how many inquiries & bookings we've received from that web site. Our listing on Florida Rentals by Owner has been a disappointment...only a couple of inquiries and no bookings.

I used to advertise on TripAdvisor but I took down all of my listings on that site when they stopped sharing guest contact information even AFTER the guest made their first payment. They didn't provide the guest's contact information until the booking was paid in full. That is a long time to wait to have a phone conversation with a guest and send a rental agreement for them to review and sign, in my opinion. (Plus the service fee that they charge their travelers is exorbitant compared to VRBO and Airbnb.)

Best of luck!

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