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I have been renting my vacation rental for 15 years and am trying to determine the cost/benefit of various web sites.
Here are my results YTD (except for FlipKey which I signed up with on Feb 1st)
VRBO 20 Inquries YTD, multiple email conversations, multiple rentals
VermontProperty 14 Inquries YTD, multiple email conversations, multiple rentals
FlipKey 17 Inquries (since signing up on Feb 1), multiple email conversations, multiple rentals
HomeAway 21 Inquries YTD, multiple email conversations, multiple rentals
UnitedInUniform 02 Inquries YTD, ZERO email conversations, ZERO rentals
vacationhomerentals 03 Inquries YTD, multiple email conversations, 1 rental
What sites do you find effective?
Interesting. Is this for a single property? It looks like you're having success from everything but UIU.
There are so many variables, I can imagine others might have different results. It's a smart idea to track this, though. Do you get down to the details of your return on investment in each website? I bet that would be interesting, too.
I think it partly depends on the location of your vacation rental and a number of other factors. My rental is a condo in Panama City Beach and our busy booking season is underway. I currently list on VRBO and just started a trial on FlipKey. I've had 77 inquiries in the last 30 days and just a couple on FlipKey. I used to also list on HomeAway a number of years back and found that VRBO was much stronger for me. I may give HomeAway another try to see I can fill a few more shoulder season weeks. Another big factor in my case is that I'm the 3rd condo listed for my building (Seychelles). It definitely pays to try to get the highest position possible.
Creator of Vacation Props, an innovative iPhone/iPad app to manage vacation properties and quickly respond to inquiries
Hi Matt and Jeff,
Thanks for your thoughts.
Yes, this is for a single property.
The $500+ I spent with UnitedInUniform feels like a complete loss.
I have the costs of each site in Quicken and I will look them up and reply back.
My rental website is one of the very few in my immediate area so I come up quite high in the search results.
I hate to say this but I think you are going about determining the best site for your advertising dollars wrong. Of course this is only my opinion, but this is how I decide which site is best. I do not concern myself with the number of inquiries, especially with now that homeaway and vrbo has made it easy for a renter to sent out emails to several owners. What I do is divide the number of bookings that I get off a site with the cost of the site to determine my cost per rental. Example, $350 a year to advertise on a site, I get 4 bookings….cost per rental is about $87……..$100 for a year and 4 bookings is $25….you see how it goes. In theory this will tell you the real cost of advertising on all your different sites.
I did this on HA, VRBO, Flipkey, and a few other local sites. To my supprise, my local sites averaged $20 per booking. HA was $70, Flipkey was $90, and VRBO was $50, but that is not a truly fair comparison as I took a special $99 a year on VRBO to try it out and I am listed on the 3rd page, but still got 2 rentals.
However, if you get 20 listing a year at $70 per rental, that is still better than 5 at $20. So this is just another tool to help you see the big picture of your advertising cost.
Hope it helps....Lord knows we need all the help we can get.
Wow, you are trying a lot of different places at once.
I just started in the end of January 2013, so about 5 weeks into it now. I have had 23 inquiries from Homeaway, and also 2 direct booking/requests, resulting in 3 bookings (14 nights). I have had 33 inquiries from Flipkey and 2 bookings (18 nights). I am hoping I will be able to keep it booked with just these two sites, especially once I get a website up.
I just went over my advertising expenses & results (once again!)..
I advertise on VRBO and Flipkey (both offer online payment options that I do not use), vacationarentals411.com ( a free service), and the local tourism site where my VR is located.
The results are hodling steady over the last 6 months:
Most inquiries & actual bookings from Flipkey.
Local Tourism site comes in 2nd (highest ratio of turning inquires into actual bookings).
VRBO & Vacationrentals411.com are now tied for 3rd place, though the ratio of turning inquiries into bookings comes from vacationrentals411.com .
Kudos to you for tracking your results. Once you have plenty of data (to show a wide spectrum) I'm a big fan of evaluating your lead sources and then ditching the 80% of sources that don't produce and focusing exclusively on improving your top 20%. Here's the full 80/20 case study I demonstrate: http://www.vacationrentalmarketingblog.com/the-8020-rule/