13 Sites Like Airbnb for Vacation Rental Owners

There's more to vacation rentals than Airbnb

Airbnb may have the sleekest site, the catchiest name, and the biggest stockpile of brand equity, but for vacation rental owners, Airbnb is far from the be all and end all. 

Over the years, dozens of websites like Airbnb have cropped up that let you list your vacation rental and increase your exposure and bookings. Even Google has forayed into the mix, adding vacation rentals to its map feature and implementing a “check availability” and “booking” option directly onto the search page. We’ll discuss this huge new development a little lower in this piece.

In this post, we’ll go over 13 Airbnb competitors, explain their fees for owners, how much they charge guests in booking fees, and what guest services they offer.

A few of the Airbnb alternatives we’ll cover are:

  • HomeAway
  • VRBO                                  
  • VacationRentals.com
  • FlipKey                  
  • TripAdvisor
  • Booking.com                                  
  • RedAwning
  • onefinestay
  • Tripping                                  
  • HomeToGo                                   
  • Skyscanner
  • Google Maps                                 
  • Beenest

Online Travel Agencies

HomeAway, VRBO, and VacationRentals.com

In many ways, VRBO pioneered home sharing. Founded in 1996 as Vacation Rental By Owner, it was later acquired by HomeAway, which also acquired VacationRentals.com in 2007. In 2015, HomeAway was acquired by Expedia, and growth hasn’t slowed since. Together, the three sites lead the industry, and as of 2018, the HomeAway family offers more than 2 million unique vacation rentals in 190 countries.

Advantages of using HomeAway, VRBO, and VacationRentals.com

  • With a single subscription fee of $499/year, you can market your home on all three sites. 
  • You have the option of a pay-per-booking fee instead of the subscription, which amounts to 8% of each booking (5% booking fee + 3% credit card fee). Airbnb only offers a 3% pay-per-booking option to list your site.
  • You’ll get global exposure from a trusted, recognizable brand.
Disadvantages of HomeAway/VRBO/VacationRentals.com
  • High booking fees (up to 12%) are driving guests to look for options besides HomeAway and its subsidiaries, a problem that could worsen in the coming years. We detail the rising guest booking fees here
  • Cryptic ranking systems and algorithms can lead to a negative feedback loop in which homes continue to drop in rankings. Even the best homes can fall trap to this. 
  • If a guest books directly from you, HomeAway will soon try to take a 10% “attribution fee” if they can prove the guest first found your home on a HomeAway site. 

FlipKey and TripAdvisor

Similar to HomeAway and VRBO, TripAdvisor owns FlipKey, and together, the two have become a powerhouse in the vacation rental space.

Advantages of FlipKey/TripAdvisor

  • TripAdvisor has an enormous and dedicated following - even higher than HomeAway. With 38 million visitors every month, the exposure potential on TripAdvisor is huge.
  • Its listing fee structure is simple: Like Airbnb, a 3% per-booking charge. 
  • TripAdvisor will automatically list your home on FlipKey, so you get two listings for the work of one. 
Disadvantages of FlipKey/TripAdvisor
  • Like HomeAway, guest fees are becoming an issue with FlipKey. Guests are charged between 8% and 16% per booking, which can drive them to abandon their shopping cart and look elsewhere. 
  • TripAdvisor lists all kinds of accommodations, not only vacation rentals. You’ll have to work to make your listing stand out as a great option amid hotels, motels, hostels, and bed and breakfasts. 

Booking.com

Booking.com has a storied past that goes back to 1996. Over the past 22 years and several iterations, acquisitions, and changes, the site has become the steamroller it is today. Bringing in about 40 million direct visitors each month, it has the highest traffic of any online travel site. However, its hefty fees may affect how much you can make with your vacation rental

Advantages of listing your property on Booking.com

  • Clearly, the site’s traffic is a huge plus. What’s more, its name, branding, and search presence make it ubiquitous among travelers looking for accommodation. SEO tool Ahrefs estimates the website brings in a mind-blowing 83 million visitors every month through Google searches for accommodation. 
  • The company knows how to sell. They’ve led the way in using tactics like “5 people are looking at this home” and other measures to promote urgency, offering free cancelation, and zero booking fees. All this means a great experience for guests. 
Disadvantages of Booking.com
  • The website was originally designed for hotel searches, and as such, vacation rentals still only make up a small portion of its inventory. This makes it easy for your listing to get lost in the shuffle. 
  • It’s expensive. The website charges 15% per booking - the highest among all OTAs who only offer listing services. 
  • You only have the option of instant booking, which can be extremely problematic if you don’t have the time to monitor your calendar. 

Networks and Property Managers

RedAwning

RedAwning is a newer player in the vacation rental industry, and has emerged as a “vacation rental network” that not only lists vacation rentals, it offers a full suite of guest and reservation services. You can see our complete rundown of three of the most popular vacation rental management companies and networks here

Advantages of listing with RedAwning

  • You’ll receive 24/7 marketing, reservations, and guest services support. 
  • It’s becoming increasingly popular with guests, as it does not charge a booking fee. The company also works with vacation rental owners and managers to guarantee what’s seen on RedAwning is equal to or lower than prices on all other OTA websites. 
  • Unlike TripAdvisor, the company only offers vacation rentals, boasting more than 100,000 homes in 10,000 destinations. 
Disadvantages of RedAwning
  • Because of the additional services, you’ll pay 20% per booking to list your home on RedAwning and receive its guest support.
  • It doesn’t yet have the same level of brand awareness as the previously mentioned Airbnb competitors.

onefinestay

If you’ve got a high-end property and are willing to pay a high commission for every booking, onefinestay may be what you’re looking for. With that high commission, though, comes luxury services like guest concierge, property maintenance, and marketing.

Aggregators

HomeToGo, Tripping, Skyscanner

As we explain here, websites like HomeToGo, Tripping, and Skyscanner provide extensive marketing and exposure for your home, however, there is little you as an owner can do to control your appearance on these sites.

Aggregators pull all of their vacation rentals and hotels from the networks and OTAs listed above, so chances are, you’re already on these websites.

New Ways to List Your Vacation Rental

Google’s Vacation Rental push

Now, let’s look ahead. One of the most exciting new developments in vacation rental exposure is Google’s march into the industry. In the same way travelers can compare flights, guests are starting to be able to use Google to compare vacation rental prices and locations.

This presents both opportunities and challenges for vacation rental owners. In order for your vacation rental to appear in a map search, you’ll need to have the proper tech specs in place - namely a Google Card for each property. However, once you’re able to set up your listing in a way Google can easily index, guests will have the option to book directly through you, saving them the rising booking fees on popular OTAs.

At InvitedHome, we’ve put the appropriate measures in place, and more and more of our homes are appearing in Google search and Google Maps. For example, in the photo below, our homes Canyon View Retreat and Powder Place appear when you search for "Telluride" and click maps. Click on the Powder Place icon, and the booking option slides in on the right. It's an extremely handy way to get your home in front of more people.

The pilot program is still evolving, and InvitedHome is staying on top of it to give our homeowners the biggest edge for higher visibility and more bookings.

Cms screen shot 2018 07 11 at 8.22.39 am

Bee Token

These days, no forward-looking analysis can be complete without at least mentioning the blockchain - an incorruptible public ledger of transactions that’s become the backbone of cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, and dozens of aspirational startups.

While it’s still too early to consider the Beenest - a middleman-free, completely peer-to-peer home sharing platform - a viable place to rent your home, it’s worth keeping an eye on. The goal of the Bee Token and Beenest is to create a network in which you’ll never pay a fee to list your home, and guests will never pay a booking fee, thanks to the truly decentralized nature of the program.

So there you have it: 13 sites similar to Airbnb, with their own unique offerings, price structures, advantages, and disadvantages.

So where does InvitedHome fit on this list?

We’re a full-service luxury vacation rental management company whose heart is first and foremost in the world of hospitality. We operate on three core principles:

  • Vacations are essential to the soul
  • Treat people like humans
  • Always stay ahead of the competition 
Through this approach, we’ve turned a single vacation rental in South Lake Tahoe into a company that operates in 13 US destinations, managing more than 300 luxury properties. When you list your home on our site, guests only pay a 5% booking fee - the lowest among vacation rental property managers.

Get in touch to learn why so many luxury vacation homeowners are switching to InvitedHome.

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