Airbnb is just one of the short-term accommodation websites out there for rental properties, each with their own respective pros and cons. You may be wondering which is the best for your property, so you evaluate them all and decide which one to use. But why stop at one? Why not list your property on multiple?
Imagine this: you own a business hand-making shoes, but you need someone to work with who can distribute them for you. To help you reach the right sort of customers for your shoes, you form an agreement with a shoe store in Paddington. You chose that store because the type of customers who visit that store are the type of customers you think will buy your shoes, and it is working - you are selling a good number of your shoes.
However, the only people who will see your shoes is limited to whoever walks into that one particular store.
Now let's say there is another shoe store in Neutral Bay - a different, but comparable part of the city. The people who shop at the Neutral Bay store are similar in what they like to the people who shop in the Paddington store, meaning that you would sell a good number of shoes through this store as well. However, there is unlikely to be many people (if any at all) who would shop in both stores, which gives you a considerable benefit in starting to work with the second store as well.
The principle is the same when working with multiple short-term booking platforms for your rental property. The people who search these platforms are all looking for the same basic product - a rental property - but each platform tends to reach a different group of people. Plus, when an individual person searches for a property, they tend to stick to the one platform when they search. One person might search Airbnb, and another might search Booking.com, but they are less likely to search on both. If you are listed on both platforms, you will appear in front of both of them.
There are several booking platforms out there to consider. Airbnb is the best known, but we have put together a rundown of the pros and cons of the top 5 in Australia, including Booking.com, Travelmob, TripAdvisor (FlipKey) and Stayz.
Pros and cons:
- Review Bookings: hosts/property managers are able to review each booking individually before deciding whether to accept it
- Legitimacy: guest and host profiles increase legitimacy and reduce the chances of getting bad guests
- Insurance: Airbnb provides property insurance to all properties listed, as well as personal liability insurance to cover any personal injury claims made by guests in your properties
- Security: Airbnb website has an in-built secure payment processing gateway
- Planning: Airbnb seems to be used by more holiday travellers than business travellers
- Holiday travellers tend to plan and book holiday accommodation further ahead of time than business travellers
- Booking fee: much lower per-booking fee of 3% compared to Booking.com
- The difference is made up by a 12% service fee paid by the customer
- Audience: dominant player in the market and usually the first place younger people look when searching for accommodation options
- Less website traffic than Booking.com and TripAdvisor, but much more targeted traffic as short-term rentals is all Airbnb does
- Rankings: hosts do not need to pay extra to get to the top of the rankings (that requires you to reach superhost status)
- Competition: Airbnb properties are all quite similar to each other so you will face more competition for your type of property than you might on other platforms
- Fees: No credit card fee
- Service fee: lack of service fee for the guest means listings on this platform can be a little cheaper for them, making the listing look more attractive
- Traffic: most visited travel-related website worldwide, so more potential exposure (it’s how they justify the higher booking fee)
- Audience: attracts more last-minute bookings so it is good if you have gaps in your calendar that you would like to fill
- Commission: the entire commission of 15% is paid by the owner (in the form of per-booking fees)
- Rankings: commission is factored into rankings – more commission equals higher ranking so by default more expensive properties rank higher
- Relevance: part of a company that covers a much larger scope of the travel experience so it may not be the first place people think to look when searching for a short-term rental properties
- Review bookings: requires owners to accept bookings immediately – does not give them the chance to review bookings before accepting them
- Traffic: potentially massive global exposure – owned by Expedia which receives massive global traffic
- Exposure: listings on Travelmob are also placed on the Expedia 'sister' websites of VRBO and HomeAway
- Reviews: credible reviews – Expedia receives huge numbers of reviews and comments all the time so they are viewed as a very credible source of information and feedback
- Cost: Hosts on Travelmob have the choice of paying a 10% per-booking fee or a flat $349 yearly subscription
- Need to get a lot of bookings through this platform to make it cost-effective
- Booking fee: much lower per-booking fee of 3%
- Exposure: one listing is placed on two websites – TripAdvisor (bigger but less targeted audience) and also FlipKey which is specifically about short-term rentals (smaller but more targeted audience)
- Credibility: TripAdvisor is the most trusted source of holiday information, so listings and reviews are considered much more reliable
- Relevance: owned by TripAdvisor which is a much broader-ranging travel information service, meaning it may not be the first place people think to look for short-term rentals
- Insurance: no property damage insurance for hosts
- Service fee: the lower per-booking fee is offset by charging customers a higher service fee, so listings may look more expensive for customers on this platform
- Reputation: well-known in Australia with a good reputation for the quality of its properties
- Traffic: Stayz receives quite a lot of website traffic, plus it is owned by Expedia so listings are promoted internationally on sister sites such as HomeAway and VRBO
- Exposure: Stayz performs very well with regard to Search Engine Optimisation in Australia – almost always appears at or near the top of the Google results
- Rankings: listing rankings are not calculated based on reviews but on conversion rate, so difficult customers and bad reviews will not necessarily hurt your listing
- Conversion rate refers to the number of booking enquiries which are carried through to bookings
- Review bookings: the owner has the opportunity to review bookings before accepting them, as well as the chance to screen reviews before they are published
- Booking fee: per-booking fee falls in the middle of the spectrum – 7% if you use Stayz's online payment method and 10% if you use an offline method that goes directly between guest and host
- Payment: 7-day delay between guest payment and money arriving in the host's account
- Listing rankings: while reviews and ratings are not factored into rankings, the amount of commission paid to Stayz is factored in
- By default this skews the rankings towards more expensive properties
- Availability: Stayz calendar does not integrate with other platforms
- If your property is listed on multiple platforms and you receive a booking from one of the others, you will need to manually update your availability as displayed on Stayz
How to get started
You might think that managing listings across multiple booking platforms at the same time is going to increase the workload. If you receive a booking on one platform, how do you make sure that your availability is updated on the other platforms so you don’t get overbooked? Similarly, how do you make sure that all your listings are aligned in terms of pricing and communication with guests?
That’s where a property manager comes into the picture.
MadeComfy manages everything right from the start. A professional photoshoot for the property, getting it listed, managing the listings across multiple platforms, and helping the guests while they are there. If you have a guest renting your property while you are away on holiday and the dishwasher breaks, we have your back. If a guest sees your property listing and sends an email asking a question, we will handle that too.
MadeComfy provides an end-to-end property management service, which means property owners don’t need to do a thing when they hand over their keys. MadeComfy makes the process of earning greater returns from short-term renting effortless, achieving up to 40% more than long-term rentals and self-managed Airbnb listings. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!