VRBO 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a VRBO Host

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How to Become a VRBO Host

Are you interested in getting started on VRBO but unsure where to begin? Listing your vacation rental property on this platform can be a great way to make extra income. However, to be successful, you must understand the basics.

Learn everything you need to know to be successful on VRBO, from creating your listing and pricing it correctly to managing bookings and reviews. By sticking to these tips, you’ll have all the tools necessary to start your vacation rental business and make money with VRBO.

Understanding the Basics of VRBO

VRBO stands for Vacation Rental By Owner. It is a popular online marketplace allowing property owners to list their rental properties for short-term stays. VRBO provides an easy way for travelers to find vacation rentals in the location of their choice. It also gives homeowners an effective platform to market and manage their rental properties.

What Is VRBO?

VRBO is a website where property owners can list their vacation homes or other rental properties for short-term stays. The site offers many home options, such as the following.

The site allows travelers to easily search for and book the perfect accommodation for their trip. They can narrow their search based on the following filters.

  • Neighborhoods
  • Amenities
  • Price range
  • Features

Property owners use the site to create detailed listings. These listings include the following items photos, custom listing descriptions, and information about rates and availability.

Benefits of Listing on VRBO

VRBO is one of the most popular vacation rental websites for a good reason. One of the biggest perks of using VRBO is increased visibility among renters and vacationers looking for accommodations in your area. The website gets millions of unique visits per month, so you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this high-traffic opportunity.

VRBO also provides a propriety competitive analysis tool called MarketMaker. This software makes it easy to compare your rates with other properties in your area, ensuring you’re always following the most competitive pricing strategy for vacation rentals.

Other highlights of VRBO include:

  • Automated payment processing
  • Customer support services
  • Detailed analytics tracking performance metrics, such as booking rate

Additionally, listing your property on VRBO gives you control over who rents your space. You can quickly review guest profiles before approving any bookings. Thus, you will be less likely to rent to destructive or disruptive people inadvertently.

How Much Does it Cost to List on VRBO?

VRBO offers two distinct listing models to cater to the diverse needs of vacation rental hosts: pay-per-booking and subscription. The pay-per-booking model is the more popular choice among hosts, as it provides flexibility by allowing you to pay only for the bookings you receive rather than committing to an annual fee upfront. This option is particularly appealing to hosts seeking a low-risk entry into the market.

Alternatively, the annual subscription model, priced at a flat fee of $499 paid in advance, is well-suited for hosts who rely primarily on VRBO for bookings and anticipate a high enough volume to cover these vacation rental operating expenses. This option provides a cost-effective solution for hosts with a higher booking volume.

VRBO imposes commission and processing fees on hosts to cover the platform’s services and payment handling. A 5% commission fee is applied to the rental amount and any additional fees charged to the traveler, such as cleaning or pet fees.

Additionally, a 3% payment processing fee is levied on the total payment amount received from the guest, encompassing taxes and refundable damage deposits. These fees ensure seamless transactions between hosts and guests while also providing a secure and user-friendly platform for managing vacation rental bookings.

Creating Your Profile & Listing on VRBO

To create an effective and appealing listing, you must understand its basics. The first step is creating an account and optimizing your profile. The system will ask you to provide information about yourself, such as contact information, an email address, property details, and payment preferences.

Then you will add information potential guests should know before booking with you. Use this section to sell yourself and your property. This includes a profile picture and a host bio that introduces yourself and what your property has to offer.

Writing a Listing Description

After you complete the profile information, it is time to write your listing description. Always fill in all necessary information when writing your listing description on VRBO. That will ensure potential guests understand what to expect when staying at your property. Include the following information.

  • Amenities: Tell the potential guest what extras you offer, including Wi-Fi access, air conditioning, a fully stocked kitchen, etc.
  • Sleeping arrangements: Make sure the potential guest knows how many beds and rooms your home offers.
  • Local attractions or activities: These things could include beaches, restaurants, seasonal festivals, etc.
  • Any rules or regulations: Tell the potential guest your rules for the property, such as no smoking or no pets allowed.

Uploading photos and videos of your rental property is always a good idea. These visuals can help potential guests see what they get when they book with you. Try taking pictures from different angles to give viewers an overall feel for the furnishings in your vacation rental.

Do not just include shots of your interior rooms, but also have views of outdoor areas such as patios or gardens. You may also want to add a few short video clips walking the potential guest through your home and showing them nearby activities.

Pricing and Promoting Your Listing on VRBO

Now that you know the basics of setting up your VRBO account and designing an effective profile and property description, we will move on to pricing and promoting your listing.

Determining the Right Price for Your Rental Property

Setting the right price for your rental property is essential to maximizing bookings on VRBO. Before setting your price, research comparable properties in your area. VRBO properties that are priced competitively in their area generate the most interest.

You should also consider other factors, such as amenities offered, proximity to attractions, and seasonality, when determining the price of your listing. Rentals in prime locations during the peak season will get the highest prices. Those with less desirable amenities or areas or being rented during off-seasons should have lower prices.

Finally, consider any additional fees you may decide to add to the rental cost. These fees, such as maintenance, cleaning, or pet fees, are extra charges a guest pays when renting your home. They protect you by providing additional income for high-risk guests, such as those with pets. However, you should always clearly identify the extra fees in your listing.

Utilizing Promotional Tools To Increase the Visibility of Your Listing

To increase the visibility of your listing on VRBO, you can take offer promotions, such as discounts and special offers. For example, discounts for longer stays or last-minute bookings can help attract more guests to your rental while maintaining a competitive rate.

Consider using the following techniques to increase the visibility of your VRBO listing.

  • Remain active on VRBO: To maximize bookings through VRBO, you must remain active on the platform. Doing so means responding quickly to inquiries and reviews left by past guests.
  • Watch trends: Hosts that stay current on vacation rental trends will remain competitive and attract new customers.
  • Offer extras: Extras, such as airport transportation or guided local activities, can be a great way to stand out from other listings in your area.

Managing Bookings & Reviews on VRBO

VRBO can be a great way to generate additional income from your investment property, but being successful requires careful management of bookings and reviews.

Here are some of our top tips for doing just that.

How To Respond to Inquiries and Accept Bookings Through VRBO

When you receive an inquiry about your listing, you must respond quickly to maximize your chances of securing the booking. Ensure you read through the guest’s message carefully before responding so that you answer all of their questions thoroughly. Once they accept your offer, promptly send all relevant information, such as check-in instructions and rules.

Tips for Handling Cancellations and Refunds Through VRBO

Cancellations can happen anytime. To remain successful on VRBO, you must know how to handle them properly. Always try to work with guests who cancel by offering partial refunds or rescheduling dates. If necessary, you may need to contact VRBO directly to process refunds or resolve disputes.

FAQs About Getting Started on VRBO

Can You Really Make Money on VRBO?

Yes, you can make money on VRBO. Short-term rentals offer higher returns than traditional long-term rentals due to increased demand from travelers and tourists. With a well-managed property and an effective marketing strategy, investors can capitalize on this growing trend and generate consistent income from their vacation rentals.

How Much Does the Average VRBO Owner Make?

The average VRBO owner/host can make anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars monthly. It depends on the size of the property, its location, and its upkeep. Owners who take advantage of all VRBO’s available amenities and services can maximize their rental income potential.

How Much Should a VRBO Cleaning Fee Be?

Determining the appropriate VRBO cleaning fee for your property involves considering factors such as property size, location, and the cost of hiring a professional cleaning service. Research local cleaning rates and obtain quotes from various cleaning companies to gauge the average cost in your area. Aim to strike a balance between covering your cleaning expenses and maintaining competitive pricing for your guests.

Can I List My Property on VRBO & Airbnb at the Same Time?

Yes, you can list your property on VRBO and get started on Airbnb simultaneously to maximize your rental’s visibility and booking potential. By diversifying your listings across multiple platforms, you can attract a wider range of guests and increase your chances of securing bookings. It is essential, however, to maintain an accurate and up-to-date calendar on each platform to prevent double bookings and ensure a seamless guest experience.

Start Making Money on VRBO Today!

Getting started on VRBO is a great way to invest in short-term rentals and vacation properties. By pricing your rental competitively and promoting it effectively, you can maximize your profits through constant bookings and great reviews. This guide should have given you a better idea of how to get started on VRBO. Now, go out there and make the most of your investment as a vacation rental owner.