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Airbnb VS. HomeAway VS. Booking.com – Which One Is BEST?

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SUMMARY:

There are different booking platforms that you can list your property on such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Homeaway, VRBO, etc. Find out which ones you should list on and how to make that choice. 

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AIRBNB FOR DUMMIES:

This video is going to talk about the different booking platforms, their individual nuances because they do operate differently and how to succeed on each.  

Even though I am the author of Airbnb for Dummies and have that area of expertise, it may surprise people to learn that I also list properties on booking.com, Homeaway and VRBO and some other niche platforms.  . 

One question I am often asked is “Should I expand my listings onto other platforms?”  Listings are getting less visibility and you want as many eyes as possible on your property.  So, expanding onto other platforms can be beneficial, IF you do it the right way and list on the right platforms.  

Each booking platform has its own niche and will be best for a particular type of property owner because it attracts a particular type of guest. 

Booking.com is largely a travel website for hotels, so may want to list there if your property is similar to a hotel, such as one bedroom and bachelor apartments in a downtown core. 

VRBO, which stands for Vacation Rental By Owner, was started as vacation rentals.  So if you have a larger home in a vacation destination, it would do better on VRBO. The person that is visiting that site is someone who wants to book a vacation, typically with their family.  

The name Airbnb started out as a home sharing site but has since expanded into competing with both groups – those who would have been booking a hotel and those booking a vacation rental.  What I have found is that Airbnb is going to be the best place to go as a first booking platform. 

Up until recently, on booking.com, all charges had to be done through you, the host, using whatever credit card processor you wanted to use, since that is how hotels operate.  If you are going to be charging your guests credit cards, then you need to worry about fraud, dispute, chargebacks, refunds, etc.  That is going to be your responsibility and is an additional level of complexity. 

So if you are thinking of expanding onto booking.com, you try to get your property set up to have the payments processed on the platform itself, the same way you would with Airbnb or becoming familiar with the nuances of processing credit card payments. 

Typically, properties on Booking.com are going to be a little bit more expensive. Since you are competing with hotels and you have better amenities, like a kitchen, that will add more value.  Therefore, you can afford to charge a price more similar to a hotel. 

On a site like VRBO or Homeaway, you’re going to be competing against other vacation rental owners.  You tend to see slightly higher prices since the owners are more experienced and the properties are larger.  On these sites, you want to make sure that you have the right tools to optimize your property to perform well.  

VRBO and Homeaway run similarly as Airbnb when it comes to things like credit card processing and the calendar. However, if you are listing a property on more than one platform, you must make sure that when a guest books in one platform, the date is blocked in another. 

The most straightforward way to avoid double bookings is through an iCal integration. While easy to set up, these can be glitchy and have delays.  So, the best solution is to use channel management software.  If you’re just starting out and have a couple of properties, I recommend a software called iGMS to do this.  If you are doing this professionally, I would recommend a full channel management solution called Host Away.  There are a number on the market and I recommend that you check them out.  

If you want to improve your properties’ performance, I highly recommend that you click on the link above for our free training that goes into strategies to optimize your property. If you want to manage properties for other homeowners, click on the link above where I go into the strategies I used to build my business. 

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Hey there, everyone. My name is James. I'm the author of Airbnb for Dummies. And in today's video, I want to talk to you about different booking platforms. So I want to talk about the difference between Airbnb booking.com, homeaway, VR, Bo, all these different booking platforms. And I want to talk to you about which ones you should be listed on and why decided depending on your specific property.

And I also want to talk to you about the nuances of each one of these platforms, because the reality is that they operate quite differently. And so if you want to perform well on booking.com, the path the ingredients, the things you need to do in order to achieve that are going to be largely quite different from what you need to do to succeed on another platform like Airbnb.

Now, one thing that surprised a lot of people is that even though I do speak a lot about Airbnb, I'm obviously the author of Airbnb for Dummies. So I'm a huge Airbnb advocate. I serve my area of expertise. One thing that surprises most people is that I also have an extensive amount of experience listing on other platforms.

So by no means Mia exclusively listing on Airbnb, I also list properties on booking.com homeaway, VR, Bo net, tried up to about 12, different, more niche platforms as well. And I've had mixed results on all the different platforms. And so I want to talk today about one of the common questions I get asked, which is, should I expand my listings onto other booking platforms?

Now more than ever, when things when whenever you're getting less visibility, you want to get more eyeballs on your property. And so expanding onto other listing platforms can be beneficial, but you have to know the right way to do it. And you want to know which ones are actually going to be worth your time.

And so let's just get started I want to talk about in today's video number one, what platforms are worth actually expanding on to for your specific property. Now, the thing to remember about each one of these different booking platforms is that they have their own kind of domains of expertise, if you will. Each platform is going to be best for a particular type of property owner because each platform attracts Typical type of Booker.

So what I mean by this is that booking.com because they largely started out being a travel website for hotels, largely the people that are booking plot properties on booking.com are people who are looking for hotels. And so, properties that are very similar to hotels that fall into some of the same categories, you know, one bedroom, even bachelor apartments, plays that are downtown in the core where someone would typically be looking to find a hotel tend to do better on booking.com than any other type of property.

VR. Bo, on the other hand, vacation rental by owner, as the name suggests, started largely as vacation rentals. And so if you have a larger home and a vacation destination, or that is more suited for people that would be on a vacation, such as a larger property with multiple bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, those properties will tend to do better on VR vo simply because the type of person that's visiting vrb o to book a property is typically a vacationer, someone who's actually going to the area They're visiting for vacation.

Typically they're going with their family. And that's whether using VR Bo. Airbnb on the other hand, as the name suggests, air bed and breakfast. It started out as air beds, it started out as home sharing that was sort of the overall market that they were attacking when they first got started. And they've since expanded into a lot of people that are competing with hotels that would typically be booking hotels, you get a lot of people that are booking their vacation rentals there. So you get a good mix of both right.

And so what I have found to be true is that Airbnb is going to be the best place to go as a first booking platform to get onto because you're going to put yourself in front of the most sets of eyes. They're the most guests that are going to see your property on Airbnb. This is true for just about any property. Sure, there are some fringe properties that are going to do a whole lot better on booking.com. And they're going to not even need Airbnb or similar with VR vo but for the majority of hosts, the place to start that makes the most sense is going to be Airbnb.

Because you're going to get the most people looking at your property, and so you're going to be able to figure out more quickly who your niche is. Now, that being said, if you have a property that is a larger property, so three, four bedrooms or not, and you're looking to expand out, I would recommend going to VR vo to VR, vo homeaway. That would be my first recommendation for the direction to go. If you're looking to expand on another platform.

Better than then booking.com is going to be VR vo homeaway simply because you're probably going to attract more guests on that platform than you would on booking.com. On the other hand, if you have a property that's a one bedroom or a bachelor property, even a two bedroom property, and it's in a downtown core, a place that people would typically book a hotel, right and that same neck of the woods, then recommend trying to expand out on the booking.com first, because you're probably going to have better luck there than you would on homeboy VRP Oh, now with that in mind, you also have to remember that each platform has its own different nuances to it.

For example, up until recently booking.com, all of the charges that you were doing with your guests had to be done through you individually. So guests couldn't be charged on booking.com, they had to be charged by you the host using whatever credit card processor you might want to use. Now this is large, because that's the way that hotels always operate. And so booking comm was operating that way as well.

Now, as of late, they've been offering different payment plot Pam solutions on their platform where guests can book directly on the platform there and actually pay on the platform. But something to bear in mind is that if you are going to be charging your guests credit cards, then now suddenly, you have to worry about fraud, you have to worry about disputes, and you have to worry about charge backs and refunds. All of that is going to be done through your end of things.

It's not going to be something you can rely on the booking platform for if you're processing credit card transactions yourself. And so it's just an additional level of headache and additional level complexity. So something to bear in mind. If a guest books your property with a fraudulent credit card. You You better have the right setup in place to be able to detect that before they actually check in there and steal something damage the place whatever else might happen.

If someone books your property and then later decides that they want to refund that is entirely done through you, you have to make sure that you're processing those refunds in alignment with whatever refund policy upset if they decided to dispute the credit card transaction. Now you're going to potentially have troubles with your merchant processor, the people that are actually the software company that used to process these transactions.

So it kind of opens up a whole Kansas can of worms if you don't know what you're doing. So I highly recommend that if you are going to expand onto booking.com you try to get your property set up to have all the all the payments processed on the platform itself the same way that you would with Airbnb.

And if you don't offer that solution, then I'd recommend just really familiarizing yourself with all of the ins and outs all the different nuances of processing your own credit cards for your guests, because it's not necessarily as simple as just punching in the card numbers and then you're set to go There's a whole bunch that can happen after that, that's going to lead to different headaches, different problems that you want to have the solutions for, as opposed to trying to fight fires as they come up.

Now, in addition to that, it's always going to be a little bit different to get your property to perform on booking.com versus Airbnb, and you're going to want to price your property a little bit differently on there than you would on other platforms. Typically, properties are going to be a little bit more expensive on a site like booking calm, and they would be on Airbnb, simply because it's in alignment with the competition.

If you look at Airbnb, you're competing primarily with people who are doing home sharing people who are, you know, just kind of amateurs that don't really know what they're doing when it comes to pricing their property effectively. And so the prices overall are going to be lower there. And so in order to compete with that market, you need to lower your rates.

Whereas if you [email protected] the majority of properties on there, though there is an ever growing number of people like us who have vacation rentals, short term rental properties, we're listing on booking.com first and foremost, the majority of the market share there is going to be a hotels. And so when your property is being compared against hotel, then you're going to have better amenities.

And if you have the same price, you're still probably going to win that gas just because you have, you know, your own kitchen, you have different amenities in there, things like that, they're going to add more value. And you can afford to charge a more hotel like price for your property because that's where you're going to be compared against on that platform. Now, shifting gears here, if we talk about vrb o homeaway.

That platform, you're typically going to be competing, like I said, against other vacation rental owners, there's a lot fewer amateurs now I'm not going to say it's as professional caliber as booking calm because you're competing against large multinational hotel companies. Obviously, they really have stepped their game up when it comes to pricing.

But that being said, on VR vo homework, you tend to see slightly higher prices, because these are typically larger properties. For one thing, there's lower competition for another thing, and you get people that are typically more experienced, typically I say that very cautiously. I say that typically people who are listing their properties on VR Bo on homeaway have a little bit more experience than those who are booking listing their, their properties for rent up for accommodations on Airbnb.

And so for that reason, you can typically get away with a little bit higher prices on brb. Oh homeboy. But again, you want to make sure that you have the right tools in your tool belt to be able to actually optimize your property to perform well on the rbo. That is going to be slightly different from Airbnb, though I would say that in terms of similarity to Airbnb VR, vo homeboy is going to be the closest that you'll ever find.

I say that because you're going to be having all your credit card transactions processed through the booking platform itself. So same way that you would with Airbnb. You don't have to go go and worry about anything to do with charging your guests credit cards.

You don't have to worry about any kind of refunds, chargebacks disputes, any of that stuff fraud, all taken care of on the part of homeboy vrb Oh, the review process isn't largely the same, the listings look largely the same, the way that you price your property, the way that you manage your calendar is largely the same as Airbnb, there's going to be very little overlap in terms of things that you have to do differently.

That being said, the one thing if we kind of look at the strategy overall of listing on other platforms, the one final thing that you really have to be aware of is just making sure that your calendars are synched up.

Now, what I mean by that is simply to say that if you are listing your property on multiple platforms, if you're listing on booking.com, in addition to Airbnb, maybe you've got homeaway vrbo in the mix there as well, if you've got any combination of two or more booking platforms, now suddenly, you have to make sure that when a prop when a guest books a property on one platform that that date is then blocked off in the other.

So this is another common question that I get is how do I make sure that I don't get double bookings? Now, the most simple most sort of basic straightforward way to do this is through an iCal interview.

Now that's not to say that it's the best solution, it's just to say that's the most basic and the easiest one to set up, all you have to do is just set up your icons to sync up between them so that when one person books a listing on Airbnb, it then syncs to the icon, which then pushes through to booking.com and blocks that date in your booking.com calendar. Now, that's all well and good.

However, there can be delays with that. So if you get two people booking at virtually the same time, it is possible to get a double booking, iCal calendar integrations can also be a little bit finicky, they have a reputation for sometimes failing and when that happens, you can have a real mess on your hands as I'm sure you can appreciate. Now, the best solution is typically going to be a channel management software of some sort.

If you're just starting out if you just have a one or a couple different properties, I recommend a software called IO gms I gms is going to help you to get your all your bookings all lined up. It's going to keep everything in one place gonna lie to your messaging from one place, it's gonna let you do your pricing updates from one place. So it's going to Keep things relatively easily easy, they are still going to use last I checked and iCal integration.

So it's again not going to be a perfect solution but it is going to be relatively inexpensive, then when you're going to be up to five or more properties, if you're doing this professionally, you're managing properties for other people, or you just want to have the best solution out there. That's why I'd recommend going to a full channel management solution.

And that's where you're going to have a full API integration of your calendars that's going to be done through this channel management software. One of the ones that I recommend is called host away. They're a great software to use when you're managing multiple different listings. There are other ones out there like gessie. There's other ones out there that I'm not as familiar with. I haven't actually necessarily tried myself.

There's a number of other ones out there on the market. I recommend you check them out. There's a whole bunch of them out there, but the one that I recommend for most often is going to be host away. It's just a good channel management software that I've used have good experience with. There are other ones out there though, like I said. So with that being said those are going to be the main things that you're going to want to watch out for when you're listing on other platforms.

Like I said at the beginning of the video, there are really pros and cons to each one of these different solutions, each one of these different platforms and so you just want to be mindful of which one is best for your specific property. As a rule of thumb, if you have a larger property, the next one to expand out to after Airbnb is going to be homeaway vr Bo, if you have a smaller property that's more centrally located, then my recommendation would typically be to go to booking.com.

The best way to find out which one's gonna be the best fit for you is simply going to be to try them. However, like I said before, if you try them, just make sure that you do it with all the proper knowledge going into it.

You don't just want to put your property up there and then find out that you got hit with fraud. You've added guests in there for a week who didn't actually pay for the place. And now suddenly, you've got your place trashed a whole bunch of stuffs got stolen, and thanks a lot. booking.com here horrible support did not actually help me at all. That's not a thing to be out.

We'll watch it on the watch out for is that booking.com support is horrible. You have been warned. So I hope this has been a really valuable video. I hope this has been helpful for you. And if you're considering improving your property's performance if you want to learn the next 10 tips and strategies in order to make your property perform at its optimal levels, then I highly, highly recommend you check out the free training linked below. And also subscribe to the channel.

If you want to manage properties for other people on Airbnb on short term rental if you want to manage on multiple different platforms and you want to do it in the best way possible and really build a business where you can earn a full time income managing other people's properties on Airbnb, I highly recommend checking out the other free training we've got linked down below.

It's going to walk you through step by step how I grew my business over the course of a year to go from absolutely no experience on short term rental whatsoever, not even having stayed as a guest right through to you know, managing over 30 properties on Airbnb. So if you want to check that out, the links are down below in the description.

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