Mar 14, 2013

Short answer: Probably

Each year you'll be faced with evaluating whether to pay the increasing renewal fees from the major vacation rental listing sites. I've shared before, in a post about How to Advertise your Vacation Rental property, our own personal results from the various listing sites. Since it's that time of year for us to renew, I thought I'd share our latest analysis.

This time I'm showing it trended over the four complete years that we've operated our Sunset Beach Bliss vacation rental. The chart shows what percentage of our net income (not number of bookings) for each year came from each source. And in this chart I'm counting net income for the year that the guest checked-in, not necessarily when they booked.

One thing that stands out is that our income from the major listing sites - HomeAway, VRBO and VacationRentals - are all declining as a percentage of our overall income. Most notably, VacationRentals completely struck out for us in 2012! Fortunately for VacationRentals, we already have some 2013 bookings that came through them, so I have renewed.

Also, it's noticeable that our own website (purple in the chart above) and the amount of bookings coming from previous guests or referrals from previous guests (green) have both increased significantly. I've written before about the importance of Delighting Guests to generate Repeat Bookings and also what's involved in Setting up a Vacation Rental Website.

We've decided to renew each of HomeAway, VacationRentals and VRBO this year. And we're pleased with our results from them. But we're also hopeful that over time our own web site and previous guests will continue to generate a growing percentage of our bookings.

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