Previously known as HomeAway, VRBO is now part of the Expedia Group and operates one of the largest vacation rental marketplaces with over 2 million properties listed worldwide. For the vacation rental owner, making your VRBO listing stand out amidst intense competition, such as other short-term rentals, can pose a significant challenge.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through key strategies for hosting HomeAway properties effectively. We’ll help optimize every aspect of your VRBO listing—from pricing to photos to communication. Following these best practices will maximize visibility, conversion rates, and bookings on VRBO HomeAway.

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Enable Instant Booking for HomeAway Vacation Rentals (now VRBO)
Set Optimal and Competitive Rates for Hosting HomeAway (now VRBO) Properties
Highlight Unique Amenities of Your VRBO (ex HomeAway) Properties
Use High-Quality Photos for HomeAway (VRBO) Listings
Write Robust, Descriptive Content for your HomeAway (VRBO) Listings
Respond Quickly to Booking Inquiries for VRBO HomeAway Vacation Rentals
Avoid Cancellations to Maintain High Ratings on HomeAway Listings
Encourage Guest Reviews for Enhanced Hosting Visibility on HomeAway
Strategically Offer Discounts and Deals for VRBO / HomeAway Vacation Rentals
Maintain Accurate Availability for Optimal Hosting on HomeAway
Link to a Reliable Channel Manager for Efficient Management of HomeAway Rentals
Key Takeaways and Top Tips for Successful Hosting on HomeAway VRBO
Frequently Asked Questions

Enable Instant Booking for HomeAway Vacation Rentals (now VRBO)

Allowing instant booking removes friction from the booking process by enabling guests to book immediately instead of waiting for approval.

According to VRBO, on average, listings with instant booking enabled see around 30% more bookings.

You can also set parameters like minimum/maximum stays to control instant bookings. This gives you more flexibility while still facilitating the booking process for your vacation rental business.


Set Optimal and Competitive Rates for Hosting HomeAway (now VRBO) Properties.

  • Analyze rates for comparable listings in your area to determine ideal pricing.
  • The VRBO map search makes viewing rates for similar nearby properties easy.
  • Setting nightly rates too high will deter bookings, but going too low leaves money on the table.
  • Aim to price at the lower end of the average rate range for comparable listings. This strategic pricing helps attract early bookings and reviews to establish credibility.
  • You can gradually increase rates over time as your listing begins to secure more bookings and garner positive reviews.

🔑 Pro Tip: Discount pricing for new listings without reviews can help overcome guest hesitancy and secure initial bookings. Then, increase to market rate once established.

Highlight Unique Amenities of Your VRBO (ex HomeAway) Properties

  • Emphasize amenities and features that make your property special, like ocean views, entertainment systems, proximity to attractions, etc.
  • Focus on showcasing vacation rental amenities aligned with guest motivations for booking a vacation rental over a hotel. This resonates with what guests are looking for.
  • Unique amenities can command higher rates and improve conversion rates. Highlight them upfront in listing details, descriptions, and photos.

For example, highlight if your property includes:

  • Premium entertainment options like large, wall-mounted TVs, game consoles, hot tubs, or private pools
  • A fully-equipped kitchen with high-end appliances
  • Special views like ocean, mountain, or city skylines
  • Convenient location near popular restaurants, attractions, and conveniences
  • Family-friendly amenities like pack-n-plays, high chairs, toys, etc.

Use High-Quality Photos for HomeAway (VRBO) Listings

  • High-quality photos do more than anything else to make listings stand out in search results and grab guest attention.
  • Use vibrant, well-lit images showcasing your best features and views. Avoid clutter and make sure all photos are in sharp focus.
  • Include interior and exterior images to give guests a complete perspective of the property.
  • Showcase local attractions and area sights to inspire guests about the surrounding location.

Write Robust, Descriptive Content for your HomeAway (VRBO) Listings

By leveraging a vacation rental marketing strategy that focuses on the strengths of your property through a robust, descriptive approach, guests are more likely to be intrigued by what you offer. Crafting a narrative around your vacation rental’s amenities is key to standing out. Ensure your listing utilizes a comprehensive booking calendar, conveying availability clearly to prevent confusion for prospective guests. These kinds of small details set the foundation for a successful approach in platforms like hosting HomeAway.

The listing description is your opportunity to sell potential guests on the experience of staying at your rental. Follow these tips:

  • Beyond just stating facts and amenities—paint a picture of what guests can expect.
  • Mention specific amenities, sleeping arrangements, nearby attractions, and conveniences to pique interest.
  • Focus on the experience your rental provides, not just facts. This emotional hook helps drive bookings.
  • Share authentic local insights on restaurants, activities, tours, and hidden gems that visitors enjoy. This adds value for guests looking to experience the area like a local.

“I spent a lot of time crafting engaging descriptions focused on selling the experience. Guests say this gave them high expectations that the rental fully met and exceeded.” – Ricky V., host of VRBO HomeAway.

Respond Quickly to Booking Inquiries for VRBO HomeAway Vacation Rentals

  • Respond to all booking inquiries within 24 hours or less. Quick responses improve your listing’s placement on vacation rental platforms and encourage direct bookings.
  • Fast replies also provide better customer service, making guests more likely to choose your listing.
  • Set up email notifications for new inquiries to take advantage of every opportunity.
  • Maintain open communication until the guest finalizes a reservation with professional property managers, ensuring a smooth experience.

Avoid Cancellations to Maintain High Ratings on HomeAway Listings

  • Canceling confirmed bookings negatively impacts your listing. It can remove you from search results for that cancellation period or longer.
  • Only cancel if unavoidable. And inform the guest promptly if you must cancel with apologies and options.
  • Build buffer days between bookings for cleaning/maintenance. This helps avoid double bookings and cancellations.
  • Parameters like minimum stay also reduce the chances of overbooking issues and are preferred by some property managers.

Encourage Guest Reviews for Enhanced Hosting Visibility on HomeAway

  • Positive reviews establish credibility, boost search ranking, and provide social proof, which is crucial in the competitive short-term rental market.
  • Implementing vacation rental software can automate sending a review request, thus enhancing the guest experience and increasing the chances of receiving feedback.
  • If there’s no review a week later, follow up courteously. Exceptional communication that includes the review request process reflects well on property management companies.


Strategically Offer Discounts and Deals for VRBO / HomeAway Vacation Rentals

  • During slower booking times, promotions can spark interest and lead to bookings, which is a smart tactic for managing vacation rental properties.
  • Custom rates for specific seasons or date ranges can cater to budget-conscious travelers.
  • Use discounts judiciously to maintain your property’s value. Selective promotions reflect an understanding of the vacation rental market dynamics.
  • Last-minute deals are effective at filling vacancies, such as those listed on Vrbo HomeAway, ensuring your rental is full.

Maintain Accurate Availability for Optimal Hosting on HomeAway

  • An up-to-date calendar is essential for avoiding double bookings, especially for property management companies managing multiple listings.
  • Syncing your VRBO calendar with other platforms and integrating it with vacation rental software can mitigate the risk of overbooking.
  • Tailoring booking prerequisites, like minimum stay lengths and advance notice periods, allows you to manage your availability selectively, an approach favored by many successful hosts on platforms like Vrbo Homeaway.
  • Utilizing a vacation rental channel manager like Rentals United can synchronize bookings across various vacation rental sites, including HomeAway, VRBO, and Airbnb automatically.
  • Channel managers empower you to update pricing and availability across all platforms from one centralized dashboard, perfect for managing a short-term rental property.
  • This eradicates the tedious work of manually syncing changes across multiple sites while reducing errors.
  • Many channel managers also provide additional capabilities such as unified messaging for guest inquiries, cleaner scheduling, damage protection, and more, which are vital in the vacation rental industry.

Key Takeaways and Top Tips for Successful Hosting on HomeAway VRBO

Implementing even some of these best practices for managing your VRBO listing can significantly increase bookings, income, and 5-star reviews. But take your time!

Focus first on the quick win strategies below to get started:

  • Turn on instant booking.
  • Set competitive market rates.
  • Take professional photos
  • Craft engaging descriptions
  • Respond to inquiries ASAP to efficiently manage guest queries.

Over time, build on this foundation by adding amenities, promotions, channel managers, and other optimization tactics covered above. Consistently staying on top of your listing will ensure its success on VRBO and other vacation rental sites for years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of enabling instant booking on VRBO?

Enabling instant booking removes friction from the booking process, allowing guests to immediately book your property instead of waiting for approval. Listings with instant bookings see around 30% more bookings on average.

How much should I discount my nightly rates on VRBO?

Avoid significant discounts, as this can devalue your homeaway rentals long-term. Selective deals during slower periods can help generate bookings through online travel agencies. Last-minute promotions for unfilled vacancies also make sense. But use strategically and gradually increase toward market rate.

What photo edits can help make my listing photos stand out?

Use photo editing tools to color correct, brighten exposure, increase contrast, remove clutter/distractions, and sharpen images. This greatly enhances the visual appeal to attract more booking channels inquiries.

What should I include in my listing description?

Focus your description on selling the experience of staying at your homeaway vacation rentals using visual language and dynamic hooks. Cover details like sleeping arrangements, amenities, nearby attractions, and local insights on things to enjoy, differentiating from the typical HomeAway VRBO options.

How soon should I follow up with guests who must leave a review?

Follow up 5-7 days after the completion of a guest’s stay if they still need to leave a review. A polite message checking if they had an enjoyable experience hosting HomeAway guests and inviting feedback shows you care.

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