Vrbo is one of the world’s largest vacation rental marketplaces. With over 15.9 million unique visitors a month, the platform gives property managers lots of visibility in front of travellers. 

But, in today’s competitive market, simply getting listed on Vrbo is not enough. To achieve high conversion rates and maximise your bookings from Vrbo, you also need to make sure your listings are optimised to rank high in Vrbo search results.

Vrbo works similarly to other online booking platforms in that they have their own, unique factors that affect the ranking of your properties in search. When a traveller searches for properties on Vrbo, your listings will appear higher in the search results if you score higher on the ranking factors.  

Thankfully, you won’t need guesswork to figure this out. In this post, we’re going to share 10 insider tips from Vrbo on how to optimise your listings and improve your rankings in search results.

Are you looking to save time on managing your Vrbo listings? Find out how the Rentals United Vrbo channel manager can help you sync your rates and availability in real-time.

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How do I get my listing to the top of Vrbo?

Lots of factors go into determining the ranking of listings in search results. To rank higher on Vrbo, you should follow all of the company’s best practices and advice when listing your properties.

Vrbo’s search engine is designed to help travellers find what they’re looking for fast. It always pays off to keep your guests in mind, so think about who usually books your property and what they may be looking for in search.

Remember, anything that persuades guests to book will also impact your ranking.

Boosting search ranking is just one way of earning more from your properties. 

Check our top 8 vacation rental marketing tips that will help property managers increase bookings and revenue.

And now, onto our top tips for how to rank higher on Vrbo.

1. Include all amenities

Don’t leave anything out when you’re adding amenities and features to your listing. Things that seem obvious to you may not be to potential guests.

Many people use filters when they are searching for a property. If your property has a pool, but you haven’t added ‘swimming pool’ to the amenities, your listing won’t appear in those filtered searches.

It’s worth finding out what the top most-searched-for filters are and checking off all that apply.

Here are some of the most popular amenities that guests search for on Vrbo:

  • Internet/wifi
  • Parking
  • Pets allowed
  • Laundry facilities/washing machine
  • Kitchen
  • Swimming pool
  • Hot tub
  • Air conditioning
  • TV
  • Dishwasher
  • Barbecue
  • Towels and bedding provided, washed at high temperatures
  • Disinfected surfaces
  • Remote check-in/check-out

2. Apply location tags

Labels like ‘Beachfront’, ‘Beach view’, ‘Mountains’, and ‘Downtown’ are all major selling points for your property.

They tell guests where they can expect your property to be located without revealing your exact address.

As with amenities, guests will often filter their searches using location tags.

If you have a beachfront property, take advantage of this desirable label and make sure you have added all the location tags that apply to the property.

3. Promote your safety practices

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Hygiene and safety are still at the forefront of people’s minds, especially these days.

According to Vrbo data, 82% of guests say they care about cleaning standards, but shockingly, only 14% of property managers state cleaning practices on their listings (source: Vrbo COVID-19 market research survey 2020 and Internal Vrbo Data 2021).

Travellers value cleanliness, so adopting thorough cleaning practices and highlighting them in your listings allows you the opportunity to get ahead of your competition.

Safety features are also important, and guests can filter results based on these as well. Don’t forget to include all your property’s safety features, such as fire extinguishers or smoke alarms, in your listing.

4. Property specifications

Guests need to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms your property has before they book. They are highly likely to filter their search results based on their desired number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Ensure that your listing is configured correctly to show the exact number of beds (including sofa beds and rollaway beds), bathrooms, and other spaces like a dining room, living room, or garden area.

Don’t wait for people to click the description for that information. If your property doesn’t appear in filtered searches, they might not get that far.

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5. Upload attractive photos

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Vrbo told us that properties with 25 or more photos receive an impressive 40% more views and 30% more bookings on average (source: Vrbo Internal Data 2021).

Stunning photos will get you more bookings and help you rank higher on Vrbo.

You should aim to have at least 25 photos per property, but the more you add, the better!

Quality matters, too. When taking photos, put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Look at other homes in your area, and think about which images you are tempted to click on. Which ones make you want to stay at the property?

Here’s some of Vrbo’s advice for improving your photos:

  • The property should look presentable, with the beds made, bathrooms clean, and plenty of natural light.
  • Highlight special features like antique furniture, a cosy outdoor area, or beautiful views.
  • Showcase connected rooms. This helps guests imagine how the living space flows.
  • Include photos of any recent upgrades or new amenities.
  • Choose your “hero” photo, or thumbnail, wisely. This will be the first impression your guests get, so it must show off the property’s best features.

Have a look at Vrbo’s full guide to taking better photos of your property.

6. Write a catchy headline

Along with the thumbnail, headlines are what guests see first. You need to come up with a short, punchy sentence to promote your property.

Keep it brief and focus on the unique features and selling points. Go through your positive reviews and look for any recurring themes.

Maybe guests rave about the breathtaking view or the property’s ideal location. See if you can include these features in your headline.

If you’d like to learn more about writing headlines that convert, check out our guide to vacation rental copywriting – it’s got a couple of foolproof headline templates, too. 

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7. Add a detailed description

A complete description is another factor that will help your properties rank higher on Vrbo.

Like the headline, your description’s first sentence is imperative and must grab guests’ attention.

Your description should be just long and detailed enough to include everything that guests need to know. 

Emphasise all the property’s best features and talk about the local environment and popular attractions. You can also mention how suitable the property is for certain groups of travellers.

Again, you can get inspiration from past reviews to see what guests love most about your property. Short paragraphs and bullet points help make your description easy to read and skimmable.

For more tips on writing a great property description and scaling your vacation rental copywriting when you have hundreds of properties, check out the guide linked above.

8. Avoid cancellations

If you cancel a lot of bookings, your property will start to slip down in rankings.

Occasionally, cancellations may be unavoidable. However, you should aim never to cancel a booking apart from in a genuine emergency.

If your guests request to cancel, make sure they process the cancellation from their end to not affect your cancellation rate.

9. Accept bookings fast

Having a fast acceptance rate can help your property rank higher on Vrbo.

When someone requests to book your property, don’t leave them waiting too long. It’s best practice to accept bookings within 24 hours.

Also, try to accept as many requests as possible because a high decline rate can negatively impact your rankings.

10. Collect lots of positive reviews

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Vrbo discovered that 92% of guests want to see reviews before booking (source: Vrbo Internal Data 2020), and who can blame them?

Good reviews provide social proof and are always going to make properties more appealing to travellers. So, of course, Vrbo will rank properties with plenty of good reviews higher.

To maximise your number of reviews, politely ask guests to leave reviews after their stay, and make sure to go above and beyond to give guests the best stay possible.

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How to leverage the Vrbo Premier Host Program to get more bookings

Vrbo’s Premier Host program recognises and rewards property managers who consistently provide excellent experiences to their guests.

It’s free to become a Premier Host, and your property will rank higher on Vrbo as a result. Guests can filter to only view Premier Hosts, and as an added benefit, you will have access to priority support.

You must meet these criteria to qualify:

  • Average review rating of at least 4.3 out of 5
  • Acceptance rate of 90% or above
  • Owner-initiated cancellation rate of 5% or lower
  • 3 or more Vrbo reviews
  • At least 5 bookings or 60 booked nights

Your status is reviewed every quarter, and you can monitor your scorecard from your Vrbo dashboard under the ‘Performance’ tab.

How to use Vrbo Boost to rank higher on Vrbo

As a Premier Host, you can take advantage of the Boost program. This lets you collect power-ups that help your properties rank higher on Vrbo.

Every time you receive a booking, and after guests complete their stay, you’ll earn a power-up. You can use these to push your listings to rank higher on Vrbo during a certain period of time.

Power-ups are valid until the end of the month, one year on from when they’re earned, so make sure to use them up in time.

To use a power-up, select the property you want to boost, and click on ‘Choose dates to boost’ on the right side of your dashboard. Select the dates you want to boost – you might want to choose a low-season or vacant period in your calendar.

Now, when people search for bookings during the time you’ve selected, your listing will receive a rankings boost.

Are you looking to save time on managing your Vrbo listings? Find out how the Rentals United Vrbo channel manager can help you sync your rates and availability in real-time.

Are you ready to build a tech-based distribution strategy? Discover how our enterprise-level Channel Manager can get you more bookings.