If the difficult year behind us has taught us anything, it’s that having multiple different sources of bookings is key.
Property managers need to diversify their vacation rental marketing mix and become less dependent on large OTAs. And the best way to do that is by getting listed on niche vacation rental websites.
Niche websites can help you generate more bookings, boost your occupancy and even increase your revenue per booking. They’re an essential part of a balanced vacation rental distribution strategy next to large OTAs and your own direct booking website.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about niche channels: what they are, why they’re important, how to choose the perfect ones for you and how to get listed on them.
And, we’ll bring you the top 40+ niche vacation rental websites we’ve got on our radar, so you can find the ones that best fit your business!
A niche vacation rental listing site addresses a specific traveller need and appeals to a particular type of traveller. We have identified three different categories of niche vacation rental websites:
These listing sites specialise in a certain destination/geographic area. Or, they focus on attracting travellers from specific nationalities.
These listing sites select and organise rentals based on their expertise and their own criteria. Here are some examples of curated lists:
These websites address specific travel trends and target traveller segments by asking the question: “Why do people travel?”
Read more about niche websites that address travel trends:
When it comes to distribution, your target for 2021 should be diversification. Everyone gets listed on the big global sites. Of course, it’s essential to be present on the most popular OTAs – they get the most traffic – but it’s becoming more and more challenging to stand out from the crowd.
Besides the immense competition, relying solely on the big players is risky for a couple of reasons. It makes you prone to algorithm changes and even potential OTA bankruptcy.
Sliding down the search results page of your main channel could cost you a lot of bookings and a dip in your occupancy rate. And let’s not even get into what happens in case your favourite OTA goes out of business!
When vying for the attention of global travellers, visibility is everything. Currently, the best way to increase your exposure – once you’ve optimised your listings on the big OTAs – is to get listed on a variety of niche vacation rental websites. This way, you’re giving yourself a chance to appear in front of travellers who either don’t use the big booking sites or are looking for a very specific kind of accommodation.
Maybe you haven’t been able to reach German travellers before. Or, travellers with specific needs such as accessible accommodation haven’t been able to find your property because it got lost among all the other listings on the big OTAs. Niche channels give you the opportunity to attract guests who most likely wouldn’t find your listings on the big websites, increasing your bookings and occupancy.
What’s more, travellers tend to spend more on properties that address their specific needs, resulting in a higher revenue per booking for you.
Listing your properties on niche vacation rental websites not only exposes you to new travellers, but it also helps you build your brand. You can be perceived as an expert in a specific niche, and advertise directly to travellers within that niche.
Several curated listing sites have rigorous vetting processes. Some ask owners and managers over a hundred questions to make sure that their properties align with the listing site’s requirements. Others do in-person visits and thoroughly inspect properties to select only the best. Travellers who book on these platforms know that every property has been vetted and is up to the listing site’s standards, which creates a sense of trust towards the properties listed there.
If you don’t want to miss out on such targeted traffic, you should start including niche sites in your distribution strategy.
With so many global and niche sites out there, the opportunities for widening your reach are endless. At the same time, it’s all very overwhelming. How do you pick the best sites to advertise on?
You can’t possibly get listed everywhere – and, if you’ve read our Secret Sauce ebook, you’ll know that the world’s most successful property managers caution against spreading yourself too thin. They swear by using distribution channels in a selective way, focusing only on the ones that work best for your business.
Even if you had the time to research every single listing site out there, it would still be impossible to get listed on all of them and update your ads manually. This is why technology is such a huge enabler for property managers. By using software solutions that were built specifically for the demands of the vacation rental industry, you can accelerate your business growth like never before.
Diversifying your distribution is a key to growth in 2021. And if you want to get listed on a variety of booking sites, from global to niche, you’re going to need a robust Channel Manager that lets you efficiently distribute and automatically update your listings. As a response to the growing demand for alternatives to big OTAs, Channel Management providers like Rentals United are working hard on adding more and more niche vacation rental websites to their available connections.
These are ten of the top 40+ niche vacation rental websites that we’ve highlighted for you.
Category: Top local
NewYorkRBO – or New York Rental by Owner – is a vacation rental listing site for the state of New York. It doesn’t charge any commission fees and allows free communication between property managers and guests. From the Adirondack Mountains to Long Island and the Finger Lakes, NewYorkRBO has some of the best vacation rental properties in the Tri-state area.
Category: Top local
Adore Scotland offers a fine selection of self-catering vacation rentals and exclusive venues in Scotland. Its top destinations include Lothian, Central Scotland and the Highlands. Travellers looking to escape the ordinary will find handpicked townhouses, cottages, apartments, castle rooms and other stylish luxury rentals in Scotland’s most beautiful regions.
Category: Top local
Britain’s Finest promotes the best accommodations, places to visit, wedding venues and restaurants in the UK. The site attracts over 4 million customers per year, many with high-end budgets. Its handpicked selection of self-catering apartments, farmhouses, cottages, lodges, B&Bs and pubs with rooms will wow anyone who’s looking for a cosy weekend break.
Category: Curated list (pet-friendly rentals)
PetsPyjamas is a leading booking site for dog-friendly travellers in England, Scotland, Wales and beyond. Its audience of highly-engaged dog owners are keen to travel with their pets in the low season when the beaches are open and the countryside is less busy. This creates a year-round opportunity for property managers listing on PetsPyjamas.
Category: Curated list (quirky places)
Sawday’s is a niche vacation rental website for people who love special places. Its team has spent over 25 years finding, visiting and choosing brilliant accommodations. With over 3,500 inspected places, Sawday’s has an extensive collection of rentals in Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Every booking goes to the owners or property managers, saving them up to 20% in commissions.
Category: Curated list (kid-friendly rentals)
Kid & Coe makes travelling with children as easy as A,B,C. The niche vacation rental website offers over 1,000 handpicked kid-friendly properties in 50 locations around the world. The company works with carefully-chosen partners who provide family-focused services, such as baby equipment rental and itineraries to help families make the best of their stay.
Category: Travel trends (sports tourism)
Skiyodl is a collective of ski industry professionals driven to create a customer-centric booking experience with skiing at its core. The knowledge and expertise the team has amassed during decades of mountain living allows them to pick the best stays and provide local know-how. Travellers can find unique holiday moments and authentic experiences in France and Switzerland, while property managers get access to a niche audience that books high-value trips.
Category: Travel trends (digital nomads)
My City Pod provides short-term rental apartments and houses in the UK for individuals and families who are looking for temporary accommodation. The platform’s minimum stay is 14 nights, allowing guests who are moving house or relocating for work or school to find a temporary home. My City Pod’s technology allows them to verify homes that guests love, located in ideal spots, and offer them at a good value. Property managers listing on My City Pod can reach an audience of contractors, interns, business travellers, relocating families and other guests looking to book extended stays.
Category: Travel trends (digital nomads)
Rentir offers a tailored experience for commercial and residential renting. As a registered long-term rental agent, Rentir is able to provide properties that are regulation-proof and accessible for digital nomads. The company offers price comparisons for property managers so they can choose which route they prefer: long-term or short-term bookings. Some of the countries Rentir is present in include England, Scotland, Italy and Portugal.
Category: Travel trends (wellness travel)
Retreatmi is an innovative platform bringing together wellness experiences with vacation rental properties so travellers can curate their own wellness or active getaway. Offering affordable wellness retreats and packages, Retreatmi guarantees the best price for healthy travel adventures. The vacation rental website’s most popular destinations include Bali, Thailand and the UAE.
You can find the remaining niche websites, as well as lots of exciting details about them in our new ebook, The Who’s Who of Short-Term Rental Listing Sites.