Friday, August 12, 2011

Best Vacation Rentals Sites: Yahoo Group Survey Results

I recently conducted a survey on the best vacation rental sites for 2011. The participants of this survey were the yahoo group for vacation rentals and the results are shown below.

Overall, there were 49 respondents, so the sample is quite small. Also, the yahoo group is not necessarily fully representative of all vacation rental owners. For example, they consist primarily of US vacation rentals owners. Also, they are presumably more heavily involved in renting on a personal basis than most vacation rental owners, as evidenced by their active membership of the group.

(I plan to conduct a similar survey among the COHR newsletter subscribers later this year.)

However, the results give an indication of the views of an experienced group of vacation rental owners.

In response to the question, "which of these vacation rental sites gave you the most bookings this year?", the results were:

  1. VRBO 20

  2. Homeaway 7

  3. Flipkey 6

  4. Vacation Home Rentals 3

  5. Vacationrentals 2

  6. Holidaycube 2

  7. Other 9

    Total 49

VRBO is the clear winner among the group, probably not surprising, as VRBO has been an industry leader, particularly in the US, for many years.

(Note: VRBO Special Offer: Sign up for a 12 month listing and get your 13th free with Use code CJQ4 )

Homeaway's position in second place is also not a big surprise. As the largest player in the industry (with many other sites in the portfolio), Homeaway is continuing to build capability.

(Note: $25 OFF 12-month fees at when you enter code G307. )

Flipkey's strong showing is interesting. Flipkey is owned by Tripadvisor and is obviously benefiting from this relationship.

Although smaller than the big players, both and Vacationrentals are strong in the US and have loyal supporters among those who list with them.

(Note: Vacation rentals are running a special $99 promotion during August: click below for more details. )

Save $100 off a new annual membership on Enter code VR100AUG at check out to redeem. Hurry, Offer ends 8/31/2011.

Holidaycube's inclusion is interesting: they were not on the original list of options, but were mentioned in the comments on both paid and free sites (see below).

In response to the question, "Which of the following FREE sites has given you most bookings this year?", the results were as follows:

  1. None 15

  2. Vacationrentals411 6

  3. Adventurepads 5

  4. Holidaycube 4

  5. Craigslist 2

  6. Domegos 2

  7. Other 15

    Total 49

It is interesting that almost one third of the vacation rental owners polled said that they either don't use or don't get any bookings from free vacation rental sites. In some ways, this is not surprising, as many of the free sites are sites that are still trying to establish themselves by building vacation rental listings. Hopefully, as some of these sites get established, they will begin to attract greater renter traffic. On the other hand, is does call into question whether it is worth investing the time to list on free sites.

The leading free site was Vacationrentals411 (which also got one vote in the overall category). VR411 has been established for quite some time and offers free listings as standard, with the ability to pay for premium listings. This perhaps gives it the funding to invest the marketing dollars to attract renters.

Adventurespads also scored highly. Adventurepads is a niche site, focusing on vacation rentals for active travellers.

Holidaycube also received 4 votes , even though it was not on the list of options and hence might be worth checking out.

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