Craigslist is an advertising opportunity that vacation rental owners seem to love or hate — and sometimes both. But there’s no denying it can generate inquiries.

Let’s start with positives

  1. It’s massive. In fact, it’s the eighth most visited website in the U.S.; One in every five Americans uses Craigslist each month.
  2. It’s free. That’s the main reason I encourage homeowners and managers to at least give it a try — there’s little to lose and, potentially, a lot to gain.
On the other hand, there are some negatives:
  1. You need to do a little work. You need to set up your own quality posting. Craigslist isn’t like HomeAway where all listings look the same: you start with a blank page and it’s up to you to design it. At MyVR, we created a tool to help generate the HTML for a great-looking post right from your existing website information. To make sure renters find it, you can renew your post as often as every 48 hours to bring it to the top of the list. You can also use our tools to remind you to renew your post, or to let you know when it has expired and a new ad should be posted.
  2. It’s a place that attracts spammers and fraudsters. This is a serious concern, but you’re likely to encounter these individuals across the vacation rental industry regardless of any one specific site. It’s important to be cautious with inquiries from overseas and be on the lookout for people asking you to wire money or use Western Union.

In short: Give it a chance

In the end, how well Craigslist works for your rental will depend on your property and the location. But I suggest giving it a try at least for a few weeks because:

  1. It’s a huge audience
  2. It’s free
  3. And, MyVR has created a tool help you make it easy.

A couple of tips

Craigslist is very concerned about people using their marketplace with bad intentions and may flag some posts for removal. To avoid having your post mistakenly identified as malicious, post your property only once and in the appropriate region.

Making things trickier, Craigslist will send you a confirmation that your post has been activated, even if it has been flagged as suspicious and is not publicly viewable. It’s best to do what you can to avoid that situation.

When managing inquiries from your Craigslist post, be on the lookout for spam and fraud red flags. Whereas spam is a nuisance, fraud can truly hurt you.

You may also experience phishing attempts, where someone tries to gain access to your password-protected accounts. So read up on phishing and be wary of inquiries that contain links or ask for personal information.