To increase vacation rental bookings across your channels, investing in SEO alone isn’t enough. Yes, there are things you can do to optimize your website and attract more guests via Google, but those tactics won’t help you with your Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO rankings.
There are, however, a number of things you can do across channels to make your vacation rental appear higher in each platform’s respective search rankings. We recently shared our best tips about how to improve your Airbnb ranking and here, we’ll do the same—this time focusing on HomeAway and VRBO rankings.
How to improve your HomeAway and VRBO rankings
Before diving into tactics to improve your properties’ rankings, let’s take a look at what goes into HomeAway and VRBO’s ranking algorithm and how they decide which listings to show searchers.
HomeAway Listing Quality Scorecard. The Listing Quality Scorecard gives a current overview of how your listings are doing on HomeAway and what factors can be improved. Before doing anything else, you should establish a baseline sense of how your listings are doing in the eyes of HomeAway right now.
To access your scorecard, log in to your HomeAway Dashboard, and view your HomeAway Listing Quality Scorecard. Your Listing Quality Scorecard provides you with a wealth of valuable information, including:
- Details about the quality of your existing listings
- How your listings are scoring now
- Which parts of your listings could use more attention
VRBO Ranking Metrics Page. Similarly to HomeAway’s scorecard, VRBO offers a Ranking Metrics page that is “designed to take the guesswork out of what it takes to improve the rank of your listing within your market.” VRBO created its Ranking Metrics tool to help property managers understand how to perform better in property searches.
Here, VRBO gives you some great metrics and information, including:
- How your listings compare with those of your competitors
- An idea of your current search position
- VRBO’s estimate of annual rental revenue
- What location search terms travelers are using to find your listings
- What percent of traffic are satisfied with your minimum stay requirements
Before making changes to your listings, evaluate your current standing and VRBO’s tips for what can be refined.
You can view your VRBO Ranking Metrics page by visiting your dashboard. Reviewing both your HomeAway Listing Quality Scorecard and your VRBO Ranking Metrics Page and carefully studying the data should give you plenty of insights to improve your ranking. But in addition to what you find there, we have a few tips for you.
MyVR’s tips for improving your HomeAway and VRBO ranking
Use lots of photos. HomeAway and VRBO allow you to upload dozens of images to your listings, so take advantage by including a variety of high resolution pictures, showing off the best of the interior and exterior of your properties.
Work for reviews. Always focus on providing an excellent guest experience so you can earn and ask for positive reviews from your renters.
Make it easy to book with you. The easier it is for a guest to book with you, the better! Always enable instant booking for your listings, whenever possible. A high rate of declines can hurt your ranking.
Highlight your amenities. Ensure that your property has a complete list of amenities. That means everything - Wifi, BBQ, on-site parking - these types of things may seem basic, but you should list them anyway.
Keep your calendar up-to-date. Your available dates are one of the key ways that HomeAway and VRBO will rank your listing, so you need to keep this accurate. And not to mention, the last thing you want is to double book a night. If you are maximizing your listings’ revenue potential by being on multiple channels, it is essential you use a channel manager in order to keep your calendar up-to-date.
Watch your rates. Make sure that your rates are competitive and posted on all of your listings. Using a dynamic pricing tool is a great way to ensure your rates are fair and competitive - an added bonus if it integrates with your property management software.
Be accurate with your location. Take care to use accurate longitude/latitude information and the exact property address when completing your property listings.
Be as responsive as you can. One of the best things you can do as a host is be extremely responsive to guests and potential renters. This helps create an excellent guest experience, and it also helps your HomeAway and VRBO rankings. Creating custom autoresponders with smart fields will allow you to send personalized responses to guests without being constantly on call.
Study your win/loss posts. If you take the time to review your win/loss cards, you can help to learn what might be influencing someone’s decision to stay at your property versus someone else’s. Studying this information will help you to strengthen your other listings.
In addition to the tips above, writing excellent headlines and descriptions for your properties is another great way to help you get attention across channels. This may or may not directly affect your HomeAway or VRBO ranking; however, it will help you attract more views and clicks, which helps to increase your bookings and maintain your ranking.
Remember, if you’re a MyVR user, you can act on almost all of these tips from your MyVR centralized channel management dashboard.