What’s in a Listing Site?

guarantee This seems to be the time of year when every day sees another email proclaiming the best listing site….ever….more features, more photos, reaching more renters, more bookings etc, etc, etc. What a load of guff. When I wrote the first edition of Renting For Profit in 2003, I included a couple of examples of listing site marketing hype and looking at those now, compared to what I saw last this week, the only difference is the price. And of course, nowadays we are more likely to be bothered by intrusive and pushy sales guys on the phone as well as the annoying emails. That is absolutely guaranteed to turn me off listing on a site.

What really winds me up is the premise that just putting up a listing site is going to bring you so many enquiries that will turn to solid bookings. Do they think we are so gullible we’ll part with a couple of hundred dollars to advertise on a site that has no credibility, offers little value, and can’t back up its claims with solid results.

No amount of claims that a site will deliver bookings will convince me to part with money, unless I can be confident they know what they are talking about. Cheap guarantees don’t cut it either – one site offers to refund a whole year if the owner doesn’t get at least ONE inquiry! Give me a break – any barely savvy owner will know the ratio of enquiries to bookings makes this an entirely valueless promise.

Most vacation rental owners do research on sites before jumping in to purchasing a listing. They go to forums and listen to other owners; they use Google to check on who is ranking highly for search terms, and they want to read genuine testimonials from satisfied customers who have got solid returns from their investment. They will also go to sites as a renter would and see how easy it is to find a property from a guest perspective.

The leading sites value their owners by offering them far more than unsubstantiated promises of bookings; they help them to create better listings; provide access to resources for managing their rentals, and support community forums. Sites such as Holiday Lettings in UK appeal to renters by delivering a good looking and easy-to-navigate site with a bunch of travel resources thrown in to keep surfers hanging around. They also deliver a resource- packed Owner Advice section.

How do you choose where to list? Do you actively track response from each site so you know which performs best? I’d love to hear what works for you and what doesn’t.

Image by Vectorportal on Flickr

Carmelo Fruciano

Apart from a very selected few well-known sites, I am very suspicious of the others’ claims.
When I am phoned by these guys, I usually ask them for a free trial. I won’t spend any money before actually having tested an obscure service.
After I have tried a site, my decision to list with them is based only on bookings. Inquiries alone don’t mean anything to me (and they can easily be fake or from scammers).
I have, however, to add that “resource-packed Owners sections”, good-looking sites and all the rest, while they might be useful to beginners, don’t mean much to me either. If a website doesn’t work for me there’s no reason to list, no matter how good-looking, usable and resource-packed it is!

Comments are closed