Best Short Term Rental Platforms: Top 6 Options

Jun 25, 2024, written by Dennis Shirshikov

So you’ve invested in a rental property and it’s now ready to be rented out. Now what? Making it into a short-term rental can increase your revenue greatly. And whether you're turning this into a side hustle or a full-time business, choosing the right platform to list your rental in is crucial. 

But with over 200 booking platforms out there, we understand you're probably feeling overwhelmed. Which platform can truly deliver the bookings and visibility your property deserves? In this article, we’ll show you the top short-term rental platforms that can help you increase your reach to maximize your property’s earnings.

Here’s where to list your property:

How We Selected the Best Short-Term Rental Platforms 

So many different booking platforms means a more difficult selection process for new hosts. While there’s nothing stopping you from listing your property on multiple platforms—as long as you have a good channel manager—you also don’t want to spread yourself too thin or waste time on platforms that won’t deliver.

We’ve narrowed down the platforms you should list on with this criteria:

Through these factors, we determined the best short-term rental platform to be Airbnb. Its global reach, user-friendly interface, and extensive support make it easy for hosts to start, and succeed, in this industry.

1. Airbnb: Best Overall Platform

Airbnb is practically synonymous with short-term rentals. In fact, it’s what made this business so popular in the first place.

It should come as no surprise then that the platform is leagues ahead of everything else when it comes to renting out your home: the listing process is very straightforward, and they have a wonderful support team that can help new hosts get started.

Airbnb tries their best to make hosting accessible to beginners. Starting out on Airbnb won’t cost anything upfront, but there are various payment schemes hosts can choose from; most hosts opt to pay a 3% service fee that gets automatically deducted from each booking.

The other fees, like a service fee—which is typically around 14%—a cleaning fee, local taxes, and other fees hosts want to charge, are levied onto guests. While this might turn off a portion of the market, it results in a larger take-home portion for you.

Airbnb also has a great review system which hosts can benefit greatly from. Keep up a good rating of at least 4.8 over 365+ days—along with some other considerations—and you could be awarded with a “Superhost” status. This will bring you, and your listings, more exposure.

Unfortunately, all these great hosting perks means that Airbnb has a lot of competition. As a new host, it will be difficult to find success on Airbnb, especially if you’re marketing in an extremely saturated area like New York City or other tourist hot spots.

But, if you think you have what it takes to set your property apart, then try out Airbnb. Its payment scheme and extremely broad reach means that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

2. Vrbo: Best for Whole Home Rentals

If you prefer renting out entire homes or large properties, Vrbo is your go-to platform. Vrbo stands out because it focuses solely on vacation rentals that are separate units (this is actually included in their terms of service), and it’s designed specifically for hosts who want to attract groups looking for more space and privacy during their vacations.

Signing up with Vrbo involves one of two payment schemes: a pay-per-booking scheme, which is a steep 8% (5% service fee and a 3% credit card processing fee), or a one-time annual subscription fee of $499 charged upfront.

These fees might seem daunting, especially for hosts just starting out. However, Vrbo’s commitment to whole home rentals means you’ll have a higher chance to attract guests looking for longer stays, which can help maximize your overall income.

The support team at Vrbo is top-notch—they’re known for being responsive and helpful, which is important when managing multiple bookings. Keep in mind though, Vrbo’s reach may not be as extensive as some other platforms, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons based on your specific needs.

3. Booking.com: Best for Urban Properties

For hosts with properties in bustling cities, Booking.com is the platform of choice. Booking.com excels in connecting with travelers who want to experience city life, whether they’re there for business or sightseeing.

Booking.com’s reach is impressive, with hundreds of millions of verified guests from around the world. According to some sites, Booking.com gets over 100 million unique visitors per month!

Getting started on Booking.com is free—you only pay a commission fee for each booking. This fee varies depending on factors like add-ons, and is anywhere from 10%–25%. 

Yes, that fee is extremely steep. But Booking.com’s strong web presence means your listing stands out among travelers, especially those specifically searching for city stays.

One of the best things about Booking.com is their Genius program, which rewards hosts who participate with more exposure. There are certain criteria you have to hit before being eligible to participate, but these criteria are much less stringent than Airbnb’s Superhost program.

Aspiring hosts should also be aware of Booking.com’s cancellation policies, which can prioritize guests—especially during busy seasons. Still, Booking.com remains a top choice for hosts wanting to maximize their urban property’s exposure.

4. Expedia: Best for Guest Satisfaction

Guests love flexibility when it comes to booking arrangements, which is why they flock to Expedia. This is great news for hosts on the platform because it means more bookings and happier guests overall.

Aside from its massive reach, these flexible arrangements also work out in your favor. Whether you're offering last-minute deals, discounts on longer stays, or tweaking your prices based on demand, Expedia's platform is designed to help you fill your calendar.

Flexible cancellation policies are a big plus, too. They can really save the day when guests cancel at the last minute, and Expedia says these policies lead to more bookings overall.

Listing your place on Expedia is free, and they take a commission of 10%–30% on each booking. Yes, the commission can be a bit steep, but remember, you're not paying for cancellations, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Expedia is designed to help hosts adapt to the market. On the platform, you can easily attract all sorts of guests, from business travelers needing a short stay to families planning longer vacations. The flexibility it offers not only keeps your property competitive but also helps you stay fully booked.

5. Agoda: Best for Attracting International Guests

If you're aiming to reach guests from all over the world, but especially travelers from Asia, Agoda is a fantastic choice.

It's the most popular online travel agency in many Asian countries and specializes at connecting hosts with international travelers, which is perfect if your property is in a tourist hotspot or a unique destination.

Getting your property listed on Agoda is free, but they do charge a commission fee of 15% to 25% per booking. This fee depends on things like your property's location and any extra taxes you might need to pay.

The good news is that Agoda's localized approach and multilingual support make your listing attractive to a range of international guests. Agoda's support team is also top-notch both in their knowledge and in their responsiveness.

While Agoda's presence in the West might not be as strong as platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com, it still offers unique opportunities to showcase your property to a more global audience.

6. TripAdvisor: Best for Getting Detailed Reviews

You know how important guest feedback is for a host’s success. That’s why TripAdvisor is a great choice for hosts who want to build a strong reputation through detailed reviews. Travelers tend to trust TripAdvisor’s review system, which can help attract new guests to your property.

Listing your property on TripAdvisor is free, and they have no commission fees, but they do charge a 3% processing fee for payments made through their site.

Aside from their unique payment structure, this review-focused platform gives hosts invaluable feedback from guests, which can help you continually improve.

Having such a system means that you’ll have to spend time managing reviews on TripAdvisor, and staying engaged and responsive can directly affect your property’s reputation and booking potential. But when you get positive reviews, it can really increase your property’s visibility and credibility. For hosts who are confident in this approach, TripAdvisor is a great tool.

Bottom Line

Whether you're a seasoned host or just starting out, there's a platform out there tailored to your needs. From experience, Airbnb is the most solid choice with its massive reach and user-friendly interface—that’s why it’s a go-to for many hosts. However, diversifying by listing on multiple platforms can maximize your property's visibility and booking potential. Each site has its unique strengths, so leverage them all to ensure you're reaching every corner of the market!

This article was written by
Dennis Shirshikov

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