You own a second home, and now you've chosen to advertise and rent it. The next question you'll likely be asking yourself is: Where is the best place to advertise my home so that I achieve maximum rental revenue?
The good news, but also the bad news, is that there are a lot of different options to choose from. There are small local websites, large websites dedicated solely to listing properties for rent, and yet other websites that are general classified sites but also have sections where you can advertise your vacation rental.
On top of these self-service options, there are also a host of travel agencies that will advertise your vacation rental on their network, taking a commission from each successful booking.
While there's generally no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding which combination of options is best for your situation, there are some things you should keep in mind that will help you make the best decision.
First, be weary of websites or travel agents that make too many promises. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it generally is. For example, stay away from websites that call you up and explain that they have exclusive rights to advertise vacation rentals to a particular segment of the population. Military veterans and retirees are two examples of groups that are often targeted. Such websites or agents generally have the same rights to advertise to a particular group as anyone else, thereby not giving them any real advantage.
Second, be careful with websites that require large upfront payments, particularly if they are the ones calling you to pitch their business. The websites that require annual payments and are worthwhile to advertise on are well-known. They have been around for at least 5 years, they have an established web presence, and they do not need to call you to pitch their business.
Third, stay away from free sites. Free sites, with the exception of large classified sites such as Craigslist, are rarely worth the trouble. They are free for a reason. The rare on advertising dollars to sustain themselves, thereby limiting the amount of cash they bring in, and lowering the amount that can be spent on promoting the rentals in their inventory.
Lastly, do not overlook local sites. While large advertizing sites such as Craigslist or TripAdvisor are good bets, there is also a host of hyper local sites, specific to the destination where your rental is located, that can help tremendously in bringing you more income. Why? Because these sites often often rank higher in Google and other search engines above the larger sites.
A good example of this phenomenon is the Cozumel, Mexico vacation rentals market. If you do a search on Google or another search engine for Cozumel vacation rentals, the first couple of sites you see are not large websites, but local websites that have built up a good web presence by providing relevant local content.
In the end, experimentation will be key. Not every travel market is the same, and not every rental will bring in the same revenues by employing the same strategy. In order to achieve the sales you're looking for, you'll need to figure out which combination of advertising options works best for you.