Major listing sites such as HomeAway have followed search engine examples and now use algorithms to prioritize vacation rental exposure. This change brought about much debate in the industry and has left many property owners trying to figure out why they continue to see a decrease in bookings and online traffic. However, there are six steps to implement that will help your properties rank higher in the HomeAway best match sort.
What is the HomeAway best match sort?
No matter how long you’ve been in the vacation rental industry, if you don’t understand how search engine optimization works and why it’s important, it’s almost impossible to know how to use it.
HomeAway Best Match is a process that examines travelers’ preferences and booking experiences, and drives ‘the best’ rentals to the top of the search page. The company uses a similar process to search engine optimization algorithms to show users what their top interests and enhance the user experience. Much like Google and Bing, HomeAway wants users to instantly find what they need. Property managers not equipped to integrate this process will fall short and lose bookings and revenue.
HomeAway’s Best Match: 6 Tips to Success
Online Booking Requirement
In order to rank, HomeAway must have online access to your booking information. If your bookings are not going through HomeAway, it’s like they did not happen. This information is used to determine what type of properties travelers are interested in, then drives those travelers to those properties.
HomeAway requires all calendars must be accurate and updated. This provides both HomeAway and potential guests the most accurate information and avoids double-booking. In order to keep calendars updated, managers must monitor them 24/7 or use an automatic-response process that links to the calendar in real-time.
The best-match process suggests managers respond to booking inquiries within 24 hours. Quick-response helps users with timely information and shows the HomeAway system that you are attentive and responding. Ideally, managers and owners should be available 24/7 to send quotes and accept bookings. Managers can also use an automated response system that instantly responds to potential guests.
Properties that have the most and highest reviews will rank best. Online reviews have become a major driver to increasing sales because people trust other experiences and opinions. This means no or negative reviews will show that either a) No one has stayed in the property or b) It was not a positive experience.
In order to compete and rank well, pricing must be inline with other vacation rentals in the area. This ensures those pricing their rentals too high or too low will not receive the same exposure as those with accurate, fair pricing. To simplify the process, consider a dynamic pricing model that automatically adjusts pricing and provides competitive rates.
Listing Content Quality
The best match sort also analyzes professional photography, listing descriptions and pricing. Properties that look the best online and offer competitive rates will rank higher in search. The HomeAway best match sort also studies how many times your properties have been viewed and how often you have been contacted. Pricing should be in line with other area properties and photos should be high resolution and showcase the property and surrounding area.
Download the Report: Read how iTrip Vacations listings perform 25 percent better on HomeAway.