Airbnb rival hopes to revolutionize vacation home rental in Europe


Throughout the summer of 2021, prices have increased across all travel platforms to offset the industry-wide drought we have experienced over the past 18 months. Many companies have taken the opportunity to launch competitive channels or revamp existing models – and Expedia Vrbo is the latest to roll out its new format.

Airbnb has dominated the real estate rental market since its launch in 2008. Easy to use, secure and globally operational, it has set a precedent to follow.

Last year, Expedia increased its investment in Vrbo – with a specific focus on expanding into UK and European markets. Although this branch of the Group has been around for 25 years – making it one of the first of its kind – these more recent changes will make it a more easily accessible platform.

How does Vrbo help both rental property owners and vacationers?

Vrbo has just launched a program designed to help new properties added to the rental market increase their visibility, called Fast Start.

In the first 90 days of being added to the site, newly listed properties are placed at the top and reviews are pulled from other travel sites to rate them. The initiative was launched in the United States earlier this year and has just rolled out globally.

Properties eligible for Fast Start are listings with a 4.5+ rating and those that have earned more than $ 2,300 in the past year – or if the host is a Superhost. These will display a “New to Vrbo” badge for the first 90 days.

The idea is to support those looking to list a property for the first time and to increase the availability of rental accommodation around the world.

What does Vrbo mean?

Vrbo (pronounced ver-boh) does what it says on the tin, because the acronym literally means “vacation rental by owner”.

What can other Vrbo real estate rental websites learn?

Hari Nair, SVP Account Management at Expedia Group, explains, “Fast Start removes the cold start problem that new properties can encounter when joining sites, tapping them directly into the huge demand from travelers that our site offers.

“This helps new hosts and our current hosts with new announcements get quick access to our platform while maintaining their hard-earned review score.”

By giving priority to owners, Vrbo opens up a world of accessibility to holidaymakers and owners alike. As people rush to book their getaway now that international travel is open again, this model guarantees plenty of options.

According to Expedia, Fast Start has had a proven positive impact on properties joining the program, including a 25% increase in bookings.

“Since its inception, our data and information from hosts participating in Fast Start has shown that there are very positive results not only for the hosts but also for our travelers,” said Kevin Locraft, VP Partner Success at Expedia Group.

“For over 25 years, Vrbo’s mission has been to match property owners and managers with families and friends looking for a place to stay and spend time together.”

This is a value that undoubtedly intensified during containment. Locraft adds: “This mission is as strong today as it was when we started, and we truly appreciate all of our hosts who are continuing this journey with us at such a critical time for the travel industry.”

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