What is the VRBO Fast Start program, and what can it do for you?
Vrbo launched the Vrbo Fast Start program to entice vacation rental hosts to list properties on their platform. Vrbo is a staple in the short-term rental industry and offers 2 million accommodations across 190 countries.
This post explains the Fast Start program and how it will help you as a host. Additionally, we’ll cover why integrating the Fast Start program into your multi-channel distribution strategy is important to growing your business.
Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today!
What is the Vrbo Fast Start program?
Vrbo is a platform built to connect hosts with guests. Unlike Airbnb, the platform only allows hosts to list entire properties rather than private rooms or shared spaces. According to Similwarweb.com, Vrbo had almost 35 million visitors to their site in October 2021. If you are one of the 83% of Airbnb users who don’t list on any other channels, it’s time to get eyes on your property from Vrbo!
The Fast Start program was created to make the transition of adding your listing to Vrbo smoother. Fast Start eliminates what is referred to as a “cold start”. A cold start is when you list your home on a platform for the first time with no guest reviews or ratings. As a result, your SEO rank plummets, and it takes a long time for your property to be profitable. This fast start program makes it easy to take a listing you have on another platform and get it up and running on Vrbo without that “cold start.”
First, let’s see if your property is eligible for this program:
Does your property score an average of 4.5 stars or above on Airbnb (or the equivalent on another platform)?
Does your property earn at least $3,000 annually from hosting?
If you’ve answered yes to both of these questions, keep reading and see how the Fast Start program will benefit you. If you haven’t quite reached those benchmarks yet, read up on some tips to becoming a superhost here.
How can the Vrbo Fast Start program help you?
Studies conducted by Vrbo have shown great benefits for new listings via their Fast Start program. Some highlights include:
A 25% increase in bookings
A 50% increase in booked nights
A 40% increase in gross booking value
Vrbo Fast Start has implemented strategies to lower the cost barrier of listing on a new platform and get your property up-to-speed quickly.
Let’s take a look at what techniques Vrbo has implemented:
New to Vrbo badge: For 90 days a Fast Start listing will have a badge highlighting that they are a new listing. This is both an attractive marketing technique, and a way to explain to guests why you might not have as many Vrbo reviews yet.
Review score: If your home was previously listed on another platform like Airbnb or Booking.com, Vrbo will feature a review score established from the previous platform. Guest reviews are the lifeblood of keeping a booked calendar. The imported review score is an extremely valuable feature of Fast Start.
Upranking: Upranking is the term used when a search platform like Vrbo or Airbnb gives your property a boost in the search engine algorithm. For a limited time, Fast Start will prioritize your new listing in relevant search results.
Kickstarter call: Vrbo is investing in grassroots hosts. Most of Airbnb’s hosts are individuals or families rather than a management company. Vrbo wants to bring those hosts over to their platform, and provide them with additional assistance. When you register for Fast Start, a Vrbo staff member will schedule a call with you to discuss your property and help you fill out your listing.
These techniques will help increase your bookings and ultimately up your income when you add a listing to Vrbo. This is a great step towards multi-channel distribution, or listing your property on more than one platform. Let’s take a look at why you should utilize multi-channel distribution and how Host Tools can help.
Why is multi-channel distribution important?
Listing your property on multiple sites, known as multi-channel distribution, will give your property more exposure, target more audience niches, and diversify your source of bookings. Listing your platform across multiple channels reaches more people, and ultimately secures more bookings.
Managing your bookings across multiple platforms may sound daunting, but Host Tools makes it easy! In fact, we’re the easiest channel manager on the market. Host Tools integrates directly with Vrbo, Airbnb, and Booking.com. This means that you can see all your reservations on a unified calendar and all your messages in a unified inbox. Host Tools will automatically block your calendars across channels when you get a new reservation so that you’ll never get a double booking.
Host Tools will also automate guest messaging in the platform they booked on, reviews, cleaner management, smart locks, and more. Host Tools will save you countless hours each week while giving your guests a 5-star experience. Simply add your listings, set up a few rules, and then sit back while Host Tools takes over the day-to-day management of your short-term rentals. Our easy-to-use platform will have you reaping the benefits of Vrbo Fresh Start for years to come.
We recommend adding your listing to Vrbo’s Fast Start program as soon as possible. With this program, you’ll be able to keep a multi-channel distribution strategy while getting an extra boost from Vrbo.
Vrbo will provide you with the following techniques:
A New to Vrbo badge
An imported review score
A boost in SEO
A kickoff call with a Vrbo rep
With these benefits, Fresh Start hosts will see a 25% average increase in bookings, a 50% increase in booked nights, and a 40% increase in the gross booking value. Make managing Vrbo Fast Start and your other listing a piece of cake by starting your free trial with Host Tools today!
Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for Airbnb and Vrbo hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on both channels. Start your free trial today!