If you’re running a vacation rental management company, you’re probably familiar with the most popular vacation rental listing sites, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Marriot Homes & Villas. In addition to using these sites as well as different social media platforms and your own company’s website to advertise your properties, there is at least one more way to get the word out about the vacation rentals you manage. More specifically, you can also use metasearch engines for vacation rentals, such as HomeToGo, Holidu, Trivago, and, more recently, Google Vacation Rentals (GVR).
Google Vacation Rentals: What Exactly It Is and Why You Should Use It
In short, GVR was developed by Google and added to Google Travel for the purpose of helping travelers find vacation rental properties based on specific characteristics. It works similarly to Google Flights and Google Hotels, which enable users to search for and compare flights and hotels.
In addition to making available a number of filters that travelers can use to refine search results based on location, property type, price, availability dates, ratings, amenities, and number of rooms, GVR also displays photos, reviews, and a searchable map that facilitates the selection of vacation destinations.
Coming down to why you should use Google’s metasearch solution, the answer is quite simple. To begin with, GVR shows results from a wide range of sources, including OTAs, at no extra cost. This means that, if you currently have your vacation rentals listed with one or more OTAs, they might already show up in Google’s metasearch engine.
However, there is one problem you should be aware of: depending on the OTAs you use, your listings could be removed from GVR. This usually happens when an OTA becomes a GVR partner for a limited time only or stops using the service unexpectedly. Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com are just a few OTAs that opted out of this service shortly after partnering with Google. As soon as the collaboration between these OTAs and Google had ended, the properties advertised on their websites were removed from GVR.
By listing your properties on GVR separately, you can ensure their visibility via this metasearch engine for as long as you’ll use the service. But things get even better when you consider another important aspect: the major OTAs have recently become reticent about using GVR to advertise their listings. This means that many competitor listings that are present on Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, Booking.com, and other platforms may not be visible on Google’s metasearch engine.
Google also displays featured vacation rental properties ahead of organic search results. Since many lodging companies don’t have their own websites that meet all the mandatory requirements to appear in this metasearch engine, your competitors’ listings might rank lower than yours on GVR.
How to List on Google Vacation Rentals
Luckily, getting your properties listed on GVR is a fairly straightforward process. Depending on how many properties your lodging management company oversees, you have two options for listing vacation rentals on this metasearch engine:
If your portfolio contains more than 1,000 vacation rental properties that are eligible for direct integration with Google, you can connect your company’s website to GVR directly. In that case, however, your website must comply with a set of requirements for your listings to show up in this search engine. If your website already meets the requirements, the connection between your website and GVR can take anywhere from several days to a few weeks, depending on how many vacation rentals you have listed. That’s because Google thoroughly verifies each listing. After the verification is complete, your properties will be displayed on GVR. Since the information between your website and Google is synced, any changes you make to your listings will appear instantly in GVR.
If you have fewer properties, you need to work with an approved connectivity provider. You can find an updated list of Google-approved channel managers here. As soon as you start working with an approved vendor, your listings will automatically appear in GVR.
One of the greatest things about GVR is that it redirects travelers to book directly on your website. As your website will get more direct traffic, it may start to rank higher on Google, which could offer you the opportunity to capitalize on more commission-free direct bookings. If you’re worried about having to manage a higher number of direct bookings, don’t be! Our lodging management solution can help you handle multiple areas of your business, including all the reservations, regardless of whether they’re made through an OTA or your own website.
What’s more, Google Travel is about to become a one-stop shop for even more travelers. In fact, GVR currently allows vacation rental management companies to showcase the properties they manage to approximately 1.5 billion users worldwide. Since this solution promises to gain even more exposure over time, listing your properties on it can increase your chance of having them booked more often throughout the year, including during the slow season. Needless to say, all these might translate into more revenue and profit for your company and the property owners you represent.