homeaway ranking

In 2016, HomeAway and VRBO shifted from a multi-tiered subscription model to a standard subscription for all homes. This change affected the order in which homes appear in search results.

Instead of being able to pay for higher visibility on these sites, home ranking is set by the Best Match algorithm, which considers traveler preferences as well as what kind of booking experience a listing offers.

By now, you’ve likely been enrolled in the new subscription model—or will be soon—and we’ve got some tips to help you enhance your home’s visibility on HomeAway with these changes.

Why the change?

Under the tiered subscription model, homes weren’t ranked by how likely they were to attract guests. Instead, within each tier (Platinum, Gold, and so forth) results were sorted by an older version of Best Match, which put the properties that guests were most likely to book at the top of the list.

But results were restricted within each tier, which meant a prospective guest could scroll through dozens of lackluster homes before spotting anything they wanted to book. Best Match is designed to give travelers what they want: an easier time finding the kind of vacation rental they’re looking for.

How does Best Match work?

Best Match looks at two main factors to decide where to place listings within search results: traveler preference and booking experience.

Traveler preferences are all the things a potential guest might be looking for in a vacation rental.

  • Location, amenities, and availability of your property
  • Competitive, up-to-the-minute rates
  • Accurate, updated calendar
  • Breathtaking photography
  • Detailed home description
  • Helpful and positive reviews

The booking experience takes into account how easy it is for someone to book your home.

  • Do you allow online booking? (HomeAway’s recent change requires all homes to do so!)
  • How quickly do you respond to inquiries and booking requests?
  • Do you honor all confirmed bookings?

How can I make sure my property is highly ranked by Best Match?

Your home’s ranking is ultimately decided by its conversion rate: the number of people who view your listing who then convert into buyers. A higher conversion rate leads to a higher ranking. And what’s the best way to boost your conversion rate? Simply by making sure your home’s listing is accurate, informative, and easy to book.

How does Vacasa help improve your Best Match ranking?

Vacasa’s comprehensive services go above and beyond every component of the Best Match algorithm so your home is seen by more potential guests on HomeAway and several other booking platforms.

  • We build your listing with a professionally written description and the maximum number of high resolution, HDR photos allowed
  • Our sophisticated rate optimization technology prices your home at the price guests are most likely to book
  • We keep your calendar, location, and amenities up to date and feed this info to VRBO every day
  • All Vacasa homes offer online and instant booking

Is an annual subscription the only way I can work with HomeAway/VRBO?

In addition to the annual subscription model discussed above, HomeAway/VRBO also offers a pay-per-booking option. Instead of an upfront fee, pay-per-booking listings pay a commission of 8% for bookings that come from HomeAway, VRBO, or VacationRentals.com.

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Author: Allison Busse

Allison is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Vacasa in Portland, Oregon. She creates resources for vacation rental homeowners with the help of Vacasa's team of experts. Outside of work Allison loves hiking, biking, cooking, and reading.