AUSTIN, TEXAS - Vrbo, an Expedia Group company, announces Fast Start, a new program that increases the visibility of new properties in the first 90 days and displays a review score based on reviews from other travel sites. Vrbo performed well last year and individual property owners who joined Vrbo in 2020 made an average of almost US$6,000 per property or 50 percent more than other travel sites.
Any Superhost or host with a 4.5+ review rating and who has earned more than US$3,000 in the last year is eligible for Fast Start. New properties across all vacation rental segments and brands - from individual owners to multi-property accounts - will display a ‘New to Vrbo’ badge for 90 days and feature its review score based on reviews from other travel sites. During this time, the new property will have an elevated position in sort, and new hosts will receive dedicated, personal support. The program begins with a virtual kick-off call from a Vrbo expert for seamless onboarding and a property does not have to be exclusive to Vrbo. The program launches today in the United States and will roll out globally in the coming months.
“In 2020, new Vrbo homes earned more than new properties on other travel sites. We are seeing great consumer demand on our site, and this presents an opportunity for new hosts wanting to join us. With Fast Start, new hosts join a trusted global vacation rental brand whilst keeping their hard-earned review score, and receive increased visibility, to set them up for early success on our platform.” said Cyril Ranque, President, Travel Partners Group, Expedia Group.
Vrbo piloted the program with 1,600 U.S. based hosts who recently came from other sites and wanted a quick way to ramp up their bookings. The impact of the Fast Start program for each property was positive including:
- 25% increase in bookings;
- 50% increase in booked nights;
- 140% increase in gross booking value.2
Jeff Hurst, President of Vrbo, commented, “Alongside our hosts, Vrbo has set a high benchmark in vacation rentals for over 25 years. We have offered travelers a memorable vacation rental experience while giving our hosts access to a whole-home platform to grow their business. There is no doubt that vacation rentals are leading the travel rebound and 2021 has been our best start to a year in the U.S. We want professional hosts to be able to join us quickly and seamlessly as we continue on this exciting journey.”
In 2020, Vrbo worked with hosts to encourage responsible travel during the pandemic, which is now reaping long term benefits for the vacation rental industry. In March last year, Vrbo encouraged hosts to provide credits to redeem when the traveler felt safe, or was able, to travel again. At the time, almost 95% of Vrbo hosts opted into this program. Vrbo also included a ‘local laws’ functionality where hosts can see local laws relevant to them in each region through Vrbo’s partner portal Discovery Hub. Vrbo also partnered with NoiseAware, a wireless noise monitoring service that notifies hosts and property managers when noise levels reach or exceed an appropriate level.