Comparing Visitor Traffic on Vacation Rentals Sites «

Comparing Visitor Traffic on Vacation Rentals Sites


1. Introduction

There are literally hundreds of vacation rental sites that you can use to advertise your vacation rental property, varying from large, well established sites, to smaller sites that focus on a particular geography or niche market. However, with so many sites to choose from, which vacation rental web sites will bring enquiries and bookings for your particular vacation rental property?

Compare Owner Holiday Rentals (http://www.compareownerholidayrentals.com) recently developed a method for comparing the visitor traffic to different vacation rental web sites.

Although there are lots of other factors that will influence the number of enquiries and bookings your vacation rental listing generates, attracting large numbers of visitors to the site is absolutely key. If the vacation rental web site on which you are listed does not attract visitors in sufficient numbers, then no matter how good a job you have done creating your vacation rental listing, this will not translate into bookings. Hence, comparing the level of visitor traffic on vacation rental web sites is a good first step in assessing their relative attractiveness.

2. Measuring Visitor Traffic to Vacation Rental Web Sites

It seems logical that the larger sites should attract the most traffic, but it would be nice to have some objective way to compare the number of visitors to the various vacation rental web sites.

Measuring visitor traffic on the internet is an approximate science at best, but there are a number of ways getting an indication of the number of visitors to a particular vacation rental web site:

a. Published Statistics from the Vacation Rental Web Site: Most sites don’t publish statistics on the number of visitors. Understandably, sites are careful about protecting this information as it may be considered sensitive. An exception is VRBO, which claims “over 20 million visitors annually”. However, even if we did have information from all the vacation rentals web sites, it would be hard to ensure that each site was measuring in exactly the same way ( for example, do you only count unique visitors or do you count the same visitor who returns more than once ? do you include visits by search engine “spiders” or not ? ). Hence, statistics published by the vacation rental web sites are not a very reliable way to compare visitor traffic to their sites.

b. Alexa Rankings: Many people are familiar with Alexa, which is part of Amazon.com. Alexa publish traffic rankings for all web sites, and ranks sites from the highest traffic ranking ( ranked number 1 ) downwards to lower traffic sites that rank in the millions. Alexa’s rankings are based upon a statistical sample of internet users: specifically, they are based on users of the Alexa tool bar. Although there are some important “health warnings” with the use of the Alexa traffic rankings (see Alexa’s website for details) , they are widely regarded as being reasonably reliable, particularly for sites with a traffic ranking of less than 100,000. (Note : if a Vacation Rental web site has an Alexa rating above 200,000, unless it is a site that is focused on a particular niche and has only a small number of listings, it is unlikely that it will generate a lot of visitors to your vacation rental listing.)

Recent Alexa rankings for some of the leading US vacation rental web sites are given below. However, it’s still hard to know how these rankings translate into visitors per month.

Rank Using Alexa Ranking

1. VRBO 3093

2. Greatrentals 6359

3. Cyberrentals 6643

4. Vacationrentals 9457

5. A1Vacations 9858

6. VacationHomes 26915

7. VacationRentals411 28937

8. Findvacationrentals 33021

9. Perfectplaces 38340

10. VacationHomeRentals 42825

c.Traffic Estimate.com: Another site, Trafficestimate, turns these traffic rankings into specific estimates of visitor numbers. It provides an estimate of the number of visitors in the last 30 days to a given web site. Although it does not publish details on the methodology used, it appears to be based upon using a sample of web traffic to make estimates for each site. You can see from the table below that Traffic Estimate’s results seem to correlate pretty closely with Alexa. For the same US vacation rental web sites, traffic varies from almost 1.3 million on VRBO, to 201,000 on VacationHomeRentals for the selected 30 days period. Of course, we would expect more traffic on the bigger sites, but how does this translate into visitors per vacation rental listing?

Rank Using Traffic Estimate Visitors/month

1. VRBO 1,284,000

2. Greatrentals 811,000

3. Cyberrentals 732,000

4. A1Vacations 648,000

5. Vacationrentals 533,000

6. VacationRentals411 256,000

7. VacationHomes 240,000

8. Findvacationrentals 225,000

9. Perfectplaces 225,000

10. VacationHomeRentals 201,000

3. Traffic Per Vacation Rental Property Listing

We can use the estimate of the visitor traffic for a vacation rental web site from Traffic Estimator, together with the number of properties listed on each site, to generate the average number of visitors per listing for each site. Of course, not every property on a particular vacation rental web site will receive the same number of visitors ( we will come back to this point later), but this at least gives a means to compare vacation rental web sites on a more normalized basis. As you can see below, this significantly changes the ranking order of the vacation rental web sites we are comparing. For example, by this measure, a listing on a1vacations should receive on average 116 visitors per month, compared with only 27 visitors per month on either VRBO or VacationRentals.

Rank Using Average Visitors per Listing

1. A1Vacations 116

2. Findvacationrentals 113

3. Greatrentals 81

4. VacationHomeRentals 80

5. Perfectplaces 56

6. Cyberrentals 52

7. VacationHomes 40

8. Vacation Rentals 411 28

9. VRBO 27

10. Vacationrentals 27

Of course, there are a large number of factors that influence whether visitors to a particular vacation rental web site will view YOUR vacation rental, then make an enquiry and finally confirm a booking. These include factors that the vacation rental web site controls, (such as the type of visitors it attracts and how easy it is to generate multiple enquiries without a lot of re-keying), factors that you the vacation rental owner control (such as the pricing and attractiveness of your listing), and some shared factors (such as the number of similar “competing” properties and their placing in the vacation rental site searches). However, all else being equal, vacation rental web sites with higher average visitors per listing are likely to generate more enquiries than those with lower average visitor numbers. This is certainly a factor you should consider when evaluating a particular vacation rental web site.

4. Conclusions

There are many factors which influence the number of bookings that a vacation rental owner will get from a particular vacation rental web site. However, making an assessment of the average number of visitors per listing on a particular vacation rental web site, using the techniques outlined in this article, will give an indication of the level of traffic you can expect from that site. When combined with other information, this can help you determine whether you should pay for a listing on that site.

 

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