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Whats Is An Online Travel Agency?

An Online Travel Agency (OTA) is a web-based marketplace designed to help travelers research and plan their vacations. Online travel agencies help consumers book flights, hotels, cars, tours, or vacation rental homes directly from the supplier.  

Online travel agencies make reaching potential guests easier than traditional marketing and provide insight into the market and tools to help you get more bookings. These platforms also help to enable secure bookings, manage reviews, and communicate directly with guests. 

Online Travel Agency

Top Online Travel Agencies for Vacation Rentals

The top online travel agencies for vacation rentals include: 

  • Airbnb
  • Vrbo
  • Expedia
  • TripAdvisor
  • HometoGo
  • Tripping

What Is the Best OTA for Vacation Rentals?

The best online travel agency for your vacation rental business depends on the specific features that you’re looking for. For example, if you’re renting out a single property, you might opt for Airbnb because of its lower commission fees. On the other hand, if you have a boutique hotel, could be more suitable for your business.

While all the previously mentioned OTAs are leaders in the industry, each owner should decide for themselves what works best for their property. Ask yourself the following questions: What kind of audience would you like to be exposed to? Which OTA provides the user experience that you are looking for? What resources stand out? By knowing the demographic of each platform and the tools that they provide for both hosts and guests, you’ll be able to make an informed decision. 

What Is the Largest Online Travel Agency?

Airbnb is the largest OTA for vacation rentals with more than 6 million rental properties in 100,000 cities across 191 regions. Its popularity is primarily due to its user-friendly booking interfaces. 

How Do Online Travel Agencies Work for Vacation Rental Owners?

Most online travel agencies allow vacation rental owners to list and advertise their properties for free. Depending on the platform, the OTA may take a commission of 3% to 25% of each sale made on their site. 

Although every OTA varies, most of them will require a simple sign-up process. You’ll then be prompted to describe your property, including the location and size of the home as well as what amenities you offer. After uploading photos and setting your prices, you’ll be ready to accept bookings. 

Depending on the OTA and settings you choose, guests will either make direct reservations or request to make a reservation. 

Travelers find your home by searching for rentals in the location and the dates of their vacation. They can also apply filters like the number of guests they are searching for and property types and amenities offered. 

Guests can contact you directly through the OTA inbox or by phone or text message if the specific OTA allows you to share your contact info. Refer to our online travel agency list above to find the best OTA for your property.