- Kelly Marohl will begin leasing her Ocean City, Maryland property on Airbnb and Vrbo in 2021.
- She prefers Airbnb. Because more people are booking on Airbnb because of the app.
- Here is her story as told to writer Robin Madell:
This so-called essay is based on a conversation with Kelly Marohl, 33, rents on Airbnb and Vrbo in Ocean City, Maryland. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
In addition to running motherhood and babies website, also manages rental properties in Ocean City, Maryland. Her husband and I purchased a beachfront property in 2020 when her COVID-19 started, with little plans to rent it.
However, we also purchased a new primary home in Severna Park, Maryland. This is just over two hours from the rental property. This is a large-scale renovation project.
After hearing the weekly rent quotes in our neighborhood, it turned out to be too expensive to pass up. Our plan is to use the rental income to pay for the entire major home renovation.
However, right after I posted on Vrbo, I read an article about how best to cross-promote on both platforms, so I quickly set up an Airbnb listing as well.
I want to use Airbnb to manage my annual rental
First of all, I get far more bookings on Airbnb than on Vrbo. We are currently taking 4-6 bookings per month and plan to finish with about 50 total bookings this year. Only five of them are through his Vrbo, and Airbnb remains the top platform for him on the remaining bookings.
I was a user of both platforms before I started managing my own assets. I always considered Vrbo to be the go-to platform for weekly beach rentals. In my opinion, Airbnb was known for quicker and more frequent stays. The short-term rental market sees Airbnb the same way, so I expect to see more bookings on Airbnb year-round.
Overall, I spend most of my time and energy on Airbnb because of this. On average, I spend 5-10 hours a week on the Airbnb platform and about an hour on Vrbo. This time is typically spent answering inquiries via messages, sending arrival instructions for your next stay, and communicating check-out reminders.
For example, when you send a message on Airbnb’s app, you’ll see nice icons at the bottom to quickly reply, send images, schedule messages, and share recommendations with guests. Each user’s photo is displayed at the appropriate size next to the message and has an overall colorful display. There are two basic buttons called “Attach”.
For example, the average weekly cost of staying at our facility is $7,000. Vrbo takes $560 for each of these bookings, while Airbnb charges only $210 for the same bookings. A $350 difference may not sound like a big deal, but it really adds up that he loses 5% of his revenue over the course of a year.
My number one advice for renting out your property on either platform is to invest in professional photography
I see too many listings with dark and unattractive cell phone pictures. If you want to maximize the number of views for your listing, you need to post bright, clear photos of your home to entice people to click on your listing.
Also, you need to start small. Turning your home into a full-fledged rental property may not be your goal, but that’s okay. You can start by gathering enough “side hustle” money to cover car payments, groceries, or a mortgage.
Make money with Airbnb or Vrbo and have a story you’d like to tell? Email us at [email protected]