If there’s one market that is booming right now, it’s definitely that of vacation rentals. With so many condos and homes available when they are unoccupied, there’s also an increase in the number of websites used to advertise them. One of these websites is FlipKey.
FlipKey has been around for quite a while. It’s part of the TripAdvisor family and is a great option if you’re looking to list or rent a vacation property. Read on to learn about using FlipKey and how to determine if it’s the right service for you.
What Is Flipkey?
FlipKey has over 300,000 properties advertised on its site from across the world. The site boasts an average of over 2.5 million visitors each and every month, which makes it a powerful vacation rental tool for both property owners and renters.
You can find a lot of FlipKey user success stories online, with property owners earning an average of $26,000 per year. Top earners report to make up to $90,000 in rental income per year listing their properties.
Not a bad cut when you consider the fact that listing your property on FlipKey is free.
Perks for Property Owners
FlipKey.com has a lot to offer property owners who want to list their properties on the site. These range from brand promotion to simple features like multiple photograph uploads. Here’s what you’ll find:
The Standard Features
Across most vacation rental websites, you’ll find a standard list of features. FlipKey offers:
- 24 photographs
- A checklist of amenities both inside the property and out
FlipKey puts a lot of emphasis on the description of the property. They want you to write it with a target audience in mind and provide information to the potential renter that helps to give them further insights into the property.
The process of listing your property is very easy. In fact, FlipKey offers helpful hints at each step to make completing your listing even easier. Here’s a great description of a Cape Cod rental description:
FlipKey differentiates itself from other vacation property rental websites with its fees – there are none. At least, not up front. You don’t have to sign a fixed yearly contract either.
You only pay a commission per booking, which makes them a very affordable website too. FlipKey’s fee structure looks like this:
- Owners: Free to list with a three percent fee per booking
- Guests: Up to 16 percent fee per booking
There’s no subscription fee, but owners may see a three percent credit card fee tacked on.
TripAdvisor: Added Visibility
The fact that TripAdvisor, one of the largest travel sites out there, owns FlipKey means that listing with them comes with some awesome perks. The biggest is the enhanced exposure your property gets with TripAdvisor.
When you list your property with FlipKey, it’s also listed on TripAdvisor. And although the way they advertise and/or publish your listing can vary from site to site, it’s still a great way to increase the visibility of your property and get more bookings.
In fact, TripAdvisor has 145 million monthly views. That’s a lot of exposure! As a result, you’ll have access to their amazing platform. You’ll notice in our screengrab below that “vacation rentals” is positioned in a highly-visible spot on the starting page.
How to List Your Property
To list your property with FlipKey, you need a new account. You can list to list up to five properties – if you have more than that, then you qualify as a property manager and are entitled to a few extras (we’ll cover that next), but the listing process is much the same.
Once you register a new account and it is verified by FlipKey, then you can log in to your account and follow a few simple steps to get your property listed:
Step 1: Add Your Location
People can’t find your property to rent if they don’t know where you are! You must enter your address and city, then FlipKey’s system will ask you to verify the location of your rental on a map.
Step 2: Add Details About Your Property
In this section, you’ll specify some of the key information about your property such as:
- A title for your listing
- The type of property it is (apartment, house, villa, cabin, castle, etc.)
- The number of bedrooms
- The maximum occupancy
- The number of bathrooms
- Your state tax ID or tourist license number (if applicable)
You can also enter the amenities your property has to offer under the “Facilities and Features” section.
Step 3: Identify Rates, Fees, and Taxes
You’ll need to specify a few things in this section such as:
- Your preferred currency out of USD, CAD, AUD, GBP, or EUR
- The minimum number of nights you’ll allow someone to book your property
- The nightly rate as well as the weekend, seasonal, weekly, and monthly rate
- Taxes – TripAdvisor is not obligated to collect and pay taxes on your behalf. They make it clear here that you need to take care of this
- Fees for cleaning
Step 4: Your Booking Policies
FlipKey, via TripAdvisor, provides a standard rental agreement you can use in this section or you’re welcome to upload your own. You’ll also need to specify:
- Damage deposits – If you want to collect a damage deposit at booking that is refundable, then FlipKey will collect, hold, and return it to the renter for you if you don’t file a claim within seven days.
- Quote lifespan – After you’ve given a quote to potential renters and request payment, this is where you specify how long they have to act on it.
- Guest requirements – You can set requirements for guests here such as if pets are allowed, if it’s a suitable home for children, if you allow smoking, etc. This is optional and completely up to the owner, but it helps you to get bookings that are best suited to your property.
- Check in and check out times
Step 5: Add Pictures
FlipKey suggests that you add at least four pictures of your property here. Keep in mind that the most booked properties on the site have 12 or more pictures, so this is a great place to really show off your rental property.
Step 6: Specify Payout Settings
Here is where you tell FlipKey how to pay you. They offer payment via PayPal or through bank transfer.
Step 7: Review Your Listing
In this step, you can view the finished product to make sure you included everything needed. Once you’ve given it your seal of approval, it’s ready to go live.
Bonus: Don’t Forget the Calendar
You don’t have to alter the calendar settings in order to publish your rental listing, but make sure that you block out any dates that the property may not be available before you publish.
Perks For Property Managers
FlipKey allows you to list up to five properties on their website. If you have more than five, then you need to contact their dedicated property manager team to assist you in getting started.
When you have a high volume of properties, FlipKey also gives you options for payments beyond their standard three percent at booking. These options include:
- Paying on a commission basis – You pay FlipKey a percentage of your rates once a booking is confirmed
- Slightly higher commissions to reduce the booking fee – You can choose to make your properties more competitive in price by paying a higher commission, but this is an option solely up to FlipKey’s discretion
- Paying annually – Paying a yearly rate is also an option
There are varying costs to these options, but it’s nice that FlipKey provides some flexibility for people who manage more than five properties on the site.
They also allow property managers to post unlimited photos. This can be a real boon to your vacation rental business since it allows you to show potential renter’s what is truly unique about your property.
FlipKey also offers an account manager service for property managers to help provide advice on managing your properties as needed. They can be your personal contact when you have questions and can offer insights into the vacation rental industry too.
FlipKey also offers tech support to help solve any technical problems you may encounter. If there’s a problem with one of your listings, then FlipKey can help you to get back up and running quickly. After all, time is money!
Property managers are also offered an analytics dashboard that can help to provide insight on the current standings of their listings. It shows vital information about bookings, visitors, messages, and more.
This is a great feature to help determine if the listings are successful or if they need to be tweaked in order to attract more renters.
How to Contact FlipKey
FlipKey has an extensive FAQ section and a Help Center on their website, so if you ever have questions you might want to search there first. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, then you can contact them by phone at 1-877-FLIPKEY.
Their customer service lines are open seven days per week. You can also use the contact form on FlipKey’s website. It usually takes FlipKey two business days to respond to an inquiry when you use this route.
FlipKey Features for Users
FlipKey can provide a lot of visibility for rental properties, but they’re not only good for the owners – it’s a great platform for renters too. Some of the best features FlipKey has to offer to users include:
- Fees – Aside from the price of booking a property that includes FlipKey’s cut, travelers aren’t charged any additional fees
- Communication – Renters can send the property owner a message through the site on an easy to access form right on the property page. Renters are also given contact information for the property owner so they can contact them by phone.
- Email recommendations – When renters search through FlipKey’s listings, they’re prompted to approve an email that can send them additional properties in their search area. This is a helpful tool if you simply don’t have the time to scour FlipKey for a place to rent.
- Property owner verification – FlipKey verifies each owner so that rents can be sure they’re dealing with people they can trust.
- Search features – You don’t have to create an account to search FlipKey’s listings and you can easily whittle a search down using their search filters.
Each property also provides guest reviews that include the date the reviewer stayed at the property. It also uses a rating system that allows potential renters to get a feel for how well-liked a property was without reading the entire review.
How to Maximize Profits
If you’re looking to list your vacation property, then you’re in the market for a little extra moolah. We get it. To help you in the pursuit of that goal, here are a few suggestions to increase the profitability of your properties:
Understand the Risks
If you want to successfully manage your vacation rental for maximum profit, then it’s important to outline potential risks before you list. Take time to understand the areas that could lead to potential loss of profits. Then, think about some practical solutions you can apply to these problems.
Also, it’s a good idea to think about preventative measures you can take to help reduce risks such as modifications to your rental contract, additional insurance, and adding additional security features to your property.
Anticipate the Needs of Renters
How can you improve your product for your customers? That question is asked in a lot of industries and the hospitality industry is no different.
Simply think of the things you would appreciate in a rental when you were staying somewhere else. FlipKey has a vacation inspiration page that can help give you a few great ideas to anticipate the unique needs of your guests.
Hire a Cleaning Service
File this one under “spending money to make money.” No one wants to rent a vacation property only to find that it’s dirty. Hiring a third-party cleaning service is a smart idea for your rental and can have a positive impact on your profits and reviews – and positive reviews just make for more profits!
Take Reviews to Heart
Don’t skip over the reviews people leave for your property. Instead, read each one and really listen to the feedback people are leaving you, including the negative feedback.
You may also want to consider following up with renters after their stay to thank them for choosing your property and to ask if there’s anything that could have made their experience better.
Keep It Competitive
If you want to maximize your profits, then you have to keep your rental competitive. Watch the market trends and make improvements based on them.
Also, check out the successful listings in your area to see what they may be offering that you’re not. Making small changes along the way can attract more business and help you find success with your vacation rental.
Is FlipKey the Key to Your Success?
The enhanced global exposure you get through FlipKey (via TripAdvisor) is what really sets it apart from other sites. Simply associating with this brand instills trust in any potential renters and help you to build your rental empire. Toss in that listings are free to upload to FlipKey for most users, and it’s obvious that it’s an excellent option to get your vacation rental property on the map.