Barefoot Technologies Blog- Vacation Rental Industry News

Some Musings about Airbnb and the Vacation Rental Industry

Posted by Claiborne Yarbrough on Dec 9, 2014 2:55:00 PM

One of our newer customers is really taking a hard look at Airbnd as a marketing portal for his vacation rental management company. He has been nice enough to share some articles that have impacted his research. I thought I might summarize these articles and provide you with links to them so you can continue your research as well.

The first article deals with Airbnb beating out vacation rentals in Google Search Rankings. The author makes the point that running after search words is no longer a viable strategy and he makes this point by looking at the search trends for vacation rental terms.vacation-rental-management-search

Clearly, Airbnb is doing a great job with the new SEO which is about creating relevant content and experience coupled with ongoing branding.

To read more of this article, please visit

To follow this, the second article discusses how Airbnb has cleverly become “both an e-commerce, community marketplace and content provider in one, Airbnb has established their brand as a powerhouse of on and off-line ingenuity”. By introducing the “Neighborhood Guides” for various communities in which they have offerings they encourage engagement for people visiting their website by providing perfectly executed navigation to the specific content that the Airbnb traveler is most interested in—directing them to the neighborhood and unit that is the best fit for the traveler to book.

Another example of providing great content is Airbnb TV. This content functions as a video library that caters to both the traveler (how do I create an Airbnb user profile?) and for the person listing their property (how do I ask for a security deposit?) further building a community through shared information.

The article goes on to discuss Airbnb Lifestyle content, based on user testimonials and the ongoing engagement through social signals and a new Airbnb connections synch to Facebook that allows Airbnb users to see if their friends or acquaintances have stayed at a property they are looking at booking.

This is an impressive tool box of content to continually drive business in their brand.

For more details, please refer to this article

Finally, Airbnb just release a study that focuses on their positive impact in the Los Angeles market, presumably to offset some of the negative publicity from San Francisco and New York markets and a motion for the Los Angeles City Council to take a harder look at short term vacation rental policies.

 In this study, Airbnb suggests that they “contributed $312 million in economic activity to Los Angeles in one year and supported 2,600 jobs”. The outside research firm goes on to state that "many hosts are aspiring stars in the entertainment industry, and the additional income from Airbnb is what allows them to keep their L.A. dreams alive." So, by renting someone’s property through Airbnb, you may not only have a place to stay but you may have the possibility of meeting an up and coming movie star—what luck!

To read more about the findings of this report, please click here

Clearly Airbnb is a force to be reckoned with and vacation rental management companies are going to have to devise their strategies for how they are going to leverage this powerhouse platform.

Traditionally at Barefoot, we try to partner with relevant marketing portals through our well developed API. This is going to be more difficult in the case of Airbnb because they provide very limited access to their API.  We are working on an integration with and our existing customer Yield Planet is almost complete with their integrations with Airbnb. This means that Barefoot customers could go through these partners to get to Airbnb. We will also continue to have conversations and try to develop a direct integration if that makes sense.

Do you have questions or comments? We would love to hear from you about what your plans are for leveraging (or not) Airbnb. Please post them below.

Tags: vacation rental trends, Vacation Rental Software, Property Manager