While Airbnb’s Superhost program is more famous, Vrbo‘s Premier Host program is worth considering, with its promise of more visibility in search results and, thus, more bookings and revenues.
Launched in November 2017, initially as HomeAway Premier Partner, the program is on an invite-only basis. It is designed to recognize vacation rental owners and managers that consistently deliver great traveler experiences.
In 2020, the program went through two rebranding efforts: First, HomeAway became Vrbo and, second, Premier Partner became Premier Host. It is interesting to note this transition in language and the switch to the term ‘host’ popularized by Airbnb.
The Premier Host program is Vrbo’s bid to boost owners and managers who go the extra mile to satisfy travelers and make the platform better for everyone.
Recognized Premier Hosts enjoy exclusive perks on Vrbo’s platform, including a special badge designed to boost bookings by encouraging travelers to book with premier hosts.
Should you join the Vrbo Premier Partner / Host program?
The best way for short-term rental managers to scale their business is to expand the number of listing sites that are part of their channel management strategy. However, merely having your property listed on multiple short-term platforms such as Vrbo, Booking, and Airbnb is not enough.
Property managers need to strive to maximize bookings and rates on each platform. One way of doing just that is to enter each channel’s top-tier host program. On Vrbo, that is the Premier Hosts program, previously known as its Premier Partners program.
What is a premier partner / host on Vrbo and HomeAway?
Vrbo or HomeAway premier hosts are listing owners with excellent performance qualified for the platform’s elite host program. Hosts who continue to meet specified standards enjoy the amplification of their marketing efforts through the program.
Premier Host eligibility is reviewed every quarter, and program invitations are then extended to qualifying hosts. Below we cover the various ways this program can benefit vacation rental owners and everything they need to know about the eligibility criteria.
How do you become a Vrbo Premier Partner / Host?
Vrbo’s Premier Host is an invite-only program. So, if you want to become a Premier Host, you need to fulfill specific performance criteria.
The criteria can vary depending on the number of Vrbo listings you have and are split up into two groups based on the number of listings.
Owners that have only one listing need to meet the following performance criteria over 365 days:
- Number of bookings: The listed property must have five or more completed bookings
- Number of reviews: The listed property must have three or more reviews
- Average review score: 4.5 stars or more
- Booking acceptance rate: Aspiring Premier Hosts need to have a rate of accepted bookings of 85% or higher
- Cancelations rate: Under 10%
Vrbo Premier program rules for property managers and multi-property owners
However, owners with more than one listing need to follow a 2-step process to become a Premier Host.
The first step relates to the listings’ activity in terms of bookings, reviews, and booking and payment methods. Property managers must meet these conditions with at least 10% of their listings. Additionally, listed properties must meet these criteria over 365 days, and they are reassessed every quarter. The criteria are:
- Number of bookings: The listed property must have five or more completed bookings.
- Number of reviews: The listed property must have three or more reviews.
- Booking and payment methods: Have enabled online payments and online bookings.
At least 10% of all listings have to meet these activity requirements to move to step 2.
Step 2 relates to the experience that property managers offer to Vrbo travelers. Once Vrbo confirms that a host with more than one listing has enough eligible properties to join the program, the vacation rental company will move on to assess the traveler experience provided with those properties.
The following criteria must be met by at least 51% of the eligible properties (from step 1) over the same 365-day period:
- Booking acceptance rate: 85% or higher booking acceptance rate on qualifying bookings.
- Average review score: 4.5 or higher average review score on eligible listings.
- Cancellation rate: Under 10% cancellation rate on reservations made for qualifying properties.
Does Vrbo have Superhosts?
While Airbnb has superhosts, Vrbo has Premier Hosts. Unlike Airbnb Superhosts, who qualify for Superhosts status, one can become Vrbo’s Premier Partners only by invite and by fulfilling certain conditions, as explained before.
What benefits can vacation rental homeowners and guests expect from the Premier Host program?
- Priority customer support;
- Premier Host badging and search filter on Vrbo websites for your property;
- An exclusive chance to become a beta tester for new tools and features;
- Free marketing opportunities through Vrbo, including the chance to be included in email and video marketing campaigns that are broadcast to many travelers;
What is Boost on Vrbo?
Boost is a program for Premier Host listings intended to push up listings higher in traveler search results. With the acceptance of bookings on HomeAway, and after someone completes a stay, you earn “power-ups.” Afterward, you could use power-ups to improve your listing’s search position and drive more bookings for particular days. The more power-ups you use, the greater boost your listing would get. This means that Premier Partners could keep your power-ups and use them to have a more significant boost, but remember to use them before they expire. Power-ups can not be purchased or redeemed.
According to Vrbo, the right moment to use boosts is when there’s low season, and you don’t see many bookings in your calendar. By boosting, you improve your search position or where your listing appears to travelers in search results. You can boost a maximum of 7 successive days at once.
The Vrbo Premier Partner / Host support phone number
The Premier Host Customer Support number is available for owners with Premier Host status. The rest of the vacation rental owners can use the Vrbo online chat to get in touch with support representatives.
Vrbo Premier Hosts can reach dedicated customer support on 1-877-212-4741.
The Vrbo premier partner / host badge
As of December 2018, only individual properties that meet Vrbo’s criteria over 365 days can have the Premier Host badge. The aim of making the criteria for the Premier Host badge more rigorous is to increase travelers’ trust in the Premier Host brand. Simultaneously, Vrbo added a Premier Host search filter on its website, so it’s more convenient for travelers to search properties with a Premier Host badge.
Vrbo now checks all Premier Partner properties every quarter, so be careful to meet the criteria if you want to keep your property badged. Badged properties are more attractive to potential travelers because the badge means that they have merit in essential categories.