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Free holiday rental listing:

benefits and drawbacks compared to other specialized websites

Posting your holiday rental listing on a free website instead of on one of the specialized sites available may seem tempting at first sight. However, even when they do exist, the advantages of free listings recede fast on closer inspection.

How much does it cost to place a holiday rental listing on a specialized website?

Specialized websites (that you pay for) apply prices ranging from 300 to 1000 USD/year (between 109 and 159 USD on

What do you get when you pay for a listing in relation to the income generated from renting your property?

The cost of a listing is marginal, even miniscule, compared to the income generated by seasonal renting.

The cost of a listing averages 0.5% (zero point five per cent) of the rental income it generates. This means that an ad can be cost-effective in less than a day of renting (MediaVacationRentals survey 2008).

Is a 'free' rental listing really free?

Some sites are completely free, but the best known use this strategy as bait to attract clients. The listing may be online but you often need to pay to make it effective or to manage the rental, especially if you want to:

  • rank higher in the list (listings quickly superseded by others),
  • edit your listing, update the calendar,
  • add more photos, etc.

The cost of these 'free' sites varies, and may even reach that of specialized sites. For example, some 'free' sites offer 'vacation rental packs' which cost 300 USD/year, excluding options.

What are the returns?

Most specialized sites give you commercial returns that enable you to fill the bookings calendar for the year ( gets an average of twenty firm bookings a year per listing) so they can offer guarantees regarding traffic and visibility. guarantees 1000 visits per detailed listing page.

The traffic or rental returns for free listings is very unpredictable, largely depending on the listing's ranking on the site. However, due to the continual influx of new listings, each listing is very quickly superseded and you usually need to pay to get back to the top of the list. That's why the free listing's visibility and performance is never guaranteed.

Can I fill my rental calendar with a free listing?

The most difficult thing is to fill the periods outside the school vacations, when demand is at its lowest. To do this, you need to use a site with:

  • high visibility,
  • international distribution.

Only fee-paying specialist sites offer this type of visibility today.

International distribution is a crucial factor as it enables owners to reach a public with school vacation times that are complementary to ours. This international listing distribution may be offered as an option, or is sometimes included in the registration fee (like, which considers this international distribution to be essential).

Is there a security risk on free rental listing sites?

There's always a risk on the internet, as elsewhere, and you have to be vigilant whatever type of advertising you use. However, for obvious reasons, free sites rarely have the means to fight fraud effectively and are favorite hunting grounds for internet scams. You just have to type the key word "scam" and the name of a free website into the search engine to see.

We might also mention that several of these scams specifically target owners (premium rate phone scams or the 'over-payment' scam).

'Serious' specialized sites have a budget, teams, technical tools and procedures to fight against fraud effectively. Every month, sites like detect and deactivate dozens of attempted scams targeting owners or renters.

Promoting your rental property

Unlike free ad sites, specialized sites are designed and optimized to promote the holiday rental property:

  • whole page dedicated to the rental,
  • map,
  • 3D birds-eye view,
  • numerous photos,
  • previous renters' reviews,
  • video,
  • nearby tourist sites, etc.

The presentation tends to maximize the property being rented, offering a better image compared to free websites.


Most specialized websites offer greater ad visibility through additional listing (optional or included in your subscription) on high and very high-traffic sites.

This additional distribution is the result of commercial partnerships that generally cost a lot and are not available on free holiday rental ad websites.


Specialized sites offer a range of services, not available on free ad sites:

  • owner helpline service, freephone,
  • free mobile applications so you can manage your rental from a distance,
  • rental query alerts sent to you by text message,
  • 3D birds-eye view,
  • renter insurance,
  • owners' discussion forum,
  • possibility to exchange holiday rentals between owners, etc.