Owner Toolkit


Online Booking


Today’s traveler wants to be able to book vacation rental properties online, just as they do with a hotel, rental car, or flight. Online booking streamlines the process for you and your traveler. Choose between 24-Hour Review or Instant Booking. With either option, the traveler sends a request to book your property with the commitment to pay. Activate online booking on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.comLearn more about how to set it up > 


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Tip: Enabling and using online booking is the best indication that you are providing the kind of booking experience that travelers want. Online booking can contribute to a higher placement in search results. Learn more about search results>


This is what online booking means for you:

  • Your listing has accurate rates and an updated calendar so that travelers can easily check available dates and prices.
  • A prominent online booking button allows committed travelers to request a reservation and initiate the booking process. Travelers can still choose to send an inquiry or call you instead.
  • You have 24 hours to communicate with the traveler and ask any questions. A reservation request must be accepted within 24 hours or it will be automatically declined.
  • You’ll get more qualified requests that you’re more likely to accept since travelers will already know your rates and availability for their dates.
  • You get paid how you want. Online booking works with HomeAway Payments and alternative payment methods (any of the payment methods you've told us you accept in the "Payment Options" tab in your dashboard). 

Why online booking?

Using online booking is one of the most important things you can do to help improve a traveler’s booking experience. But it also comes with a lot of benefits for you:

  • Maintain control of your rental decisions
    You always have 24 hours to communicate with guests and decide whether to accept or decline.
  • Get bookings faster
    Without online booking, it takes an average of seven days to complete a booking — but it takes less than two days with it!
  • Attract more travelers
    92% of travelers want the ability to book online and you’ll appear in search results when they look for properties with this option.*
  • Secure more bookings
    Listings with online booking get twice as many bookings as those without.
  • Save time and effort
    Online booking comes with payment management tools so you can track payments and schedule automatic payment reminders.

*Based on a survey conducted in March 2012 to 2,199 travelers who inquired on HomeAway or VRBO


How Online Booking Works


Online booking

Traveler requests a reservation

Traveler clicks the online booking button on your listing and selects one of the payment methods you’ve told us you accept, such as HomeAway Payments, PayPal, personal checks or bank transfer. If you use HomeAway Payments, the traveler can input their credit card information at the time of the request. If the traveler selects an alternative payment method, they won’t see your detailed payment instructions until you have accepted the booking.

Communicate with the traveler

Once you receive the reservation request, you have 24 hours to contact the traveler if you want. You can email or call them to find out more about who they are and what their travel plans are.

Accept, deny, or edit the reservation

Before the 24 hours is up, you decide whether the traveler will be a fit for your property. Accepting or declining is as simple as the click of a button. You can also edit the reservation request and have the traveler confirm the changes by submitting a new payment. If you don't respond within 24 hours, the request will be automatically declined, but you can still follow-up with the traveler. 

Get paid

If you are using HomeAway Payments: When you accept the reservation, the payment will be processed, you’ll be paid according to your payment schedule, and the reservation will be automatically added to your reservation calendar. Any additional payments will be automatically scheduled and invoiced.


If the booking was made using an alternative payment method: Your guest will receive the payment instructions on file after you accept the booking. They’ll receive a notification and be directed to the checkout page to view your instructions. You will coordinate with the traveler directly to process the payment. You can manually mark that you have received the payment in your Reservation Manager.


Learn more about how it works >


Are you a professional property manager? To learn more about payment options and online booking for property managers, visit the Property Manager Toolkit >