What is flipkey.com? A comprehensive review

What is flipkey.com? This is a question I have been asked several times and I will love to address it in this comprehensive review.

As the demand for vacation rental properties steadily rises, so does the number of available websites for listing and booking these properties. FlipKey.com, a part of the TripAdvisor family, is one of those websites that has been maintaining high standards for some years, and is definitely one of your best and lowest-risk options, whether you are looking to list a vacation rental or book one.

Where FlipKey.com beats a lot of other vacation rental or travel websites is in its coverage of more than 11,000 cities around the world, boasting more than 300,000 rental listings including rentals on private islands, and about 2.6 million visits every month. Now, admittedly, this isn’t even remotely close to what some of the industry giants have to offer, but it is still worth applauding, considering the amount of competition in this market today. FlipKey has become one of the most favored vacation rental search engines in the US.

Founded in 2007, FlipKey was acquired in 2008 by TripAdvisor, one of the world’s hugest and most widely trusted travel websites. This means that there is a larger community of users, and a substantial pool of honest reviews for you, and so FlipKey has become one of the best ranked vacation rental websites. Both single and group rentals are possible on FlipKey.

Property owners on FlipKey decide their own rental rates, and so it is difficult to estimate the average income with certainty, but there are so many wonderful testimonials, with the average income being about $26,000 per year. Some of the top earners even earn up to $90,000 in rents every year, which is not bad at all, considering that listing a property on FlipKey is totally free. It is a great source of supplementary funds.

To help you decide whether this is the right travel website for you, here is a review of some of the features, benefits, shortcomings, and the opinions of FlipKey users, so you know sufficient facts to facilitate your choice.

PROPERTY LISTINGS

The standard listing features appear to be very similar across all vacation rental and travel sites. A description, maps, reviews, 24 pictures, calendars and a checklist of indoor and outdoor amenities to show what the house comes with, is pretty much how FlipKey listings go.

FlipKey emphasizes property descriptions a great deal. Property owners must write their descriptions insightfully, with the target audience or travellers in mind. Getting a property listing up is a very simple and straightforward process, with the added bonus of helpful hints from FlipKey. You will find these hints as you navigate each step while completing your listing.

There are no upfront fees for property owners on FlipKey, and this makes it one of the most favourable websites to list properties for vacation rental. There is no yearly contract, rather, owners pay a commission of just 3% for each booking. This makes FlipKey one of the most affordable travel sites to list properties on.

Property Management Plans

For property owners with five or more properties, there is a higher level service plan. FlipKey takes the fact that budgets differ with owners into cognizance, and so they offer three different payment plan choices for property owners managing five or more properties.

Payment may be done on a commission basis, meaning that you will pay FlipKey a specific percentage of the income each time a booking is confirmed. You may choose to pay a slightly higher commission rate so as to subsidize or totally remove the booking fee for your guest, which will place your properties at a more advantaged and attractive position. This option is, however, only provided at FlipKey’s prerogative. The second option is paying only when you have gotten qualified leads. The last option is to pay an annual rate.

These options are all at different costs, and so, as a property owner, you will have to choose what best suits your budget. Then again, you can always adjust or make changes to your payment plan whenever you feel like the present one is no longer suitable for you.

Pros

Wide Range of Choice

As a prospective guest on FlipKey, you have access to ample apartments in most destinations. Up and coming neighborhoods are also well represented on FlipKey. Most other travel sites feature only popular cities and destinations. You can get vacation rentals in Lebanon, the French Guiana, the Galapagos Islands, Madagascar, you name it. If you are one for adventure and spontaneity, this is a great travel site for you to browse.

Instant Booking

There is a “Book Now” option on the site, which helps to cut the back and forth banter that typically characterizes booking an apartment rental. You can be certain that all property owners and their properties are verified by FlipKey. Of course, you may still choose to converse with the property owner if you have any questions concerning the location, common modes of transportation, inventory, and so on. It is wise to ensure that there are no loopholes. Making certain of the details before you book isn’t such a bad idea. If you are familiar with your destination, however, you can skip the small talk and take quick advantage of this instant booking feature.

Trip Ideas

If you are open to new vacation destination ideas for certain holidays and seasons, you can get informed with FlipKey’s wealth of articles citing some inspiring hubs and property rental listings in those areas.

Quality

Most of the properties available on FlipKey are rated four stars and above. This assures you that their selection of rental apartments is of top-quality. Fipkey is user-friendly with an interface that can be navigated quite easily. They also outdo other sites with their informative articles that can assist you in choosing your travel location or apartment.

Extra Visibility through TripAdvisor

FlipKey is owned by TripAdvisor, and there are a few perks for property owners that come with that, including a largely enhanced global exposure. This means that your property listings will also be featured, at no additional cost, on all other travel websites owned by and affiliated with TripAdvisor. The manner in which they choose to advertise or publish your property listing depends on the site, nevertheless, your visibility is increased greatly, and so do your potential bookings.

The TripAdvisor Advantage

FlipKey’s affiliation with TripAdvisor is a great advantage to property owners, in that their properties have better exposure. With the global acclaim of TripAdvisor, it is obvious that being connected with them will give potential guests greater assurance in your rental. Property owners get to add TripAdvisor’s badge to their personal websites, and advertise their ratings on other listing websites.

Ease of Usage

Flipkey has a user-friendly interface which gives property owners great features to help them manage their properties.

Free Property Listings for Owners

Owners of individual properties get to list their properties for free, and this is a great perk. It’s a no-brainer! You just pay a 3% commission when your property has been booked. Thus, there is no upfront risk to listing your property on FlipKey.

Cons

Huge Deposit for Travelers

No one can undermine the importance of paying deposits and up-fronts to grant property owners a considerable degree of safety in case any damages occur. Nonetheless, the deposits to be paid via FlipKey are really heavy. Not many people have such huge amounts to spare as deposits, even though the money will be returned in the case of no eventualities. The amount of time (over a week) it takes before the money is returned is also quite disturbing, to say the least. If this issue can be rectified, FlipKey’s booking system would be one of the most ideal.

Customer Service

In their online reviews, a number of guests have posted complaints concerning FlipKey’s customer service being unwilling to help resolve conflicts between guests and property owners when the property is not managed directly by FlipKey. This lack of mediation complicates conflict resolution. This is a common issue with most of the vacation rental listings on FlipKey, owing to their strong policy as regards staying out of the relationship between hosts and guests. The rental contract is between the property owner or manager and the guest, and FlipKey endeavors to stay out of it.

Cancellations and Refunds

Some travelers have also reported negative interactions with FlipKey’s financial department. Many claim that there have been no refunds on booking cancellations even when agreed upon by the owners. FlipKey holds travelers’ payments till 24 hours after they check in, and so property owners cannot help in these scenarios.

Communication

Some owners have made complaints that some of the inquiries addressed to them are not filtered through. Many have said that while FlipKey’s emails land in their inbox, their guests’ inquiries land in their spam, and so they were unable to answer them, leading to drops in their response ratings.

Final Verdict

For property owners, listing on FlipKey comes with no risks attached, since it is completely free. A lot of the issues that may be encountered on the website are similar with most other travel sites, and so they shouldn’t constitute a major deterrent. Prospective guests have access to a wide selection of vacation apartments from all over the world, with a trusted platform.

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