I have been on VRBO for a few years. Just launched my own website www.lifeisgoodinthemountains.com and added OR. Site is a Wix design that I customized. Still working on SEO and getting Facebook and Pinterest going.
SEO is relatively ineffective for vacation rentals. You need to be the first page, and that is generally dominated by the listing sites in most markets. And being on social media is nice, but I doubt that will bring you much traffic that books.
The website and social media angle is primarily about establishing an ongoing relationship with guests so they keep coming back. It's also great to have a location that you can send folks you're already talking to via whatever source and say, "go here and check out my property".
"website and social media angle is primarily about establishing an ongoing relationship with guests so they keep coming back."
That is my assessment. I remember a large hotel's manager talking about success with their Facebook page. He said it was very difficult trying to find more than a few bookings for the year that came through their FB page.
I also have seen quite a few VR owners say they see very little return traffic. It obviously varies with the location.
I think the average newbie seeking traffic should focus on the big 4 listing sites, price and/or add fees if they must to cover the commission and collect the 7% approx direct bookings that might come their way. I am adding 16% to BDC to cover the commission - any bookings therefore didnt really cost me anything.
Again, how much energy should you expend with pamphlets/blogging/marketing.etc when they can bring you all the bookings you could handle with minimal energy expended if located/priced right?
I think @JTVR has it right for typical cases...