Top5 Review

FlipKey Review

FlipKey is the short-term vacation rental division of TripAdvisor. FlipKey connects the insider knowledge of homeowners with the collective wisdom of 661 million TripAdvisor traveler reviews so you can stay the smarter way. On FlipKey, you discover not only the best rental but also the best restaurants, attractions and experiences – no matter where you’re headed.

The short-term rental platform at TripAdvisor lists 830,000+ unique rentals in over 200 countries worldwide. FlipKey offers the best vacation home rentals if you are a foodie or an avid review reader. Their extensive collection of reviews gives you a one-stop shop to find restaurants, attractions, and experiences near your vacation rental home.

As an internationally accessible website, FlipKey’s parent company is boasting 456 million unique page views per month. TripAdvisor acquired FlipKey just one year after its inception and they have been a subsidiary ever since. TripAdvisor lists six main categories on the homepage: hotels, things to do, restaurants, flights, vacation rentals and cruises. You will find vacation rentals listed prominently on the front page of the #2 rated travel website. However, vacation rentals are not displayed in accommodation search results by default. Users must seek out the vacation rental sub-section to see homes vs hotels.

Vacation rentals are an increasingly popular alternative to traditional hotel stays. Why? Because they offer travelers the space, amenities and privacy of home when on vacation … along with incredible value! Forget anonymous hotel rooms – from entire oceanfront houses with private beach access to city condos in luxury buildings, FlipKey offers you places with personailty to make your trips unforgettable. For stays to suit your needs and individual travel style, there’s nowhere better. -TripAdvisor


Diverse short-term housing types
24/7 customer service
A wide variety of location-specific activities reviewed


Guest fees can be up to 16% of subtotal
Outdated website experience
No dedicated app for vacation rental division

Platform Stats

Founded: 2007
Founders: Carl Query, Jeremiah Gall, and TJ Mahony
Countries in: 200+
Properties: 830,000+
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
Number of Employees: estimated 265


Search functionality on FlipKey allows you to filter for kid-friendly, pet-friendly, wheelchair access, smoking allowed and more. Hosts self-identify features and seem to over select in order to show up in more search results. One unique search feature is the ability to look for rentals in close proximity to a point of interest. For example, you could look for only rentals close to the Space Needle in Seattle. This allows travelers to create geography specific itineraries easily.

In addition to showing properties reviews, it also shows you how many people have booked that property in total. In the short-term rental market, a low review percentage that could indicate less than ideal experiences. When a guest has a lackluster experience at a vacation rental, they often do not leave a review. Guests simply let the one-off bad experience go, especially if the property has high reviews prior to their stay. That is why a low review percentage leads platforms to show that listing lower in the search results.

TripAdvisor has a global reach. It is the #2 most popular travel site online. TripAdvisor users live all over the world. You can access TripAdvisor in 28 different languages. Individual property listings, as a result, are translated automatically. Even more, exposure happens at the same time on five sister websites.

Happy FlipKey Guests

FlipKey guests rely heavily on the traveler reviews. If you’re someone who loves to leave detailed accounts of your experiences, both positive and negative, FlipKey will be thrilled to have you. User reviews are compiled in a profile bearing your name. It becomes plainly obvious when a specific profile is consistently negative on all their reviews. Your credibility goes down if you never have anything nice to say.

Writing a relevant and credible FlipKey review is an important online skill. Both positive and negative reviews can be challenging to write in their own ways. Positive reviews tend to draw out long-winded stories that are hard for the reader to digest. It will be common in positive reviews for you to cut erroneous details. Use your words carefully to avoid sounding like you are exaggerating. Offer specific and measurable feedback about the vacation rental.

Negative reviews typically spill out onto our keyboard with ferocious speed. Our feedback is often highly emotionally charged and filled with details specific to us and not relatable to other readers. You may think anyone reading your review would be crazy to stay at that vacation rental now that they know what you know. But in reality, you probably just look a little crazy. Read and re-read to cut the crazy out of your review. Imagine telling your experience to a stranger in an authority position. Speaking to an authority forces us to be efficient and accurate in our storytelling.

Remember, the internet is forever. Be truthful and respectful so you don’t regret your outburst later.

Customer Price

Guests pay a booking fee when booking vacation homes on TripAdvisor Rentals and its family of sites. This helps meet some of the costs of running our websites, including:

  • Making sure your transactions are secure
  • Developing the websites and improving the user experience
  • Providing owners and travelers with 24-hour customer support

If you pay for your rental through our platform, you also benefit from TripAdvisor’s Payment Protection policy.

The booking fee is a percentage of the total rental cost (not including refundable damage deposits or taxes applied by the owner). The fee is variable and ranges from 8% to 16% for the majority of bookings, but can be slightly lower in some cases.

Host Income and Fees

If you have a free listing

All bookings are taken online through our website and you pay a processing fee of 3% per booking. We calculate this commission based on your total rent, including any required and optional fees you specify for your property, for things like cleaning.

Payments can be transferred to either your bank or PayPal account. You will not pay any additional PayPal fees.

If you have an annual listing

You pay an annual fee per property, you can decide how to receive payments from guests – either directly or online through our website.

For payments taken through our website, you pay a processing fee of 3%. We calculate this commission based on your total rent, including any required and optional fees you specify for your property, for things like cleaning.

Payments can be transferred to either your bank or PayPal account. You will not pay any additional PayPal fees.

Pick the Best FlipKey Home

Vacationers who like FlipKey are planners. If your vacations include spreadsheets, color coding, and extensive research than the TripAdvisor review integration will make you giddy. You can combine all your attractions, accommodations, flights, and even restaurants into one comprehensive schedule.

Each day of your vacation will be a seamless tour of a small geographic location. A TripAdvisor traveler knows not to get stuck wasting days crisscrossing the city inefficiently. You’ll get to soak in more of the vacation because you took the time to plan and coordinate using TripAdvisor reviews. Planning the perfect vacation will build the anticipation and increase the fun once the big trip finally arrives.

FlipKey puts a badge called Certificate of Excellence on vacation homes with the highest ranks. If you’re new to vacation rental homes I highly recommend reserving a home with a badge. FlipKey shows you how many times each vacation home has been booked. Some of those bookings could be in the future, but if you notice a much higher rate of bookings than reviews, that is usually a bad thing. Travelers who have a neutral or semi-bad experience may chalk it up to a one-time problem and just avoid leaving a review. A very low review percentage on other vacation rental websites will prevent a home from being listed at the top of search results.

Plan a Trip Like a Pro

Planning a trip can be a lot like getting multiple plates to spin at once. If you’re planning a family vacation the priority dynamics get even more complicated. Keeping everyone happy at all times is not going to happen, so give up on that goal. But finding something fun for each person each day is an achievable goal. For kids, the highlight could be a dessert, famous landmark, or purchasing a souvenir.

Adults can pitch some of their priorities to their kids to make it seem like their idea. On my next Europe trip, my kids think it’s their idea to visit Paris Disneyland and a Swiss Chocolate Factory, both of those are high on my priority list too, but they don’t need to know that. Having kids puts you on an entirely different travel pulse than pre-kids. Make sure to plan downtime, let them sit and watch a show or rest on your lap while riding a train. Little minds and bodies can’t just go go go like adults. Children don’t appreciate the time, money, and opportunity right in front of them. Don’t seek their approval, seek your own.

Read FlipKey Reviews

TripAdvisor and by extension FlipKey prides itself on being the worlds largest travel community. One of the lovely and unique aspects of FlipKey reviews is how commonly hosts respond to guests. Instead of a review standing on its own judgemental two feet, the host responds with an explanation, reiterating their positive experience, or just continuing the conversation. That’s what TripAdvisor has created, a dynamic conversation between businesses and customers.

No reasonable traveler would expect a vacation rental to have 100% positive reviews. As a negative review appears I put a lot of weight in how the business responds to the criticism. Some businesses take it in stride and are able to recover with some humor. Other times the business will respond with an apology for the negative experience. The worst ways for a business to respond is with blame, denial, or rudeness. One advantage a hotel has over a vacation rental is that employees at a hotel find it easier to not take a horrible review personally. FlipKey vacation homeowners are sharing their property and thus have a tendency to take things to heart.

Final Verdict

While FlipKey touts itself as the world’s largest travel community, it seems clear they are riding the coattails of their parent company for that distinction. Users of TripAdvisor might not even realize they are basically being steered away from seeing search results of vacation rental homes. Until TripAdvisor commits to featuring vacation rentals more prominently, it isn’t clear to travelers that homes are even an option.

While you may have an easier time creating geography specific trip itineraries, that advantage seems lost if you never see results for vacation homes to begin with. Vacation rental hosts seem to be shying away from the platform because of an overall lack of marketing and support for this branch of TripAdvisor. Online reviews overwhelmingly stated there was difficulty getting responses from FlipKey on a variety of issues.

The platform seems to be on the brink of being a vacation rental giant. They have recently created new resources for hosts to easily sign up as hosts and training to get them earning income from their homes. Expect to see some big moves from FlipKey in the near future. A larger market share will allow them to grow their operations and support for this branch of TripAdvisor.

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