Vrbo vs. Airbnb: What Is Best for Your Rental?

vrbo vs airbnb

By The Hospitable Team

Airbnb and Vrbo are among the best international vacation rental platforms that have gained popularity among travelers and property owners. Both were designed as an alternative to hotel accommodation and give ordinary people a platform to rent out their property to travelers easily.

Airbnb was founded in 2008 and became a publicly-traded company with an IPO in December 2020. It boasts over 7 million listings in 220 countries and regions worldwide.

Vrbo, originally known as Vacation Rental by Owner, has been around since 1995 and now is owned by the Expedia Group. It has 2 million listings in 190 countries around the world.

Choosing which one would best fit your rental property, or whether you should list it on both, could seem tricky at first. Which of these sites will yield better results for your short-term rental business?

To help you make an informed decision, we’ll compare Vrbo vs. Airbnb and explain key differences in their features, fees, and cancellation policies in this post. We’ll also discuss the audiences they target and the types of properties they allow.

But no matter which rental platform you choose or whether you decide to list on both, it’s important to ensure effective communication with all your guests to make them happy. It involves a lot of work, but you can automate your conversations and save time with Hospitable.

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Vrbo vs. Airbnb Audience

While neither Vrbo nor Airbnb is a niche website targeting a specific type of traveler, there are some differences in the demographics they attract.

Airbnb attracts young, adventurous travelers searching for more affordable vacation rentals. It also targets guests who are craving a trip with new authentic experiences instead of the typical hotel stay.

But in fact, the Airbnb audience is more diverse. For example, the platform now attracts business travelers looking to book entire apartments in urban areas instead of hotel rooms for short or extended stays. Besides, the company has its luxury collection of rentals called Airbnb Luxe, which caters to more discerning travelers looking for luxurious places to stay.

Guests who book stays in traditional vacation destinations on Vrbo don’t necessarily consider cost as the primary factor in their decisions. Vrbo is known for its large inventories of properties in tourist destinations and attracts families traveling together and older audiences willing to pay for an entire house.

Airbnb vs. Vrbo for Owners: Property Types

A major difference between Airbnb vs. Vrbo for owners is the types of property they allow hosts to list.

Airbnb isn’t a platform just for professional property managers with multiple listings, but also for hosts who look at their vacation rental business as a side hustle. It allows them to list different properties, starting from cabins and tiny houses to luxury villas and even castles. Besides, Airbnb allows hosts to list shared spaces, for example, private rooms and even shared rooms in hostels.

Since Vrbo is more about family stays, it focuses on entire vacation homes and apartments and doesn’t allow hosts to advertise shared spaces. Vrbo rental properties in the sea, mountain, and rural markets are also more suited for longer stays. Most of these properties are cabins, houses, and condos with a wide variety of listing types, including barns, cottages, villas, chalets, castles, mansions, and chateaus, among others.

Vrbo vs. Airbnb Fees

Sites like Airbnb and Vrbo charge a host service fee that’s usually a percentage of the reservation total. Knowing exactly how much an OTA charges is essential because you have to consider it when thinking about your pricing strategy. So let’s compare Vrbo vs Airbnb fees.

Airbnb has two different fee structures: the split fee and the host-only fee:

  • The split fee consists of a host service fee (3-5%) calculated from the booking subtotal and a guest service fee of about 14%.
  • With the host-only fee, hosts pay a commission of 14-16% to Airbnb covering the service fee for the guest, which makes the pricing more transparent. Such listings look more appealing to guests.

Vrbo has two different service fee models for owners: pay-per-booking and subscription.

  • If you choose the subscription model, you have to pay an annual fee of $499 upfront.
  • If you choose pay-per-booking, you pay commission fees for the bookings you receive. You are charged a 5% commission per booking plus a 3% credit card processing fee.

Besides, travelers pay a 6-12% booking fee when making a reservation on Vrbo.

Vrbo vs. Airbnb: Cancellation

Both Airbnb and Vrbo hosts are protected from the negative impact of unexpected cancellations by requiring guests to pay a certain percentage of the total booking cost.

Airbnb offers three main types of cancelation policies: Flexible, Moderate, and Strict. There are also three additional circumstance policies, including Super Strict (30 days), Super Strict (60 days), and Long-term. The Flexible policy is a favorite option among guests because, according to this policy, a guest can cancel a booking 24 hours before check-in and receive a full refund.

Vrbo offers five types of cancelation policies that hosts can set for their listings: Relaxed, Moderate, Firm, Strict, and No Refund. Some of these policies allow a guest to receive a refund, while others don’t. For example, Vrbo’s relaxed policy enables a guest to cancel a reservation no later than 14 days before check-in and get a full refund. 

Vrbo vs. Airbnb for Hosts: Which Platform to Choose?

We’ve compared Vrbo vs. Airbnb for hosts, so now you know the main differences. Still, none of these differences mean that one platform is inherently better than the other. Both sites could be interesting places to list your properties. They receive millions of visitors and bookings every year, so it would be a mistake to miss out on any of these vital revenue sources.

The smartest strategy is listing your property on both Vrbo and Airbnb to increase your visibility worldwide and drive traffic towards your property listings. The more OTA sites you list on, the broader your reach and the higher your chances of getting more bookings all year long.

That’s why don’t stop here. You shouldn’t underestimate the power and reach of other platforms. If you’re new to hosting, you will find our guide on getting started with Booking.com a good reading. And although managing multiple listings on multiple platforms can be very time-consuming, if you do it manually, with Hospitable.com, you’ll be able to sync your pricing and availability across all platforms.

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You can be sure that your listings are always up-to-date and avoid double bookings no matter how many sites you connect to. Hospitable.com can help you manage multiple listings smoothly and stay in touch with your guests and team members, saving valuable time along the way. 

vrbo premier host

Vrbo Premier Host Program: How to Qualify and Is It Worth It?

Vrbo is one of the largest vacation rental marketplaces that features more than two million listings available in nearly 200 countries. In this article, you’ll find information on how to become a Premier Host on Vrbo and the advantages of this status.

vrbo fees

Vrbo Fees for Owners: How Much Is Vrbo Charging You?

Today, the Vrbo boasts over two million private homes in over 190 countries and attracts millions of vacation rental guests searching for the perfect stay. But is it the right listing site for your short-term rental property? Read the post to learn about Vrbo fees for hosts.

Booking guidelines

Booking.com Host Guide for Beginners

Today, Booking.com is one of the largest accommodation booking platforms, with more than 28 million listings in 226 countries and territories across the globe. Planning to become the part of this crowd? Our guide will get you started.

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