Airbnb and Vrbo have similarities and differences. Each is a vacation rental platform, listed by property owners.

Airbnb has more vacation rental listings, but that’s largely because the site includes more types of rentals. Airbnb offers stand-alone houses, dorm-style rooms, apartments, small suites and even single rooms in private homes.

Vrbo listings include rentals of stand-alone entire properties, such as houses and cabins. You rent the entire property.

Airbnb and Vrbo – which is better? Whether you’re a traveler or a property owner seeking to earn extra income, here are things you need to know about these vacation rental platforms.

Facts About Vacation Rental Online Marketplaces

Both Airbnb and Vrbo are examples of online accommodation marketplaces. With both Airbnb and Vrbo, the traveler searches the sites and arranges to book online. The traveler can chat with property managers or property hosts, with contact information included on the property vacation rental site listing page.

vrbo vs airbnb


Here are facts that both Airbnb and Vrbo have in common:

  • They offer short-term rentals and long-term rentals.
  • You can find an Airbnb and Vrbo rental almost anywhere in the world. They are both popular vacation rental sites.
  • Both Vrbo and Airbnb will add fees such as a cleaning fee or guest service fee, but in many cases, travelers will still beat the cost of quality hotel rooms.
  • Airbnb properties and Vrbo rentals have filters that can be applied to a search. For example, travelers can search by price or pet policy. They can also search by reviews, seeking properties that have a high rating.
  • The property manager or host must approve your request to book.

Airbnb vs Vrbo Vacation Rentals Types

The standard listings for Vrbo properties are stand-alone properties such as a house. Vrbo property owners may also list “special” properties such as beachfront cottages, tiny houses or rustic cabins.

Airbnb rentals also include stand-alone properties. In addition to those traditional vacation destinations, Airbnb hosts also offer “non-traditional” lodging such as private rooms within a home, with shared spaces such as kitchens. Airbnb offers may be unique, with luxury rentals such as a room in a castle or rustic choices such as a bedroom on a working farm.

Vrbo vs Airbnb for Hosts

Do you want to become a host for an Airbnb or Vrbo property and earn rental income? Your first step is to find out if “short-term rentals” are a permitted use of your property. You have to check with your local governing body.

The Airbnb service fee charged to the host is 3% of the nightly booking subtotal. Vrbo hosts don’t pay a service fee, and in general, many Vrbo fees are lower. But figuring out whether Airbnb or Vrbo rental sites offer higher or lower rates is a moving target. Here’s why:

Each has a different fee structure, and that varies by the type of property. The hosts or property owners set the cleaning fee amount. But the cleaning fee is the only fee the host sets. Hosts should be aware that a common complaint listed by hosts who provide vacation rental services is the difficulty in finding reliable cleaning services.

Vrbo and Airbnb users also pay service fees, which on average range from 14 to 20% of the nightly booking cost. The service fees are paid by guests and collected and kept by the rental site, not the vacation rental owner.

The rental site may charge higher service fees for traditional vacation destinations, such as coastal properties. Service fees may be higher for rental properties which offer unique, extra experiences, such as horseback riding or participation in farm chores (loved by city travelers).

As a host, you can set house rules. For example, some hosts set an age limit or restrict large parties. Some allow pets, but only of a certain size. And yes, you’ll earn income which must be reported to the IRS. The rental company, whether Vrbo or Airbnb, will send the property owner the accounting of the yearly income. The property owner files the information along with the tax return.

Airbnb vs Vrbo for Guests

If you’re a guest you’ll start on the home page for either Vrbo or Airbnb. Those seeking traditional vacation destinations flock to either one.

Some say Vrbo shines for the family vacation because Vrbo properties carry the promise of privacy. That’s because Vrbo offers stand-alone properties.

Some prefer an Airbnb listing and may seek shared spaces in city destinations in an effort to save costs.

It’s fun to shop each Vrbo or Airbnb property listing page, but guests need to include dates, especially for last-minute bookings. If a property is really great, it’s often booked well in advance.

Prospective guests should filter by Vrbo and Airbnb reviews. Each respective property listing will include its reviews, but you can also filter by the average review rating. For example, with the best rating being 5-star, you can filter your search by limiting it to properties with a four-star or better rating.


Vrbo vs Airbnb Fees

As stated, the fees add to the total reservation cost. On either the Vrbo or Airbnb listing page, the vacation renters can work through the booking process to find the total reservation cost.

On average, the total fee for either rental site is about 20% of the nightly booking price. The fees are set by the rental company and can vary depending on location and any unique services/activities that are associated with the property listing.

Guest Service fees alone can vary from 5 to 12% depending on the location and the property. There’s also a sliding scale that travelers can choose to cover themselves should they have to cancel the booking.

Vrbo vs Airbnb Cancellation Policies

In addition to the host-only fee for cleaning, the host can also choose the cancellation policy.

The cancellation policy may range from a rating of “strict” to “flexible”. For example, a “strict” cancellation policy may mean that the traveler won’t receive any money back unless they cancel at least 7 days before the booking begins. A “flexible” cancellation policy may mean that the host allows guests to cancel up to 48 hours before the booking begins.

The host chooses the time frame and also the percentage of the refund.

Airbnb vs Vrbo Reviews

Reviews are a useful tool for both hosts and guests. And they work both ways.

A property that is not true to its description will warrant unfavorable reviews from guests. For example, the pictures don’t reflect the actual condition of the property. In other words, the Airbnb is beautiful, but you have to drive through dilapidated junk vehicles to get there!

Or a host may gain insight due to a guest’s thoughtful review. For example, a guest may suggest a change to the property which makes it much more attractive for future travelers.

Travelers can search for a property based on its average review rating. The property owner who takes action to correct conditions that caused an unfavorable review rating can erase the negativity.

Vrbo vs Airbnb Pricing

Yes, there are a number of fees. But overall, you’ll still usually beat the cost of a stay in a quality hotel.

Both Vrbo and Airbnb hosts may offer discounts for long-term stays. For Airbnb, that discount is automatically calculated. With Vrbo, the traveler should contact the host to request such a discount.

Does Airbnb or Vrbo Offer More Property Listings?

Vrbo offers fewer rentals but that’s because the listings are limited to stand-alone properties. Vrbo presently offers more than 2 million properties in 190 countries.

Airbnb offers nearly 6 million listings in 200 countries.

Which Is Safer, Airbnb or Vrbo?

That depends on the traveler’s definition of safety. If there are COVID concerns, the traveler may opt to rent a stand-alone property rather than have a room with shared spaces (as with some Vrbo listings.). Each property should include a description of its COVID policy and adherence to cleanliness guidelines.

Travelers may opt to choose a property that includes the host being involved with check-in, rather than self-check-in. For example, if this option is available a traveler arriving after dark may prefer to have the host help with check-in.

If in doubt, look at the reviews. If a guest felt the condition of the property and/or its location were unsafe, that would be mentioned in a review.

Why Is Airbnb More Expensive Than Vrbo?

That’s a generality. There are so many variables, it’s difficult to say that one rental platform is more expensive than the other. So much depends on the location and type of property.

Should You List Your Vacation Rental Properties With Airbnb or Vrbo?

It’s time to create a list of Pros and cons for each. Here are some additional facts to help you make your decision:

Type of vacation rental property – Will you be renting a stand-alone house or cabin, or a basement apartment?

Host profiles – Both Airbnb and Vrbo offer special “higher” status to people who are great hosts. For Airbnb, those are Super Hosts; for Vrbo, those are Premier Partners. Are you willing to do the extra things to become elevated to that status? That will make your property more attractive to renters.

Both Airbnb and Vrbo listings are great ways to earn extra income. They’re a great fit for those who genuinely like people, and want to ensure that their stays are comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.

List your Pros and Cons, and make an informed decision.

Image: Depositphotos

This article, “Vrbo Vs Airbnb” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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