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Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Which Is Better for Travelers? Airbnb and Vrbo are the two most popular vacation rental platforms among guests and property managers. However, when it comes to listing your short-term rental, or searching for one to rent, you might find yourself lost between two options. Read on to find out which of these two websites is better suited to hosts and travelers. Airbnb and Vrbo are two vacation rental sites that have gained vast popularity among travelers and property owners. However, when considering where to list your property, you might wonder which of these two options will yield better results for your short-term rental business. As a guest, you might be curious to know which of these platforms is able to cater to your unique needs and help arrange your dream vacation. To help you decide, we’ve compared Airbnb and Vrbo and researched their key features, differences, pros, and cons. Read on to find out which of these two sites would be a smarter choice for your business or for your next vacation.
Airbnb vs. Vrbo General Facts and Figures
At first glance, Airbnb and Vrbo have a lot in common and offer many similar features to hosts and guests. They both were designed as an alternative to hotel accommodation. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and now boasts over 5.6 million listings in more than 200 countries. Vrbo (originally known as Vacation Rental by Owner) was founded in 1995 and now is owned by the Expedia Group. There are over 2 million listings on Vrbo available in 190 countries. However, Airbnb has quickly stood out as a rental platform that offers more unique experiences for guests compared to other vacation rental sites. While Airbnb boasts more listings and provides services in a higher number of countries, listing your vacation rental property on Vrbo can give hosts further exposure. Regardless of which rental platform you choose, or whether you decide to list on both of them, it’s important to ensure flawless vacation rental management and effective communication. iGMS, the vacation rental software for professional hosts and Airbnb’s Preferred Partner, can help you manage reservations on Airbnb and Vrbo, and other leading short-term rental platforms like Booking.com, via one streamlined interface. It offers hosts and property managers ample tools like a robust multi-calendar, a unified inbox, automated triggered messaging, and a lot more to help you manage multiple listings smoothly, saving valuable time along the way.
Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Vacation Rental Types
Prominent differences between Airbnb and Vrbo are made clear in the property types that can be listed on each platform.
Airbnb Vacation Rentals
Airbnb allows hosts and property managers to list various types of properties starting from cabins and tiny houses to luxury villas and castles. This usually means that travelers looking for more unique and specific property types can find them easily on Airbnb. In addition, Airbnb allows hosts to list shared spaces. This means that travelers can book single rooms within a home instead of paying for an entire property.
Vrbo Vacation Rentals
On the other hand, Vrbo offers more traditional accommodations. As Vrbo is more about family stays, it only accepts bookings for standalone vacation homes and doesn’t allow advertising shared spaces of any kind. Because of this, Vrbo tends to be more attractive for larger families who are traveling together and are looking to rent an entire home. Though both Vrbo and Airbnb provide short-term rental accommodations, Vrbo properties are more suited for longer stays. Airbnb is a great option for those taking shorter trips. Although, some Airbnb rentals may offer discounts for longer stays too.
Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Service Fees
No matter where you decide to list your property, there are service fees to be paid by both hosts and guests. Service fees can affect your overall short-term rental revenue and the final price a guest will pay for a reservation. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Airbnb Service Fees
Airbnb offers two different service fee options: The split fee and the host-only fee. The split fee, as the name suggests, splits the service fee between the guest and the host. Under this model, guests typically will absorb the bulk of the fees, usually paying about 14% of the booking subtotal as an additional fee. In this case, hosts end up paying around 3% of the total booking cost, but this could amount to more for hosts who opt for Strict cancellation policies. With the host-only fee, hosts pay the entire service fee to Airbnb, sparing those who book with them from having to cover a guest service fee. Usually, this amounts to between 14-16% of the total booking cost. Airbnb hosts are not charged a separate credit card processing fee. The host-only fee is mandatory for hotels. It is also mandatory for software-connected hosts unless most of those hosts’ listings are located in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, Argentina, Taiwan, or Uruguay. Airbnb Plus hosts and hosts who select Super Strict cancellation policies may pay higher fees. Each Airbnb property owner who offers Airbnb Experiences is charged a 20% service fee. The benefit of the host-only fee is that guests are not blindsided by the additional service fees which are only applied at checkout. To be able to cover the host-only fee, hosts always have the option to bump up their property pricing slightly. This way guests are already aware of the full price and are willing to pay it without feeling scammed.
Vrbo Service Fees
Travelers pay between 6% to 12% as a guest service fee of the total reservation cost when making a booking. Hosts can choose between two service fee models, based on their estimated annual income. They may opt for a $499 annual subscription fee that covers all the bookings they get on the platform throughout the year. The other option is to pay a booking fee for each individual booking. In this case, hosts are charged a 5% commission per booking plus a 3% credit card processing fee. If a host can ensure that he/she will exceed the minimum number of bookings to cover the costs, the annual subscription may help save on hosting fees. Therefore, if you are a full year-round host whose income is higher than $10,000, a subscription model will make more sense.
Vrbo vs. Airbnb: Cancelation Policy
Both Airbnb and Vrbo have cancelation policies to protect hosts from the negative impact of unexpected cancelations and to afford guests a refund if they notify hosts of their cancelation within a reasonable time frame. When making a reservation, guests should study listings carefully to see which cancelation policy has been set by the host. Make sure to take a closer look at the selected policy and explore its terms and conditions in detail.