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Airbnb and Vrbo rental typesThe greatest distinction that can be made between Vrbo and Airbnb is the types of property each vacation rental company offers. Vrbo only allows the rental of private units — meaning Vrbo houses, cabins and apartments are only occupied by the renters. You won’t be seeing any shared spaces on the site, which makes it ideal for families and groups of people traveling together.Airbnb places no such restrictions on their listings. They allow the rental of entire homes, private rooms in a shared house, and even the sharing of a single room with other travelers.
Airbnb vs. Vrbo user interfaceThere isn’t much of a difference between the Vrbo and Airbnb user interfaces. Anyone experienced with booking travel accommodations online will find the platforms’ search functions familiar.They each have dozens of filter options to choose from, including:
- Free cancellation
Airbnb vs. Vrbo selectionSince Airbnb has options for shared rentals, its total selection is about triple that of Vrbo’s. It’s estimated that Airbnb has about six million listings. So if you’re in need of a last-minute booking — or have tight budget constraints — in a Vrbo vs. Airbnb matchup, your best bet is Airbnb. Aside from the total number of listings, the styles of rental units are about the same. Both Airbnb and Vrbo have options for everything from mountaintop cabins to beachside bungalows.Winner: Airbnb
Airbnb and Vrbo prices and feesBoth Airbnb and Vrbo have service fees tacked onto their prices, but the options they give hosts differ. Airbnb allows hosts to choose between host-only fees and split fees. Host-only fees mean the host is charged the entire service fee by Airbnb — usually around 14-16% of the booking cost.Airbnb’s split fee charges the renter the majority of the service fee. This can increase the cost to rent by about 14%, while charging hosts only around 3%. Hosts with strict cancellation policies can expect to pay even more in service fees. Vrbo fees charge guests 6-12% of the total reservation cost. This service fee does not include optional charges, like cleaning fees, that are determined by the host.Vrbo provides two options for hosts to pay fees. They can choose an annual subscription fee of $499 and bypass service fees on individual bookings. If a host has multiple properties, they’ll need a subscription plan for each listing. So if you expect to make more than $10,000 per year, this is the preferred choice. Vrbo also allows for individual booking fees of 5%. If your listing is seasonal and you expect to make less than $10,000 per year, this is likely the better option.Winner: It depends on your situation
Airbnb and Vrbo reviewsAirbnb places a tight time constraint of 14 days on guests to leave their reviews. This means you’ll be getting the opinion of a previous renter when the experience is still fresh in their mind. Vrbo guests and Vrbo hosts have up to one year after the visit to leave a review. Vrbo then gives the other party 14 days from the time of submission to send in their own review. Vrbo lists the submissions of both guests and hosts in the review section, giving potential renters both sides of the story.Airbnb and Vrbo both use a five-star rating system.Winner: Airbnb
Airbnb vs. Vrbo customer serviceSince both Vrbo and Airbnb are the liaisons between guests and hosts, they need to make both parties happy, which means that customer service resolutions can be complicated. But which has better customer service?Airbnb saw a tremendous amount of growth in a relatively short amount of time, which left them scrambling to keep up with their growing customer base. This led to lackluster reports about their customer service, with many struggling to get in touch with a real person. Vrbo, on the other hand, has a direct support line that is ready 24 hours a day to help guests and property owners alike resolve issues. Their customer support team can even help hosts rebook guests in the event a natural disaster makes the property untenable. It’s important to note that Airbnb handles way more rentals than Vrbo, so judging complaints based solely on these numbers may be misleading. Winner: Vrbo
Airbnb and Vrbo safetyAirbnb offers a specialized safety feature for solo travelers. It allows them to share their reservation itinerary with family and friends. The feature also offers safety tips and provides questions to ask hosts. Vrbo has fewer complications regarding guest safety since they only offer private rentals. Still, Vrbo provides assistance to guests who feel unsafe in their rental unit by helping them rebook. They then investigate the claim to determine if the host is in violation of any policies. All hosts are also required to disclose if any monitoring devices are installed on the property. Winner: Vrbo
Airbnb and Vrbo cancellation policiesBoth vacation rental platforms allow hosts to choose from different cancellation policy options. On Airbnb, the options range from flexible (where guests can cancel until 24 hours before check-in to receive a full refund) to strict (where guests must cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 14 days before check-in). There are a few other options in between. Vrbo’s cancellation policy options are similar but named differently. The most lenient option is relaxed, in which bookings canceled with at least 14 days notice will receive a full refund. The strictest option is no refund, where no money will be refunded, no matter the reason. Like Airbnb, there are a few options in between. As a renter, you should always check the cancellation policy before booking, as the restrictions can vary by individual listing. Cancellation policies can also vary based on the length of your rental. Longer-term rentals, like those longer than 28 days in duration, may have different cancellation policies. Winner: It depends on the individual listing
Other options for long-term stays
Co-owned second homes
Vrbo vs. Airbnb FAQs
What does Vrbo stand for?
Vrbo means Vacation Rentals by Owner, an acronym for its way of doing business. Rather than pronouncing each letter individually, its official pronunciation is “VER-bo.”
Are fees higher on Vrbo or Airbnb?
Both services have options to reduce fees for hosts and guests.
Guests on Airbnb can save money by looking for rentals where hosts pay the entire service fee.
Hosts can avoid a 5% service fee on Vrbo by paying for an annual subscription of $499. This is recommended for hosts making more than $10,000 per year on their rental properties.
Which is safer: Airbnb or Vrbo?
While both services take steps to ensure their guests’ safety, Airbnb carries greater risks since they allow travelers to stay in shared spaces.