airbnb comparing to vrbo

VRBO vs. Airbnb

When it comes to a vacation, there are no better sites to search for a short-term rental than VRBO and Airbnb. You’ll find plenty of awesome listings by hosts that really care about guests’ experience. Typically, on VRBO you’ll see listings geared towards ‘entire homes’, whereas Airbnb provides more ‘single room’ opportunities.


There’s no denying that the travel industry has been revolutionized by both platforms, but there are some distinct differences between the two. In order to figure out which one is most suitable for your venture, we’ve covered some of the key aspects…


Host Fees

So, if you want to begin renting out your property to travellers from all across the world, you need to be aware that there will be some fees involved. After all, how else do you think these platforms are so large? But, the format is very unique between the two…


VRBO: With VRBO, they offer a great degree of flexibility for their hosts by giving you the choice between three different fee options. The first is an annual subscription, which costs $399 per year. The second is pay-per-booking, which charges you 8% of each booking. The third – which is aimed at those that don’t have much time – is third-party outsourcing, which is 13% per booking.


Airbnb: You’ll find that Airbnb is a lot simpler, simply because their fees are a flat-rate for every host. They charge you 3% of the price for each booking, including other factors such as cleaning fees which are set by the hosts. In addition, Airbnb does not release funds until 24-hours after the booking is complete, to ensure both parties were satisfied.


Guest Fees

It’s important to understand the guest fees as well. Why? Because the two platforms have very different approaches, and it could affect the number of bookings you receive and the amount you can reasonably charge for your bookings…


VRBO: The wonderful thing about VRBO is that they do not charge guests to make a booking, which is an obvious plus point.


Airbnb: With Airbnb, they do add guest fees onto your booking. Now, this varies between 5 and 15%, with the figure being determined by the reservation amount. If your reservation is higher, there’ll be a lower guest fee.


Cancellation & Refund

Not everything goes as planned in life, and there may be times when a booking needs to be cancelled. To prepare for those instances, it’s a good idea to brush up on the cancellation and refund policy. Here are the formats for both platforms:


VRBO: On the VRBO platform, it’s all about communication and deciding whether a full refund is warranted, as each booking has its own cancellation policy. But, they do offer protection packages. Cancellation Protection for up to $50,000 costs $450, Carefree Rental Guarantee up to $10,000 costs $199 and Damage Protection up to $1,500 costs $49.


Airbnb: On the contrary, Airbnb does have a structured refund policy in place, which comes in the form of a four-tiered system – Flexible (100% refund 24 hours before check-in, Moderate (100% refund 5 days before check-in), Strict (50% refund 7 days before check-in) and Super-Strict (50% refund 30 days before check-in).



As with any online platform, there’s a review system in place on both VRBO and Airbnb so guests can make a better judgement when choosing a place to stay…


VRBO: VRBO utilizes a 5-star review system, where guests will rate their stay between 1 and 5 stars. They offer a comment box where you can divulge your true opinions, but hosts cannot edit reviews whatsoever.


Airbnb: Airbnb also uses a 5-star review system, but they’ve divided it up into six distinct categories. Those are communication, cleanliness, accuracy, check-in, location, and value. Hosts are able to amend their review up to 48-hours after they have posted it.



When it comes to rankings and increasing your exposure on the platform, it’s all about consistency, high quality and experience. But, there are some ways in which you can tap into each platform’s algorithm. Other than filling out your profile thoroughly and being active, the main way is through images…


VRBO: The best way to boost your rankings on VRBO is to include at least 24 high-standard images on your listing.


Airbnb: Airbnb isn’t so rewarding when it comes to images, but you do need at least 5 to be visible in mobile search results.