Airbnb or VRBO: Which Is Better for Hosts?

Setting the listing of the same property on different vacation rental sites helps to increase the number of bookings. How to decide if it's enough to use only one site for your property? Read the review of the two most popular vacation rental listing sites, and choose what is better for you - Airbnb or VRBO!

These days, there are many vacation rental listing sites to choose from when considering where you want to list your property. However, VRBO (which is owned by HomeAway) and Airbnb are still two of the most well-known. To increase exposure, you may be considering listing your property on multiple vacation rental listing sites.

To help you decide whether you want to list your property on Airbnb or VRBO, here is a quick review of the pros and cons for hosts on these vacation rental sites.

Airbnb vs VRBO Overview

airbnb or vrbo

At first glance, Airbnb or VRBO appear to offer many of the same features for hosts. They both were designed as an alternative to hotels for guest accommodations. However, Airbnb quickly stands out as the platform that offers more unique experiences for guests as compared to VRBO, which is primarily a place to book standard vacation rentals.

VRBO (HomeAway) vs Airbnb Fees

How do Airbnb or VRBO stack up when it comes to fees for hosts? Here’s a quick breakdown:


Airbnb charges fees to both the hosts and guests. Guests typically pay between five and fifteen percent of the reservation as a fee to Airbnb. For hosts, Airbnb charges a three percent fee every time a booking is completed.


VRBO also charges fees to both the hosts and guests. Guests pay between six to twelve percent as a service fee on a reservation. For hosts, the fee schedule is a bit more involved than Airbnb. Hosts must pay a subscription fee to list their properties on VRBO. There are two subscription payment options available to hosts.

Hosts can choose the pay-per-booking option, which means that they will be charged eight percent on each booking. The second option is an annual subscription which charges hosts a flat fee of $499 for one year of hosting. These two models are designed to help hosts choose the best VRBO fee option depending on their usage of the platform. If guests can ensure that they can exceed the minimum number of bookings to cover the costs, the annual subscription may help hosts to save on hosting fees with VRBO.

For both platforms, hosts can list a property for free. As a result, hosts can experiment with placing their listings on both platforms to see which platform yields the most inquiries from prospective guests.

HomeAway vs Airbnb vs VRBO Visitor Traffic

Another factor that you’ll need to take into consideration when listing your property when selecting an Airbnb or VRBO alternative is the number of travelers it attracts. It won’t help your bottom line if you’re wasting your time with a vacation rental platform that doesn’t get much traffic. You only want to advertise your property on a site that receives a lot of traffic because the more traffic you get, the more bookings you’re likely to receive.

In addition to the overall traffic for the site, you’ll also need to take into consideration whether Airbnb or VRBO offers the highest number of visitors that are most likely to be interested in the type of property that you have to offer. Quality over quantity matters when it comes to visitor traffic.

Here are how these top vacation rental sites stack up when it comes to traffic:

Use VRBO If Your Property Is in a Traditional Vacation Destination

airbnb competitors

Travelers who want to book stays in traditional vacation destinations flock to sites like VRBO and HomeAway because these sites are known for their large inventories of properties in tourist destinations. If your property tends to attract families or groups looking for vacation stays than VRBO is a must. Another benefit of using VRBO is that your property will automatically be listed HomeAway and other vacation rental sites owned by HomeAway.

Airbnb Attracts City Travelers, Last-minute Bookings

Airbnb tends to attract travelers who are interested in short-term stays, especially in city destinations. If your property is well-suited to the business traveler, then Airbnb offers a great way to attract this type of guest.

However, you can still also use Airbnb if your property is more suited to VRBO by using Airbnb to fill in the gaps when your property is not booked for long-term stays.

Hosting on Airbnb or VRBO: Guest Experiences

The customer experience for guests on HomeAway vs Airbnb vs VRBO is pretty much the same. Although service fees may vary slightly, the booking process for Airbnb or VRBO is virtually the same.

However, one major difference is that there are single rooms available for rent on Airbnb and the company caters more to short-term accommodations. On VRBO, you’ll tend to find mostly long-term accommodations and “entire home” listings make up the all of the listings.

On both websites, you are also required to communicate with your guests directly on the platform. If you manage your vacation rental yourself, you’ll be pleased to know that you can also use third-party software like iGMS to manage and automate your guest communications with both of these vacation rental sites.

Experiences on Airbnb

homeaway vs airbnb

Airbnb also offers a unique feature that is not available from Airbnb competitors: users can list experiences. Experiences on Airbnb are activities that guests can choose to do near their Airbnb destination. Experiences that are listed on Airbnb range from guided tours to fitness meetups and cultural experiences.

Which Vacation Rental Listing Service Should You Choose?

The answer to this question depends on the type of property that you own. If you’re looking to rent rooms, then Airbnb will be your only option. However, if you are planning to rent out your entire home, then it’s best to list your property on both platforms.

By using iGMS, hosts can now manage their properties on Airbnb or VRBO or both platforms at the same time. By placing your properties on both sites, you can generate a higher occupancy rate and maximize your rental income.

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