Airbnb Vs VRBO – Which Is A Perfect Choice For Travelers And Hosts

Airbnb Vs VRBO – Which Is A Perfect Choice For Travelers And Hosts

Nowadays, when planning a trip or booking a vacation, staying in a hotel is the last option for many of us to consider. No doubt, staying in a hotel is convenient, and the idea of someone cleaning your room and making your bed for you is wholesome, but hotels can be boring and not like the traveler’s preference.
If you are willing to have extra rooms to accommodate more people or don’t want to miss the comfort of your home, vacation rentals are the best option. Fortunately, there are countless fantastic options for vacation rental sites for travelers.
From offering gorgeous houses to luxury chalets, these vacation rentals let you experience something a bit out of the ordinary in your vacation. Depending on your choice, travel style, and budget, rental sites also have specific pros and cons.
However, when it comes to choosing a short-term rental site or searching for one to rent out, you will find yourself lost between these two options-Airbnb and VRBO.

But which one is best?

Airbnb vs VRBO who should you choose to list your vacation rental with? We go in-depth to cover that very question with information gathered from top rated Airbnb management companies.
At first glance, Airbnb and VRBO seem to have many features in common and offer similar facilities for property owners and guests. Who can disagree that more are designed as alternative accommodations for hotels? Well, there is a specific subtle difference between these two vacation rentals that the property owners and guests should keep in mind.

Why Guests Prefer Vacation Rental Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO

Vacation rentals offer many unique benefits to the guests compared to hotel rooms, which include more amenities, lower prices, and a more personal touch.
For city travelers, one can enjoy superb facilities and an impressive neighborhood experience. At the same time, adventurers can find excellent properties in some of the most famous and world’s most remote places and destinations. The possibilities and benefits are real and endless for travelers living in vacation rental sites.
Some of the fantastic facilities provided by vacation rentals that make guests prefer them are extra space or rooms challenging in hotels, like separated eating, living and outdoor spaces; above all, they give the guests the comfort of home. Even for the spare areas or rooms, the vacation rentals let your groups thoroughly enjoy and relax in each other’s company.
Another question is knowing which vacation rental platform- Airbnb or VRBO- provides a beautiful experience for travelers. And to learn which vacation rental site is best for you, keep reading this article.

Are you searching for a complete comparison between Airbnb and VRBO to choose the best vacation rental for your stay? Then you are on the right platform. Here we have made a comprehensive comparison of the two most well-known vacation rentals: Airbnb vs VRBO

Some Differences Between Airbnb vs VRBO – A Full Comparison

Undoubtedly, Airbnb and VRBO are two very big vacation rental channels, and with time, both have steadily grown into global-wide and popular communities. Vacation rental through Airbnb and vrbo serves the purpose of engaging in an online search to explore an ideal renting space that suits your needs and style.
Both these vacation rental channels are different from each other and offer some additional services to their guests.

Let’s discover the difference between Airbnb and vrbo and make a complete comparison of the two:

Company Basics


Airbnb is not an old company; instead, you can say that it is a much younger company compared to other rental companies. It was established in 2008 under the name Air Bed and Breakfast, though its rebranding was done in 2009. Airbnb is a successful vacation rental platform, and as per its most recent statistics, it has recorded around a total of 80 million monthly site visitors. It has been estimated that around 2 million guests stay in an Airbnb property every night.

airbnb propertyVRBO

VRBO is undoubtedly the biggest competitor of Airbnb. VRBO stands for Vacation Rental by Owner. VRBO was established in 2007 and has rapidly grown into a worldwide community.
VRBO has a long-standing track and is currently present in 190 countries. It continues to be a famous player in the vacation rental industry.

VRBORental Criteria

Both the vacation rental channels are there for you and to provide you with the best rental accommodation while you are on your vacation or business trip that also suits your taste and comfort. Airbnb and VRBO offer vast options, such as condos, rooms, houses, beach houses, cabins, and much more.
The rental type of Airbnb and VRBO is the most significant difference between these two vacation rental channels.


Airbnb is an all-rounder regarding its rental type, as it offers both stand-alone vacation homes and the option of shared room or space. These options are for the guests’ convenience as some prefer a private home while some have shared space due to price or other factors.
Airbnb started as a home-sharing concept, but with time it started hosting a variety of accommodation types. Airbnb is well-known for providing stays in small castles, houses, tree houses, and even islands.
Airbnb offers high concentrations of city attractions and destinations. This attracts the attention of more business and city travelers to Airbnb as compared to VRBO.


VRBO offers stand-alone vacation homes only. It focuses on residences, which is why VRBO has more property listings than Airbnb. VRBO doesn’t offer the facility of shared spaces or rooms. The rental space options provided by VRBO usually include cottages, houses, and apartments.
VRBO is mainly preferred by guests who wish to reserve their stays in some traditional vacation spots and destinations and flock to sites as they are famous for their vast inventories of touristy destinations and spots.

Search Functionality

Search FunctionalityAirbnb

Airbnb and VRBO both offer similar search tools. But there are some differences between the search functionality of both. Let’s see what it is:
The Airbnb company’s page usually looks better, consisting of familiar visual elements on the map, such as popular places and prices. The aesthetic features of Airbnb are positive elements of its search functionality.
Though, one drawback of Airbnb is that it doesn’t offer any feature or filter for guest rating, which is mainly considered essential for travelers.


The page VRBO looks a bit clunky and old-fashioned compared to Airbnb. VRBO undoubtedly offers much better search functionality and filters than Airbnb.
The “pets allowed” filter, which is extensively displayed on the VRBOS search screen, is a must and loved by travelers- which is not prominent on the Airbnb search screen; instead, this option is buried under the caption of house rules. The features on the VRBO page let you discover by user reviews, including properties usually rated highly for cleanliness and those rated 4 stars and above.

Hosts Network


The current host network of Airbnb is enormous. It advertises hosting around 5.7 mn listings in over a lac city and around 221 regions and countries.
The current host’s network of Airbnb is its most significant advantage compared to other listing channels. It is super convenient for travelers, as they can easily search Airbnb.


VRBO boasts around 2 million rental properties worldwide, compared to the 5.6 m listings on Airbnb. However, there are fewer rentals offered by VRBO, but they only list separate condos, apartments, and houses.
Users or travelers are ensured that they will not share any space or room with anyone else or guests, not even the homeowner.

Cancellation Policy


The property owners set the cancellation policy of bookings or other facilities. The cancellation policies of Airbnb include a weeks-tiered scale, which provides flexible, strict, moderate, long-term, short-term, super rigid, 30-days, and 60 days cancellation options and terms.
It is recommended that the potential Airbnb guests go through the listing individually to learn about the cancellation policy, about bank payment criteria, and understand each policy detail.
According to the cancellation policy of Airbnb, the service fee is mostly refundable around 3 times a year if the cancellation occurs 14 days before the scheduled stay or within 48 hours of booking.


The property owners also set the VRBO cancellation policies. It is essential to go through the information on the listings thoroughly.
There are around 6 policy options, including 60-day, 60/30-day, 30/14-day, 14/7 day, or a custom policy, and refunds are made per these specific cancellation policies set by the property owners. If the booking is canceled, the reimbursements certainly don’t add the VRBO vacation rental service fee.

Quality Of Customer Service And Support

Customer Service and SupportWe have always heard that the customer is the king, though, in the case of vacation rental platforms, the customer truly deserves the treatment like a king. Suppose the customer service is good and the customer gets satisfaction from your rental space. It is a positive point for you because their reviews will enhance your place’s credibility and attract future guests.
So, let’s see what customer services and facilities are offered by Airbnb and VRBO:


Airbnb could offer good customer service, but some of its low points are that it doesn’t provide travel insurance to the guests and doesn’t consist of a direct customer support team or contact numbers for non-emergencies. However, it allows for contact numbers for emergencies.
If a customer asks for a refund, they must show evidence that they have tried to work things out with the hosts.
For general contact or non-emergencies, guests must fill out an online form. They were also given a case number and informed that they would be followed up with an additional investigation. All these procedures irritate the customers and can be tiring thing for them.


One of the best features of the customer service offered by VRBO is that guests can add travel protection insurance to their bookings.
The travel insurance enables the guests that in case of emergencies or if any other thing arises and they need to cancel their booking, they will still get a refund for their paid fee. Also, the guests traveling with pets or children can purchase protection insurance which will benefit them to avoid any additional charges for any potential damages.
Another excellent customer service offered by VRBO is a 24-hour direct customer line for queries or assistance regarding the booking process.

Review Section

The best way to keep your guest in the loop and know their thoughts on the services you offer is to get reviews from them. Let’s learn the different review criteria provided by Airbnb and VRBO:


Airbnb offers an active review culture feature to its guests. They provide a review section on their websites where guests can leave their thoughts and share their experiences at Airbnb.
The Airbnb review section has 5 stars for each team: accuracy, cleanliness, communication, guest service fee, location, check-in, and value. The review section also consists of a search function to make filtering easy.
If the guests have any concerns or queries regarding Airbnb, they can filter accommodations by writing reviews to find suitable accommodations per their preferences before making any bookings.


VRBO also offers a detailed review section to its guests after booking. The fantastic thing about the VRBO review section is that it also allows the homeowners or hosts to respond to the reviews given by the guest-one can say it is another platform to have contact with the guests.

VRBO allows the guests to leave a review on their website within a year of their stay at their rental property. Guests rate their studies according to the 5 stars in the review section and help other guests.
The difference between the Airbnb and VRBO review sections is that homeowners’ responses are displayed in the review section, which gives a meaningful insight into other guests’ impressions and experiences and paints a whole picture in front of them before they make a booking.

Special Features and Amenities Offered by Airbnb and VRBO

Special FeaturesAirbnb

In addition to other features and facilities offered to the Airbnb guest, the guest can also book unique experiences in some of the world’s most wondrous places and famous tourist attractions using the feature of Airbnb Experiences.
Airbnb Experiences offers one-of-a-kind activities related to the destinations that guests can enjoy. For instance, guests go on an adventure to discover hidden wonders with the local guide or to the spots of that destination. This provides a fantastic experience to the travelers staying at Airbnb.


Undoubtedly, the fame of VRBO lies in the extra functionality it offers on its site. It provides an extensive search filter with such great features that it overshadows the features of Airbnb when guests choose the properties they prefer.
VRBO also offers another fantastic trip board feature, which lets travelers organize their most liked destinations and properties while planning their trips.
Travelers can even invite their family and friends to collaborate with them on the boards and search for properties together to plan a trip together. Therefore, the search function feature of verbs is compared to airbnb’s.

Safety for Travelers/Guests

No doubt, travelers’ safety is prioritized by both: Airbnb and VRBO. To ensure the safety of their travelers, both vacation rental platforms have taken impressive measures to show their commitment to trust. The safety measures of Airbnb and vrbo are one of the main reasons they are the top vacation rental platforms.


As we know, Airbnb offers shared spaces, and sometimes the absurdity of their traveler safety becomes tougher. To increase the safety of its travelers, Airbnb has introduced a feature for solo travelers.
This Solo Traveler app aims to offer an experience to the traveler that will enable them to share top safety tips and relevant or good questions to ask the hosts. This app will also let travelers share their booking itinerary with family or friends. Therefore, in the future, Airbnb plans to expand this traveler safety feature to entire properties, probably, later this year.


Another prominent feature of VRBO is providing safety to its travelers. They offer the quality of rebooking to their travelers if any of the host’s behavior makes them feel uncomfortable or if any inconvenience is caused to the guests. To will also take all the necessary steps to investigate if any of the policies of VRBO is violated.
To provide data protection, VRBO implements security and privacy standards to prevent fraud and harassment. Therefore, VRBO is continually upgrading its security and safety measures to ensure a safe and memorable trip for its travelers, even if it means going to any extent for them.
So, before you plan on your next vacation or trip, test both these rental companies and compare the features of both- see who stacks up against each other and then choose the perfect vacation rental site for yourself and make your trip memorable and comfortable. Some of these tips for choosing any rentals are to look for location, price, and facilities.

Differences between Airbnb vs VRGO in a Snapshot


  • Airbnb offers its guests a vast selection of properties, amazing features, and great price options, including affordable single rooms and shared spaces.
  • One of the best features of Airbnb is that rentals aside, it also offers Airbnb Experiences.
  • The host fee is cheap compared to other vacation rental sites.
  • Airbnb’s well-suited for adventurers and city travelers.


  • VRBO provides a smaller listing number, which means fewer choices for guests, but it has a broader selection of upscale accommodation options.
  • VRBO can accommodate and cater to big families and groups of people.
  • They provide private space to their guests. Whole place accommodations are available.
  • VRBO provides two fee models for the hosts to select from.
  • Vrbo focuses exclusively on private residences.
  • Vrbo comes out on top for lower prices and excellent customer service

Similarities Between Airbnb And VRBO

Just like both these vacation rental platforms have specific differences. Similarly, Airbnb and VRBO also have some similarities.

Let’s explore the similarities between Airbnb and VRBO:

Both are Vacation Rental Platforms

Similarities Between Airbnb And VRBOThough there could be many differences between Airbnb and VRBO, their most common trait is that both are vacation rental platforms or sites. Through these rental platforms, the hosts or homeowners lease their living space or homes, which could be rented by guests for their stay. In simple terms, both Airbnb and VRBO usually play the role of brokers as they advertise and execute a transaction with the guests, for which they get good commissions.
To be a host, there is no such requirement, and one could be signed up, and some non-discretionary policies allow anyone, or any stranger, to become a guest on Airbnb or VRBO.

The booking Process is the Same

Whether you are planning to book Airbnb or VRBO, the booking process for both is some and is done online. There are certain methods to secure bookings which include Confirmation of 24-hour or Instant Book. With this method, the rental platforms will charge your credit card immediately and send a confirmation email to the guest.
When Instant Booking is unavailable, hosts usually have 24 hours to see your application and have the right to accept or deny your request. After acceptance by the host, your credit card will be charged when it is received, and an email for confirmation will be sent to you. In the procedure of Confirmation bookings in 24 hours, before the hosts accept the pending request, you can cancel at any time. These two bookings securing methods are the same for Airbnb and VRBO.

Similar Procedure for Contacting the hosts

Whether you want to book Airbnb or VRBO, contact the rental hostess, and provide a system for online messaging. Guests can message hosts directly from the individual property listing to get a host before booking. Click on the “Contact hosts” option on the listing page of Airbnb to contact the hosts and get the task A Question” via VRBO.
When the booking has already been made, to contact the hosts, you can easily check your guest account to search out how to get hosts, the vacation rental owner, or the manager. After all these steps, you will then be directed to either call or email the hosts before or at the time of your stay at the rental platform.
Before the booking has been made or confirmed, a guest cannot send an email or call the hosts of either Airbnb or VRBO.

The Cleaning Fee For Airbnb And VRBO Is The Same

Cleaning an airbnb and VRBOAirbnb and vrbo both charge cleaning fees from their guests. The cleaning fee enables the hostess to account for the additional expenses they require for preparing their listing, for both when the guest arrives or if they are checking out.
However, there is a minor difference in the cleaning fee charging criteria of Airbnb and VRBO. Vrbo follows a policy that the hosts should mention in the cleaning fee; it’s better to display the fee on the listing page. Though the stated fee for each night is not included in the cleaning fee because it is considered a separate charge

Whereas Airbnb shows the price of each night and should not tell if the cleaning fee is rolled in or not. Travelers will find out the fee for cleaning when they check out from Airbnb. Unluckily, the additional expense of this fee adds to the service fee of Airbnb, which hikes up the price even higher for the guests.

So Which Rental Platform Is Best For Your Vacation Rental

Airbnb vs VRBO, who wins? If you are looking for a home or space to rent when you go on vacations or for a family get-together, both Airbnb and vrbo are great options. Airbnb and VRBO for travel accommodations are the best rental options for travelers. If you are searching for a less expensive or shared space or something likely to be less typical, stick to the option of staying at Airbnb. Airbnb might be a good option, as it provides excellent long-term stay discounts to its guests, while VRBO doesn’t have such a policy as compared to Airbnb. These discounts make a massive difference for people who want to stay for a week or more, so they should opt for Airbnb.
Though in Airbnb, the option of shared room or space lacks the factor of privacy offered in a full-rental property, this facility is great for travelers or students who don’t have any objection to sharing amenities in exchange for a lower-priced rental place. We have also researched and found out that Airbnb offers a fantastic overall experience for its guests.
While on the other hand, VRBO has unique features and facilities, including a travel insurance facility and a stand-alone vacation rental place. So, it provides a beautiful experience that is no less than any Airbnb.
Choosing the right vacation rental platform depends on your needs and travel preferences. Some might think that Airbnb is a better option, considering its lower price and other features. While some like staying at a VRBO as they prefer having their own private space.

Final Thoughts

While going on a trip, choosing the right vacation rental platform is essential. Undoubtedly, Airbnb and VRBO are both great vacation rental platforms. So, one should consider both facilities and choose the best rental platform that suits their preferences.
There are many benefits of choosing Airbnb for your next vacation rental search, as it consists of millions of listings, a great range of accommodation types, and flexibility options.
VRBO has gained a status of a family brand, and its stand-alone house rental facility fits that target. So, looking at the facilities of both vacation rental sites, one can choose the best for them.


What makes Airbnb more popular than VRBO?

Airbnb might not be as old as VRBO. However, in a short period, it has become one of the best vacation rental platforms offering unique experiences for guests as compared to VRBO and other vacation rental properties. Unlike other vacation rental sites, Airbnb also provides the option of shared rooms.

Which one of the vacation rental sites is safer to stay-Airbnb or VRBO?

Airbnb offers some unique safety features for solo travelers. It enables them to share their booking itinerary with friends and family. Though VRBO offers entire homes and no shared spaces with others, Airbnb allows you to share rooms with others which could become a safety concern for others-so VRBO is a safer option.

Is it possible for the guests to negotiate Airbnb or VRBO rates?

Well, the rates for both Airbnb and VRBO are set by the property owners, so the guest can message the owner and negotiate the rates. Though, it depends on the owner if they are willing to lower the rates.

Is there any additional or hidden fee for VRBO?

On the total payment of VRBO, they charge a 3% payment processing fee they receive from their traveler, including refundable damage deposits and taxes.

Do we have to pay any tax on Airbnb?

Airbnb earnings are added to your total taxable income; they are not exempted and are taxed together. However, one may get a tax-free allowance from their primary income if they rent a room on Airbnb.

Is Airbnb and VRBO guest screening important?

Yes, Airbnb or vrbo guest screening is essential. Through the property screening process, the hosts and property managers can save money in the long run, protect their property from wrong people and criminal activities, and reduce damage incidents by deterring inappropriate guests.


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