For the longest time, Airbnb served as a holy grail of vacation rentals. In fact, the only question for travelers was whether to use Airbnb or hotels during their next trip. However, the global marketplace is too big for just one company, and in time, a lot of viable other options came into the frame.
One of such platforms is the Vrbo, a service that caught the attention of many travelers around the globe. Still, how do these two giants stack up, what are the advantages of each platform, and most importantly, how can travelers benefit from this rivalry? Let’s take a closer look in order to help you determine which option might be the best for your next trip!
Which platform offers more rental options?
While Airbnb is more well-known of the two, Vrbo also has a substantial number of available listings in their own right. However, while the number of 2 million listings seems very impressive, it can’t really hold a candle to Airbnb with its vast array of available rentals, which include over 5 million properties.
Moreover, while Airbnb is present in 200 countries in the world, Vrbo stops just short of that figure at 190. There are some major reasons for these differences, as Vrbo only specializes in stand-alone vacation homes, while Airbnb is more flexible on that front, including shared spaces and even hotel rooms in their portfolio.
Which app is easier to use?
At first glance, it appears that Airbnb is far ahead of Vrbo when it comes to user experience. A simplified view of the map, where all pinned properties also display price is a nice touch. Ultimately, the price of rental is oftentimes the most important thing for travelers.
Where Vrbo gains some ground is the applicability of its filters. For example, even a simple thing such as a filter that shows rentals where pets are allowed is clearly displayed at the very top. On the other hand, Airbnb somewhat hid it in the menu below. Furthermore, the list of other most important things for travelers includes user rankings for cleanliness and location, which Vrbo offers in their filter section and Airbnb does not.
At the end of the day, these differences are not major, but they can make some users more inclined towards one app or the other. When the contest between two apps is so tight, it can present the key difference in the end.
Where can you find lower fees?
Here is where we notice the biggest difference between the two platforms. No matter if you are a property owner or a guest, you have to be prepared to set some money aside for fees. On Airbnb, guests pay up to 15% of the reservation costs, while the hosts are stuck with a 3% fee per booking. Additionally, if hosts offer Airbnb experiences as a service, that fee climbs up to 20%.
On the other hand, guests on Vrbo are facing a 6-12% fee per booking, but the situation for hosts is quite a bit different. One option includes a fee of 8% per booking, but the other includes an annual fee of $499, which covers all the expenses. While this might seem a bit too steep at first, it’s a fact that property owners of popular rentals can find this much more affordable. Even the Vrbo recommends the property owners to choose this option if their accommodation is occupied more than six weeks per year. Anything less than that, and you might be better sticking to the first option.
Are there any differences when it comes to flexibility?
Other than the internal factors, we have all witnessed the increasing presence of external factors in recent years, which forced a lot of travelers to cancel their plans at the last minute. When that happens, flexibility plays a key role in determining whether you can expect to see a full refund or not.
Both of these platforms have some basic rules when it comes to flexibility, with one major difference being that Vrbo allows users to set custom property rules when it comes to canceling policies, which might be a bit too strict at times.
We hope that we’ve been able to help you get a better understanding of these two platforms, and as always, the final choice remains up to you. Do you have a personal favorite?