VRBO vs. Airbnb: Key Differences for Real Estate Investors

Ever thought of investing in a vacation rental? There are approximately 785,000 investors with the same idea, making up a $64 billion market and over 2.4 million rental homes. But where do you start? This blog will explore the two most popular apps for vacation rentals, Airbnb and Vrbo and their benefits and downfalls for investors. Here we go!

Hosting on Airbnb

Airbnb is ideal for guests looking for unique and local experiences. This is especially true for travelers who are looking to save money by staying with a host in a shared room or perhaps in an in-law suite. The app charges around 3% per booking, which can also be affected by their cancellation policies. Guests can expect to pay around 14.2% in service charges. Hosts have the choice of opting for a “host-only” fee model (14-16%) where guests pay nothing in service fees and the charges are handled by the host. Payments for bookings are sent within 24 hours of check-in with options for bank transfers, PayPal, Fast Pay and more. For any stay over 27 nights, hosts can expect to be paid monthly. As far as insurance, they offer “AirCover” which provides up to $3M in coverage for damages caused by guests. This includes legal liability for hosts and their rental team. Pricing your listing is also made easy with “Smart Pricing” which adjusts the rates based on demand.

Hosting on Vrbo

Vrbo is favored by families and older, more affluent travelers seeking private accommodations. This platform does not offer shared spaces, ensuring that guests have the entire property to themselves, which is particularly appealing for those looking for comfort and privacy. Vrbo charges a 5% commission per booking and an additional 3% for credit card processing, though this fee is waived for short-term rentals in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Travelers on Vrbo pay service fees ranging from 6-12%. Payments are processed through Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, and professional hosts can utilize processors like Stripe or Braintree for secure transactions. Reviews can be submitted up to a year after check-out, shrinking to 14 days once one party submits their review, with top hosts being recognized as Premier Hosts. Vrbo’s insurance offering includes a Liability Insurance program that provides up to $1 million in coverage for injury and property damage claims made by guests. For pricing, Vrbo offers the MarketMaker tool, which helps hosts set competitive rates, and listings are also shared across partner sites like Expedia and KAYAK to enhance visibility and booking potential.

Our Thoughts

By listing your property on both Airbnb and Vrbo, you can maximize your reach and increase your potential income. Airbnb caters to a diverse range of travelers looking for unique and cost-effective stays, while Vrbo appeals to families and those seeking private, high-end accommodations. Utilizing both platforms allows you to tap into different markets and enhance your booking opportunities, making it a smart strategy for any real estate investor. We hope you enjoyed our blog and for more information, check out their websites or this blog which we used for inspiration from Hostaway, who offers an “all-in-one” vacation rental software.

Get More Tips Like These

If you like this post, you'll love our monthly newsletter! You'll get a new theme with ideas for your real estate business from marketing tips to legal advice. Subscribe today!

Get An Instant Quote!