Vrbo vs Airbnb: Which Is Better For Hosts? [2024]

Get the inside scoop on whether Airbnb or VRBO is the best fit for your vacation rental in this online travel agency (OTA) platform comparison.

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A listing site is your rental property’s online shop window. It’s where potential guests find and book your place. Picking the right one is vital for getting bookings, reaching your target audience, and managing costs effectively. So, it’s a big deal for your short-term rental business!

Are you exploring your options of listing sites for your short-term rental business? Look no further. In this Airbnb vs Vrbo for hosts comparison, we’ll help you decide which platform is better for you. 

Can You List on Both Vrbo and Airbnb?

Yes, you can list on both Vrbo and Airbnb. Listing on multiple sites can expand your reach and increase bookings. However, be cautious of possible double bookings and the challenge of managing multiple platforms. To simplify this, consider using a channel manager.

A channel manager is like your booking superhero. It syncs your calendars, so you avoid double bookings, and it gives you a single inbox for all your messages. It makes your life as a host easier and more organized. 

Even without a channel manager, you can manually sync your Airbnb and Vrbo calendars.

What is Vrbo?

Vrbo was founded in 1995. It offers over 2 million vacation rentals, including residential units, villas, cabins, ski chalets, beach houses, and lakefront rentals. With its motto “Travel better together,” Vrbo typically caters to families, tourists, and larger groups, which is why they exclusively list entire space rentals on their website.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb was born in 2007 and since then has published more than 6 million property listings with over 4 million hosts across more than 220 countries and regions worldwide. On Airbnb, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations, from everyday casual stays to more upscale and elegant options. Whether you’re looking for a room, an apartment, a house, a cabin, or even a farmhouse, Airbnb has something for everyone.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: An Overview

Airbnb boasts a more extensive range of property types and unique experiences, while Vrbo is favored for whole-home rentals, especially for family vacations.

Property TypesSpecializes in whole-home rentals, ideal for families and groups.Offers a wide range of property types, catering to various traveler preferences.
Costs for HostsTwo options: pay-per-booking fee (starting at 8%) or annual fee (starting at $499). Guest fees range from 6% to 12% of the booking total.3% fee on the booking total. Guests can pay up to 14% of the booking total, excluding taxes and extras.
Reach and Getting BookingsAttracts families and groups seeking longer stays.Attracts solo travelers, couples, and families, catering to various lengths of stay.
Host Protection InsuranceProvides $1 million in primary liability coverage.Offers liability insurance through AirCover, covering up to $1 million.
Cancellation PoliciesTypically no cancellation fee for hosts unless it’s an unjustified cancellation. Offers “cancellation waivers” for uncontrollable situations.Cancellation fees vary based on when the cancellation occurs, starting at $50 USD.
Host Customer SupportMixed reviews, with a 1.7-star rating.Mixed reviews, with a 1.3-star rating. Slow response times and language communication issues were reported.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: Costs for Hosts

Airbnb charges hosts a 3% fee based on the booking total, while guests can pay up to 14% of the booking total, excluding taxes and extras.

Vrbo offers more flexibility with two options: an 8% pay-per-booking fee for hosts with yearly rental income less than $10,000, and an annual fee starting at $499 for hosts planning year-round rentals with no extra charges. Guest fees on Vrbo range from 6% to 12% of the booking total.

If you prioritize lower host fees and are open to varying guest fees, choose Airbnb. However, if you seek flexible options for host fees and are aiming for year-round rentals, Vrbo may be your cost-effective choice.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: Reach and Getting Bookings

When it comes to getting guests, Airbnb is like a big net that reaches out to people from many countries. It’s like a magnet for solo travelers, couples, and families who are all looking for a place to stay. On the other hand, Vrbo has a different focus. It’s for families who want to rent whole houses for their trips. 

Airbnb Guest Profile – With its colossal user base of over 150 million, Airbnb caters to various lengths of stay, from days to weeks, for a diverse range of travelers with different travel purposes.

Vrbo Guest Profile – With around 48 million monthly users, Vrbo attracts families and groups seeking longer stays, often spanning weeks to months, for vacations and group getaways.

To make sure your place stays busy with guests, it’s smart to pick a platform that matches the kind of place you have and the people you want to host. This way, you can find the right guests and keep your place full of happy travelers.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: Host Protection Insurance

Both Airbnb and Vrbo take safety seriously.

Airbnb Host Insurance Airbnb offers liability insurance through AirCover. It covers you up to $1 million if you’re legally responsible for a guest’s injury or their belongings being stolen or damaged during their stay. It also includes those who assist you, like co-hosts and cleaning staff, for added safety.

Vrbo Host Insurance – Vrbo provides $1 million in primary liability coverage for property owners and managers. If someone files a claim against you, Vrbo’s policy steps in first. If you already have liability insurance, consider this extra coverage. Your existing policy and Vrbo’s policy work together if a claim is made, offering extra peace of mind at no extra cost.

However, it’s recommended to have your own vacation rental insurance in addition to what these platforms provide. Your own insurance can give you extra protection and peace of mind.

For more information and to find the best vacation rental insurance, you can check out our guide on the best insurance options. Or, you can request a quote from Proper Insurance for comprehensive vacation rental coverage.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: Cancellation Policies

When it comes to cancellations, Airbnb and Vrbo have different approaches.

With Airbnb, if a host cancels, there’s usually a fee, starting at $50 USD. The fee varies based on when the cancellation occurs, ranging from 10% to 50% of the reservation amount. For longer stays, it’s a bit different. This fee covers the base rate, cleaning and pet fees, but not taxes and guest fees. If the calculated fee is under $50 USD, it’s bumped up to that amount.

For Vrbo, things are a bit more flexible. There’s typically no cancellation fee for hosts unless it’s an unjustified cancellation. Vrbo does offer “cancellation waivers” for uncontrollable situations, but canceling without one can affect your standing in the industry.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: Host Customer Support

Both Airbnb and Vrbo have customer support options, but their services receive mixed reviews. Here we show you their ratings on Trustpilot.

Airbnb’s customer support has an average rating of 1.3 stars, with numerous complaints about slow response times and instances where staff didn’t communicate effectively in English. A significant 72% of reported issues were related to poor customer service. 

Vrbo’s customer support fares slightly better with a rating of 1.7 stars, but it also faces similar problems and criticisms.

In terms of customer support, both platforms have room for improvement.


If you have a variety of property types and aim to welcome different kinds of travelers, such as solo guests or families, Airbnb could be the platform for you. Airbnb features a straightforward 3% host fee and is a versatile choice.

On the other hand, if you have a whole home to rent out and prefer flexible host fee options, Vrbo is a great fit. Vrbo offers choices between a pay-per-booking fee and an annual fee, making it especially suitable for hosts planning year-round rentals. Your decision should align with your property and hosting goals.

You can also maximize your exposure by listing on both platforms with a channel manager. Make sure to go for the listing site that best fits your specific needs, and if you’re looking for more options, take a look at our post on the best listing sites.

Another viable option is to build a website for your vacation rental and offer direct booking. With the right marketing plan, SEO strategies, and mixed with the property management software that fits your needs, you can get around the fees from these online travel agencies (OTA) and reduce the dependency on these platforms.

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