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The difference between Vrbo and Airbnb

What is the difference between Vrbo and Airbnb? We list the similarities and differences between the two short-term rental platforms on our blog.

Airbnb ManagementVrboShort-term rental management

Published on 15 Dec 2021

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Vrbo and Airbnb are both online rental platforms that offer private and commercial property managers to rent their places out. They both offer different types of short and long term housing around the world.

Vrbo is an American company, part of Expedia Group, offering over 2 million vacation rentals, including condos, villas, cottages, ski chalets, beach houses, and lake rentals. With their slogan “Travel better together”, Vrbo only offers full-space rentals on their website, typically catering to families, vacationers, and larger groups.

Airbnb was founded in 2007 and to date, has approximately 6 million property listings and over 4 million hosts in more than 200 countries around the world. On Airbnb, you will find everything, from a room, apartment, home, cabin and farm to igloos, treehouses, and more.

As with most things, each short-term rental channel manager has its pros and cons. We’ve broken down the basic differences between these two platforms to help property managers better understand the opportunities and limitations associated with both.


Vrbo allows guests to rent entire properties, whether that’s a house, cottage, or apartment. That means you won’t find any shared spaces or rooms on the site.

Airbnb provides a number of options, which range from renting out an entire place, a private room in a shared house, and a shared room with other guests. The platform has also extended its offering to include individual or shared rooms in hostels and hotels.

Both management companies and individual property owners can use the platform to attract short-term tenants.

Booking Fees

Vrbo has two different host service fees: pay-per-booking and subscription.

  • Pay-per-booking gives hosts the option to pay a booking fee only for the bookings they receive. This allows hosts to list on more than one channel and block dates on Vrbo as they wish, without having to pay the entire year’s commission fees in advance. Vrbo’s commission starts at 8% per booking for pay-per-booking listings.
  • The subscription option requires an annual fee upfront at a flat rate of $499. This option is advantageous if Vrbo is your primary booking source.

Like VRBO, Airbnb also offers two types of host service fees: Split fee and Host-only fee.

  • Split fee is when the service fee is divided between hosts and guests. Guests pay the majority of the service fee, (about 14% of the booking subtotal) while hosts pay 3%. This is currently only available to certain hosts in location-dependent countries.
  • The host-only fee option doesn't use guest fees and instead, requires hosts to pay the entire service fee. The service fee that hosts pay ranges from 14% upwards of the total booking cost. Airbnb also charges hosts a service fee for any experiences they offer to guests.


As a property manager or owner, one can verify a guest by communicating directly with them to request any further information you would like to know.

Airbnb does not do background checks or monitor its users' activities. Airbnb users can check the status of potential guests’ profiles by confirming personal details, and scanning their IDs.

Neither company offers a more comprehensive approach to guest screening to protect the privacy of users.

Pros and cons summary

  • On Vrbo, your property will immediately be placed on all of Vrbo’s affiliated sites such as Expedia, Trivago, and KAYAK
  • Airbnb accepts more diverse listings than VRBO
  • Airbnb and VRBO protects hosts by requiring guests to pay a certain percentage of the total booking cost when they make a cancellation
  • VRBO typically attracts older audiences with families while Airbnb typically younger, adventurous or business-minded audience
  • On Airbnb, guests must leave a review within 14 days while on VRBO, guests have up to 1 year to leave a review

While Airbnb is popular as a rental platform that offers more unique experiences for guests compared to other vacation rental sites, listing your vacation rental property on Vrbo can give hosts more exposure. That’s why we suggest knowing the pros and cons of each in order to strike a healthy balance between the two when it comes to listing your properties online.

Need help listing your property? Feel free to drop us a line, we are happy to help.

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