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Airbnb or VRBO: Which One To Choose For Your Short-Term Rental

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Deciding between Airbnb or VRBO for your short-term rental? Compare features, fees, and user experiences to make the best choice.

Are you considering renting out your property for short-term stays and unsure which platform to choose? Look no further as we delve into the world of Airbnb and VRBO to help you make an informed decision. Discover each platform's key differences, benefits, and potential drawbacks, and learn how to maximize your rental income.

Understanding Airbnb and VRBO

Regarding short-term rental platforms, Airbnb and VRBO are two popular choices that allow hosts to monetize their properties. Understanding these platforms' key features and differences is essential for making an informed decision.

  • Airbnb: Airbnb is a global marketplace that connects hosts with guests seeking unique accommodations. It offers a user-friendly interface and extensive search functionality, allowing hosts to list their properties, set their own rental prices, and communicate with potential guests.
  • VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner): VRBO is a vacation rental platform that primarily caters to families and large groups seeking spacious accommodations. Compared to Airbnb, VRBO focuses more on whole-home rentals rather than individual rooms within a property.

Both Airbnb and VRBO have their own unique business models and target audiences. Airbnb appeals to a wide range of travelers, including solo adventurers, couples, and business travelers, providing a diverse pool of potential guests. On the other hand, VRBO predominantly attracts families and groups looking for larger vacation homes.

While Airbnb offers a broader range of accommodations, including shared spaces and unique listings such as treehouses and castles, VRBO focuses on providing traditional vacation rentals. This difference in target audiences and property selection should be considered when deciding which platform aligns better with your rental property.

Features and Benefits of Airbnb

When it comes to short-term rentals, Airbnb offers a plethora of features and benefits that make it a popular choice among hosts. Whether you're renting out a spare room or an entire property, Airbnb provides a user-friendly platform and a wide-reaching audience, ensuring maximum exposure for your listing.

1. Ease of Use

Airbnb's website and mobile app are designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate. Hosts can effortlessly create a listing, upload photos, and provide detailed descriptions of their property. The platform also offers built-in tools for managing reservations, communicating with guests, processing payments, and streamlining the rental process.

2. Wide-Reaching Audience

With millions of users worldwide, Airbnb connects hosts with a vast pool of potential guests. The platform's extensive marketing efforts and global reach ensure that your listing will receive exposure to a diverse range of travelers, increasing the likelihood of booking inquiries and maximizing your rental income.

3. Options for Guest Communication

Airbnb facilitates seamless communication between hosts and guests through its messaging system. Hosts can easily respond to inquiries, provide recommendations, and address guests' concerns or questions. This feature fosters a sense of trust and transparency, enhancing the overall guest experience and increasing the likelihood of positive reviews.

  • An easy-to-use platform for creating listings
  • Intuitive tools for managing reservations and communication with guests
  • Global reach and exposure to a diverse range of potential guests
  • Messaging system for seamless communication
  • Potential for positive guest reviews and increased rental income

Features and Benefits of VRBO

When it comes to short-term rental platforms, VRBO stands out with its unique features and benefits. Whether you're a property owner or a traveler, VRBO offers advantages that cater to a different target audience and enhance the overall experience of renting or booking a vacation home.

1. Appeal to a Different Target Audience

  • VRBO appeals to travelers who prefer a more private and secluded stay. It caters to families, larger groups, and those seeking spacious and comfortable accommodations.
  • With VRBO, you can find a wide range of properties, including entire homes, cabins, and luxury villas, providing options for different budgets and preferences.

2. Streamlined Booking Process

  • VRBO offers a straightforward booking process with clear pricing, availability calendars, and instant booking options.
  • VRBO hosts can set their own booking requirements, such as minimum nights or specific check-in/check-out dates. This allows them to maintain control over their rental availability.

3. Built-in Property Management Tools

  • VRBO provides hosts with a variety of tools to effectively manage their rental properties. They have access to a dashboard that allows them to update availability, respond to inquiries, and manage bookings.
  • Hosts can also utilize the VRBO app to effectively communicate with guests, handle payment transactions, and monitor their rental performance on the go.

Overall, VRBO offers distinct features and benefits that make it an attractive choice for those looking to rent or book a short-term vacation home. Its focus on larger accommodations, streamlined booking process, and built-in property management tools provide both hosts and travelers convenience and peace of mind.

Comparing Fees and Costs

When it comes to choosing between Airbnb and VRBO for your short-term rental property, evaluating the fees and costs associated with each platform is crucial. To make an informed decision, let's take a closer look at how these two popular options compare in terms of financial considerations.

Airbnb Fees

  • Service Fees: Airbnb charges hosts a service fee for each booking, typically ranging from 3% to 5% of the total reservation cost. This fee covers the platform's cost and provides access to Airbnb's extensive audience.
  • Listing Fees: Creating a listing on Airbnb is free, allowing hosts to showcase their properties without incurring any upfront costs.
  • Payment Processing Fees: Airbnb deducts a payment processing fee from host payouts, usually around 3%, to cover the expenses associated with securely processing transactions.


  • Service Fees: VRBO charges hosts a service fee, which generally ranges from 5% to 15% of the total reservation cost. This fee enables hosts to access VRBO's large user base and benefit from its marketing efforts.
  • Listing Fees: Similar to Airbnb, creating a listing on VRBO is free, allowing hosts to advertise their properties at no additional cost.
  • Payment Processing Fees: VRBO does not charge hosts for payment processing, meaning you won't incur any extra fees in this regard.

It's important to note that both Airbnb and VRBO may have additional costs that hosts should consider. These potential hidden costs could include cleaning fees, maintenance expenses, and any necessary permits or licenses required by local regulations. It's crucial to thoroughly evaluate these aspects before making a decision.

By understanding the fees and costs associated with Airbnb and VRBO, you can effectively compare the financial implications of each platform. Consider how these factors align with your budget and rental property goals to make an informed choice that maximizes your profits.

User Experiences and Reviews

When it comes to choosing a platform for your short-term rental property, user experiences and reviews play a crucial role. Airbnb and VRBO have amassed a vast number of users over the years, and hearing from those who have already utilized these platforms can provide valuable insights.

Hosts and guests alike have shared their experiences, offering feedback on various aspects of their interactions with Airbnb and VRBO. One of the key factors frequently mentioned is the ease of booking. Users appreciate platforms that offer a seamless and straightforward booking process, allowing them to secure accommodations hassle-free.

Communication is another aspect that users consider when evaluating their experience with a short-term rental platform. Efficient and reliable communication channels between hosts and guests can significantly enhance the overall satisfaction of both parties. Airbnb and VRBO have developed robust messaging systems that facilitate smooth and timely communication, ensuring that all questions and concerns are addressed promptly.

Additionally, reviews left by previous guests play a crucial role in shaping the reputation of properties listed on Airbnb and VRBO. Users often rely on these reviews to gauge the quality and authenticity of a listing. Positive reviews highlight exceptional experiences, while negative reviews can raise concerns or red flags. Taking the time to read through genuine user reviews can help ensure a satisfactory stay for guests and attract potential guests for hosts.

Exploring Property Management Companies

Managing short-term rental properties on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO can be time-consuming. That's where property management companies come in, offering to handle the day-to-day operations of your rental property, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life or business.

By outsourcing tasks such as guest communication, cleaning, and maintenance to property management companies, you can ensure that your guests have a seamless experience while maximizing your rental income. These companies are experienced in the field and have the expertise to attract and retain high-quality guests, handle bookings, manage inquiries, and provide around-the-clock support.

One of the advantages of using property management companies is that they can take care of time-consuming tasks that may be challenging for individual hosts, especially if they have multiple properties or limited availability. Property management companies have a team of professionals dedicated to managing your rental, making sure it is clean, well-maintained, and ready for the next guest.

In addition to operational tasks, property management companies can assist with strategic pricing and listing optimization. They have a deep understanding of current market trends and can help you maximize your rental income by setting competitive prices and adjusting them based on demand and other factors.

Furthermore, property management companies can handle guest reviews and feedback, ensuring prompt responses and addressing any issues or concerns raised by guests. This proactive approach enhances the guest experience and improves your online reputation, leading to more bookings and positive reviews.


After comparing the features, benefits, fees, user experiences, and property management options of Airbnb and VRBO, it is clear that both platforms have their strengths and cater to different types of short-term rental hosts.

When deciding between Airbnb and VRBO for your short-term rental property, it is important to consider your specific needs, target audience, and desired level of control. By assessing these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and ultimately leads to a successful and profitable rental experience.


What Are the Main Differences Between Airbnb and VRBO?

Airbnb offers a wider range of properties, including shared spaces and unique accommodations, catering to a broader audience. VRBO focuses exclusively on whole properties, appealing to families and larger groups seeking private spaces.

Which Platform Offers Better Host Fees?

VRBO generally charges homeowners a yearly subscription fee or a per-booking commission, while Airbnb charges a host service fee per booking, typically around 3%. The best choice depends on your rental frequency and pricing.

How Do the Guest Demographics Differ Between Airbnb and VRBO?

Airbnb attracts a diverse range of travelers, including solo travelers and younger guests, while VRBO is more popular among families and older travelers looking for longer stays in entire homes.

Can I List My Property on Both Airbnb and VRBO?

Yes, you can list on both platforms to maximize visibility and bookings. However, managing calendars and bookings across platforms to avoid double bookings is crucial. Luckily, a channel manager like Hospitable can help you list properties on multiple platforms and automatically update your calendar once bookings are made on any site.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it for short term rental.