Comparing Airbnb vs Vrbo - which one’s better? | Picking the right rental

Comparing Airbnb vs Vrbo – which one’s better?

/ 02:29 PM March 25, 2021

More people are checking Airbnb vs Vrbo for vacation rentals lately. Some countries, especially the United States, are starting to remove their lockdown restrictions. People have been waiting so long for a getaway, so they’ve started booking reservations. Airbnb and Vrbo are some of their top choices.

If you’ve never heard of Vrbo, we’ll explain how it works. We’ll compare its features with Airbnb and show what makes them different from one another. The better choice will depend on your travel needs and budget. No matter which one you pick, they follow public health guidelines to keep COVID-19 away.

Everyone has been waiting for the chance to get back to normal. After a year of following guidelines, we just want to get away from home! Perhaps you want an exciting adventure or a relaxing destination. You should learn whether to pick Airbnb, Vrbo, or other rental services for the best experience.

What’s Vrbo?

What’s Vrbo?

Airbnb brought a new way to rent and share a place for a while. Other vacation rental sites soon followed Airbnb’s example. Vrbo is one of those that are trending right now.

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Vrbo started in 1995 with its original name Vacation Rental by Owner. It has grown 2 million listings across 190 countries ever since.

Even though it’s similar to Airbnb, its features set it apart. Depending on your travel needs, one of them might be the better fit.


Airbnb vs Vrbo

For short-term rentals, many people have turned to Airbnb. Its smartphone app lets vacation or business travelers book a shared room with ease. Nowadays, more people use Vrbo as well.

Unlike Airbnb, Vrbo rents out entire homes. It promotes its home rental services for families on vacation. Customers could choose from several homes or use filters to find specific types.

You could also organize search results by price or other features. As with other booking sites, you pay for reservations via credit card.


There are other differences between Airbnb vs. Vrbo. Read below to learn more about their differences based on specific categories.

Types of properties

Types of properties

You can choose from a lot of shared spaces by Airbnb. Pick from tiny houses, apartments, and even basements where you can stay awhile. Home-sharing means no privacy, though.

Vrbo properties are much bigger than the ones Airbnb offers. It lets you rent villas, condos, and other vacation homes all to yourself. As you might expect, these cost more than Airbnb’s.

Your choice between Airbnb vs Vrbo will depend on your budget and needs. If you don’t mind strangers nearby, Airbnb might be good. If you want a place to yourself, Vrbo could be better.

Related Article: Best Places to Travel during COVID

Service fees

You’ll need to pay variable guest service fees and host fees for Vrbo and Airbnb. Though, the amounts are different between Airbnb vs Vrbo.

As a guest, you’ll need to pay Airbnb fees around 5%-20% of the reservation subtotal. Airbnb hosts have to pay 3% each time someone books their property.

Meanwhile, guest fees for Vrbo are around 6%-12% of the total reservation amount. The service fee for owners is tricky, though. Check how Vrbo calculates the pay-per-booking fee online.


When choosing between Airbnb vs Vrbo, you should check reviews online. Thankfully, both of them have comment sections for their listings.

Airbnb hosts could receive suggestions or complaints from renters. You can even search Airbnb reviews so that you can check your specific concern. It also has a host community section.

Listings on Vrbo also have ratings and comments. Property managers could reply to reviewers, though. This allows Vrbo to learn more about the homeowners and their properties.

Cancellation policies

Cancellation policies

Another difference between Airbnb vs Vrbo is in the way they handle cancellations. Here are the kinds of cancellation policies they have:

Airbnb Policy Options:

  • Flexible – Get a full refund if you cancel until 24 hours before check-in
  • Moderate – Cancel for free until 5 days before check-in
  • Strict – Free cancellation for 48 hours as long as you do it 14 days before check-in
  • Long-term – Full refund for 48 hours after confirmation, as long as you cancel at least 28 days before checking in
  • Super strict 30 days – Cancel around 30 days before check-in, and get a 50% refund for the cleaning fee and nightly rate
  • Super tough 60 days – Cancel at least 60 days before checking in, and you’ll get a 50% refund for the cleaning fee and nightly rate

Vrbo Policy Options:

  • No refund – You can’t get your money back no matter the reason or time.
  • Strict – You can get a full refund if you cancel at least 60 days before your reservation starts.
  • Firm – Full refund if you cancel at least 60 days before the start date. Get a 50% refund if you cancel around 30 days before.
  • Moderate – Cancel 30 days before, and you get your money back in full. Do it around 14 days. You get 50% instead.
  • Relaxed – Cancel at least 14 days before your schedule to get a full refund. Do it 7 days before, and you get a 50% refund.

Airbnb vs Vrbo during the pandemic

Airbnb vs Vrbo during the pandemic

Some countries are starting to remove coronavirus restrictions, specifically the US. No matter which one you pick, you should still follow public health guidelines.

Vrbo and Airbnb make sure property owners keep visitors safe. Cleanliness should be maintained in the entire place, even the amenities.

Due to present circumstances, hosts and guests should still keep safe against the coronavirus. It’s about to go away in some areas, but we’re not done yet!

Final Thoughts

More people are looking for vacation destinations nowadays. Many have been checking Airbnb and Vrbo offers as well.

Don’t just compare Airbnb vs. Vrbo, though. There are other rental platforms like HomeAway and FlipKey. Check if other rental sites could provide what you need.

Read the fine print before booking a reservation. Make sure you get all the features you want, such as cleaning services.

Understand the terms for cancellation. Even if you have a flexible cancellation policy, you might miss the timeframe for a full refund!

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TAGS: Airbnb, Best of, travel
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