VRBO vs Airbnb – Which Booking Platform Is Better for Travelers and Hosts in 2024?

Nowadays, people do not have to face the difficulties of renting a house. There are numerous booking platforms and online travel agencies (OTA) that offer many different types of accommodation. However, today we will talk about two of them, which you probably heard about.

Well, VRBO and Airbnb are online marketplaces primarily for vacation rental lodging. VRBO is a part of Expedia Group, and it has listings in 190 countries, while Airbnb has listings in more than 220 countries and regions.

It is worth noting that travelers use Airbnb more often, probably because it is one of the top-three most popular booking platforms. That is why we decided to write about the difference between these marketplaces. Also, you will find out what is better for the traveler and what is better for the owner in this case.

VRBO vs Airbnb – Which is better

VRBO vs Airbnb – Which is better

Which Booking Website is Best for Travelers?

In our opinion, Airbnb is better for travelers since it wins in many factors if we compare it with VRBO. Nevertheless, the right answer to this question depends on your preferences. That is why we decided to make a little comparison, and then you can make your own decision.

  • Unlike Airbnb, VRBO does not offer private rooms or shared spaces, there are stand-alone homes only. Airbnb has different housing options such as the whole house, shared spaces, hostels, and even hotel rooms. Based on this, Airbnb allows you to save more money on rent.
  • Housing prices are about the same, on the websites you can find both budget options and more luxurious ones.
  • For long-term bookings, Airbnb offers a discount, unlike VRBO. No doubt, when you stay for a long period, the discount makes a difference as it can save you some decent money.
  • As we know, the cleanliness of an apartment most often depends on its owner. But Airbnb has a “Plus” feature, which means that they have a person who checks everything live so that the reality does not differ from the photos on the website.
  • In terms of website functionality, we would say that both are user-friendly. There are enough filters to set your criteria. Despite this, VRBO makes it easier for those who only want to book highly rated accommodation. Unfortunately, there is no such filter on Airbnb.
  • Airbnb has a lot more active listings. Chances are, doing searches for properties on both platforms in the same region will result in fewer results for VRBO. Airbnb has listings even in the most unusual places or in settlements where there is a small amount of population. Probably, such a large number of listings can be explained by the high popularity of Airbnb.

Airbnb vs VRBO for Owners

Well, we have to say that Airbnb and VRBO are definitely some of the best in the business when it comes to listing your property for short-term rent. As we have already discussed, both websites are quite easy to use and do not require much effort from guests to book your accommodation, this can be done in two clicks.

All you have to do is just follow a step-by-step process, where you need to select your property’s facilities, define the apartment rules during the stay, tell about the area your place is located, and upload real photos. Next, to choose a platform for your accommodation, you need to start from the small details and features of what you offer. So, let us tell you about the differences between them across several criteria down below.

1. Airbnb for Hosts

  • Airbnb awards Superhost status to those who are the best in property rentals. This status is something worth striving for. It is not that easy to get it because you must always adhere to several requirements. But we can say that it is definitely worth it. The reason is that with this status, your listings will be in high demand. And the Superhost badge is usually what gives credibility to your place.
  • If you intend to list a hotel or hostel room on a booking site, then you probably should use Airbnb. This platform provides a wider choice of housing accommodation for hosts.
  •  As could be seen, Airbnb is the best option for hosts with properties in urban areas. You can also find more unique options for renting there, as there are many more listings here than on VRBO.
  • Airbnb is also a great choice for those hosts who would like to help their guests to make their trip successful. There is a section on the website where you can see recommendations of attractions, restaurants, bars, unique places that the host recommends visiting for their guests.
  • This booking platform is also popular to rent a separate room in an apartment or house, which the guest will share with the owner. At this point, Airbnb can offer pricey options as well as affordable single rooms and shared apartments.

2. VRBO for Hosts

  • The website offers a smaller number of listings, which means less variety of choices for guests, but it also means less competition among hosts.
  • For owners with multiple properties, VRBO is a great option. The reason for it is the annual membership, which we have mentioned before. You have a great opportunity to pay US$ 499 for unlimited bookings.
  • Also, VRBO is a more popular website for owners with properties in vacation destinations, who offer private, entire space.
  • This booking platform is the best option for those owners who want the entire house or an apartment to be rented out.

VRBO vs Airbnb Fees Comparison

Without a doubt, we know that many people hate this part of the booking process. After all, the platforms that provide you with services charge an additional fee. And who even likes it? But we have to admit that this is a way to make money for booking websites. There are also cleaning fees, which both platforms carry. As you might guess, this fee is a one-time fee for keeping the apartment clean before your arrival. So, here we have to mention that this fee sets a host. And this usually covers the additional costs that the owner spends to prepare the space for a new guest.

  • At this point, both Airbnb and VRBO charge a service fee. And here, we should notice that Airbnb has them a little higher. So when booking through Airbnb, there is a split fee where the guest pays 14% of the subtotal and hosts pay 3%. There is also a host-only fee, where an owner pays the entire service fee, and this is about 15% of the total booking cost.
  • So, what about VRBO? Usually, guests pay 6-12% of the total booking cost. And the hosts have to pay a 5% commission and a 3% credit card processing fee. But there is also an option for the owners to get a US$499 annual subscription fee. In addition, there is a 2% fee for an international credit card.

Airbnb and VRBO Cancellation Policy

Both booking platforms offer different types of cancellation policies. In general, the main types are strict, moderate, and flexible. This determines how long before check-in a guest can cancel their booking. In short, the Airbnb booking refund process is simpler and less strict. Moreover, if you have an unforeseen situation, you can also directly contact the host, who can make concessions to you.

1. VRBO Cancellation Policy

  • This platform has a no refund option under any circumstances.
  • Unlike Airbnb, VRBO’s relaxed policy is way stricter. It allows cancellations no later than 14 days before check-in to receive a full refund.
  • Cancellations made up to 60-30 days before the check-in are fully refundable. With cancellations made up to 30-14 days before the check-in, you will get a 50% refund.
  • VRBO fully refunds if cancellations are made up to 60 days before the check-in.

2. Airbnb Cancellation Policy

  • Airbnb generally also has a super strict policy is that if canceled 60-30 days before check-in, guests will be refunded 50% of the nightly rate and cleaning fees.
  • Strict policies allow free cancellation within 48 hours of booking, but only if canceled at least 14 days before arrival. Moreover, if you cancel up to 7 days before the arrival, 50% of the overnight stay and cleaning fee will be refunded.
  • Moderate policies usually allow free cancellations up to 5 days before the arrival, if less – you will receive only a 50% refund.
  • Finally, the type of cancellation everybody loves is the flexible one. It means that you can make free cancellations up to 24 hours before you arrive at the place. If less than 24 hours – you will get the full refund minus the first night.

VRBO and Airbnb Alternatives

A good alternative is to book directly with the owner or with the company that works closely with the owner and can offer cheaper prices and more flexible terms. Of course, looking for opportunities to book directly takes time and effort, but it definitely worth it.

By renting with us, you can save money when you book a villa or an apartment in the Dominican Republic. You can save up to 25% on commissions that most booking platforms charge, such as Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia and many others. And this is because with the help of us you can book directly with the owner, and it allows you to save money on commissions.

Moreover, we offer holiday rentals only in secure and private areas. Having been a leader in the hospitality market since 2014, we have acquired the experience and knowledge that guarantees the safety and privacy of our clients during their unique holiday in the Dominican Republic.

We have a leading position in the hospitality market in Punta Cana, we have gained a lot of experience. Our company has over 68 listings on various booking platforms, including those mentioned above. In addition, Airbnb has awarded our team with Superhost status several times.

Our Villa Rentals

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Our Apartments for Rent

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In conclusion: which Booking System to Shoose in 2024?

Probably, now it is more or less clear to see that the choice of the website will depend on the purpose of your trip or the target guest you have in mind. To sum up, if you are a host, you get an opportunity to have listings on both platforms.

And if you are a guest, then it is worth starting from the type of accommodation you prefer or your budget. Airbnb has taken the vacation rental market by storm, and now it has way more number of listings than VRBO. You can probably find a more budget-friendly option on Airbnb as there are more types of accommodation available, such as single rooms and hostels. But if you are looking for an entire vacation property only, VRBO is a great option.

Nevertheless, we strongly recommend using both websites to find your ideal rental property. Finally, so that you can once again take a quick look at all that we have described above, we have prepared a small table with the main points.

Airbnb vs. Vrbo: the Main Differences

Criteria Airbnb VRBO
Number of listings Over 7 million. Over 2 million.
Service fees

Split fee: the guest pays 14% of the subtotal and hosts pay 3%.

A host-only fee: an owner pays the entire service fee, which is about 15% of the total booking cost.

Split fee: guests pay 6-12% of the total booking cost. And the hosts pay a 5% fee and a 3% credit card processing fee.

Annual subscription fee:  the owners pay US$ 499.

Cancellation policy Has different types of cancellation policies. Usually, it is moderate. Has different types of cancellation policies. Usually, it is more strict than Airbnb.
Property option for rent Listings with an entire house, as well as hostels, hotels, shared rooms in apartments are popular enough. It is more popular for owners with properties in vacation destinations, who offer the entire space.
Instant booking option Available. Available.
Long-term rentals Available. Available.


Frequently Asked Questions
about VRBO and Airbnb Platforms

1. Why is Airbnb more expensive than VRBO?

Well, you might think that Airbnb is more expensive, as it usually charges higher service fees than VRBO. At the same time, Airbnb provides a much wider choice of accommodation types. Based on this, it will probably be easier for you to find housing that you can afford. On Airbnb, there are common options with a shared apartment or even a room in a hostel, while on Vrbo, you can list only the entire property.

2. Who gets more traffic Airbnb or VRBO?

Well, in recent years, Airbnb has grown into a global rental platform that is a US$ 30 billion business. At this point, Airbnb gets more traffic than VRBO.

3. Which is less expensive Airbnb or VRBO?

In terms of service fees, VRBO is usually cheaper than Airbnb. And if we are talking about housing, then here you can find different types of housing for any budget.

4. Who owns VRBO?

Well, VRBO is an American company owned by Expedia Group now. But first, this platform was founded in 1995, and it was acquired by HomeAway in 2006. And then both companies were acquired by Expedia Group in 2015. Moreover, Expedia Group also owns Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Trivago, Hotwire.com, Travelocity, and CarRentals.com. In conclusion, HomeAway and Airbnb became a single VRBO website in 2020.

5. Can I list on Airbnb and VRBO at the same time?

Yes, you definitely can list your properties both on Airbnb and VRBO as well as other rental platforms.

6. Is Airbnb hosting worth it?

Well, Airbnb is one of the most famous rental websites at the moment. It offers a wide range of rental housing, not just a house or an entire apartment. That is why, there are many opportunities for hosts who have good properties to offer. Nevertheless, the right choice of a booking website will depend on your preferences and target audience.

7. Is VRBO a legit site?

Yes, VRBO is reliable enough if you are looking for a good property to rent.

8. Does Expedia own Airbnb?

No, Expedia does not own the Airbnb website. AirBedandBreakfast.com was founded in 2008, and Airbnb is just a shortened version of its original company’s name. At the same, there is an Expedia Group that owns VRBO, Expedia.com, Trivago, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire.com, and CarRentals.com.

9. Does VRBO allow negative reviews?

Yes, you can also find negative reviews on VRBO, since they cannot be edited or removed by hosts. Moreover, VRBO is somewhat hands-off in this case, and the company has the policy that this kind of problem should be resolved between the renter and the property owner. But in any case, you can contact the support team if you think you need to restore fairness.

10. What is cheaper Airbnb or a hotel?

In general, it depends entirely on the type of accommodation you are considering on Airbnb. And this is because not any accommodation makes sense to compare with the offers of the hotel. In addition, on Airbnb, you can also find hotel bookings. Therefore, it is almost impossible to say what is cheaper and what is more expensive. But it is worth saying that on Airbnb you can find accommodation for almost any budget.

11. Are VRBO and HomeAway the same thing?

In short, yes, it is the same now. First, VRBO was acquired by HomeAway in 2006. And then both platforms were members of the Expedia Group. But we should say that the companies do not exist separately anymore, since HomeAway was folded into VRBO in 2020.

12. What percentage does VRBO charge?

Usually, the guests pay 6-12% of the total booking cost. And the hosts have to pay a 5% fee and a 3% credit card processing fee.

13. What percentage of Airbnb hosts are Superhosts?

There are no official statistics from Airbnb, but this percentage is probably not large. And the reason of it that it is not so easy to get the status of a SuperHost, you need to follow a number of requirements. Here are the main requirements:

  • Communication. You need to maintain at least a 90% response rate.
  • Experience. You have to accept and complete at least 10 trips or 3 reservations with a total duration of at least 100 nights.
  • Cancellation rate. It does not have to be more than 1% (1 cancellation per 100 bookings). But except for cases provided for by the Regulations on the application of good reasons.
  • Rating. An average rating has to be at least 4.8 over the last 365 days.


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