Verbo (what happened to HomeAway) vs Airbnb

8 Replies

I am a HomeAway Premier Partner and an Airbnb superhost generating over $100k per year from a vacation villa in los cabos.

After starting strong with Airbnb in 2016, Homeaway bookings represented about 75 percent of my revenue in 2017 /2018. Yet in 2019 market share has totally shifted and Airbnb now represents almost 100 percent of my revenue. It’s almost like they are fighting for market share of our property or that a HomeAway has fallen off a cliff.

Anyway, as a relative newcomer to STR, I was steered to listing on Homeaway as the aggregator (not VRBO) and I notice that I cannot access (edit) my listing on VRBO... only on HomeAway.

In the background Expedia seems to be doubling down on VRBO and losing focus on HomeAway - I am curious if others have observed this and if there is a way to fully activate myself as an owner on the VRBO site? Am I being negatively impacted by being a HomeAway originated listing vs a legacy VRBO listing? Am curious what others have experienced in this regard and what inside scoop, recommendations or knowledge folks have to optimize listing VRBO performance in the context of Expedia’s plans. If I start from scratch on VRBO I doubt I can take my reviews with me.

That is a great question. I am also Premier Partner on HomeAway and I am getting about 50/50 coming from VRBO vs HomeAway. 

I am assuming that when people are searching on either site, the same entries come up. Have you tried searching on VRBO for your property with typical parameters to see how it compares?

Make sure you clear the browser history to make it a fresh search. I am going to try it and see what happens.

But, 100k with a single villa! Way to go! Where in Los Cabos is your place?

Ok, just to reply right away. I did a basic search with zero parameters, not even a date or number of guests, on both sites and our home came up in 10th position with over 300 listings.

Not very scientific, but it appears that both sites are generating the same results. Now you can drill down with exact parameters and see if it changes, but my gut says they use the exact same engine to search the same database.

I would guess that accessing your site for management via VRBO doesn't really matter.

As for the shifts in bookings, that just seems to be the way of things. We are 75/25 in favor of VRBO/HomeAway vs AirBNB. Our home is 2400sqft and geared towards families. It might be (having not seen your home) that a Los Cabos place might be geared towards younger people/couple. Younger folks seem to use AirBNB more. 

My 2 cents. :)

Interesting insights thank you. The property is located in a community called Rancho Cerro Colorado near the Palmilla in San Jose Del Cabo. I would share the link but believe that may violate community guidelines. 

I do find the massive swings in market share of my property between the two sites very interesting. Perhaps it has to do with my relative performance (responsiveness or something else) which impacts search engine placement. Overall, I find the Airbnb app and experience much smoother so I am not necessarily complaining although the Homeaway clientele tend to be better guests and bigger ticket stays and I’d rather see a more balanced revenue mix. So trying to figure out how to get my homeaway / verbo game back.

If you create your account on HA then you can only edit it on HA even though it will show up on HA, Vrbo and Expedia.

I get 95% of my booking from the HA network. I get 5 or 6 bookings if I'm lucky from my Airbnb account.

It doesn't really matter in which entity you hold your VRBO/Homeaway account. It's all one big indistinguishable mess now. With the new "Verbohhhh" push , it seems Expedia has completely changed directions in their branding since taking over. Initially, the Homeaway brand had top billing. I think they realized that Airbnb was controlling the vocabulary in the category. No one was saying, "we're gonna homeaway this vacation instead of staying in a hotel". Airbnb has become a verb, like uber and google have done.

 When people ask me what I do it's much easier for me to say, "I'm a professional airbnb host" They are hoping "Verbo" is the answer to that problem. Personally, I think it's some Titanic deck chair remodeling. My experience has been that Airbnb has flipped the script in results vs VRBO in the past 3 years (when Expedia took over) As @John Underwood will attest their are regional variations to platform performance. I speculate my results may be because we are only 90 minutes from Boston and airbnb owns the younger ,urban demographic. But I have also been hugely disappointed in Expedia's hamfisted management of VRBO. I personally have been really happy with airbnb (as I used to be with VRBO) but I am increasing my book direct efforts so that I am not too dependent on any one platform

@Michael Baum I just ran the same experiment and was ranked 8th on both sites (no date just city and filtering for 10 guests). I was surprised by that as I am suddenly getting very little booking traction despite what is pretty good search placement on both sites. My hypothesis is that Airbnb is significantly winning share and moving up the value chain in this geography... and it is this realization (possibly globally) that is leading to this verbo rebranding effort.

In 2015 when I started renting my properties, I listed them on Airbnb and VRBO.  I got 95% of my business on Airbnb.  I went to a HomeAway conference in Austin for 2 years in a row, and the second year, they couldn't even FIND my listing when I had them search for it.  VRBO wanted me to pay them to feature my property, all while I was getting tons of bookings on Airbnb.  I said no, ditched VRBO/HomeAway, and never looked back.

I find that VRBO is oversaturated in my area (Panama City/PC Beach), the users tend to be older and not tech savvy, and I didn't have the security of reviews (of me or of my guests).  For me, Airbnb is where it's at.  I am a user and a Super Host.  VRBO can take an ever-lasting seat.

Ahhh the AirBNB vs Verbo thing rages on! I would stick with one platform if things were really lopsided. I need all the bookings I can get as our home is right on Lake Coeur d' Alene and it isn't really booked during the winter months.

Someday I will finish my website so I can start taking bookings direct.

I do like the AirBNB interface. It seems to be superior to Verbo's.

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