Comparing STR Booking Sites: AirBNB vs VRBO vs FlipKey etc

6 Replies

Which STR booking web sites are the best in your opinion and why?

My experience has been primarily with VRBO and Homeaway, which of course are the same essentially. They have slightly lower guest booking fees than AirBnB and Tripadvisor/Flipkey. Booking.com is cheaper but it seems more targeted to foreign customers and hotels as opposed to STR vacation rentals. And I heard it doesn't require prepayment so guests could cancel at the last minute and you're out everything whereas VRBO/Homeaway require a 50% deposit.

I also been concerned with the quality of guest on AirBnB. It seems it caters more to the crowd looking for a room or a couch rather than a more serious vacationer. But perhaps that has changed in recent years since more properties have gotten online there.

There's more but I'd rather get your input than go on and on about my own impressions. Thank you!

Speaking as a traveler who books vacations often, I use both Airbnb and VRBO/Homeaway for whole house vacations.   I don't like renting rooms in peoples' houses.  My sister and I will often book a house for both us and our spouses, and meet there for vacation.  

I find VRBO is often more expensive, especially in certain areas.  Sometimes I've found the exact same home priced much higher on VRBO, so of course I book it on Airbnb.  In the areas I go to - Woodstock NY, Colorado, Montana, Ocean City MD - there are not that many rooms for rent on Airbnb, there are mostly entire houses, condos, or guest cottages. 

I've never booked with TripAdvisor, they have few rentals in those areas, and they are priced high.  I haven't used Booking.com either, poor selection.   BTW, I'm 60, my husband is in his 70's, my sister and her husband are in their 50's.  

It makes no sense to look at this way. It varies greatly depending which part of the country or the world you were in.  And people think their 1 opinion applies to the entire booking site.

if you are new, you should be in all of them. VRBO, Airbnb, booking.com, TripAdvisor. Using a property management system with channel manager to handle of bookings. or at minimum the syncing feature on each of them to the other sites. Free to book for example or guesty or smart B&B or owner reservations...

that covers if one or two are better in your area, brings you more bookings in general, and if you have a website, each can bring in a trickle of direct booking business.

the trick to weed out problem people is partly to keep your prices High.

Originally posted by @Steven Andrews :

Which STR booking web sites are the best in your opinion and why?

My experience has been primarily with VRBO and Homeaway, which of course are the same essentially. They have slightly lower guest booking fees than AirBnB and Tripadvisor/Flipkey. Booking.com is cheaper but it seems more targeted to foreign customers and hotels as opposed to STR vacation rentals. And I heard it doesn't require prepayment so guests could cancel at the last minute and you're out everything whereas VRBO/Homeaway require a 50% deposit.

I also been concerned with the quality of guest on AirBnB. It seems it caters more to the crowd looking for a room or a couch rather than a more serious vacationer. But perhaps that has changed in recent years since more properties have gotten online there.

There's more but I'd rather get your input than go on and on about my own impressions. Thank you!

Although I get a few Airbnb bookings per year. Homeaway/VRBO keeps my calendar full and brings in the money for me.

For me the people with the money can afford my place on VRBO, the people on airbnb seem to be booking last minute and trying to find a deal.

Hi @Steven Andrews . Like @John Underwood , we get the majority of our bookings from VRBO/HomeAway. Our home is fully setup for families and that is who we get.

I had 2 AirBNB guest bookings this year and both were more trouble. One was OK but filthy as all get out. The other broke a window and also filthy. A trash bin full of crap covered TP. Go figure.

I have 6 rentals on ABB/VRBO in SW Montana. Out of those two platforms, the ratio is 7:3 (ABB:VRBO). Average booking price is only roughly $5 higher on VRBO than ABB, but the guests on ABB are more easy going. We stay 95%+ full in summers, and our two slowest seasons (Sep-Nov and March-May) we are between 65%-80%.