Pros/ Cons of Vrbo vs Airbnb?

12 Replies

Are there any advantages or disadvantages to using Vrbo or Airbnb as a landlord for STR?

I know some owners use one platforms, not sure why?

Excellent Question!

First let me say Landlord is not the correct word as that would imply a lease. You are referring to a "Host". 

Airbnb: Millennials. Iphones. Good app. Good website. Guests always want a discount. Guests care more about leaving you the review than they do about the actual vacation. And the biggest one: The platform as a whole is ANTI host.

VRBO: Boomers. Androids. Can't figure out how to check their email. Website and App are not great. Guests don't care about reviews (only 30% review rate). Platform is not anti host.

Another big difference is Airbnb spreads like a weed. 90% of all vacations are booked 30 days or less in advance. So, Airbnb figured all they have to do is book you for the first 30 days and youre sucked in to airbnb. Problem is when you end up head to head host vs guest... You will lose. Then you find youself with a calendar full of airbnb and you kick yoursrelf. Don't let the weed spread. 

I do my best to keep them 50/50

I charge 10% less for VRBO because I value VRBO bookings 10% more than airbnb.(I do this via my property management software. Its a setting)

Many will disagree with me and that is ok! There are many ways to succeed in STR, but let me mention my credentials. I've got over 3000 stays on my resume. I currently own over 12 million in real estate. My properties grossed $149,000 this MONTH. $114,000 of which was STR.

Long story short... Anyone that is not using both is not doing their job.

I use both to capture different demographics. 

Vrbo does the best for me and I get 90% of my bookings from them.

Vrbo is generally a middle aged family crowd with money that plan well in advance.

Airbnb seems to be a younger crowd that book closer to their stay.

Vrbo pays all the required local.and state occupancy taxes on your behalf.

Airbnb doesn't pay my local occomodation tax and I have to do it.

@Chris K.

I have never received a scam message on AirBnB. I got them so much on VRBO that I just shut it down.

Other than that...I agree with the other commenters.

Originally posted by @Chris K. :

Are there any advantages or disadvantages to using Vrbo or Airbnb as a landlord for STR?

I know some owners use one platforms, not sure why?

 I think Luke gave you a very good description of what type of experience you will have. I have a few short term rentals in Florida. Here are some additional points worth noting.

If you are looking to keep your properties rented all the time with no gaps, you will need Airbnb, sometimes I have a Tuesday and Wednesday open on my calendar, and 90% of the time I can get a 2 night booking on Airbnb and I almost never get short stays from VRBO.

In my opinion you have to use Airbnb/VRBO and your own website for returning guests. VRBO policies are better for hosts, reviews aren't as important and overall I've had a better experience with the guests. Airbnb focuses on the guests, you will almost never win a dispute. Last year during the pandemic Airbnb overrode hosts policy and allowed guests to get 100% refunds. VRBO tried to find a win/win approach.

VRBO charges you an annual fee, or you have to pay a % of every booking to them, Airbnb charges the guest ( i think this depends on your settings/location)

I try to keep a 50/50 balance between VRBO and Airbnb, but It's more like 70% Airbnb and 30% VRBO, because of short stays and international travel. in 2019 most of my VRBO bookings were from families from the UK and they used VRBO, in 2021 most of my guests are domestic and use Airbnb.

There is really no benefit for you to put all of your eggs into one basket.

My comments on what has already been said:

It's pretty much been covered by the guys above. Agree that AirBnB caters more to younger people and VRBO to the older crowd. That's neither good nor bad, but just what it is...

@Carlos H DeOliveira  AirBnB and VRBO both charge a fee, I find VRBO slightly higher but worth it.

@Alex S.  I've had no scam messages from VRBO ever...

@Luke Carl Spot on dude, you pretty much nailed it. Esp the bit about AIR out 30 days in advance and VRBO booking out way into the future...

My only other thoughts: I prefer VRBO over AIR for several reasons, chief among them that VRBO Host support is HUGELY better than AIR. Their Tech support is also superior....I had an issue with calendars sync'ing and AIR just sent me link after link telling me how to sync calendars. I already had done that over and over, so that was zero help. Then they blamed VRBO. VRBO, on the other hand, took time to have me send a screen shot to them via email, they got onto my dashboard (with my permission) and figured stuff out.

They are both valuable. If I had to choose only 1, it would obviously be VRBO. But use them both wisely, figure out their strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage, not theirs.

I am considering branching out and using other platforms like Booking.com, but just not quite ready to take that leap yet. I am booked pretty fully at both of my STRs but don't feel comfortable with all eggs in only 2 baskets....

To add things that haven't been said:

Airbnb and vrbo can be very regional. Some places lots of people use VRBO, other places lots of people use Airbnb.

VRBO Guests I've found to be way pickier and fussier than Airbnb guests. Maybe because they're older? Maybe because they bring their family? No clue.

There's really no downside to having both. Most automation platforms support both by now and sync them easily. Additionally if you get banned or get a few horrible reviews on one platform, you will always have the other to back you up. Last summer airbnb blocked a stay during halloween weekend because, they said 'no parties allowed!' when it was a family of 6 people coming to stay. Airbnb is run by morons. I got a booking 3 hours later on VRBO.

We've had two negative experienecs with VRBO:

1) Guest stole our TV's and then disputed their credit card payment

2) Guest stayed an extra week without paying.

In both cases, we found VRBO:

1) Their support was useless

2) They don't verify identity of guests, so now drivers license on file

3) They use a 3rd party servicer to process credit cards, so couldn't help us dispute the guest's dispute

We even got the police involved and they spoke to VRBO and got nowhere:(

Since then we now require ALL VRBO & AIRbnb guests to sign a lease via Docusign and provide a government picture ID.

I've not had any spam from either site. 

I love the analytics built into Vrbo so you can see trends that are happening. 

I like Vrbo software and app better. The Airbnb software and app seem.clumsy compared to Vrbo.

The Vrbo crowd seem to be more respectful of my property.  

Typically if a group can't seem to put trash in a trash can and leave stuff everywhere they are more often Airbnb renters in my experience. 

Most renters paying my rates take reasonably good care of the house. 

Originally posted by @Drew Sygit :

We've had two negative experienecs with VRBO:

1) Guest stole our TV's and then disputed their credit card payment

2) Guest stayed an extra week without paying.


1) Wow that's incredible! Some people....

2) Curious why you let them stay the extra week...?

I am at about 70/30 VRBO/AirBNB. Usually VRBO guests are much better than AirBNB. That is not a hard rule though.

We had guests recently. 8 women over the age of 65 to ride the bike trail. Sounds perfect! Through VRBO and they were the worst we have had in a long time. There were at least 12 people in our home that I can figure. One infant for sure.

There wasn't a white towel in the place that didn't have a massive amount of stains on them. They must keep at least one makeup manufacturer in business judging by the sheer amount of makeup on our white towels. We provide a lot of dark grey make up removal washcloths, embroidered as such. Nope.

Plus they smoked. Just on the deck that I can tell. There were matches here and there along with several small piles of partially burned tobacco. A pipe smoker I believe.

I left a pretty crappy review, which I don't like to do and rarely have I had to do it. They left a 4 star review. Said there was no propane, but the tank was 3/4 full when I arrived. User error. Burned through 12 rolls of Costco toilet paper in 4 days. Complained about that as well.

I had a group who did the Coeur d'Alene Ironman race. They were awesome. Could hardly tell anyone was in there. AirBNB.

It goes to show, you never know.