Differences between VRBO and Airbnb
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VRBO and Airbnb are big competitors in the home rental market. Learn the differences between VRBO and Airbnb and why you should use each one!
When our family goes on longer vacation we tend to stay in home rentals. He have rented a home in Greece, Italy, Boston, France, NYC and too many small towns to count.
The trend is on the rise as well so you can rent a VRBO in Pittsburgh or an airbnb in Maui. Here is how to get the most out of each home rental company.
In the 80s and 90s my family was already into home rentals. My parents turned their noses down at anything less than an old farmhouse or a thatched cottage well before there was the Internet. They would hear of something from a friend of a friend and away we would go
When it came time for me to plan trips with my own family, I naturally wanted to rent houses over hotels. The advent of VRBO and Airbnb have made it so much easier.
Why we like home rentals instead of hotels
- Price. For a family of 5 we have more room for about the same price with a house rental than a hotel.
- I prefer feeling like I am living in the place I am visiting
- I love to be able to cook at night when the kids are tired of being out and need to eat something familiar.
- Home rentals are often in quite neighborhoods allowing you to sleep well
- There are way more amenities including stocked kitchens, a yard for kids to play in, jacuzzis, pools and more.
Today we are going to be comparing VRBO to Airbnb as they are the 2 biggest players in the world of home rentals.
Here is how VRBO and Airbnb are similar:
- Both allow you to search for a home rental by date, location and number of people
- Both have filters to help you narrow it down from there.
- Both have pictures and maps of the properties.
- Both have oversight of their properties.
- Both have customer service departments.
- Prices are quite similar in the same city.
Renting with VRBO
VRBO has been around the longest (they began in 1995) and is well known throughout most of the world. Their name is an acronym for Vacation Rentals By Owners. Most people have encountered VRBO and its sister site Homeaway.com which have 2 million properties throughout the world.
VRBO only allows for entire home rentals, so you will want to have a big budget or a big group to go with!
Positives about VRBO:
- 24 hour and 7 day a week customer service
- Ability to book through the app or the website.
- Ability to narrow down your search by date, place, amount of people, etc
- Ability to narrow your search by neighborhood, nearby activities and even safety ratings.
- You can narrow down the type of home you are staying in- there are castles and RV’s on there.
- Has more inventory of large family reunion type houses.
Negatives about VRBO:
(Please note, these are things that bother me and I feel like I should point out, if it doesn’t bother you please feel free to ignore me!)
- The website and app often yield different results. I can’t figure it out, but consistently I can see different properties on the website than the app.
- I find the website to be less user friendly than airBnb’s site.
- The final price is hard to search up. VRBO lists daily prices which are an average of the price throughout the year. You don’t find out the final price until you click through 3 different pages and are ready to rent. It makes finding a place that much more irritating!
Renting with Airbnb
Airbnb is the little brother that has crushed every home rental out there. Airbnb started in 2008 and has more than 7 million listings in 191 countries. I have yet to encounter a place I’m visiting that doesn’t have airbnb listings.
If you have never tried Airbnb here is a free gift of $65 off your first Airbnb
Positives about Airbnb:
- It has a beautiful and easy to follow layout.
- you are able to filter date, place, amount of people.
- you can also filter by amenities like air-conditioning, swimming pools, game rooms, etc.
- allows you to rent a single room in someone’s house.
- there are so many airbnb listings you are sure to find something you will like.
- 24 hour customer service and emergency bookings
- easy to understand pricing
Negatives about Airbnb:
- their customer service can be difficult to deal with over holidays. (we have struggled with this over a Christmas trip to Quebec City.)
- the cleaning charges are up to the individual renter and can be really expensive.
- hosts can make their own cancelation policies which can mean that you need to be really flexible.
So what do you do with all of this information?
You have to figure out what is important to you!
If you have always wanted to stay in a castle in Ireland with your kids?
You don’t want to scroll through hundreds of pictures to be sure you are staying in a castle, you should book with VRBO as it gives you an easy way to find one. Airbnb surely has castles, but not a way to easily identify them.
If you are planning a trip for a group of friends and need to figure out price per person?
If you use VRBO for that you will have to click through so many pages to get to the final cost. (this is a real life example and it is tortuous!) I will say if the group is more than 20 people you will probably have to use VRBO in the end as they have so many more options for big groups.
In the end….I use both. I always look at airbnb first if we are doing a family trip. I just prefer their user experience and the app is fast. Most times I will find something fabulous on airBnb and I don’t even look at VRBO.
If I can’t find something I like I immediately try VRBO. The only time I try VRBO fist is if I am looking for a very specific kind of stay. If I know I want to stay on a houseboat or in a farmhouse I am going straight to VRBO.
If you have never tried airBnb here is a free gift of $65 off your first Airbnb
Want to use Airbnb and not sure where to start? Or want to learn how to get great deals on Airbnb?
Download my ebook “Airbnb Hacks even the Pros Don’t Know.”
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