Airbnb vs. VRBO for Hosts: Which is Better?

Airbnb vs. VRBO for Hosts: Which is Better?

As travel restrictions are now lifted for most parts of the world, you’ll want to be ready to list your property on vacation travel sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

Airbnb and VRBO are both giants in the world of online vacation property listings. Each month, millions of vacationers and travelers alike flock to these sites looking to book longer stays or overnight trips, which means there are plenty of opportunities to get your property rented quickly and frequently.

Which online vacation rental site is right for you? You might get caught between Airbnb and VRBO. Don’t worry, we’ll take a closer look at both titans so you can decide. 


The company was established back in 2008 as Air Bed & Breakfast but was later rebranded as Airbnb. While the latter rental site might not have been around as long as its competitor, VRBO, it has quickly grown and established its reputation as an alternative to expensive hotels for people traveling for pleasure and work. 

Airbnb lists single rooms, which are its bread and butter, apart from a list of full-home rentals just like VRBO. In the past years—pre-pandemic—vacancies on Airbnb were often sought after for business and overnight travel, which is perfect for property owners in metropolitan areas and big cities. 

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner)

VRBO was established in 1995 and eventually merged with in 2005 and in 2007. It’s one of the largest global online vacation rental sites in the world, with more than 2 million listings in over 190 countries. 

Vacationers and travelers who seek to rent out an entire house for the short term and long term mostly seek out VRBO as their choice of vacation rental site to book their stays.

Overflowing Opportunities for Your Rental Property

Plenty of people are watching both these sites—Airbnb vs VRBO—so savvy owners would do well on listing their properties or vacant rooms on either Airbnb or VRBO, or both. 


Estimated number of listings: 6.1 million

Listing Fee: none

Booking Fee: 3% flat fee (for every booking)

No credit cards

Instant Booking: yes

Guest Service Fee: up to 20% (taxes and other fees not included)

Host-Guest Communication: online (through the site)

Entire House/Property: yes

Single Rooms: yes (many)

Listing Photos: 5 photos (to show up in a search on site)

Guest Experiences Available: yes


Estimated number of listings: 2 million

Listing Fee: none

Booking Fee: $499 (annual fee) unlimited listings or 8% per booking (5% commission + 3% credit card)

2% additional fee for international credit card

Instant Booking: yes

Guest Service Fee: 6% to 12%

Host-Guest Communication: online (through the site)

Entire House/Property: yes

Single Rooms: yes (few)

Listing Photos: 5 photos (to show up in a search on site)

Guest Experiences Available: no


Which is Better for You?

Arguably, both vacation rental sites are among the best in the industry when it comes to listing your property, with both having instant booking options that make it easier for renters to accomplish the transaction. In just a few clicks, your vacancies can fill up instantly.

And when it comes to Airbnb vs VRBO, your choice would entirely depend on the kind of property you have, whether you have the amenities or experience, and how long you will permit people to stay.


  • Best for owners with single rooms to be rented out for a few nights at a time (longer stays and single nights are also available)

  • Best for owners who can create “experiences” for their guests, like celebrations, lessons, tours, etc.

  • Best for owners with properties in metropolitan areas and cities.


  • Best for owners with an entire property to be rented out (single rooms are also listed). 

  • Best for owners with multiple vacancies and properties due to the annual membership fee of $499 for unlimited bookings (would still pay the fee regardless of bookings).

  • Best for owners with properties in vacation spots.

While both vacation rental sites offer both short-term and long-term stays, a property owner or manager who’s looking to rent out a house would be wise to list on both Airbnb and VRBO to get in front of those millions of people visiting the sites. It perfectly makes sense as there are no fees to list, but only to book.

Positive Reviews are the Key

Great experiences can travel far and wide by word of mouth. That is why it’s essential to impart the best experience possible for your guests as they can help you spread the word to other people, as well as post positive reviews on the site. And just as hotels send out guest-experience surveys, Airbnb and VRBO hosts should also request guests for their reviews. 

More potential renters will feel comfortable booking their stay in your property after positive reviews rack up. Another goal for hosts like you is to achieve the Superhost status, which is a badge of honor on your profile. But keep in mind that there’s a list of criteria to be attained before receiving such a title. 

Bottom Line

It’s a fact that most businesses in the world were impacted in a negative way due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of property owners were left with empty vacation houses and rooms around the globe. 

But as conditions began to improve and health restrictions were lifted in most parts of the world, the vacation rental business sites like Airbnb and VRBO are the key to getting your business back on track, and your properties will be filled once more. 

Hosts around the world must see to it that their properties are in tip-top conditions so that when an opportunity arises, they can readily receive bookings and reservations at a moment’s notice. 

It's not about Airbnb vs VRBO right now, but about cooperation between hosts, guests, and rental sites.