VRBO Hosting vs Airbnb Hosting: What’s The Difference?

Nov 6, 2022 | Airbnb Host Guide

A vacation rental property business is an excellent source of passive income. Whether you’re working or retired, rental property is a profitable side business. A vacant vacation house or an extra bedroom in your home can provide you with an extra cash stream. Ages ago, ordinary property owners did not put too much interest in the rental business as it requires so much time, money, and effort in rental marketing. But thanks to VRBO and Airbnb hosting, gone were the days when you needed to list your rental properties with different rental listing websites and agents. And today we answer the question on VRBO Hosting vs Airbnb Hosting: What’s the difference?

Setting A New Trend

Airbnb and VRBO have brought a new trend to the rental property business. As Airbnb and VRBO have taken the spotlight in the rental property industry, most property owners have taken an interest in listing their properties on these two popular hosting sites. I’m pretty sure, just like those many property owners, it also took your interest. But before listing your property, it is important to understand how these rental hosting sites work. Knowing the difference between VRBO hosting vs. Airbnb hosting will help your rental property business become more profitable. 

How Airbnb and VRBO Hosting Works

Both Airbnb and VRBO are rental hosting platforms. In addition, these platforms help property owners reach massive numbers of short-term and long-term tenants. Founded in 2008, Airbnb started as Air Bed in Breakfast. This hosting site connects travelers looking for short-term rental space to homeowners who want to earn by sharing their property. VRBO, short for Vacation Rental By Owners, is a hosting site for vacation homeowners who want to rent out their property. Also, Airbnb and VRBO platforms provide easy, fast, and modern rental business transactions to numerous property owners. 

The Differences Between VRBO Hosting and Airbnb Hosting

Though both are rental hosting platforms, it is important to take note that these two rental hosting sites have differences. Both rental sites have different rules, benefits, and features. Moreover, knowing how each hosting site works will help you maximize the use of these hosting websites. Also, taking advantage of the benefits and features of these hosting sites increases your business’s market reach and revenue. To help you choose which hosting site will give your business more edge, let’s thoroughly discuss the difference between VRBO hosting vs. Airbnb hosting. 

VRBO vs Airbnb Fees

VRBO and Airbnb have different hosting fee structures. Airbnb and VRBO charge property owners of a service fee for using their hosting platforms.    


Airbnb takes a 3% commission from property owners for every successful rental booking. 


In VRBO, property owners can choose between these two pricing models.

Annual Subscription

VRBO’s annual subscription costs $499 per property. Property owners who earn more than $10,000 in VRBO rentals will save more on annual subscriptions than pay-per-booking.


The pay-per-booking listing model typically charges 8% per booking. It comprises:

  • Service fee – VRBO charges 5% of the booking rate, including additional charges such as pet or cleaning fees. 
  • Credit card processing fee –The credit card processing fee is 3% of the total reservation. It includes the extra fees, security deposit, and taxes. VRBO returns a portion of the credit card processing fee for the security deposit once the host refunds the security deposit to guests.

Market Reach 

VRBO and Airbnb have a distinctive market reach because of so many factors. These factors include:

Number of Users 

According to The Zebra, Airbnb has a whopping 150 million users all over the world. VRBO has an average of 44 million site visits every month.

Number of Listings

As of December 2021, Airbnb has over 6 million active listings, while VRBO has over 2 million listings on its platform. 

Target audience 

With Airbnb’s diverse locations and flexible accommodations, Airbnb is more appealing to younger audiences seeking new experiences and business travelers. VRBO leans toward older audiences and large groups looking for large and traditional accommodations. 

Site affiliation

Though Airbnb has a relatively high volume of users, VRBO has affiliations with other hosting sites, such as Expedia, HomeAway, CanadaStays, and KAYAK. Having combined listings with other travel hosting sites increase your property’s exposure. 

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation policies play a huge role in your property’s occupancy and revenue. It is important to weigh down which cancellation policy works best for your business.

Airbnb Cancellation Policies

Airbnb hosts can choose from these cancellation policies:


This policy is the most relaxed one, and most preferred by guests. Guests will get a full refund if they cancel their booking not less than 24 hours before check-in. 


The moderate cancellation policy allows guests to cancel bookings not less than 5 days before check-in for a full refund. 


This policy requires guests to cancel their bookings 30 days before check-in to be eligible for a full refund. 


The host will only provide a full refund for canceled bookings made less than 48 hours and at least 14 days before check-in. Cancellations made between 7 to 14 days before check-in are eligible for a 50% refund. Cancellations made less than 7 days are not eligible for refunds. 

Long term

This policy applies to all bookings within 28 days or longer. Cancellations on bookings made within 48 hours and at least 28 days before check-in are eligible for a full refund. 

Super strict 30 and 60 days 

In special cases, Airbnb gives hosts this type of cancellation policy by invitation. Super strict 30 days policy offers a 50% refund for canceled bookings made at least 30 days before check-in. The same terms apply to the Super Strict days policy. Guests will receive a 50% refund for canceled bookings made at least 60 days before check-in.

Non-refundable option

Hosts can offer a non-refundable option in their listings. Hosts typically offer a 10% discount on their listing’s base price with a non-refundable option.

VRBO Cancellation Policies

VRBO offers 6 cancellation policy options you can choose from.

No refund policy

Property owners can opt for a no-refund policy in their listings. 

60-day policy

This policy offers a full refund for bookings canceled not less than 60 days before check-in. 

60/30-day policy

Under this policy, guests must cancel 60 days before check-in to get a full refund. Cancellations made 30 days before check-in are eligible for a 50% refund minus the service charge. No refunds for bookings canceled less than 30 days before check-in. 

30/14-day policy

Listings with this type of cancellation policy allow guests to receive a full refund if they cancel at least 30 days before check-in. Cancellations made at least 14 days before check-in are eligible for a 50% refund minus the service charge. Bookings canceled in less than 14 days are not eligible for any refund. 

14/7-day policy

Guests can cancel at least 14 days before check-in to get a full refund. The host will provide a 50% refund minus the service charge for cancellations made at least 7 days before check-in. Canceled bookings less than 7 days before check-in will not receive a refund. 

Custom policy

Sometimes, VRBO allows property owners to set their cancellation terms and penalties. 

Types of Listed Property

If you’re planning to list your property on these two popular hosting sites, it is important to check if your property will qualify. Airbnb and VRBO have criteria for determining qualified properties. 


VRBO allows the listing of traditional accommodations, such as apartments, cabins, and suburban houses. VRBO does not allow shared accommodation of any kind. 


Airbnb is more flexible with properties listed on its site. Airbnb allows various types of property to be listed as long as it meets the criteria. It allows listings of entire properties, rooms, and even shared spaces. 


Reviews play a huge role in increasing your listing’s ranking and occupancy. Both hosting sites allow guests and hosts to write a review of the stay. 


Airbnb allows hosts and guests to write a review within 14 days after their check-out. 


Provides guests and hosts an entire year to submit a review of the stay. But once a party submitted a review, VRBO only allows the other party to submit their review within 14 days. 

Method of Payment

These two hosting sites also have a difference in their method of payment. Airbnb sends payments to hosts through Paypal, Payoneer, bank transfers, and Western Union. VRBO sends the payment to hosts through Mastercard, Visa, and American Express. 

Host Property Protection

Accidents happen, and so do damages and liabilities. Rental property owners must have insurance protection in case of home damages and liability claims. Airbnb and VRBO provide hosts with some protection coverage in the event of damages and liability claims.

Airbnb Host Guarantee Program

Airbnb offers $1 million as property damage protection in case guests caused damage to their property. Airbnb also allows hosts to require a security deposit from guests ranging from $100 to $500. 

VRBO Host Insurance

VRBO provides hosts liability coverage worth $1 million. Hosts can set a minimum amount of damage deposit from guests in case of damages caused by guests. 

Special Features

Both sites provide additional features to help travelers have a more convenient and enjoyable trip. 

Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb offers users online or in-person activities hosted by local hosts. Airbnb’s expert hosts share their unique skills and knowledge about travel. 

VRBO Trip Board

VRBO’s trip board allows guests to organize, save and compare properties. Trip boards help users plan and organize their trips.

How to List Your Property on Airbnb and VRBO

Reaching this far probably means you’ve already decided to list your property on these hosting sites. Here’s a guide on how to make an Airbnb and VRBO listing: 

  • Review your local laws about rental hosting. Ensure you have proper permits and registrations. 
  • Create your listing on your Airbnb and VRBO accounts.
  • Fill out the information about your listing, such as:
    • Address
    • Property type
    • Property size and the number of bedrooms
    • Amenities
    • Unique details like pool, view, transportation, and popular nearby areas
  • Submit photos of your property. Take stunning and eye-catching photos to attract guests. Take pictures of the entire property or space and neighborhood to provide guests with an idea of what to expect from your property.
  • Make a detailed description of your listing, including amenities and supplies provided.
  • Set your house rules. Providing rules and restrictions helps set your guest’s expectations.
  • Set your calendar availability. If you’re going to list your property on both hosting sites, make sure you sync your calendar to avoid double booking.
  • Set your listing’s rates. In calculating your rates, you must consider:
    • Your nightly rates
    • Cleaning fees
    • Utility and supplies costs
    • Taxes (if applicable)

Your Choice As A Vacation Rental Host

The differences between Airbnb and VRBO hosting don’t highlight which is better between the two. Their differences actually show the benefits you will get from listing your property on each platform. If you want to maximize your rental property’s market reach, listing your home on both hosting sites is the best approach. Listing your property on both platforms provides your property more exposure to a larger number of clients and increases your revenue.


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