Airbnb vs Vrbo: Battle Of The Holiday Rentals

Airbnb and Vrbo have captivated the hearts and wanderlust of travellers worldwide, offering distinct features and experiences that cater to diverse preferences.

Both platforms boast extensive listings, secure booking systems, and user-friendly interfaces, making them go-to options for holiday rentals. However, a deeper analysis reveals nuanced differences that can greatly impact your travel experience.

In this article, we unravel the Airbnb vs. Vrbo debate, exploring each platform's unique strengths and weaknesses. We delve into their booking processes, pricing structures, and property offerings, scrutinising every aspect to help you make an informed decision.

1. Booking Via Rental Platforms: An Increase Choice Among Travellers

Finding the perfect accommodation can sometimes be daunting in the era of sharing economies and innovative travel solutions. With an abundance of options at our fingertips, the search for that ideal getaway can quickly become overwhelming.

Thankfully, two prominent players have emerged to simplify the process: Airbnb and Vrbo. These online platforms have revolutionised how we book accommodations, providing us with an array of unique homes, cosy apartments, and luxurious villas across the globe.

Before taking a closer look at the differences Airbnb vs. Vrbo, let's understand clearly what each platform entails.

1. What Is Airbnb?

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Founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb has gained immense popularity as the best booking site since its inception in 2008. It allows hosts to rent their homes or spare rooms to travellers seeking unique and personalised accommodations.

Airbnb’s peer-to-peer approach offers an experience of destinations from a more personal and authentic perspective, often immersing themselves in local neighbourhoods and communities. With an extensive network spanning 220 countries, Airbnb offers diverse lodging options, from apartments and houses to castles and treehouses, offering people a unique and personalised travel experience.

2. What Is Vrbo?

Airbnb vs. Vrbo - CABINZERO


VRBO, short for Vacation Rentals By Owner, first appeared in 1995 and quickly established itself as a trailblazer in the vacation rental industry. Its initial purpose was to facilitate direct connections between homeowners and individuals seeking vacation accommodations.

Over the years, VRBO has undergone significant development and expansion, transforming into a comprehensive online platform that boasts an extensive selection of rental properties from across the globe.

While catering to a broad range of clientele, VRBO predominantly targets providing comfortable accommodations in the best family holiday destinations or larger groups. With its user-friendly interface and diverse property listings, VRBO remains a go-to choice for those looking for a home-away-from-home experience during their travels.

2. Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Detailed Comparison

Airbnb vs. Vrbo? Which one should I choose? This is a common question that is frequently asked when deciding which platform to use. Here is what you need to know at a glance:


  • Offer a diverse range of accommodation options.
  • Under 14% total service fee.
  • Instant booking.


  • Focus on traditional vacation rentals.
  • 6% ~ 15% total service fee.
  • Request-to-book system.

1. Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Accommodation Variety and Quantity

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In general, Airbnb is a better choice as it offers different types of accommodations. Photo by Greg Rivers on Unsplash

On Airbnb, you will find a vast selection of unique and unconventional accommodations. From treehouses and houseboats to castles and igloos, Airbnb prides itself on offering distinct and memorable stays.

With Airbnb, you can rent an entire home or apartment, a private room within a host's residence, or even a shared room in a hostel or hotel. This wide range of options caters to different travel preferences and budgets.

On the other hand, Vrbo tends to focus more on traditional vacation rentals, such as condos, cabins, and vacation homes. It also focuses primarily on full-property rentals, offering the opportunity to rent an entire house or building. 

In terms of quantity, Airbnb boasts a larger inventory, with listings in over 220 countries. Whether you find the best hotels in the UK or where to stay in Tokyo, Airbnb can help you in the process. Vrbo, although slightly smaller in scale, still offers a substantial number of properties in popular destinations worldwide.

Winner: Airbnb.

2. Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Pricing and Service Fees

The total price you pay, including any hidden fees, should be taken into account when comparing Airbnb vs. Vrbo.

Airbnb adopts a flexible pricing structure, allowing hosts to set their own rates based on factors such as location, amenities, and demand. This means that prices can vary significantly from one listing to another. Also, Airbnb charges guests a service fee under 14.2% of the total booking cost.

Vrbo, in contrast, follows a different pricing model. Most Vrbo listings have fixed rates, meaning the hosts predetermine the prices. While this offers transparency, it may also cost certain properties more. In terms of service fees, Vrbo charges a flat fee to guests, usually around 6% to 15% of the rental amount.

For instance, here is a breakdown the cost of renting the same unit for the same duration on these two respective platforms:




2 nights stay for 2 people

€ 772


Cleaning fee

€ 100

€ 140


€ 20



€ 892


Here’s a 2nd unit we tried booking and their price comparison:




2 nights stay for 2 people

€ 1,811


Cleaning fee

€ 135



€ 8


Host fee


€ 140


€ 1,863.45


As you can see, Vrbo is overall lower than Airbnb in terms of pricing (although it excludes taxes). The nightly rate, cleaning, pet charges and host fee are set by the hosts themselves. (Note that not all properties are listed on both Airbnb and Vrbo).

Winner: Vrbo.

3. Airbnb vs. Vrbo: Booking Experience

The ease of booking accommodations is a crucial factor in ensuring a successful vacation, and it is definitely an important aspect to compare Airbnb vs. Vrbo. Both platforms offer user-friendly interfaces that allow travellers to search for and book accommodations relatively easily. However, there may be some differences in the booking process and policies that could sway your decision one way or the other.

Airbnb offers a robust and intuitive platform that allows users to filter their search results based on specific criteria, such as location, price range, and property type. The platform also provides detailed property descriptions, high-resolution photos, and user reviews, enabling guests to make well-informed decisions.

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Airbnb's powerful and user-friendly platform lets users restrict search results. Photo by Oberon Copeland from Unsplash

Vrbo, on the other hand, focuses on simplicity and efficiency. The platform's search filters are designed to help users quickly find their desired accommodations. While Vrbo provides essential information about the properties, the level of detail may be less comprehensive compared to Airbnb.

Ultimately, the booking experience will come down to personal preference. If you value extensive property information and a visually appealing interface, Airbnb might be your preferred choice. If simplicity and speed are more important to you, Vrbo could be your platform of choice.

Winner: Airbnb.

4. Safety and Trust

When booking accommodations online, ensuring safety and trust is paramount. Airbnb and Vrbo have implemented measures to provide a secure environment for their users, but their approaches differ slightly.

Airbnb has a comprehensive review system that allows guests to rate their experiences and leave feedback. Hosts are also reviewed by guests, promoting transparency and accountability. Additionally, Airbnb offers a Host Damage Protection program that provides protection for certain damages to the property.

But Vrbo places a premium on double-checking everything. The website mandates identity verification for hosts and promotes two-way communication between visitors and hosts prior to bookings. Vrbo also provides a guarantee against listing misrepresentation and fraud called the "Book with Confidence Guarantee."

Winner: Vrbo.

5. Airbnb vs. Vrbo: International Reach

In terms of global essence, Airbnb has established itself as a dominant player in the international market, with listings available in over 220 countries. This extensive reach makes it an excellent choice for travellers seeking accommodations in diverse locations worldwide.

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Airbnb has a broader global reach, providing access to accommodations in countries around the world. Photo by InstagramFOTOGRAFIN on Pixabay

Vrbo, although not as expansive as Airbnb, still offers a considerable selection of properties in popular tourist destinations across the globe. While its inventory may be more concentrated in certain regions, Vrbo remains a reliable option for international travellers.

Winner: Tie.

So, Who Comes Out On Top?



Accommodation Variety and Quantity

Pricing and Service Fees


Booking Experience

Safety and Trust

International Reach

Airbnb vs. Vrbo, which is best, really? After carefully assessing the advantages and cons, the traveller's needs and preferences are the answer.

Airbnb excels at variety and community. It has flats and villas for every price and style. The platform's review system and interactive host profiles build trust and help guests find hidden gems through local hosts.

Meanwhile, Vrbo is ideal for families and large parties seeking space and seclusion. Its concentration on whole-home rentals and compatibility with vacation homes and cabins make it a favourite choice for individuals wanting a home away from home.

4. FAQs

1. Can I Book Accommodations On Airbnb and Vrbo For Long-term Stays?

If you are planning a trip that lasts for a few weeks or months, you can find long-term housing alternatives on Airbnb and Vrbo. Those who need to travel for work, are moving to a new place, or are just seeking for a lengthy vacation may find these choices particularly appealing.

Some Airbnb hosts may provide discounts for longer bookings, and you may narrow your search results just to display those listings that meet your criteria. Monthly rentals are available on Vrbo, and you may choose places to stay with a 30-night minimum stay.

2. Can I Trust the Accuracy of the Property Descriptions and Photos On Airbnb and Vrbo?

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Both platforms encourage hosts to provide accurate and up-to-date information about their properties. Photo by Edelle Bruton on Unsplash

Airbnb and Vrbo have procedures to ensure accurate property descriptions and photographs, but listing quality may vary. These sites require hosts to accurately describe their residences, including amenities, location, and downsides.

They must also provide clear, high-quality pictures that show visitors the property. To be sure the property suits your needs, you can follow our suggestions: 

  • Read reviews and choose listings with positive feedback.
  • Verify the host's profile for badges.
  • Use official communication channels.
  • Don't pay outside the platform.
  • Be cautious of unusually low prices.
  • Watch out for last-minute changes and confirm with customer support.
  • Trust your instincts and find alternatives if something feels off.
  • Report suspicious activity to Airbnb or Vrbo.

Final Word

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Airbnb and Vrbo both allow you to find great vacation rentals. Photo on Freepik

In conclusion, you should consider using both Airbnb and Vrbo instead of relying solely on one platform. The choice between Airbnb and Vrbo should be based on finding the perfect hideaway to create lasting memories and embark on amazing adventures.

When making a decision, take into account factors such as the variety of accommodations, pricing, booking experience, safety measures, and international reach. Investing time in comparing listings, reading reviews, and communicating with hosts is important to ensure the best possible experience.

Regardless of which platform you choose, it is crucial to maintain open communication with hosts, adhere to safety guidelines, and respect the property during your stay. Enjoy your travels and have a fantastic time!

Marie Nguyen

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