Did VRBO radically change Service Fees?! They are INSANE, like wtf?

So we have a long-standing repeat customer. She’s just great. And usually she’s on Air, and sometimes direct. We had a minor tech thing w/ Air so I asked her to try vrbo this time. Sounds easy, right?
Get this - on a $75 booking they charged a $20 Guest Service fee. That is 26.66%.
I tried vrbo customer support. Oh boy. “It’s automatic and no one including a supervisor can do anything about it”. What rubbish. So we cancelled it, I blocked the day and it’ll be direct.
It reminds me of the many years in business when we sarcastically joked about this or that person being part of the SALES PREVENTION DEPARTMENT. :rofl:


Sounds like VRBO is paralleling Airbnb’s fee structure.

Except for Luxe rentals, the Airbnb fee ranges from 5-22% for the guests and 3% for the host. The guest percentage is lower, the more nights (thus $$$) booked. This means that a guest renting a room 1 night for $50 may pay a $10 (20%) service fee & the host pay $1.50 so Airbnb collects 23%. That same guest may pay a 14% fee if the rental is for a week.

The guest percentage also varies depending upon country/currency.

Airbnb reports the average guest pays 14.2%. I’ve noticed my guests pay about 15%.

18% sounds exorbitant and it kind of is… I snooped/shopped a few of the vacation rental agencies in my area. Their fees ranged from 12%-20% but they do more than Airbnb such as sending someone to the rental to do a repair if the handle on the toilet breaks. Of course the host then pays the property manager an additional service fee.

Sorry this is so long—I’ve been looking into what fee structure is best and how to price if I sign up for fees to be all included in the nightly price.


Maybe they have a minimum. Anything under $20 may not make sense to them.


Yes, VRBO is copying AirBnB. They used to have a max of $499 for the service fee, but that went away awhile ago.

So they probably have a minimum of $20 for a service fee.

Why don’t you just always book your repeats directly? The OTA already “made the match” - no one should have to pay the matchmaker for every date!

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This is a guest who has been booking direct with us for a long while. We were only going to use VRBO that time to bolster reviews on that platform and achieve their “premier host” rating. We would hope that would increase our views and bookings?
At 14-15% ok fine - we’ll do it and comp the guest back and treat it as a cost of doing business. At 26.66%, no thanks. She is a long-standing regular. Our direct bookings have gotten pretty decent. Our 30 day rolling average is solid.