Our VRBO Experience

This is my second summer with Air. We were pleased with how it went last year , but issues with Air caused us to lose a month of bookings. During that period, with a sense of doom (from what I had read here) I listed with VRBO. VRBO has brought us almost all our listings this season. I agree that I wish we got more background on the guests and I find their website complex and counter intuitive.

On the plus side there have been many bookings and I like having control of the cancellation policy.
Payouts are about the same.

Our listing is a very large whole house. Beautiful but not a lot of bells and whistles, in a very urban neighbourhood. VRBO has brought us wonderful families who have been great guests.

I still wish I could do better with Air (5 guests since late may all 5* reviews) but for those who are not getting bookings its worth considering other platforms.

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Do you adjust your prices? I get a lot of bookings on VRBO as well, but their fee’s are super high. I average around 3% of revenue on AIRBNB fee’s. But 7-10% on VRBO. I haven’t made the effort to up rates on VRBO but likely will next year.

We have tinkered with the cleaning and extra person charges on both sites. In the end, the bottom line before fees is about $200 per night plus cleaning at $100 (Canadian). Your percentages are what we are paying, but we would rather rent the space and swallow the extra commission, than wait for Air. Air has swamped the market this year and even with great reviews we still find we are often on page 16 so we just don’t get booked. We cannot do instant book because the house is so big and we are attractive to party groups!

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Interesting. My Portland, OR bookings are about 75% airbnb. Very few from VRBO but I have made up my fee and figure it is worth it to be on both platforms.

I list a 2 BR 2 BA condo (sleeps 6) at North Myrtle Beach, SC on both VRBO & Airbnb. The unit is NOT oceanfront but convenient to beach. Almost all of my rentals are from Airbnb (budget conscious rentals). I’ve moved away from the prepaid VRBO subscription. I use their “pay as you go” in case I actually get a rental. BTW-I am a superhost on Airbnb with over 60 reviews.

A friend with a canal front home that sleeps 14 (5 BR 4 Bath) also lists on VRBO & AIBNB. All her rentals are from VRBO and are usually the grandparents renting for a family trip.

I think the difference is that most of my guests are young families. They are highly budget conscious and early adopters of the more recent websites. VRBO is more established and the folks age 55 and older (like me) are familiar and comfortable with it.

You are wise to diversify. We started on VRBO, but when they introduced the service fee, we also listed on AirBnB and TripAdvisor (FlipKey). We still get 90+% of our bookings from VRBO/Homeaway. However, we are a three-bedroom villa in a bucket-list location (St Lucia), and most of our guests are on a special occasion trip (lots of honeymooners and people on their 10th/20th/etc anniversary), or are middle-aged+ adults travelling with their friends or adult children.

Best of luck to you!

We’ve been renting for 28 years (before internet). We signed up with VRBO about 7 years ago and had good success with their original model. We’ve been with Air for 3 years. We have a large whole-house rental in a resort area.

I’ve noticed that the percentage of VRBO vs Air has been shifting toward the Air more and more. But we still get more inquiries through VRBO. We get next to no inquiries through TripAdvisor.

I am SO ticked off with VRBO charging the owners a fee and then adding the booking fee on to the guest. Pick one. Don’t be greedy. I go around them by contacting the guest directly. When my listing expires at the end of August they will insist that I do online bookings only with them or I won’t be able to show on VRBO. This is the final deadline for all properties that took advantage of pre-paying for the “owner/guest contact” last year. Things will change drastically very soon… just wait and watch!

Once that happens they will: charge me an annual fee of $399, or 8% of the booking amount - my choice. Either way, they also charge the homeowner 4% to process payments. They will also charge the guest from 4-9% booking fee with a cap at $499. They won’t allow the owner to see the guests’ contact details until after the booking is complete.

I definitely won’t be signing up for an annual fee anymore. (BTW, I noticed they changed my account to auto-renew on expiry so I turned that OFF!)

I hope that potential guests will see the name of my rental and do a google search to find my direct website. About 20% of guests now do this. But my VRBO rates will be going up to cover the additional 8% increase if they want to book through VRBO. Their additional booking fees as of September 1st will be: 8% + 4% + ~8% = 20% extra to book through VRBO. What a ripoff!!

And don’t think that VRBO doesn’t have its’ own glitches - I went without getting any bookings a year or two ago and realized that their system was not showing my property for months on end - and I was paying $400 a year for it!?

I’m putting more emphasis on a repeat/referral program now for great guests that I want to host again.

In short, VRBO used to be excellent, and since Expedia bought it out they are ruining the platform. Home Escapes seems to be trying to replicate the VRBO original platform… I signed up with them but have had zilch inquiries thus far.


Also, remove your credit card info, just in case they change it again. If they won’t allow that enter a fake CC # so it won’t work if they try it.


Good one!! Done. Sounds like you also have experience with this.

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I listed my resort area condo (rent entire condo) on both AIRBNB & VRBO for one year. During that year, I had over 30 rentals from Airbnb and 1 from VRBO. For me it was definitely not worth the annual fee. I left my condo on VRBO as a “pay as you rent” and have not received any rentals. BTW: I’m a superhost on Airbnb with over 56 reviews. VRBO is not a good fit for my rental.

I’m pretty much the opposite. 85% of my rentals are from VRBO. But I think AirBnB is picking up and may be a bigger portion of my rentals every year.

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