VRBO payment schedule choices

I’m in the process of setting up my VRBO account.

VRBO asked me to choose between quite an extensive choices of payment schedules.

  1. Single payment - 100% due at booking

  2. Two payments - 50% due at booking
    50% due {60/45/30/15 days | on arrival} prior to check in

  3. Two payments - 25% due at booking
    75% due {60/45/30/15 days | on arrival} prior to check in

I realise the choice is up to me, but I want to ask what experienced hosts who are using VRBO choose, and the reasoning/considerations behind it. Thanks.

I’m leaning towards no 3, possibly with the remainder due on arrival. But I’ve no idea why/if this would be better than any other choice.

50% on booking and 50% 45 days prior. We have a large and expensive property, and our potential customer base is not large. So we really don’t want people to book then cancel right before their stay, as we won’t get rebooked. We have the Strict cancellation policy on AirBnB.

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100% due at booking. I don’t like the payment reminders VRBO sends. They will remind the guest before it’s even due. The less crap they get from VRBO, the better for me.

It makes bookeeping easier too for just one payment. I figure if my guests can afford to pay their flights in full payment, they can afford to book my place in full payment.


My first choice would be #1; second choice is #3 with final payment due 60 days prior to occupancy/check-in.

Hi @PitonView, @cabinhost, @SandyToes,

Thank you for the opinions.

Note that I don’t have experience with anything but Airbnb. However,

After writing this is occurs to me that Airbnb effectively uses #1, though they hang on the money till the start of the reservation. VRBO seems to offer more choices.

So, a few questions:

In the case of all of #1, #2, #3, is the money given to the host directly? I don’t see any mention otherwise, but just checking.

So, if the money is handed to the host, how does VRBO enforce refunds per cancellation policies? Do they take it from future payouts like Airbnb does? Or do they request the host to pay it back to the guest? And if so, what is the mechanism for that?

If the host doesn’t take all the money up front, how likely is it that the guest won’t have the money to pay later? That seems like a consideration.

BTW, is it trivial to create clone listings on VRBO’s sister sites, like Homeaway?

Just got my first VRBO. 50% was collected, but I thought they would not pay out to me till the guest checks in. I could definitely be wrong, but have not had any payout and its been at east a week.

@faheem - payout depends on whether you are on subscription or pay-per-booking.

Your question on “having the money to pay later” is part of the reason I ask for the balance 45 days prior to arrival. I state in my contract “the rental fee shall be paid in full at least 40 days prior to check-in date, or the contract shall be considered to be cancelled and owner may keep all monies paid”. So I get to keep the deposit (50%) if they can’t find the money to pay the second half, and I get to relist the property and hope someone else will rent it.

It’s automatic to be shown on most sister sites, like Homeaway. You should not have to do anything.

A ) please tell me more about your property to be advised correctly.

  1. how many does it sleep
  2. What is your rental price range
  3. How long does the average guest stay
  4. Is it a fly-to or a drive-to property
    B) Refunds: It will come directly out of your bank account within 2 days.
    C) VRBO and HA are the same. You will be shown on both sites. No need to create 2 listings
    D) I believe for new listings, they are now holding payment until after guest arrival. This is new on their part. They are copying ABB
  • On another Note. PitonView and I know each other and we both are very educated in how HA/VRBO operates. Either of us can answer your questions properly ( ususally ).
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Don’t they charge 8 percent? And now everything through them is transactional. Also I think you are on the hook for chargebacks should they happen! *

Faheem, why don’t you use TripAdvisor?

*correct me if I am wrong!

Hi @georgygirlofairbnb,

Thanks for your reply.

Ok. My Airbnb listing is in my profile: http://towerroom.net

1-2 people.

Base rate is around USD 33 for one person, with extras for a second person (USD 5) and a cleaning fee (USD 7).

2 or 3 days,usually.

Mostly fly-to. I’ve had a few people drive here, though. It’s South Bombay/Mumbai, India.

Wait, what? How can they do that?

Ok, good to know.

I see. So the money that is paid in advance is held by them?

Great! Thank you very much for the help.

  1. TripAdvisor charges guests so much money that they are still trailing the pack.
  2. Yes HA bills for chargebacks. This situation is in flux. Old listings ( like mine )…use VacationRentalPayment / Yapstone and they are simply wretched. New listings ( I think ) will process through Expedia ( not 100% sure on this )…and so will likely have different charge criteria
  3. HA has different listing options. The 8% might be for a “pay per booking” vs a listing.
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Hi @konacoconutz,

I plan to list with them too.

on another note:
Do not trust the reviews nor the verification of guests on HA. Be sure to type back and forth and converse prior to feeling totally comfortable.
HA is playing catch-up, as they are transitioning from a hands-off advertising site, into taking control ( sadly ) and copying ABB. So they lag in the verification area.

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Yes, I do that even on Airbnb. Though getting people to respond sensibly can often be difficult. However, it’s entirely possible I won’t get any activity on HA/VRBO, so I’m not worrying about it for the moment.

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Ok - got it - I viewed.
Since your prices are ridiculously low ( and I get it…it is India ) and you have lived widely then you will understand my thought process.
I am in Charleston SC, and we command high pricing so my strategy has to be different from yours. ( Prime weeks will cost as much as $4800 + cleaning and tax. )
With your low rates and a fly-to location I would just require it all up front and also make it non-refundable.
Don’t accept any last minute bookings through HA, that is where you will get highly exposed to credit card fraud and chargebacks.
Upon arrival, or before, obtain legal ID to match the name of the guest who paid by cc…that gives you a leg to stand on if they try to say it was a stolen card, etc.
I have a contract I also have signed and returned …you may want a little something. The acceptance on HA will not protect you at all in any situation where a real signature is needed.

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I think asking it for all upfront might make sense. But I’m not sure about the refundable thing. I think people won’t like not having a cancellation policy that doesn’t allow them some leeway.

Thanks for the tip. Is this more of an issue than on Airbnb? And if so, why? I have accepted last minute bookings through Airbnb before, though I still ask questions and stuff.

Yes, I do that. And collect a lot of other info, actually. India has this thing calls Form C I have to submit on the behalf of foreign visitors.

I’m not sure about a contract. Would it be useful in India? It’s a pretty dysfunctional place, legally speaking.

I Think in certain cases Air is about the same. They used to show us the guest percentage, if you recall, back in the early days of Air… but I think it is around 15 percent now… but we don’t really know what Air will charge the guest!

I had an older TA guest once tell me, he ONLY books through TA because he trusts their reputation as a review site. I know, eye roll.

Well, Airbnb does get truly horrible ratings on sites like Trustpilot. And I’ve seen similarly bad ratings on other similar sites. Their ratings are definitely an outlier even compared to similar travel/STR sites.

It seems fashionable to scoff at Trustpilot, but the TP reviews I’ve read mostly sound authentic, and I can see where most of those people are coming from.

Anyway, my point is that I can imagine a potential guest looking at the Airbnb TP reviews and being put off. Though the guests I’ve had here don’t seem to have done so.

Having said that, I would not have thought the other STR sites were that much better.

Well clearly they AREN’T better as Air is the undisputed global leader. The other sites are just different.

…they did cater to a different rental seeker but all sites are starting to trend to the middle.
VRBO/HomeAway had focused on only larger homes and condos, mainly in beach and resort locations. They also were only an advertising site. Owners paid a advertising fee and that was that. Now, They earn more per each reservation than ABB because the average cost a a rental on HA far exceeds the cost of a VRBO…think $60 vs $4000 for example.
ABB had grown from and focused on shared space and cities. Think…San Fran, Paris, NYC, key metro areas. Each booking brings less to the bottom line. Now the focus is on non-shared space.
They are both now expanding to intrude and capture each other’s market. HA is adding everything, including city rentals. I think it is even possible that HA is earning more than ABB at this moment in time…unbelievable as that sounds…because they are taking from the owner and the renter.
ABB changed the industry…and for those of us who were here for a long time before them, …not to the better. But change is inevitable and here it is !