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Comparing Airbnb To VRBO – Who Is Better?

By now, most travelers are familiar with Airbnb and some with VRBO. Both of these online accommodation marketplaces cater to person-to-person lodging offerings. With Airbnb’s prominence dominating year after year in the travel space, how does VRBO compare?

In this article, we’ll focus on some of the things travelers need to know when using either of these services. The average daily room rate for the hotel industry forecast to increase over the cost of inflation according to CRBE’s 2018 projections. So, it’s now more important for travelers to consider these two alternative accommodation providers if they are looking to get the most for their money.

What Airbnb Offers Users That Hotels Don’t

AirBNB VS VRBO ALogoMillions of properties across the globe to choose from including entire homes, private islands, and even caves!

With Airbnb, travelers can lose themselves in the search for their perfect accommodation. There are just so many types of places available all over the world! When we looked at just the main page of what was available from their ‘Superhosts’, we were pleasantly surprised.

The option to explore destinations and have local experiences with experienced hosts

Airbnb offers travelers the option to book an experience with local hosts. It’s like their activities or ‘things to do’ option featuring popular activities. The chance to explore a neighborhood with a local is quite exciting and unique to the Airbnb experience.

Bespoke accommodation for almost every budget not available via other sites

Did you want to stay in a treetop hideaway? What about a place that looks like one of the homes from the Lord of the Rings movie? Unlike the standard contemporary designs found in hotels, Airbnb truly has a wide range of bespoke accommodation. We found barrel homes, beautiful barn stays, and even options to book a castle.

Friendly local hosts who can provide concierge services unique to their location

Want to know where the best place for breakfast in New York is? What about the best place to get a photo of the Hollywood sign? Airbnb hosts are usually experts in their location because they live there. Usually, concierge services, if they’re any good, can direct you to the best of anything in an area. However, locals are always the best resource for finding out ‘the best’ information about anything from food to the best nightlife.

A true home-away-from-home experience since you are after all staying in someone’s home as their guest

Sometimes the cost of staying in an up-market bed and breakfast can seem a little too pricey. When you are looking for a b&b experience that feels genuinely like you’re a guest in someone’s home, you’re likely to find a better-priced option Airbnb. Whether you rent a few rooms or a separate property, having someone who genuinely wants house guests around is lovely. You might even have a better dining experience with your host than you could have in a Michelin star restaurant!

A genuine platform of global diversity for travelers looking for more than the average ‘cookie-cutter’ hotel experience

Let’s face it. The standard hotel decor gets old after a while. If you’re after unique accommodation that’s a little outside the box, you’ll find it on Airbnb. With Airbnb Plus offerings, the places are vetted for their quality. This comes after a history of unsatisfied guests leaving less than desirable reviews. The global offering of verified properties isn’t as extensive, however, Airbnb is working hard to change this landscape and in turn, increase positive reviews.

What Airbnb Lacks

The ability to properly vet all of its hosts and their properties due to the sheer size of the company

As mentioned above, Airbnb is now providing a range of verified properties to counteract the myriad of negative experiences people have had with regular hosts. Unfortunately, due to the sheer magnitude of Airbnb’s growth, their offering of verified properties is quite small by comparison. The price tag for many of these properties is consequently much higher as well. Although, if you are looking for a bit more security, especially as a first-time Airbnb user, going with an Airbnb Plus host, may provide a little more peace of mind.

True transparency in their reviews

With any business, you will find negative reviews. That being said, Airbnb has not been without its faults in terms of their reviews and how they handle them. There have been reports that some negative reviews have not been posted, or have been removed from the site. Airbnb will say that the review perhaps did not comply with their guidelines. With any service review, travelers will need to consider taking the information provided with a grain of salt. Some negative reviews may be unsubstantiated, thus travelers need to be wary of this also. Overall, any reviews, either positive or otherwise, should be researched on sites other than the provider itself. If you’re looking for something shady, you’ll often find out about if you do your research.

What Does VRBO Offer?

AirBNB VS VRBO VLogoVRBO is like an online real-estate page for property owners wishing to rent out their space to travelers. It’s kind of like the classifieds for vacation rentals if you will. As part of the Expedia brand, VRBO provides similar vacation rental options to travelers like Airbnb.

Is VRBO the same as Airbnb?

VRBO is like an online real-estate page for property owners wishing to rent out their space to travelers. It’s kind of like the classifieds for vacation rentals if you will. As part of the Expedia brand, VRBO provides similar vacation rental options to travelers like Airbnb.

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owners) are pretty much the same as Airbnb in terms of what they do on the accommodation front. That’s where it ends though and it’s a scanty comparison at best due to Airbnb’s constant additions to its offerings.

What VRBO offer compared to Airbnb

Rent a whole home for half the price of a hotel

It’s a tempting offer to have more space to roam than what your average hotel can provide. However, the quality of your ‘roaming space’ is not standardized as it is in a hotel. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of options to choose from, however, you need to look beyond the square-footage if you are looking for more than just ‘space’.

Since the price of the ‘space’ you are renting is relative to the condition of the property, this could be a concern for those with high expectations. Travelers who prefer to know exactly the kind of atmosphere they are getting, may not be comfortable with taking the photos and descriptions offered, at face value.

A few different options than Airbnb in popular cities

VRBO has a decent offering of property types in major cities. In Los Angeles alone, you have our choice of over two thousand houses. Other property types in the L.A area alone include apartments, villas, studios, and even entire estates! Airbnb did not have estates listed as a property type at the time this article was written. Perhaps they’ll consider adding these to their listings.

More detail in their listings

Since the listings are written by the property owners, they have a vested interest in providing information to their guests. We found that while Airbnb hosts did provide a lot of information, it was quite standard in terms of detail. The properties that we looked at on VRBO had an enormous amount of information if you were searching in the higher price brackets. This wasn’t necessarily the case if you were looking in the lower priced listings though.

Similar issue as Airbnb regarding their reviews

As with Airbnb, VRBO has had their fair share of negative reviews. Since the vacation rental industry is not regulated well if at all, you can’t be assured of the quality of your property until it’s too late. Again, with the higher priced properties on VRBO, you have owners who take pride in their rentals. They look after them and treat them as businesses. With a more professional approach to their offering, the reviews are more likely to be accurate.

Choosing to stay in someone’s home as your accommodation while traveling isn’t for everyone. These two sites may appear to be doing the same thing in terms of what they offer for accommodation, however, Airbnb seems more on top of their game for reliability.

In the end, you need to look at what you’re getting for your money when you are planning any aspect of a trip. If quality is a concern, Airbnb offers more peace of mind with their verified properties. VRBO will need to lift their game in terms of vetting listings since they have had quite a few issues with their customer experience reviews. While both of these providers offer affordable choices to users, VRBO will need to do more if they want to compete with Airbnb.

If you would like to know more about Airbnb or VRBO then click the link to our articles regarding those two companies.

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