What is the Difference Between Airbnb and VRBO? (Comparison)

Difference Between Airbnb and VRBO

Last Updated on July 11, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

Airbnb and VRBO are popular online platforms for booking vacation rentals, but there are some key differences between them. Airbnb is known for its diverse range of accommodations, including shared rooms, private homes, and unique properties. On the other hand, VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) primarily focuses on whole-home rentals and is often associated with larger, luxury properties.

Comparison between VRBO and Airbnb

Comparison between VRBO and Airbnb
Property TypePrimarily whole-home rentalsDiverse range of accommodations
Host InteractionLess emphasis on interactionA diverse range of accommodations
Booking ProcessHost confirmation requiredInstant booking available
Fee StructureSubscription fee for hostsGuest service fee, host fees
 Focus and AudienceFamilies and larger groupsBudget-conscious travelers and families
User ExperienceTraditional and straightforwardUser-friendly design and reviews
Global AvailabilityAvailable worldwideAvailable worldwide

Difference Between Airbnb and VRBO

Airbnb and VRBO are two popular platforms for booking vacation rentals, but they have several differences:

  • Property Type: Airbnb offers a wide range of accommodation options, including shared rooms, apartments, and unique properties like treehouses or castles. VRBO focuses primarily on whole-home rentals, such as houses, villas, and condos, catering more to larger groups or families.
  • Host Interaction: Airbnb emphasizes a community-driven experience, with hosts often interacting with guests, providing local recommendations and fostering a personal connection. VRBO, on the other hand, generally offers a more hands-off approach, allowing guests to have more privacy and independence.
  • Booking Process: Airbnb offers an instant booking feature, allowing guests to book properties directly without host approval in many cases. VRBO typically requires host confirmation before a booking is finalized, providing more control to hosts over who stays in their property.
  • Fee Structure: Airbnb charges guests a service fee that varies based on the total booking cost. Hosts are also charged a percentage fee per booking. VRBO primarily charges hosts a subscription fee to list their properties, and guests may be charged a booking fee, usually lower than Airbnb’s service fee.
  • Focus and Audience: While both platforms serve a global audience, Airbnb has a broader focus and attracts a wide range of travelers seeking diverse experiences. VRBO tends to cater more to families or larger groups looking for spacious accommodations for vacations.
  • User Experience: Airbnb’s platform prioritizes user-friendly design and emphasizes guest reviews and ratings. VRBO offers a more traditional and straightforward booking experience, with a focus on property details and amenities.

Why choose Airbnb and VRBO over hotel accommodations?

Why choose Airbnb and VRBO over hotel accommodations


Hotels and other types of accommodation feel more public and open than Airbnb and VRBO. Therefore private and unique rental vacation homes are becoming the norm in today’s world. Contrary to what people might think or say about Airbnb and VRBO, you can find beachfront properties, cabins, and other services in your location.

Flexible rules 

Standard hotels have some rigid rules that will not be bent for anyone, Airbnb or VRBO listings also have rules, but since they are run differently from hotels, you are more likely to find one that will fit your needs perfectly or bend to fit you. Rules like no pets or entry at certain hours can all be scrubbed off, and you get to enjoy your holiday the way you want to.


The cost comparison between hotels and rental vacation homes is another reason people choose to leave hotels and book rental homes. Hotels have high price tags on their bookings and zero room to reduce or change the price.

Location preference 

Unlike hotels, vacation homes emerged in the local neighborhood and not in town centers. The experience is very different once you see the inner cities and not just the surface area of your destination.

Final Thought

When looking for a vacation home, you need to pick the best accommodation, and Airbnb and VRBO are great alternatives to hotels. They offer homely and personal environments, unlike the hotels. However, Airbnb and VRBO differ in some ways, and it is best to understand each before booking.