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Airbnb VS. VS. VRBO VS. HomeAway — What’s the difference?

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With so many platforms to choose from, which one is right for your property? Find out the difference between Airbnb,, VRBO and Homeaway


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Today, we’re going to look at the differences between some short term rental platforms, such as Airbnb,, homeaway, and VRBO and in what situations it makes sense to use one platform over another. The main difference between each platform is primarily the type of guests that are going to be booking on those platforms, which has an impact on the type of property that is going to perform better on a specific platform. 

Let’s start with homeaway and VRBO, which are actually owned by the same company, and there isn’t a big difference between those platforms. So VRBO stands for Vacation Rental By Owner. As the name indicates, it is primarily for vacation rentals, and that’s really where it got its start – by amalgamating different vacation homes that people had to offer as a short term rental. So on VRBO and Homeaway, you are going to predominantly find people looking for vacation rentals.  Most of the time, you aren’t going to be looking for a vacation home in downtown Toronto or New York, but more often in places like Florida or a place that you would go on a vacation. If you have a property that you’re offering for short term rental that is in a bigger, more urban area, then in general VRBO isn’t going to be great for that type of a listing. However, in general, VRBO properties that do well are larger properties that would be suitable for a full family. In terms of the way a platform operates, it is very similar to the way Airbnb operates – it collects the payments for you, takes their service fee, and pays you out a set amount. It is very straightforward and streamlined. 

The platform where things get complicated on that end is It is actually a travel website, like and Expedia, which are all owned by the same parent company. The majority of the properties on these platforms have historically been hotels, and with the popularity of Airbnb growing, some have started listing their properties. So now, while there are properties that aren’t hotels on the platform, the ones that tend to do well are ones that are similar to a hotel, a hotel alternative. If you’re in a location where people would typically be renting a hotel room, this would be a better platform than VRBO or homeaway. One of the nice things about is that because you are competing with professionally priced hotels, the pricing tends to be higher, meaning you can charge higher rates for your listing. 

In terms of ease of use, it definitely has a lot of room for improvement for it to be as easy as Airbnb or VRBO, homeaway. is exceptionally hard to use as a property owner for a few reasons – first, they don’t collect payments for you, so you need to actually process the credit card payments yourself. Initially, that doesn’t seem like too much of a challenge, but the issues come in when dealing with fraud, refunds, chargebacks, or other issues like that. The other thing that makes challenging is that because they aren’t collecting payment from the booking, you need to pay every few weeks, or every month to pay your service fees instead of them being automatically processed like they are with Airbnb. 

Finally, we have Airbnb, which is the one everyone is most familiar with. I would say it’s the best of everything – you have a good mix of hotel alternatives, vacation homes, local experiences. With the amount of variety of properties and the sheer volume of listings, it attracts a large pool of guests which makes it a great place to start out because it’s rare to find a property that can’t perform well on Airbnb. It’s extremely simple to use and offers you a variety of properties and areas where you can succeed. 


What's up guys, it's James here and in today's video, I'm going to talk to you about Airbnb homeaway vrb o and I'm going to break down for you what the difference is between each one of these platforms. I'm also going to touch on in this video when you should list your plot your property on Airbnb versus the other platforms when it makes no sense.

And hopefully, you're going to get a ton of value, and you're going to have a really clear action plan for your property or properties coming out of this video. Now, before I dive into it, I just want to remind you, if you're new to the channel here and you haven't yet subscribed, then hit that subscribe button. The data is telling me that a lot of you guys that watch this channel are not yet subscribed, and we post two new videos every single week that I really aim to have help you guys to really get the most value possible out of this channel. So if you're new here, just click that subscribe button.

If you haven't yet, check it out, click the subscribe button, click it now. And also just click that like button, hit the like button, so that you can just help me out tremendously with the YouTube algorithm, I would really, really appreciate that as well. And if you're checking this video on YouTube itself, then just leave me a comment. If you have any other video ideas, if you have things that you want me to talk about, if you have questions about the video, leave a comment down below as well.

So all that out of the way, let's dive into the video let's talk about the difference between Airbnb, VR, vo and homeaway. So to start out with the main difference between each platform is primarily going to be the type of guests that's booking on those platforms. And as a result of that, the different types of properties that are going to perform really well. Obviously, with a different type of guests on a given platform, the type of property that's going to perform the best is going to vary from platform to platform.

So let's start with homeaway and VR vo most people aren't aware but homeaway VR, vo are owned by the same company. They're essentially the same platform, there's very little difference between homeaway and VR vo. And so let's talk about those ones first VR Bo, for anyone that doesn't know it stands for vacation rental by owner. And so as the name would indicate, and as the name homeaway, like a home away from home would indicate it's primarily for vacation rentals. That's really where they were born.

And so if you think back to you know, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, before Airbnb was a really popular platform, then you're going to think back to a time when when you want to book a vacation rental, if you ever had experience doing that, you typically would go through a vacation rental manager, you'd actually just go and go on an individual website, depending on where you want to visit. And one of the first websites to kind of amalgamate all that stuff bringing all into one place was vrb o homeaway.

That's what they that's the segment of the market, they were really trying to corner in on. And so vrb o homeaway, did an okay job of that. And as a result, they're running some pretty good businesses right now. And they have some relatively popular booking platforms when it comes to vacation rentals. And so the reality though, is that the majority of the property owners on there are vacation rental owners. And the majority of the people booking there as guests are people that are searching for vacation rentals. And that are used to that as a traditional way of doing so.

So if you think about it, you're not going to go and look for a vacation rental in downtown Toronto or New York City, the markets where you're going to go and look for a vacation rental or more like San Diego, or maybe parts of Florida where you're going to go and vacation. And that's a very, very long standing industry in those places. So if you have a property in one of these more urban centers than vRv own home, we're probably not going to be that great for you if you do have vacation rental

However, if you've got a large home that's suitable for family, then homeaway vr vo are typically going to perform quite well. Now the difference in terms of how that platform operates, it's actually very, very similar to the way Airbnb operates in that it collects the payments for you, it pays you out a set amount, everything is pretty straightforward and streamline there where things get quite different is with So is actually a travel website that is competing with the likes of, Expedia, those different companies like that.

And so they're actually all owned by the same parent company as well. So similarly to how homeaway and VR vo are owned by the same, even got being owned by Expedia. So all kind of meshed in with all these other similar platforms that people use to book hotel estates. So the majority of the properties on there historically were hotels over the popularization throughout the popularization of Airbnb, a lot of property owners started listing their properties on which they were perfectly okay with. And so now you're starting to see more properties on booking calm that are not your standard hotel rooms.

However, the ones that performed the best are the ones that are very similar to hotel rooms. Because like I mentioned before, when we were talking about vrb, own homeaway, the typical guests that's booking through is someone that's coming to look for a hotel or a hotel alternative. So if you're in a place where you would typically book a hotel for their stay, like, for example, New York or Toronto, those downtown core metropolitan areas, then good, chances are that your property could do quite well on

If you're in a mood, or more vacation rental area, like for example, parts of Florida or San Diego, where someone's not really going to be looking for a hotel to stay at, they're going to more want a house to stay out with a kitchen with those types of amenities. And you're probably going to want to shy away from Now, if you have, let's say, a five bedroom, five bedroom home in the downtown core of Toronto, then again, there are some exceptions, you might have that one do really well on the rbo, whereas a one bedroom condo in the city would actually do quite well on

So you have to look at not only where your property is located, but also the type of property and the type of guests you're looking to cater to. So one of the really nice things about as a platform is that because you are competing with other hotels that are professionally priced, the pricing tends to be quite a bit higher. And so as a result of that, you can charge higher rates for your listing. Now, that's kind of the end of where the advantages go with

As far as ease of use, it's got a lot of room to go to work up to to get to the same place as Airbnb or vrbo, homeaway, booking, things like that. is exceptionally hard to use as a property owner for a number of different reasons. Number one is that they don't collect the payments for you, you have to go and grab the credit card details that provides you from the property owner and actually processed that payment on your own, that at face value might not seem that difficult. I mean, you don't even won't even know how to begin to do that it actually isn't that complicated to learn how to charge a credit card.

But where the issues come in is when you have things like fraud, refunds, chargebacks, all these different things that happen that then you have to deal with, as opposed to it being left in the lap of Airbnb or, you know, vrb o homeaway. So it just adds a whole level of administrative stress to your life that isn't that great. And the other thing that is just challenging and saying you have to kind of keep an eye on from a cash flow perspective is that charges a booking fee similar to how these other platforms do but because they're not collecting the payment, they're not pulling it out before they give you your money, you're getting the money on on charging the person's credit card, and then you actually have to pay a bill to every couple weeks or every month.

So now, although this doesn't end up being any different from the other booking platforms, a lot of people think that is more expensive, because they just don't realize that they're actually paying Airbnb, they just don't see the money leaving. So that's another challenge with it is it from a cash flow perspective, you have to make sure you're setting aside that 15% to pay to booking calm. And that leaves us with Airbnb, the one that everybody knows everyone's already familiar with. And so I would say it's the best of everything. It's the best of both worlds, you have a pretty good mix on Airbnb, people that are looking for hotel alternatives, people that are looking for a vacation home, Airbnb has really brand themselves as living like a local, which doesn't really lend itself to either one of the two markets.

It's more just about the experience that you have when you book an Airbnb. And it's one that universally everyone kind of wants, everyone wants to go and live somewhere like a local with Airbnb, plus, you have a really good a really good market of properties that compete with hotels and give you that same level of consistency. And with the amount of variety that's on the platform and just the sheer volume of listings. It obviously just attracts a really large pool of different guests who are booking for different reasons.

So that's why I always recommend that if you're just starting out, you always want to list first and foremost on Airbnb, because that's where every property tends to do the best. You will have some exceptions to that. But it's very rare that you'll get a property that just can't perform well on Airbnb, if it can't perform well on Airbnb, then chances are it can't perform that well anywhere. So Airbnb is definitely, in my opinion, the best platform to be on simply because they have the most guests the most listings and the most variety of everything so that you're going to get pretty much any property performing quite well on them. And it's also the easiest to use.

They've really done a great job of simplifying the back end so that you can use it exceptionally easily as a host is the most complex, but it does offer the great the great rates that you can get for the right type of property and vrb o booking, or vrb o and homeaway rather, are in my opinion, the closest competitors to Airbnb they're the most similar. You're just kidding. would be not going to get the volume of bookings though you sometimes can get a bit of a premium on those platforms.

So again, I hope this video has been really helpful for you and helping you to determine which platforms you may or may not want to list on and what the pros and cons of each of them are. If you did like this video, if you got any value from it at all, please just hit that like button, give this video thumbs up and if you want more videos about all things Airbnb and Airbnb management, just click the subscribe button there. I post two new videos every single week. So hit that subscribe button to be notified whenever they come out and to stay up to date with the channel. Until next time, I will see you soon.


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