Airbnb vs Vrbo: Clash of the Vacation Titans

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Not sure between Airbnb and Vrbo for your next vacation rental? Both platforms offer great options, but they cater to different needs and preferences, offering a range of experiences.

In this comparison by Insiderbits, we’ll lay out their key differences and similarities. These can greatly influence your decision, ensuring you pick the right service for your next trip.


Curious about which will come out on top? Keep reading as we dissect their offerings in great detail. Let’s find out together which service will host an unforgettable getaway.

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An in-depth comparison between Airbnb and Vrbo

Airbnb vs Vrbo

Hotels have always been a staple in the travel industry, but no matter how luxurious they may be, staying at one never quite feels like home. Luckily, now there are alternatives.

With vacation rentals on the rise, companies like Airbnb and Vrbo have become popular due to that “home away from home” feeling. But which one offers the best overall service?

Below, we’ll examine both options in order to give you a detailed comparison. That way, you’ll be able to easily choose between Airbnb and Vrbo for your next adventure. 

Available On:Android, iOS, and Web.Android, iOS, and Web.


Airbnb vs Vrbo

When it comes to vacation rentals, most people will think of Airbnb. The platform offers a diverse range of accommodations through its categories and is in almost every global city.

Navigating its options is easy with more than 100 filters to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly stay or a house with a hot tub, you’re sure to find it with them.

Airbnb allows you to book your stay, pay directly within the platform, and keep all of your booking details in one place. It also enables direct communication with your host via chat.

With Airbnb, you can rent your own place or even a single bedroom, which is a great option for travelers on a budget. Additionally, you can get insights into the area before you book.

By focusing on guest convenience and a broad presence, Airbnb stands out as a prime choice for anyone who’s looking for memorable and comfortable accommodations.

Android & iOS

Where Airbnb stands out

  • Diverse Accommodations: Airbnb provides plenty of different options, from unique treehouses to urban apartments, catering to all tastes and travel styles.
  • Personalized Search Filters: With over 100 filters, including amenities like pools or accessibility, travelers can easily find accommodations that match their needs.
  • Integrated Travel Management: Airbnb centralizes travel plans, enabling simple communication with hosts and access to important travel details and updates.
  • Local Experiences: Airbnb Experiences offers activities led by locals, from cooking classes to hiking adventures, enriching the travel experience.
  • Global Reach: With listings in more than 220 countries, Airbnb makes travel easier to a wide range of destinations, making it a versatile choice for travelers.

Where Airbnb falls short

  • Inconsistent Quality: The quality and accuracy of listings can vary, leading to potential discrepancies between listing descriptions and the actual accommodation.
  • Service Fees: Airbnb charges guests service fees, which can add a significant amount to the total cost, especially for shorter stays or smaller budgets.
  • Cancellation Policies: Hosts set their own cancellation policies, which can sometimes be strict, making it difficult for travelers to cancel without incurring costs.
  • Privacy and Safety Concerns: Staying in a stranger’s property may raise privacy and safety concerns for some travelers, unlike traditional hotel accommodations.
  • Lack of On-Site Services: Unlike hotels, Airbnb stays often lack immediate access to services like daily cleaning, front desk assistance, and on-site dining options.

Overall user experience with Airbnb

Even though Airbnb is not the first online vacation rental service to be born, it is without a doubt the most popular one. With over 150 million users worldwide, it definitely sets the tone.

Its mobile app has a 4.5 rating on the Play Store and a 4.8 rating on the App Store, and it’s the most downloaded app in the travel segment, placing it a few spots in front of Vrbo.

Reviews on both platforms are mostly positive, highlighting the app’s ease of use, overall quality of accommodations, and transparent policies regarding fees and host identity. 

Most negative reviews are about the app and website themselves rather than unpleasant stays or issues with their rentals, making Airbnb a reliable option for travel bookings. 

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Airbnb vs Vrbo

In comparison, Vrbo is not as popular as Airbnb when it comes to vacation rentals. But what most people don’t realize is that Vrbo was created more than a decade before its competitor.

When it comes to usability, both platforms are very similar. You can input your destination, the vacation period, and a number of guests, and Vrbo will showcase all available properties.

What sets Vrbo apart is that it offers a loyalty program called OneKeyCash that rewards you with every booking, and you can use your earned rewards across other booking platforms.

Other interesting features include a planning board where you can save your favorite accommodations, and the ability to talk to a host before you go through with the rental.

Payments are made directly through Vrbo, there’s 24/7 online support, and all travel information is available within the app whenever you need it, even if you’re offline. 

Android & iOS

Where Vrbo stands out

  • Secure Booking Process: Vrbo allows for secure booking and payment through the app or website, providing peace of mind when arranging your stay.
  • Comprehensive Travel Management: All of your essential booking details are easily accessible, even if you’re offline, offering unparalleled convenience.
  • Loyalty Program: Vrbo’s OneKeyCash is the first loyalty program among major vacation rental platforms, allowing you to earn and redeem rewards on stays.
  • Collaborative Trip Planning: Vrbo makes it easy to plan and collaborate on travel details with friends and family with features like its Trip Boards.
  • Unique Properties: Vrbo offers a diverse selection of properties, including A-frames, beach houses, and condos, in over 190 countries, catering to all preferences.

Where Vrbo falls short

  • Service Fees: Like other rental platforms, Vrbo includes service fees that can increase the total cost of your booking, affecting budget-conscious travelers.
  • Limited Redemption Options: While OneKey offers rewards, redemption is limited to bookings on Vrbo, Expedia, and, which may not cover all travel needs.
  • Focus on Whole Properties: Specializing in full-property rentals might limit options for those seeking single rooms, potentially increasing the cost for solo travelers.
  • Cancellation Policies: Cancellation policies are set by hosts, which can be strict and may result in losing a significant portion of your investment if plans change.
  • Communication with Hosts: While Vrbo provides a platform for messaging owners, response times and the helpfulness of hosts can vary, impacting planning.

Overall user experience with Vrbo

Vrbo might be the eldest son, but in comparison to Airbnb, it still has a long way to go when it comes to its user base, coming up with a little over 48 million active users. 

But that does not mean it’s not a worthy adversary! Its app ratings are 4.3 and 4.8 on the Play Store and App Store, respectively. It currently holds the #3 spot on travel downloads. 

Vrbo reviews are mostly positive, with guests highlighting the quality of booked accommodations and direct communication with hosts via mobile.

Meanwhile, Vrbo’s complaints are mostly about their customer service (or lack thereof) when it comes to resolving property or booking issues, so take this into consideration. 

Related: The Best Vacation Planning Apps for a Perfect Getaway

How to maximize your experience on Airbnb and Vrbo

Making the most of your experience on Airbnb and Vrbo requires a strategic approach, and learning how to customize your preferences is key to an exceptional stay. 

To help you, here are some actionable tips, drawing on a thorough comparison between the two platforms. Discover how to make choices that align perfectly with your travel needs.

  • Identify Your Must-Haves: Before searching, list essential amenities and features. This clarity helps you quickly narrow down options on Airbnb and Vrbo.
  • Use Filters Effectively: Take full advantage of the detailed search filters. They’re key for finding properties that meet your exact requirements on both platforms.
  • Read Reviews Thoroughly: Get insights from previous guests. Reviews can reveal the reality of staying at a property, aiding in a more informed comparison.
  • Consider Location Wisely: Choose a location that balances accessibility with your desired vacation vibe, whether it’s city excitement or calm seclusion.
  • Check for Flexible Cancellation: Opt for properties with flexible cancellation policies to safeguard against unexpected changes, ensuring peace of mind.
  • Leverage Loyalty Programs: If you frequently use Vrbo, engage with the One Key program to earn and redeem rewards, enhancing value across stays.
  • Communicate with Hosts: Don’t hesitate to reach out to hosts with any questions. Their advice can improve your stay and provide a smoother experience.
  • Monitor for Deals and Discounts: Keep an eye on both platforms for special offers or discounts that can provide better value for your preferred accommodations.
  • Plan Ahead for Popular Destinations: For sought-after locations, book well in advance to secure your ideal accommodation, avoiding last-minute shortages.

In the vacation duel, Airbnb beats Vrbo in style

There’s a reason why Airbnb is the most popular platform for vacation rentals, and in our eyes, its wide variety of properties makes it the better choice in comparison with Vrbo.

In addition, feedback from guests on Airbnb is more transparent, providing potential guests with reliable insights into their possible stays, which is another advantage. 

Airbnb excels in user experience, making it more intuitive for guests to find and book their ideal accommodation, while Vrbo might feel a little overwhelmed with recommendations.

Airbnb’s global reach is also unmatched, offering properties in more countries and cities. This extensive network means travelers are more likely to find the perfect spot for their trip.

Lastly, and while Vrbo is a strong competitor, issues like customer support challenges and a narrower selection of rental types give Airbnb the upper hand in this comparison.

This comparative piece is brought to you by Insiderbits, aiming to provide clear insights into the Airbnb vs. Vrbo debacle so you can make the best travel decisions for yourself. 

For more insightful guides and travel tips, keep exploring Insiderbits. Discover articles that turn ordinary getaways into extraordinary adventures with our expert advice!


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