It is becoming increasingly common for people to rent out their home or vacation property. In the past, this meant that owners either handled the marketing themselves or used a brick-and-mortar rental company. Now online platforms Airbnb and VRBO have become the standard, particularly younger generations who are comfortable booking their vacation online.

VRBO (originally named Vacation Rental By Owner) was founded in 1995 and owned by Expedia. There are more than two million listings in 190 countries. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and features more than seven million listings in 220 countries.

What’s the difference?

Property experts weigh the pluses and minuses to determine which is a better fit. It can also prompt you to look for another option. The two platforms are both alternatives to booking a hotel or resort. They also have a lot in common with many of the same features, but there are notable differences:

  • Properties: Airbnb has become bigger by offering more unique rentals (from rooms in apartments to tiny houses to castles) than typical vacation rentals (no shared living spaces) handled by VRBO.
  • Fees: Airbnb charges 3% on every completed booking and does not charge a listing fee. While Airbnb service fees are currently 14.2%, VRBO charges 6% to 12% and has two fee models for owner/managers (a $500 annual subscription or a 5% commission and 3% credit card processing fee per booking).
  • Cancelation policy: Airbnb has three policies (flexible, moderate and strict). VRBO has five options for owners. While Airbnb’s most flexible policy allows a full refund for cancellation up to 24 hours before check-in, VRBO requires at least 14 days.
  • Guest profile: Airbnb tends to attract younger and more adventurous users looking for affordable rentals, often for short-term stays in cities. VRBO tends to attract families on vacation at a tourist destination.

Which is a better fit?

Properties each have their unique charms and perks. There may also be certain limitations dictated by a homeowners association or even municipal laws, which owners or managers may need to address with the help of a real estate law attorney. Generally speaking, the Naples market tends to serve families or snowbirds who are long term renters, which means VRBO would be the right choice.