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Make it easy Should You Use Airbnb or Vrbo?

Illustration for article titled Should You Use Airbnb or Vrbo?

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Of all the peer-to-peer rental platforms out there, Airbnb and Vrbo are two of the biggest names, and they share a lot of similarities. But while they both have deals cheaper than most hotel room rates, there are differences between the two worth knowing about, too. Here’s a look at how they compare.

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Airbnb has a better selection than Vrbo

Both Airbnb and Vrbo are peer-to-peer rental sites that allow private owners to rent out private and commercial space to customers on their app. Vrbo, which stands for “vacation rentals by owner,” is actually the older of the two platforms, although its selection is smaller, in part due to the fact that Vrbo only rents out entire properties, not rooms with shared spaces, as you might see with Airbnb.

For that reason, the cheapest deals are usually found on Airbnb, although the trade-off is that you’re looking at shared or otherwise quirky spaces (for example, I once stayed in a cramped Airbnb that had a toilet in the shower stall—but it was cheap). It’s also worth mentioning that Airbnb has made efforts to branch out from its home-sharing roots, and now offers hotel rooms, as well.

Pricing is comparable between Airbnb and Vrbo

With both services you’re actually booking directly with a property host, although Airbnb and Vrbo take a percentage of each transaction in the form of a service fee. Since every property is unique, and pricing is partly based on what owners want to charge, it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison between the platforms. But generally speaking, the base fares and additional service fees for Airbnb and Vrbo are comparable.

Airbnb typically charges an additional service fee of 5% to 20% of the subtotal (minus taxes), which can include the nightly rate, a cleaning fee, and any other additional guest fees (Airbnb says that their cut is typically 1416%). With Vrbo, it’s in the same range—you’ll get charged roughly 6% to 12% of the subtotal (minus taxes), which also includes tacked-on fees. Therefore, since additional fees are set by Airbnb and Vrbo hosts, the total costs vary on a given property. It’s also worth mentioning that Airbnb offers long-term stay discounts, while Vrbo does not.

Airbnb and Vrbo both have an array of cancellation options 

Cancellation policies run along a spectrum for both Airbnb and Vrbo, and they can be found on an individual property’s webpage when you’re picking a place to stay on either platform. Basically, you can get a refund based on different cancellation windows leading up to the booking date, and again, this is determined by property owners.

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The one knock on Vrbo, at least for customers, is that there are more options available to owners to customize their cancellation policies, which can be confusing to customers. To make sure a given policy isn’t too onerous, you’ll have to carefully read an owner’s policy for both Airbnb and Vrbo, but especially for Vrbo.

Vrbo’s interface is clunkier than Airbnb, but has better search options

Vrbo’s design isn’t as visually appealing as Airbnb’s (it has ads), but it offers better search functionality, allowing you to filter results by their overall ranking, popularity, cancellation policy or cleanliness. This is something that’s sorely missed in Airbnb.

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Bottom line

If you had to pick just one platform, Airbnb would be the best choice just for the large selection of venues they offer. But of course, you don’t have to just pick one platform, which means that you can keep using Vrbo as a complement to Airbnb. Some properties are listed on both sites, so there can be some overlap between the two sites in terms of search results, but there are listings unique to each platform, as well, so you’re more likely to find the best deal by searching both Airbnb and Vrbo.

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Source link: lifehacker.com

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