VRBO vs HomeAway

How do VRBO and HomeAway compare against each other? This is perhaps the question in your mind right now. Most probably, you have heard both names before. VRBO and HomeAway are both two of the largest and most well-known online vacation rental websites in the world. However, there are just few people who know that the two are actually owned by the same company. Yes, they are. Still, even though the two are owned by the same company, there are several notable differences between VRBO and HomeAway. Below, we will see the differences and comparisons between VRBO and HomeAway, and we will see whether VRBO or HomeAway is the best choice for you.

The Merging

Of course, VRBO and HomeAway were originally two independent companies competing against each other. VRBO, which is actually the short for “Vacation Rental By Owner”, was one of the very first online vacation rental companies in the world. It was founded in 1996, and has become one of the most trusted accommodation brands for hosts and travelers ever since. On the other hand, HomeAway was founded in 2005, but quickly acquired VRBO in 2006 along with VacationRentals.com in 2007. Hence, VRBO is now actually owned by HomeAway, and with VacationRentals.com make up the three biggest vacation rental websites in the United States.

VRBO vs. HomeAway: Available Listings

Even though the two websites are owned now owned by the same company, they still operate pretty much independently from each other. The listings on VRBO are different with the ones on HomeAway. Of course, there are many hosts who list their properties on both websites, but, the point is, their listings are not connected to each other (except by using the Bundle Program that we will explain further below). So, if you are a host, listing on VRBO does not automatically list on HomeAway, and vice versa. If you are a traveler looking for a good rental, you may want to look at both websites to compare the deals available.

So far, VRBO possesses at least 794,000 listings available across the globe. Most of the listings are entire homes and apartments. Most properties on VRBO have a backyard, and a typical VRBO rental can be as wide as 1,850 square feet. Because of the typical space that a VRBO property provides, VRBO makes an ideal place for you who are looking for a pet-friendly rental or a kid-friendly vacation home.

On the other hand, HomeAway features more than 1 million listings so far, spread across 190 different countries. With such rich collection of listings, we can see why HomeAway is able to offer a wider variety of choices. There are various types of property available on the website, such as vacation houses, log cabins, apartments, beachfront villas, and even castles and private islands.

VRBO vs. HomeAway: Owners or Management Companies

The properties listed on VRBO are usually listed by the direct owners, though there have been some listings made by management companies as well. So, if you feel more comfortable dealing with real owners instead of management companies, you will feel more convenient browsing through VRBO’s listings. On the other hand, HomeAway has listings that are made by both direct owners and management companies in roughly equal numbers. So, you will fairly often encounter deals offered by management companies when browsing through HomeAway’s listings.

VRBO vs. HomeAway: The Travelers

The majority of people use either VRBO or HomeAway – not both. In fact, they seem to have different bases of users. There are just 30% of the combined users of VRBO and HomeAway that frequent both websites.

VRBO is the older one of the two, and it already has a base of loyal users. VRBO has been around for a longer time and is generally trusted by the users. The users VRBO generally don’t want to use another online travel service because those users are already comfortable with what VRBO offers. The users of VRBO – both the hosts and travelers – tend to be older.

On the other hand, HomeAway is newer, but the rapidly growing popularity has made it trusted by its users as well. The users of HomeAway are generally more active, in a sense that they will sometimes look for other deals or services that offer better prices. That said, these people also don’t mind to pay more if they believe that they can get more value or better quality out of their money.

VRBO vs. HomeAway: Pricing Options

Since the two companies are now owned by the same company, they now come with similar pricing options for hosts. They each have three pricing options:
– Annual subscription, which costs $349 per year. This is best for rentals available year round.
– Pay-per-booking, which costs 10% of the booking price. The fee is taken per booking. This is suitable for infrequent rentals.
– Third party outsourcing, which averagely costs 13% of the booking price. The fee is taken per booking. This is suitable if you don’t have the time to manage the listing yourself; it will be managed by a management company.

Please note that choosing to list on VRBO does not automatically list on HomeAway, and vice versa, except if you purchase the Bundle Program. The Bundle Program will allow you to cross-list your property on VRBO and HomeAway through a single dashboard. So, any change you make on your listing through the dashboard can be automatically updated on both websites. This is very convenient if you want to target the users of both VRBO and HomeAway.

VRBOHomeAway
- Founded in 1996, but now owned by HomeAway- Founded in 2005, acquired VRBO in 2006
- At least 794,000 listings, composed of entire homes and apartments- More than 1 million listings, ranging from apartments, vacation houses, log cabins, beachfront villas, to castles and private islands
- The users are generally loyal users, tend to be older- The users are more variable; they sometimes compare other deals and services for better prices
- Available in three pricing options and the Bundle Program- Available in three pricing options and the Bundle Program

Conclusion

VRBO is owned HomeAway, but the two websites work independently from each other. HomeAway is now offering more listings and property options than VRBO. You can various property types on HomeAway, from apartments, vacation houses, to castles and private islands, whereas VRBO’s listings are largely entire homes and apartments. They have different user bases, with just 30% of the combined users using both websites. VRBO and HomeAway have similar pricing options. You can list on just VRBO or just HomeAway, or list on both using the Bundle Program.

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