HomeAway vs Airbnb

Today, renting a getaway home has never been more convenient than before. Whether it is a luxury villa in the mountains or a beachfront summer house, you can easily find them all on the Internet. Various vacation rental marketplace websites are now available to help you find and book the best-priced property where you can spend your holiday, possibly with your loved ones. These vacation rental marketplace websites also create a new way for people to earn money; by renting their property online, they can find guests much more easily.

However, two of the most popular vacation rental marketplaces right now are HomeAway and Airbnb. Both have been widely and intensively used all around the world. However, if you are not very experienced in choosing such kind of service, you are most probably wondering right now whether HomeAway or Airbnb is better. Below, we will see the comparisons between HomeAway and Airbnb from different perspectives and viewpoints. So, continue reading!

Overview of HomeAway

HomeAway is a vacation rental marketplace featuring over 2,000,000 vacation rentals in 190 countries all around the world. It is operating through 50 websites in 23 languages. It was founded in February 2005 by Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd, but was bought by Expedia Inc. in 2015 to become a subsidiary company. HomeAway is basically an online classified where vacation rental owners can pay to advertise on their space.

Overview of Airbnb

Meanwhile, Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service that enables people to lease or rent short-term lodging. It is more of a broker, as it receives a percentage of the rent as a service fee or commission from both the guest and the host on every booking. So far, Airbnb features over 3,000,000 lodging listings across 65,000 cities in 191 countries. It is available in 26 languages. Airbnb is held by a privately owned company. It was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia.

HomeAway vs. Airbnb: Fee and Payment

HomeAway and Airbnb are different in the ways they provide payment options. In general, Airbnb is considered safer and more convenient to use because it handles all financial transactions. When a guest wants to rent a property and pay, the payment is processed by Airbnb. The host will not receive the payment until the day after the guest checks in. Like the effects, payments in Airbnb are timely and secure. Such system protects both the guest and the host from miscommunications and frauds.

Meanwhile, HomeAway does not handle the transactions between the host and the guest. Instead, it only facilitates the contact between the guest and the host or property manager responsible for the payment. The host or manager is responsible for processing their own payments.

Additionally, these two services also have different fees. Airbnb allows hosts to list their properties freely, without any fee. The fee is only applied to the booking. It charges 3% of the rent per booking to the host. Depending on the type of the property, it charges between 6% to 12% to the guest.

On the other hand, HomeAway offers two ways to the hosts to pay the fees. The first option is to pay for an annual subscription, which ranges from US$349 for the basic package to US$999 for the platinum package. The second option is to pay zero dollars up-front, but it will charge 10% – 13% of the rent to the host per booking. If you use the online booking feature, you will also be charged a credit card processing fee, which is about 2.5%. The guests are required to pay a damage/cancellation protection fee. The prices are relatively higher than those on Airbnb, but we can assume that these prices go in parallel with the professionalism of the host, considering that many listings are made by management companies.

HomeAway vs. Airbnb: Types of Rentals Available

Both HomeAway and Airbnb list the rentals by location, date or length of stay, and the number of guests. However, the types of properties available on these two services are somehow different. Airbnb is usually filled with hosts who list their own homes, either because they are going out of town for a while or because they do enjoy temporary companies. Guests can rent the entire apartment, shared rooms, or even couches. There are just a few restrictions regarding the types of listings allowed. The accommodation must be used only for lodging.

On the other hand, HomeAway only allows rentals of entire properties. There are various listings available, ranging from condos, single-family houses, boats, to castles and private islands. If you are looking for a rental that is large enough to accommodate a group retreat or a wedding party, you have a big chance here.

HomeAway vs. Airbnb: Community

The atmosphere of Airbnb is cozier. It is more community-based. Hosts showcase their unique styles through their decorated rooms, arts, and knickknacks. Hosts and guests can leave reviews for each other. Meanwhile, the guests tend to be younger. These people are usually more cost-conscious, and tend to book closer to the time of travel.

On the other hand, HomeAway has a more online-classified feel, as many listings come from management companies rather than owners. The guests are a somewhat broader array. There are guests who travel with families, friends, or groups. The users are also generally more experienced travelers that are already accustomed to renting vacation homes and following maintenance procedures. They tend to book well in advance and have high standards.

- Over 2,000,000 vacation rentals across 190 countries- Over 3,000,000 vacation rentals across 191 countries
- Annual subscription or 10-13% fee for hosts, damage/cancellation protection fee for guests- 3% fee for hosts, 6-12% fee for guests
- Owners or managers must handle transactions by themselves- Airbnb handles all transactions
- Various types of entire-property listings- Entire-property and apartment listings available, but only for lodging
- More online-classified feel, with many listings made by companies; a broader array of guests- More community-based; the listings are made by owners, and the guests tend to be more cost-conscious and book close to the travel time


As two of the most popular vacation rental marketplaces, HomeAway and Airbnb have each own advantages and disadvantages. If you are a budget traveler, you can choose Airbnb. It tends to be more affordable, and the community-based environment can be a very nice place for someone who loves to travel. Hosts who don’t want to invest way too much in their listings should also choose Airbnb. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a larger property with the highest standards, HomeAway is your best chance.

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