Homesharing platforms have gained a lot of momentum in the past few years. They allow people to book short-term stays in the spaces of those who are willing to rent out their properties in exchange for money. Vrbo, purchased by HomeAway and how part of the Expedia Group. Booking.com is considered an online travel agency that makes it easy for guests to choose accommodation and transportation on the same site. It is important for homeowners who wish to make income from renting out their property to know the key differences and similarities between Vrbo and Booking.com.
A brief background of Vrbo and Booking.com
Founded in the year 1995, Vrbo has a presence in 190 countries and boasts of over 2 million listings. Vrbo is a home-sharing site that allows homeowners to advertise their properties for occupation. Vrbo presents a great opportunity for homeowners because it falls under the HomeAway brand, which allows properties advertised on Vrbo to also be listed on other HomeAway affiliated sites, giving listings further reach.
Booking.com was founded in 1996 in the Netherlands. However, back then, it was known as Bookings.nl. In the year 2000, it merged with Bookings Online and became Booking.com. This site has over 27 million listings in total in over 227 countries globally. It allows people to book various accommodation using a metasearch engine.
The similarities and differences between Vrbo and Booking.com
The main similarity between Vrbo and Booking.com is that they both provide a platform for people to book vacation rentals such as resorts, villas, cabins, apartments and hotels. Other similarities include having a wide global reach and charging guest and owner fees. Differences include how communication with guests occurs, cancellation fees, how owners can claim for damage caused by guests, a difference in user interface and many more.
Both Vrbo and Booking.com have a global reach, so they are both great options for property owners looking to rent out their properties for rental income.
The only difference between the two platforms in this regard is that Booking.com is popular in Europe, with 43 languages available for users to read listings in. On the other hand, HomeAway has a broader audience, attracting people from Europe, Brazil, India, and Australia.
Guest and owner fees (service fees)
Vrbo charges owners a fee of $499 annually, or they can opt for a 5% deduction on every booking with a 3% credit card processing fee added. Choosing between the two models depends on how many bookings you get annually. If you get many bookings, paying a once-off of $499 may save more money in the long run. But of course, one wouldn’t know how many bookings they get until they sign up. However, you can always change your owner fee structure to benefit you. On the other hand, guests using Vrbo are charged 10% to 11%.
Booking.com charges owners 15% per booking, in addition to 3% for credit card processing fees. Unlike Vrbo, guests don’t pay any service fees on Booking.com.
Cancelation fees and policies
Vrbo charges guests different cancelation fees based on 5 different types of models. These are: no refund, strict, firm, moderate and relaxed. The relaxed cancelation model allows guests to cancel a booking 14 days before check-in to still be eligible for a full refund. Should they cancel less than 14 days before check-in, the host gets compensated by receiving a portion of the guest’s booking fee.
Booking.com penalizes guests who cancel through a full or partial charge. Some booking cancelations explicitly state that a fine will be charged for guests who cancel, and some rates, fees and special offers are not eligible for cancelation or a refund at all. Despite this, the Cancelations Fees Exceptions Tool on Booking.com allows guests to cancel for free within 24 hours of a booking being made, even if the booking is non-refundable.
Communication with guests
Owners who have listed on Booking.com receive no information about guests until they have made a booking. This makes it easier for accommodations such as hotels to accurately screen and monitor guests.
On Vrbo, guests and owners are limited to email communication until the booking has been made.
Damages caused by guests
Booking.com offers no insurance for owners in the event that guests damage their property. Instead, owners are expected to have their own insurance policy in place, state their house rules clearly, and ask for a damage deposit in the event that property becomes damaged during guests’ stay.
Vrbo also encourages owners to ask for a damage deposit, and they offer an efficient claims process that allows one to easily claim for damages should guests damage the property. Vrbo offers $1 million in liability insurance for owners and property managers.
Booking.com has a great user interface for both owners and guests. It allows owners to create host and company profiles, set up bulk promotions, edit and adjust house rules for multiple properties simultaneously, view group analytics, as well as view all properties listed using Group Connect. Guests can expect a myriad of properties to choose from, as well as vacation properties, flights and transportation. This is precisely what makes Booking.com an online travel agency.
Vrbo doesn’t offer flights and transportation on its platform, as it purely focuses on the various properties listed. The site’s design is fairly easy to navigate for guests, and there’s less offered in terms of being able to view multiple properties that you manage at once.
Vrbo and Booking.com are both great options for homeowners looking to make rental income. Using the above similarities and differences, owners can equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to ensure that the best possible platform is used to list their properties.