Do you want to learn more about Vrbo and HomeAway? What is the distinction between Vrbo and HomeAway, and are they owned by the same company? This in-depth article covers everything you need to know about Vrbo, including payment and refund policies, company history, and a competitor analysis. Whether you already have a successful vacation rental business on Vrbo or are thinking about starting one, keep reading to learn more about the Vrbo family of sites.
What exactly is Vrbo?
Let us begin with the name. You might be wondering what’s behind the name of this vacation rental platform, which is pronounced “verbo.” Vrbo was founded in 1995 as Vacation Rentals By Owner, which was later abbreviated as VRBO. VRBO was one of the first websites that allowed vacation home owners to list their properties for sale online. A decade later, HomeAway acquired several vacation rental websites to form a consolidated vacation rental marketplace. VRBO was one of these acquisitions, and by 2005, it had grown to offer over 60,000 properties.
In 2015, the Expedia Group acquired HomeAway, the parent company of VRBO, Vacationrentals.com, Owners Direct, and others. Expedia Group also owns Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Hotwire, and several other travel brands in addition to Expedia.com. The Expedia Group rebranded their vacation rental division in 2019 to make Vrbo (this time in lowercase letters) the lead brand. Today, all vacation rental websites, including Vrbo.com, HomeAway.com, and Vacationrentals.com, use the same property inventory but have different branding and logos. Vrbo and HomeAway both began in the United States and continue to have a significant presence there. The sites have listings for over 2 million properties in 190 countries, including homes and condos as well as some unusual properties such as castles and treehouses. However, listings for shared spaces are not permitted, so you won’t find hostel beds or shared apartments on Vrbo sites. Traditional vacation rental properties are Vrbo’s specialty, and the site is popular in leisure destinations and beach markets.
What are people’s opinions on Vrbo?
Vrbo has been around for a decade longer than Airbnb, so it has a dedicated following as well as some strong opinions. As of April 28, 2020, Vrbo has a rating of 2/5 on Consumer Affairs (here) and a rating of 4.3/5 on Trustpilot (here). Vrbo has recently received a slew of negative reviews from both property owners and guests, many of which criticize the company’s handling of cancellations and refunds related to the COVID-19 crisis. Even after excluding Vrbo’s COVID-19 policies, property owners say the site’s payment policy is unfavorable, the site charges high fees, and it’s difficult to contact a customer service representative.
Positive reviews, on the other hand, mention Vrbo’s high-quality guests, the accuracy of their search results algorithm, and the friendliness of their customer service representatives.
Where can I find Vrbo forums?
Property owners from all over the world use online discussion boards to get advice, solve problems, and share best practices. The Partner Community is Vrbo’s official forum, where property owners can browse and participate in discussions about topics such as communication with guests, payment policies, new site features, and industry trends. You’ll find a few articles written by Vrbo staff in the “Tips” section with advice on how to take good property photos, how to reduce energy costs, and more.
Aside from the Partner Community, property owners can find Vrbo-related discussions at the Airhosts Forum, which has over 13,000 members who list their properties on sites other than Airbnb. It is perfectly acceptable to start a new thread about a Vrbo-specific topic, and you can seek advice from professional or experienced hosts who participate in the discussion boards.