HomeAway faces a lot of industry competition nowadays. Perhaps most notably, its main rival comes in the form of San Francisco startup, Airbnb, which arrived on the scene in 2008.

HomeAway vs Airbnb

Nowadays, when you think of listing your vacation rental online, the names HomeAway and Airbnb will probably spring to mind. But which one should you use to list your rentals? Which should you use to make your own reservations? We’ve done the hard work for you and prepared the ultimate comparison of the two vacation rental sites. Presenting: HomeAway vs Airbnb and everything you need to know.

Which Is Bigger: HomeAway or Airbnb?

HomeAway and its companies (such as VRBO and VacationRentals.com) have over one million listings in 190 countries. However, with 2.3 million listings worldwide, from 640,000 hosts across 191 countries, Airbnb is the clear winner of the size competition.

How Do Fees Compare on HomeAway vs Airbnb?

There are various, differing fees that all users of both platforms will have to pay. Let’s take a look at the owner and guest fees charged by both sites.

Host Fees

Users have two options when it comes to paying HomeAway host fees: they can either pay a yearly subscription charge (an annual $340-$499 depending on if they use online booking or not), or, alternatively, HomeAway hosts can pay on a per-booking basis, whereby HomeAway will take a minimum of 8% commission on each reservation made.

On Airbnb, however, hosts pay no joining or annual fees. Instead, Airbnb will charge hosts a 3% commission fee each time a travel reservation is completed.

Guest Fees

Unfortunately for guests, when it comes to rentals, there is no escaping paying extra fees to use services like HomeAway or Airbnb. However, the price you pay as a service charge does vary depending on the property and some other factors.

On HomeAway, the guest or traveler fee typically varies between 4-9% of the cost of renting the accommodation. This amount is paid directly to HomeAway and not to the property’s host. So if you are renting a home on HomeAway which costs a total of $500, your HomeAway traveler fee could be anything from around $20-$45.

Airbnb guest fees are also calculated according to the reservation specifics. The typical amount is usually between 6-12% of the booking total, but may also sometimes be higher or lower. Generally, the more expensive a reservation subtotal, the less expensive the guest service fee. That means that groups booking large reservations at bigger properties are usually at an advantage for saving money on this fee.

Customer Service and Support

When it comes to answering your queries, both platforms have a complete customer service team which works around the clock to cover their worldwide locations.

HomeAway customer service accepts emails and phone calls, whether they are a guest or a host. Airbnb also has a customer service phone number, but they prefer to use the phone line for guests and hosts who require urgent support and attention. Customer service inquiries can also be sent via email after ensuring the topic isn’t covered in the FAQs and Airbnb Help Center.

Reviews on HomeAway vs Airbnb

Both platforms, HomeAway and Airbnb, allow guests who have stayed in a home to review their experience using both a star rating and a free text comment. But that’s not all. Reviews are a two-way process on both the sites, meaning that hosts can also leave reviews about their guests.

As far as HomeAway reviews are concerned, guests and hosts have up to a year to post their comment about the stay. But, if one of them (traveler or host) begins the review process by writing their review, the other party has 14 days to complete their part.

On the other hand, there is just a 14-day window (after check-out) for guests and hosts to leave reviews on Airbnb. Once you’ve written your review, you can edit it for up to 48 hours, or until the other party finishes their review.

Both guests and owners will read reviews on HomeAway and Airbnb to try and gauge the type of person someone is and to get a better idea if they are a right fit for a stay. Reviews from sites like HomeAway and Airbnb are extremely useful to help build your business’ credibility, and even better, can also be recycled onto your own vacation rental website.