Vacation Rental Guide / What is HomeAway Vacation Rentals? / HomeAway vs VRBO: Pros and cons for vacation rental owners

HomeAway vs Vrbo

If you’re familiar with the industry already, you’ll have heard both names before. But you may not have known that they are the same company. No matter if you’re trying to book a trip and you don’t know which site to make your reservation on, or you’re thinking about listing your own property. We can tell you everything you’d like to know before joining the community.

Is HomeAway the same as Vrbo?

Two of the largest online travel platforms, HomeAway and Vrbo, both belong to the same company. Having been around since 1996, Vacation Rental By Owner (Vrbo) has come to be one of the world’s most trusted rental brands for hosts and travelers alike. Vrbo is one of the original OTAs for vacation rentals.  HomeAway came around just under a decade after, in 2005. It then went on to acquire Vrbo and another site, VacationRentals.com, in 2007. As of 2016, the company family now owns more than 20 different websites including the three mentioned previously.

What’s the difference between Vrbo and HomeAway?

Both are online travel agencies and have the same functionalities, there is a difference when it comes to users. Vrbo tends to be used more by homeowners in the US, Mexico and Canada, whilst HomeAway has more active users in Europe, India and Australia. However, your properties are automatically listed worldwide on both sites. Therefore you still have a chance of attracting international travelers, e.g. if your property is on Vrbo in the US, guests in Europe will see it and be able to reserve it.

Pros and Cons of Using HomeAway and Vrbo Websites

As they both belong to the same parent company, it’s no surprise that they also share the same features and homes.

They currently boast more than one million listings for renters to choose from, and their search functions are often praised for being the best in the industry. Both sites even offer insurance policies which, although they may be expensive, are unbeatable by their competitors. With offerings in 190 countries (e.g. across 99% of the world), there are plenty of places to choose from, whether you’re a homeowner or a traveler.

Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons to rent using HomeAway for owners or Vrbo:

Pros

  • More than a million homes worldwide
  • Available in 190 countries
  • Secure payment method for many properties (though not all of them)
  • Options for instant booking
  • Detailed profiles, including great descriptions, lots of photos, availability calendars, clickable maps and plenty of guest reviews
  • Legal documents e.g. rental guarantee, damage insurance and cancellation insurance all available
  • Mobile-friendly – the website is optimized for mobile devices and tablets
  • Round-the-clock customer support.

Cons

  • Can be seen as an expensive option compared to other sites. Owners can either pay $349 for the year (with Instant Booking activated) or pay a 10% fee every time they receive a confirmation.
  • The costs for paperwork such as rental guarantee, damage insurance and cancellation insurance can quickly add up and be a turn-off for renters.
  • Like Airbnb, additional costs for guests such as service fees.

What to take away

Both HomeAway and Vrbo are successful online travel agencies. Depending on your region, it may be more beneficial to use one over the other, however, bear in mind they are both global. Even though the two platforms are combined, they each have their own distinct websites. As a homeowner, you can decide to list on just one site or use both platforms.

In some cases, when you list on one site, e.g. HomeAway, it will automatically appear on Vrbo. Many hosts find that it works to their advantage as it gives their property more exposure and scales up their bookings.