VRBO began in 1995 and has grown to become one of the leading vacation rental websites online today. VRBO was acquired by HomeAway in 2006, and their joined forces were proving to be useful for both guests and owners.
In 2015, HomeAway and VRBO were purchased by Expedia Group, Inc and the benefits of VRBO for owners, as well as HomeAway owners, began to change.
Through Expedia Group’s acquisition of VRBO and HomeAway, there have been both positives and negative impacts for owners. If you are considering using VRBO or HomeAway owner login, you should know these advantages and disadvantages of VRBO for owners.
Advantages of VRBO for Owners
With joined forces, VRBO and HomeAway will post your vacation rental listing on both sites. Therefore, if you post your vacation rental on VRBO, it will subsequently be posted on HomeAway’s website as well.
This can be helpful for those users who do not realize that HomeAway and VRBO are owned by the same company and simply decided to check HomeAway’s website because they had heard the name before.
Subscription Fee Options
VRBO is affordable and allows you to manage your subscription status one of two ways. The first way you can enroll in their listing services is by implementing a 3% fee to be paid to VRBO when your listing is booked. The other way you can enroll in listing your property on VRBO is to pay the yearly $499 subscription.
User-friendly Websites and Mobile Application
As an owner, the VRBO website for both a desktop computer and mobile device are user-friendly and easy to navigate. With so many guests who search and book vacation rentals online, this helps increase the chance of your property being booked.
VRBO also offers a free mobile application for your phone. This allows guests to easily communicate, make payments, or sign rental agreements directly from their phone. Push-notifications will alert guests of any of these needs, which helps increase the guests’ overall rental experience.
Rental Agreements, Instructions, and Automated Messaging
In order to rent your vacation home for short-term use, you will need to compose rental agreements, instructions, and disclosures. Not only can these forms be stored in your VRBO owner login dashboard, but you can also schedule to automatically send these emails to your future guests.
VRBO offers a review system that encourages guests to leave reviews after their stay. This feature will grow your property’s popularity and dependability.
Filterable Search Results
VRBO offers guests the ability to filter search rentals based on their preferences. For example, if a guest is searching for a property with specific features or number of bedrooms, they can filter the results to show these properties only.
This is an advantage as an owner listing their short-term vacation rental on VRBO as it helps guests find the exact property they are looking for which may include your property!
Disadvantages of VRBO for Owners
Steep Service Fees
Once VRBO was purchased by Expedia Group Inc, new policies went into place. One of these new policies was the addition of service fees. A guest may find two comparable vacation rental properties but choose to book the property on a website that does not include additional service fees. This feature has caused guests to look elsewhere when choosing their vacation rental, which has proven to be a major disadvantage to VRBO owners.
To make your money back to cover the cost of the subscription fee, an owner may have to increase the nightly rate of the property. Combine increased rates with hefty guest service fees, and you have guests choosing elsewhere for their vacation rental.
Another dip into your pocket is the credit card fees imposed by VRBO. If your guest pays their reservation with a credit card (and who doesn’t nowadays?!), VRBO will charge you a percentage fee for this transaction. So now with VRBO, you are paying a subscription fee and your guests’ credit card transaction fee.
Limited Rental Options
If you have a space in your rental that you want to rent out separately from the rest of the home, you do not have this option on VRBO. This can be a disadvantage if you have the space in one rental property to accommodate two separate guests, as VRBO will not allow you to list single rooms for short-term rental.
VRBO places the burden of calculating and paying taxes onto the owner of the property, rather than VRBO collecting the taxes directly at the time of the transaction to pay the State. Income taxes and lodging taxes will need to be managed by the owner, which means you have now transitioned from a host to a full-time accountant.
What’s the Bottom Line?
VRBO has maintained its presence among short-term vacation rental properties, and that does not look to change anytime soon. However, with more listing companies to choose from, the competition is increasing.
If you choose to use VRBO for owners, you should be aware of the fees both you and your guests will have to pay when making a reservation. You may have to adjust your rates accordingly to cover these fees.
If you have a property that can accommodate two sets of guests within the property, you do not have the option to list single rooms on VRBO. This makes VRBO a slight disadvantage for owners who have a property that can be rented both by-the-room or as a full home.
VRBO offers a full-service mobile application for guests to complete every step of the reservation process. This is a benefit for owners because this convenience can increase the probability of a guest booking your short-term vacation rental.
While there are many advantages of VRBO for owners, it is important to be aware of the disadvantages and plan accordingly, if possible. “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail,” so having an understanding of what to expect when listing your vacation rental on VRBO will allow your listing to be a success.