History of VRBO – Vacation Rental by Owner

History of VRBO – Vacation Rental by Owner
Photo from vrbo

If you have searched online for a vacation property in the past few years, you have probably stumbled upon a site called VRBO. Owners and managers of vacation rental properties have made use of this well-known resource to list their vacation property for renting, making VRBO one of the best rental vacation sites online today.

VRBO originated in 1995 by founder, David Clouse, as a website used to rent his ski resort in popular destination spot, Breckenridge, Colorado. Websites were just beginning at the time, so VRBO was the first of its kind.

What Does VRBO Stand For?

The VRBO abbreviation literally defines what the company is. VRBO stands for “Vacation Rental by Owner,” which means that owners of the property can rent their home for short-term vacation rental.

In the beginning, consumers would pronounce VRBO as “V-R-B-O,” because of its literal abbreviation. Today, consumers have shortened the abbreviation even more (who knew that was even possible?!) to be phonetically pronounced “ver-boh.”

This turned VRBO into the commonly referred Vrbo.

What Makes VRBO the Best Among the Rest?

Vrbo is the pioneer of online vacation rental websites. With up-and-coming vacation rental sites like HomeAway, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor, Vrbo has had to compete to remain a leading vacation rental website.

Customer Service

As Vrbo has grown to add over 2 million vacation rental properties worldwide, they have added an exponential amount of employees to accommodate this growth. These employees are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the vacation rental by owner customer service phone number. These representatives can answer any question you may have as an owner.

VRBO for Owners

First, you will need to create a Vrbo login for owners, and a Vrbo customer service representative can also help you set up your account if you should have any questions. This owner vrbo login will allow you to access what is called the dashboard. On this dashboard, you will be able to control all aspects of your vacation rental listing.

Another feature of the owner Vrbo dashboard is the ability to check your status with Vrbo to see if you currently owe Vrbo fees or memberships. On the Vrbo dashboard, you can see information pertaining to you as the host, as well as you as a customer of Vrbo.


To list your property on Vrbo, you have the option of choosing a pay-per-booking subscription or a yearly subscription.

The yearly subscription option means you pay a flat $499 yearly subscription to list on the website.

If you choose the pay-per-booking subscription, you pay Vrbo 5% of every booking that is made with your property. Guests who pay by credit card or electronic check will pay a 3% processing fee.

Depending on the rental income your property produces, it may determine which subscription model you choose.

Comparing VRBO to the Rest?

VRBO the Best Among the Rest
Photo from vrbo

VRBO was the innovator of allowing homeowners to host their property online to rent, but they are no longer alone. Companies like Airbnb, Flipkey, and TripAdvisor make Vrbo have to work to remain at the top.

Vrbo was acquired by HomeAway in 2006, and then subsequently acquired by Expedia Holding Group, Inc in 2015. When you list your property on HomeAway for owners, the listing is also posed on Vrbo, and vice versa.

Some of the most common comparisons of vacation rental websites are HomeAway vs. VRBO, Airbnb vs. HomeAway, or Airbnb vs. VRBO. Each of these listing websites has a variety of fees and features for you to review to determine which listing website is best for you.

Airbnb Fees

Users on Airbnb have the option of selecting a shared fee or a host-only fee.

The shared fee option is the best choice among homeowners who are looking to rent their property for short-term rentals. The shared fee option means that you and your guests share the responsibility of the fees owed to Airbnb.

Airbnb charges a shared fee up to 20% for the property being rented. According to Airbnb, guest fees are typically 13% or less, but they can run upwards of 20%.

Additionally, the Airbnb service fee can run higher for guests if Airbnb is collecting a VAT (value-added tax) on the property. This VAT is added to the total service fees collected, which can make the service fees higher than normal.

When your property is rented, and the payment is collected, Airbnb will collect a host fee of 3%. This fee will be deducted from the payout you receive from Airbnb. The guests will pay their portion of the fees during checkout. These fees will be displayed on the checkout screen for guests to review before submitting payment.

Flipkey and TripAdvisor Fees

Flipkey is a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, which make them similarly comparable companies. Comparing companies like Flipkey Inc to Airbnb or any other vacation rental site to TripAdvisor will allow you to know what to expect from each company when listing your property.

Flipkey and TripAdvisor collect fees on a pay-per-booking concept, similar to Airbnb. While the hosting fee is the same as Airbnb at 3%, the guest fees are what make up the bulk. Guest fees are calculated to TripAdvisor rentals at around 8 – 16% of the cost of the rental. This can be steep for guests who are looking to book the least fee-riddled property.

Listing your vacation rental on TripAdvisor can be inexpensive to you, but expensive to your guests. This may mean a decrease in bookings if you are using Flipkey and vacation by owner TripAdvisor as your only channel of listings.


V-R-B-O, now commonly known and pronounced as “ver-boh” has maintained its presence at the top of the vacation rental by owner podium. While additional companies have come on the scene, Vrbo has been able to compete with these up-and-comers by offering competitive fees for both the owners and the guests.

The history of VRBO from its beginning in 1995 has shown that Vrbo will remain at the forefront of the ever-changing vacation rental world.