Pros & Cons: Airbnb vs. VRBO

Old Sep 27, 2022, 10:35 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by cwoo
Thank you for the airbnb tip!! I have been a loyal airbnb customer for many years and apparently I have missed lots of Avios points until now! Does the airbnb booking has to go thru from the BA site? I asked because I've already booked 2 upcoming trips with airbnb site directly.
You are very welcome. To best of my knowledge I found out about this BA/Airbnb connection in a BA email dated June 1st, 2022. So I'd assume it is a fairly new 'alliance'. So, yes, I followed the link in the email and the first thing they ask is the BA membership number. As for your 2 future bookings, I'm not sure how this can be done as even contacting Airbnb worthless staff is very difficult (more on this below).

I also have been a loyal Airbnb customer for many years and have defended them on the blogs. We have had 12 Airbnb stays and they were all good on the most part:
3 in Rome Italy
1 in Florence
1 in Venice
1 in Bangkok (review later)
1 in Barcelona (review later)
1 in Donostia-San Sebastian (review later)
1 in Madrid (review later)
1 in Seville (this was actually with Marriott Homes & Villas - review later)
2 in Lisbon (review later & see below)

We have saved a bundle as we travel as a family of 4, and always need 2 hotel rooms – not to mention convenience, space, and fabulous prime locations. Hotel rooms in most of these cities are on the smaller size, and if the location is nice a bundle of $$$. Having said this, please be aware that Airbnb is neither a high-tech company nor a hospitality one – case in points: our first prepaid rental in Lisbon ($1,500) was a fake listing – a shocking discovery when we arrived at the address at 4PM! SO, this tells us that Airbnb does not vet their properties as they should or doesn’t have a system to do so despite of the fact that they claim to be a high-tech firm. The second point is that after the initial shock and then call to Airbnb that we were stranded without accommodations, we were promised a response and a resolution in an hour. NEVER happened! We waited on the street (Paul’s Pastry Shop in downtown Lisbon) until 9PM (Sunday night Lisbon time) to absolutely no response from Airbnb. Started to get dark and our kids were getting tired so I got on my IHG app and booked 2 rooms at the holiday Inn Lisbon on points (20K IHG points per room per night). Not bad for mid-July high season. Two days later, saw an apartment opens up on Airbnb with 10-15 minutes walk to downtown, and I booked it. Staff at Airbnb did not offer any assistance or alternative accommodations – absolutely nothing! Just lip service! Refund for the original amount showed up 7 days later in my checking account (we have no credit cards). We lucked out! Imagine if I didn’t have any hotel points and the only money was the spend on the original prepaid booking! So vet your rented property and make sure there are reviews to consider – do your homework to get a successful Airbnb!


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Old Oct 8, 2022, 2:23 pm
  #17  
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Next review is for Bangkok - some of you might find this stay a bit strange as hotels in Bangkok are really cheap and plentiful. But our needs for our dates and this particular area made it necessary to get this enjoyable apartment. We did have a room at the Millennium Hilton across the river, but we had family visiting to watch the NYE fireworks.

Location: The Room Charoenkrung 30 (corner of Soi Captain Bush)
Dates: 12/28/2021 - 1/2/2022
2 bedrooms and one bathroom - full kitchen - WIFI - AC - Smart TVs
Total cost: $729.78 USD

The host, Khun Pim, was a very capable, nice, and kind lady, who spent enough time with us to show the unit and the building amenities. The host is very responsive and replied within hours if not minutes. The unit itself is clean, comfortable, and offers all the amenities for a comfortable stay. We watched spectacular NYE fireworks from the rooftop. Swimming pool was refreshing and large enough to do laps. The building/parking is very secure with 24/7 security personnel on hand but without being intrusive. Great location on the historic Soi Captain Bush with walking distance to Si Phraya pier and Saphan Taksin BTS station placing the entire city at your fingertips. 7-11 is located on the ground floor. This unit is highly recommended.











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Last edited by Kalboz; Oct 8, 2022 at 2:31 pm
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Old Oct 8, 2022, 3:18 pm
  #18  
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@Kalboz, what a nice apartment and stunning views of the fireworks.
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Old Oct 8, 2022, 8:34 pm
  #19  
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K
@Kalboz, what a nice apartment and stunning views of the fireworks.
Thank you - indeed, the apartment on the 31st floor was great. But we remained at the Hilton - our children and the in-laws stayed there for NYE because they didn't want to drink and drive. The kids were there for the duration. For a total of 9 people plus us two, it was comfortable to have a party and then we watched the fireworks from the rooftop. Other tenants were there too and it was a great opportunity to mingle. More photo here:





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Old Nov 1, 2022, 5:34 am
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Several hundred Airbnb stays here. Many good, many exceptional, a few truly amazing (hundreds of thousands in artwork on the wall, but please, if it rains, jiggle this switch to get the electricity back on, feel free to the liquor cart) -- but, 1 in 20 is a burn, and ABB CS will absolutely stab you in the back (CS is usually outsourced).

ABB in Europe is filled with large commercial and apartment rental operations that misrepresent themselves and their properties. From Paris to Poland, simply sorting out actual 2BRs from studios posted as 2BRs and represented as mom&pops with deceptive photos and descriptions is a chore.

Your Airbnb customer service will likely provided by this mess: Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You

and if something goes wrong, you'll be treated to ever-shifting, arbitrary and inconsistent not to mention simply wrong applications of policy etc:

https://www.asherfergusson.com/airbnb/



let's zoom that:


After a nightmare (you had to relocate and pay for a last-minute hotel, etc-- I've had that happen about five times in a few years, which is far too many times) you will then get to spend hour upon hour arguing trivialities with said so-called CS, which will hang up on you (literally or virtually; your claim or ticket will be closed after arbitrary short timelines if you don't reply) multiple times instead of enforcing policy. Please start over in the queue. When a refund is promised, half of the time it won't come. Please start over in the queue.

I've loved Airbnb, I love the concept, but counting unexpected expenses + time loss, just not sure Airbnb is worth the risk for many trips at this point.
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Last edited by kthomas; Nov 1, 2022 at 4:45 pm
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Old Nov 10, 2022, 1:31 pm
  #21  
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Another risk with AirBnb and VRBO:

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/...t-17573690.php

Of course this could happen in a hotel as well, but I'm guessing most of the 400 annual deaths in USA occur are private homes. Then there is fire risk, but that's the subject of another thread.
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Old Nov 10, 2022, 2:58 pm
  #22  
 
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RIP. So carries your own carbon monoxide defector going forward on airbnb stays?
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Old Nov 10, 2022, 3:43 pm
  #23  
 
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I had to cancel 5 AirBnB reservations I made for last September in Europe and received all of my money back within a few days. We have used AirBnB for years and have never had any problems. I do try to contact the renters with a question or two before booking just to try and make sure they actually own their unit. I also only book units with generous cancellation policies. I think this weeds out the problem renters. The only time we book hotels is for short stays when paying a cleaning fee doesn't make sense.
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Old Feb 21, 2023, 1:04 pm
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I have used Airbnb and VRBO for years. There were very nice stay but there were also some disappointments. Recently, there are more disappointments than wows. This month I encountered two serious issues. First is with VRBO. Reserved a place. The description was for 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom. Contacted the host to verify. Was told that our party of 4 will share 1 bedroom and 1 bath, Canceled and rebooked with Airbnb.

The Airbnb place is 2 bedroom and 2 bath. 9 days after reservation confirmation, the host emailed to demand that I cancel because she double booked. I did not want to cancel. 1 week later, she cancel. Airbnb refused to do anything and claimed that either party is free to cancel. Today, I am looking through Booking.com for alternatives. Why reserve something if the host can cancel whenever they get a longer booking? Airbnb has become too unreliable.
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Old Apr 11, 2023, 12:10 pm
  #25  
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We use both. There is one VRBO that we rent yearly for a couple nights.



Cedar Key


Other than that, it was been anywhere from a week to a month. I like VRBO because the owner is usually nearby. That is not always the case with AirBnB.

I had one monthly VRBO reservation that the host canceled with my permission. I was a little concerned, but it worked out. As an owner, he said he had nothing but issues with VRBO. He’d already wasted many hours on the phone with them and no resolution in sight. He asked if I’d be willing to pay him directly and he offered me a discount if I would. He canceled and I received a full refund. I figured I had little to lose that way. I don’t think I paid him until day 3 of our month long stay,
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Old May 1, 2023, 1:49 pm
  #26  
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Old May 15, 2023, 8:10 pm
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I'll come at this from a different angle, as a largely budget traveler (my preferred chain is Choice) who also happens to have a side business running vacation rentals in Branson.

As background, I don't tend to book STRs/VRs/Airbnbs/whatever you want to call them myself, because they're usually not in my price range for my style of travel (mostly solo travel on short stays, often booked same-day). I can count on two fingers the number of times I've used Airbnb in the last five years--one was a private room in someone's home near the YVR airport on a weekend where hotels in the entirety of Metro Vancouver were just stupid expensive, and the other was using my $100 annual Superhost coupon on a property in the rural Sierras of Northern California where options on all the OTAs were limited and there was a motel available for booking on Airbnb at a modest premium over booking direct, so it made sense to use my coupon. (I've also stayed at a couple STRs on group trips with friends where the friend booked the property through their Airbnb account.)

Interestingly, it seems the STR market--especially with Airbnb, but to some extent with other sites as well--has a few very different segments, and I find that the majority of complaints you see online with Airbnbs tend to be in the newer, less-traditional markets. Established vacation rental destinations tend to have a fairly standardized set of offerings and expectations (so to some extent, the listings are largely reliable and commoditized, and guests mostly make decisions between the sometimes thousands of options based on photos, reviews, and price), whereas the issues with properties being not as described, not existing, or operated as ramshackle slumlord shanties tend to be the ones found in places not traditionally considered vacation destinations (of course, exceptions abound).

Anyway, here's my take as an experienced host (and an infrequent guest):

Airbnb:
  • Airbnb tends to be a little more responsive and guest-centric than Vrbo, so if there were an issue upon arrival that the host did not seem willing and able to resolve, I have more faith in Airbnb resolving issues in my favor as a guest.
  • Airbnb supports both whole-home rentals as well as shared listings (private room in someone's home), so inventory (especially on the lower end of the budget scale) is superior.
  • Airbnb supports same-day bookings, whereas Vrbo categorically does not. This also comes into play when dealing with last-minute rebookings; even Vrbo support cannot rebook a guest at another property listed on Vrbo, so issues with problems upon arrival are harder to resolve.
Vrbo:
  • While most STR hosts list on both platforms, Vrbo is much older than Airbnb, and especially in established vacation rental destination markets that have been attracting vacationers for decades, there are a good number of properties listed only on Vrbo that you won't find on Airbnb (mostly due to inertia and older owners who aren't comfortable learning a new platform). (Conversely, in newer, less-established markets, Airbnb tends to dominate.) If you're looking for a refined, higher-end home in a traditional destination (the Myrtles, Hilton Heads, Gulf Shores, etcs.), it's definitely worth checking Vrbo in addition to other sources.
  • Vrbo's owner fees are a little higher than Airbnb's. Airbnb only charges hosts the basic 3% host fee (which is basically a credit card processing fee). Vrbo charges the same 3% plus an extra 5% commission for a total of 8%, unless you're an older host who is grandfathered in to one of the $600/year subscription plans in lieu of the 5% commission. Either way, hosts have more costs to list on or book through Vrbo than Airbnb, so the same property listed on both sites may be slightly cheaper through Airbnb.
  • Established property managers have more control over a Vrbo booking than an Airbnb booking. Software-connected hosts listing on Vrbo process their own credit card charges and basically own the booking and can unilaterally change/cancel the reservation without needing to involve Vrbo customer service. If the property doesn't have issues and the host is good/responsive/trustworthy, this isn't necessarily a bad thing--a guest can call/text the host about extending the stay or whatever and the host can just immediately confirm the change just like a hotel front desk can. But if there are issues, Vrbo has very limited control over operations/charges of these types of hosts (they can't refund charges on behalf of a host, for example, whereas Airbnb customer service can--and does--unilaterally issue refunds and withhold payouts from hosts for complaints).
  • While Airbnb customer service seems slightly more responsive and more likely to decide in favor of guests when complaints arise, Vrbo has one ace up their sleeve: as a division of Expedia, Vrbo can rebook customers into hotels if need be, whereas Airbnb will only offer other properties listed on Airbnb. Ideally, of course, though, that wouldn't be necessary.

Speaking of, I find it amusing in the graphic posted above that one of the biggest complaints about Airbnb on Twitter is that "policies unfairly favor hosts"--among hosts, it's a pretty universal sentiment that Airbnb almost always favors the guest (which is one reason why most hosts usually prefer Vrbo over Airbnb and sort of only reluctantly list on Airbnb). I think the reality, though, is that Airbnb's customer service inconsistent, capricious, and in general poorly trained (especially post-Covid, after they laid off a huge swath of their staff only to be caught with their pants down when revenge travel hit, forcing them to try to hire and train tens of thousands of agents in short order), and so they often make rash decisions without really making the effort to really understand a complaint and digging to find the truth of the situation and offering a fair resolution to all parties involved. (As a host, I've personally found myself the victim of Airbnb unilaterally refunding a two-week stay in full when the guest presented a photo of an insect clearly downloaded from the Internet and the background of the photo not even featuring any surface texture that exists anywhere within my property...sigh. But of course I've also heard the horror stories of people booking fake Airbnbs that don't even exist and then being shuffled to a run-down property by a scammer of a host. It definitely cuts both ways.)

Given my experiences in hosting, I will say that apples to apples, if a property were listed on both platforms for the same price, I'd book through Airbnb instead of Vrbo, as I feel more confident that Airbnb would resolve an issue I report (as a guest) in my favor. They also tend to have inventory that appeals to my needs and preferences as a budget traveler more than Vrbo. On the other hand, I wouldn't have any hesitation booking something on Vrbo (or even direct with the host/property manager) if it were the only or better-priced option; in all cases, I'd prioritize looking for an established property with a history of positive valid reviews. I also wouldn't have an objection to renting from an established, professional, highly-rated property management company in vacation destinations, since they tend to run professional operations and have standardized processes and reliable offerings, though you are more likely to find great personal experiences and value pricing with owner-operated properties (especially private vacation homes where the owner's primary goal isn't to turn a profit but rather to subsidize their mortgage on a property they use themselves).

Just my $0.02.
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Old Oct 7, 2023, 12:35 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Kalboz
Having said this, please be aware that Airbnb is neither a high-tech company nor a hospitality one – case in points: our first prepaid rental in Lisbon ($1,500) was a fake listing – a shocking discovery when we arrived at the address at 4PM! SO, this tells us that Airbnb does not vet their properties as they should or doesn’t have a system to do so despite of the fact that they claim to be a high-tech firm. The second point is that after the initial shock and then call to Airbnb that we were stranded without accommodations, we were promised a response and a resolution in an hour. NEVER happened! We waited on the street (Paul’s Pastry Shop in downtown Lisbon) until 9PM (Sunday night Lisbon time) to absolutely no response from Airbnb. Started to get dark and our kids were getting tired so I got on my IHG app and booked 2 rooms at the holiday Inn Lisbon on points (20K IHG points per room per night). Not bad for mid-July high season. Two days later, saw an apartment opens up on Airbnb with 10-15 minutes walk to downtown, and I booked it. Staff at Airbnb did not offer any assistance or alternative accommodations – absolutely nothing! Just lip service! Refund for the original amount showed up 7 days later in my checking account (we have no credit cards). We lucked out! Imagine if I didn’t have any hotel points and the only money was the spend on the original prepaid booking! So vet your rented property and make sure there are reviews to consider – do your homework to get a successful Airbnb!
We are nearing a settlement with Airbnb on this issue which will be a token resolution because Airbnb has fully refunded us within a week after this incident. I will keep you posted once a final settlement is reached.

We booked several properties during the summer in Istanbul, Florence, and Rome. For Istanbul, it was a 2-bedroom 2-bathroom in the immediate area of Galata Tower. Clean comfortable place that matched the online description. Vast rooms full of light during the daytime and not cluttered. All appliances worked fine, beds were comfortable, and water pressure in the bathrooms was great. Although the kitchen had everything we needed, it was on the smallish side for a long-term stay (3 weeks). But who need to cook in Istanbul when you have the best affordable kebabs just outside your door. Host was very responsive and replied almost instantly. Location on Tatar Beyi Sokak is lively with only 2-minute walk to the Genoese Galata Tower and halfway between the bridges, the old city, and hilltop Istiklal/Taksim.







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Old Nov 24, 2023, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by mevl
I have booked many great places with AirBnB and VRBO and have never had any problems or surprises. I am currently booking AirBnB's for the Netherlands and England - it offers many more choices. I am not booking with VRBO until they categorize my credit card purchase as "travel" instead of "other services". See my recent post about this for more details. It only affects you if you have a credit card like mine that lets you earn more credit card points with travel purchases or use these points as a travel credit.
Whoa, glad I read this. Was considering putting this on a Chase card that gives extra for "travel". Does VRBO still list as "professional services"? Some are claiming yes, but doesn't appear to be in all cases: https://thevacationer.com/vrbo-code-...t-card-points/

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Old Apr 2, 2024, 9:01 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Kalboz

We have saved a bundle as we travel as a family of 4, and always need 2 hotel rooms – not to mention convenience, space, and fabulous prime locations. Hotel rooms in most of these cities are on the smaller size, and if the location is nice a bundle of $$$. Having said this, please be aware that Airbnb is neither a high-tech company nor a hospitality one – case in points: our first prepaid rental in Lisbon ($1,500) was a fake listing – a shocking discovery when we arrived at the address at 4PM! SO, this tells us that Airbnb does not vet their properties as they should or doesn’t have a system to do so despite of the fact that they claim to be a high-tech firm. The second point is that after the initial shock and then call to Airbnb that we were stranded without accommodations, we were promised a response and a resolution in an hour. NEVER happened! We waited on the street (Paul’s Pastry Shop in downtown Lisbon) until 9PM (Sunday night Lisbon time) to absolutely no response from Airbnb. Started to get dark and our kids were getting tired so I got on my IHG app and booked 2 rooms at the holiday Inn Lisbon on points (20K IHG points per room per night). Not bad for mid-July high season. Two days later, saw an apartment opens up on Airbnb with 10-15 minutes walk to downtown, and I booked it. Staff at Airbnb did not offer any assistance or alternative accommodations – absolutely nothing! Just lip service! Refund for the original amount showed up 7 days later in my checking account (we have no credit cards). We lucked out! Imagine if I didn’t have any hotel points and the only money was the spend on the original prepaid booking! So vet your rented property and make sure there are reviews to consider – do your homework to get a successful Airbnb!
Airbnb T&C are very tight but the attorney (blogger on the Boarding Area) got me the following in the addition to the full refund I got as mentioned above:
- Arbitration filing fee
- Attorney fee
- some cash

Airbnb never admitted ANY fault!
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