Pros & Cons: Airbnb vs. VRBO

Old May 26, 22, 5:32 pm
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Pros & Cons: Airbnb vs. VRBO

Greetings all:

After consulting with the experts here, this is a thread to discuss travelers experiences/issues with VRBO vs. Airbnb (positive or negative including avoid properties). These issues could be anything including but not limited to the following:

- booking process,
- phantom listings,
- fees,
- property condition,
- amenities,
- etc.

Now that many of us traveling with kids, staying longer, or for whatever reason such a data base is much needed. In Europe for instance, you usually get very small accommodations for a huge sum that you cannot fit more than 2 people comfortably in a room. Thus, this conversation is needed.

I will start with our 5 Airbnb experiences in Italy in the summer of 2021. And will contrast them with several failures dealing with VRBO in planning our upcoming summer 2022 Spain/Portugal vacation.

YOU, OTOH, can list ANY and all experiences with rental properties anywhere!
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Old May 26, 22, 7:00 pm
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Airbnb Italy Summer 2021

During our Italian vacation, we visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and then back to Rome.

Airbnb Rome - Campo dei Fiori area: 2-bedroom 2-bathrooms apartment with AC, internet WIFI, kitchen, and living room. Great area in the center of historic Rome and spacious accommodations enough room for 4-5 people for $1,137 all in for 7 nights:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1140116...jOnaghrlfCYoYz
Issues experienced: flooded bathrooms, certain supplies not furnished that we had to buy ourselves, and unresponsive host.



Airbnb Florence - Via del Corso area (Dimora Donati): Best Airbnb property ever for us. The host was kind enough to arrange a "meet & greet" service for us upon our request due to luggage & kids in-tow. Host is very responsive and within minutes of messaging. Check-in went smoothly and everything was explained clearly and we were provided a booklet with all the details. This historic Donati clan place is vast, clean, and full of light. Window shutters are usable if you need to darken the place to wake up late. Advertised amenities and supplies are ample and all there for our use. Everything worked fine: AC, WIFI, kitchen equipment, washer, keys, etc. Location is supreme, Dante's house is across the courtyard, and his beloved Beatrice's parent's palace is just across the street. The young DaVinci lived at a nearby palace and Galileo's residence (now his museum) is a walking distance by the river. All major sights are within 5-10 minutes walking distance including Basilica of SMN and the train station. Best food nearby, best schiacciata, pizza, tripes, gelato, supermarkets, etc. In fact there is a wonderful trattoria in the Donati courtyard downstairs where we had many memorable meals - their bone marrow ossobuco is scrumptious. 8 nights for $1,380 all in for 4 guests - I believe the listing is asking for much more now.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4933619...95PpQr0FWK44Vo
Issues: Noise can be an issue but this is to be expected due to its prime location in the historic center. Use the shutters doubled with window pane for quite mornings. 2 flights of stairs in a gothic building can be an issue if you have heavy luggage.


Airbnb Venice - near Rialto Bridge (Ca' Leon): 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with kitchen, dining room, and living room overlooking a side canal where gondolas usually pass by. Great area with plenty dining and shopping - short 5-minutes walk to Rialto bridge and 10-minutes on another direction to Piazza St. Marco. Fish market is also 5 minutes walk away where we shopped, cooked, and enjoyed many memorable meals. 4 nights all in $1,080. Cannot find the landing page for this property. But I believe this is it!
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1436620...W8SgtqunynOnB9
Issues: Tiny showers. Low ceiling beams at the kitchen can be a problem if you are tall and happen to forget that they are there! 2-flights of stairs not to mention the many up and down bridges just to get to the property from the vaporetto stop at Rialto. Best solution is to hire a collie at the train station to haul the luggage to the apartment.




Milano: 4 nights 2 rooms stay at Hotel Indigo Milan - Corso Monforte

Airbnb Rome Center, Piazza Navona (Casa Simi): The host Roberto was very nice and generous man as he waited for us even though we were 3+ hours late arriving from Milano due to train delay issues. His recommendations for a legit trattoria in the historic center was a spot on. His welcome gifts was a nice bottle of spumante. The apartment was like a museum but cozy and comfortable. Many interesting Art and intellectual books on the shelves. The place was clean and offered everything we needed for our 8-nights stay. Beds were clean and comfortable - sheets and towels were very clean. Kitchen offered all the utensils and supplies to make any meal. Water pressure was good in the clean bathrooms. There was a luggage elevator that was handy when we went grocery shopping. Location of the property cannot be beat with many restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing nearby. 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms on 2 floors, with kitchen and a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard. The building has a luggage elevator. Total $1,180 for 8 nights.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5472388...BDaRTguh1hA3H7
Issues: tiny kitchen & squeaky 2nd floor floors




Airbnb Rome Central - Piazza di Pietra: Huge 2 story apartment in a building with an elevator. Location is supreme as you step out right into Piazza di Pietra and the Hadrian's Temple right in front of you - awesome feeling. Location is actually half way between the Pantheon and Fontana de Trevi in the historic center. Very clean and comfortable place with full kitchen. Final 4 nights in Rome spent here. $1082 all in for 4 people/4 nights:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4792040...uioEwwWNpw%2Fc
Issues: Noisy master bedroom & tiny showers!






Issues with VBRO are coming up ...
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Old May 31, 22, 9:23 am
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Great reporting Kalboz!

Slightly off topic. I have a last-minute trip to Europe through several cities. Obviously a lot is booked at this point. I found more availability of desired lodging with airbnb than I did VRBO.

I am not sure whether it is for select properties or general airbnb policy, the ID requirement. Airbnb wants an official ID uploaded as well as a webcam selfie. I will not upload a non-redacted official ID. Obviously glad to share my clear full name and pic, but I will not share any information beyond that. I made 1/2 dozen attempts to upload a redacted ID and the webcam selfie, to no avail. Each time it was not accepted. I finally got a live support person who told me that she could not see the uploaded documents nor could see the specific reason why the ID was not accepted. Finally, she listed about 1/2 dozen reasons why this happens, and redaction is a known issue. (I guess everything is evaluated by a bot somewhere.)

For an airbnb property in Paris, I e-mailed with the host and told him I'd be glad to show my passport upon arrival. He told me that the ID requirement was airbnb's and not his.

I successfully booked two VRBO properties without any bureaucracy.

I certainly understand that an owner/manager wants to know who is checking in, but I have no faith in big tech to do the right thing with my personal data. Maybe not much damage can be done by having your passport data, but a lot of damage can be done, at least in the US, with your driver's license data.

(As an aside, I am taking my nephew on this trip. I met him and my sister at the T-Mobile store to discuss international usage of his phone. The T-Mobile rep would not discuss anything until she had scanned both sides of my sister's driver's license. My sister promptly handed it over to the rep. I asked why this was (vs. a call to customer support). Rep said the 'computer' needed to know that the rep did not 'fake' the ID check.)
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Old May 31, 22, 10:04 am
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Great thread, kalboz. I read your experiences in Italy with interest. I hope that many will contribute.
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Old Jun 7, 22, 11:31 pm
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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.
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Old Jun 28, 22, 12:53 am
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Pros for VRBO: Since you are renting the whole place, you don't have to worry about the host serving you "Welcome spaghetti" made with dog food:

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/airbnb-spaghetti-dog-food/
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Old Jun 29, 22, 9:53 am
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From a guest experience: Airbnb provides all-in pricing. VRBO makes you click through.

From a host experience: Airbnb is a week quicker than VRBO to pay.
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Old Jun 29, 22, 5:27 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
From a guest experience: Airbnb provides all-in pricing. VRBO makes you click through.

From a host experience: Airbnb is a week quicker than VRBO to pay.
I suppose that is true but not the full story. AirBnb search results only display the "per night" price on the map, which is FAR LOWER than the true per night cost because it excludes taxes, ridiculous cleaning fees, airbnb fees, etc. Easy for a $225 room to morph into $300+ when all is said and done. Contrast to Marriott which now offers an option to display the full price including taxes in the search results.
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Old Jul 9, 22, 1:08 pm
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Learned something new re: VRBO. Does it apply to Airbnb?

Submitted a review for a property in Venice...review posted within hours. Submitted a review for a property in Bari. Has not posted. Had an online chat with VRBO help. Turns out the property is managed by an 'integrated property manager'. The IPMs do not need to allow reviews to be posted. I am pissed because not only did I take the time to write a fair review (4* in this case), I included tips for travelers.

I guess buyer beware. I took a chance with the property (zero reviews and I assumed it was new) because the pics looked good, it was within my budget, and met most of my requirements. There were some minor issues that a renter should beware of. In the future, if I see a property with zero reviews, I'll have to ask why.
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Old Jul 13, 22, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
Learned something new re: VRBO. Does it apply to Airbnb?

Submitted a review for a property in Venice...review posted within hours. Submitted a review for a property in Bari. Has not posted. Had an online chat with VRBO help. Turns out the property is managed by an 'integrated property manager'. The IPMs do not need to allow reviews to be posted. I am pissed because not only did I take the time to write a fair review (4* in this case), I included tips for travelers.

I guess buyer beware. I took a chance with the property (zero reviews and I assumed it was new) because the pics looked good, it was within my budget, and met most of my requirements. There were some minor issues that a renter should beware of. In the future, if I see a property with zero reviews, I'll have to ask why.
So, post it here?
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Old Aug 20, 22, 5:24 pm
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Having been almost exclusive VRBO for vacation rentals, I'm now almost exclusive Airbnb, with the occasional book directly with owner. It's probably a bit of personal preference, and what I'm looking for in a vacation rental. I seem to be able to find it easier on Airbnb.
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Old Aug 21, 22, 5:54 am
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In Europe I very much prefer booking.com They also have plenty of apartments/houses. I really like how they display the full price. Their customer service is also very responsive to any problems, should they arise.
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Old Sep 13, 22, 2:11 pm
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Another "benefit' that Airbnb offers that many are unaware of, is you are able to earn Avios on your stay:
Earned over 6,000 Avios on a recent stay.
https://airbnb.pvxt.net/c/1397057/56...co.uk/s/homes?



In the meantime, we had a windfall from Marriott H&V on a 7-nights stay in Seville (Spain) with total haul of almost 41K Marriott points on under $1,300 spend:



Also, you can earn 3 UA miles per One $ spent with VRBO - I have yet to be successful in renting from VRBO!

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Old Sep 23, 22, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Kalboz View Post
Another "benefit' that Airbnb offers that many are unaware of, is you are able to earn Avios on your stay:
Earned over 6,000 Avios on a recent stay.
https://airbnb.pvxt.net/c/1397057/56...co.uk/s/homes?



In the meantime, we had a windfall from Marriott H&V on a 7-nights stay in Seville (Spain) with total haul of almost 41K Marriott points on under $1,300 spend:



Also, you can earn 3 UA miles per One $ spent with VRBO - I have yet to be successful in renting from VRBO!

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.
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Old Sep 24, 22, 10:34 pm
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We have been renting multiple times a year from VRBO, Home Away, Air B&B, small regional rental websites, vacation rental companies, and real estate agents for over 20 years. We average 3-6 rentals per year, mostly domestic but a few international. Always the entire unit, not a room. We've rented from 1 - 7 bedrooms and rent a 5 - 7 bedroom for extended family ski trips at least twice a year.

While most of the properties are quirky and some were creepier than expected, we haven't been badly burned. I did have one owner try to jack up the price after booking; he hadn't realized it was a holiday weekend. I cancelled the booking and reported him to the service. I've been ghosted several times after contacting an owner to book a property. I've had several owners require an additional contract. Having booked through different agencies this really doesn't bother me as long as the contract isn't egregious. I have rebooked directly with an owner instead of going through a service, but only after using the service once.

My 2:
There are a couple of regional rental by owner sites that we prefer.
Was firmly in the VRBO camp until Home Away bought them, the service fee skyrocketed, and CS became non existent. Now we are agnostic between AirB&B or VRBO.
Real estate agents, and properties through resorts or travel services are at the bottom of our list. Too many hands skimming. Unfortunately, sometimes they are the only ones with a suitable property.
Slightly prefer AirB&B due to it's displaying the final cost however we shop on price and terms and conditions.
Having "applied" to rent properties for years, we slightly prefer the rent instantly properties (More instants on AirB&B)
A lot of properties are cross listed. We've occasionally paid more to rent through the site with the better cancellation policy but we generally book with the cheapest.
I'll also check to see if there's a listing for the property on a regional site. I found a house in Sandy UT that was significantly lower (≈$2k) on a local site. The agent told me that they had been in the process of raising the rate and change VRBO and Air B&B first. I had gotten to the local site before they had raised the rate. He still honored the published price on the regional site.
We always filter by bedrooms: It's amazing how many people they think can share a bed.
I always check the pictures and count the bedrooms that way. It's also amazing how many properties count the couch in the living room as a bedroom.

On the cleaning fee, It's been around for all of the years we have been renting. As a mostly weekly renter, I have no objections to it being an additional fee instead of included in the nightly. We've experienced the inverse: There's a regional site where most of properties don't have cleaning fees. The renter is expected to clean everything and make the property ready for the next guest. Not a great last day of the vacation. We'll pay the cleaning fee.
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