airbnb-vrbo-homeaway-comparison

So you’re looking to try this whole vacation rental via the web thing out, huh?

It’s a great alternative to standard hotels, as many of these rental services offer a more intimate experience in new locations. A quaint home or apartment outside of the standard hotel arrangement can be a great way to “live” more close to the locals and city attractions. And between Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and the whole suite of other startups breaking into this space, there are plenty of options for travelers to find unique accommodations.

But now comes a big choice. Do you use Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway to book your next stay? Below we’ll compare the three services.

Does Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway have the most available rentals?

Of all three services, it does appear that Airbnb has the most listings. And with that in mind, if you’re on your own, or traveling with maybe one more person, it’s the dominant marketplace for a quick rental in varying locations. For example, if you’re looking to rent a bedroom in San Diego, or a small condo in Barcelona, Airbnb has tons of inventory, and seems to be expanding the most rapidly.

Now are you looking to stay for a longer period of time? How about a big house in Boston, or a mountain house near Denver. Or maybe you’re on the hunt for a beach house near Santa Barbara. VRBO seems to have the most available higher-end rentals. While both companies are mixing into eachother a bit, this does seem to remain true. As a little aside here, keep in mind that HomeAway owns VRBO.

Winner: Airbnb

Who has the nicest places to stay?

This one is pretty easy, VRBO definitely has the nicest houses for rent. It’s easy to see why people likely turn more to VRBO for higher-end rentals. Airbnb is definitely expanding in this area, but for now, if you’re looking for high-end rentals and are less concerned about price, we highly suggest you check out VRBO first.

Winner: VRBO

Who is in the most countries?

Currently, Airbnb is the most consistently available no matter where you’re traveling. Makes sense, everyone has a little extra floor space or an extra bedroom they can rent out. VRBO, and HomeAway, more focused on bigger rentals will never be able to catch up on sheer inventory.

Winner: Airbnb

Does Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway have the best prices?

While it’s hard to find exact data here, Airbnb seems to have the cheapest available options, but keep in mind you’re also comparing apples and oranges here a bit. Just like the above, Airbnb gives you the option to basically rent floor space in an apartment. VRBO/HomeAway don’t focus on this type of offering, which might make them seem more expensive.

Winner: Airbnb

Who has the best mobile app and website?

Check all three out yourself, because this one is pretty subjective:

Our personal opinion – VRBO has the better web experience, Airbnb has the better mobile experience. Airbnb is more in-tune with the on-the-go traveler as well, so it makes sense that their biggest focus would be on a beautiful mobile experience.

Winner: Tie

Does HomeAway, VRBO, or Airbnb have the best customer service?

We haven’t encountered a negative experience with any of the services, and from what we can tell reading people’s reviews, all three are quick to make things right on your behalf. Most have consumer protection on both sides, so whether your the renter, or the person who owns the rental, it’s likely guaranteed that you’ll be protected in the event of a negative experience.

Winner: Tie

What is your favorite vacation rental service? Do you have a preference between Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!