Anyone seen this doozie yet?
I think it would be good to post on both? I have not yet posted outside Airbnb but it has been on my mind.
I wonder if this is to hit back at Airbnb plus as it expands. When on plus you cannot be listed on the other sites.
@Angelica-Y-Jorge0 As far as I'm aware, Plus is no longer a thing. There are Plus listings, but they are grandfathered in. I've read that Airbnb is no longer supporting this category, as in offering it anymore. It seems there were a lot of Plus hosts who were pretty upset with all the rules Airbnb put on those listings, like having to use their photos, even if the host's photos were actually better, lack of input into the listing wording, and, as you mention, only being able to list exclusively on Airbnb.
I would tend to think that VRBO is just aware of how disgruntled a lot of hosts have become with Airbnb due to their worsening customer disservice and lack of support for hosts and are therefore aggressively trying to capture that market.
Two words: security deposit.
Airbnb ain't got none. VRBO does. Not a fan of VRBO, but come on Airbnb: it's time. Hosts can't continue to eat guest damages because you want people to feel touchy feely about your brand.
@Barry-and-Lera0 Yes, unfortunately, that's exactly what I'm saying. Maybe not worthless, but certainly not worth much.
1) As hosts, we have very little control over whether or not we will ever get paid any of this money. If the guest doesn't agree to pay, it's very difficult to get Airbnb to make them.
2) Even if Airbnb agrees that you're due money, they don't put a hold on these funds, so if the guest deletes their payment method or doesn't have the funds available when Airbnb tries to charge them, too bad for the host. Bad guests know this and can plan accordingly.
Overall, it's very difficult to get money for damages on Airbnb. Plan to cover minor damages on your own and make sure you have extra insurance that will cover more major damages.
VBRO is not very popular platform in my area. They are targeting on the major, world's famous tourist destinations. We don't have anything like Aspen, Ibiza, Monte Carlo or Cancún, so we are definitely "below the radar".
I find it a bit amusing that in our experience, and comparing the two, it's always been Airbnb that has delivered the type of guest VRBO is claiming it does, but Airbnb doesn't.
Yes, Airbnb host support has declined and hosts are getting shafted. But VRBO has never had much support at all. In fact, to date, I have never received any reply to any communication with VRBO. It's as if the lights are on, but nobody's home.
And all the extra hidden charges that VRBO imposes. Our prices on VRBO are significantly higher than on Airbnb because of that.
Conversely, there's currently Airbnb adverts running on UK media promoting becoming an Airbnb host, because you "can make so much money".
Frankly, I don't trust anyone of them anymore. But it's amusing to watch the PR battles to recruit more the hosts... the ones they apparently need so much, but in practice, seem to care about the least.
I never planned to list on a second platform, but recently listed on VRBO. Not to attract more guests, but because I am so disappointed with Airbnb’s handling of a claim. Both with the outcome, and the attitude of the case manager and supervisor.
That case was the drop, but there are other things that have frustrated me over these 2 years, too. The fact that many in CS speak English so badly that it is hard to understand them. The fact that sometimes when you ask CS a question, they seem to know less than you do about how Airbnb works. The fact that Airbnb suddenly may be ”unable” to transfer money to bank accounts that have been working fine for months or years - and then are ”unable” to help the host solve the payment problem - leaving the host waiting for many months to get paid (while the money sits with Airbnb). The fact that they seem to put very little effort into the issue of retaliatory/unfair reviews.
Curious to see if I can get bookings through VRBO (they seem to be less used in Europe than in the US), and how I feel they treat hosts...
Don't expect anything better from VRBO. They're just a big corporate booking platform like Airbnb has become. Just know that you're on your own. Cover your own rear. That's your only option, really.
Also, be advised that VRBO has more charges. On the one booking we've received from them (for August this year) they charged 70€ for "payment processing". A other charge for "Booking insurance". I've asked them what these are, but case closed with no response.
Also, in England, Airbnb seems to be rather unpopular. I don't know why. It seems that England prefers booking.com and VRBO (homeaway used to be a favourite in England, but was bought by VRBO). If you look on UK travel forums, Airbnb is often touted as "full of scams", despite the fact that by far, the largest number of "scams" victimise the host, not the guest... on all platforms, especially booking.com, which has no protection of hosts whatsoever. And zero vetting of guests. But England has always been a bit different in its mindset.
Set your expectations appropriately.
Airbnb charges me 3,75 % on my price, and adds around 17 % on my price to my guests (somtimes less, I’ve noticed).
The VRBO fees I know of and have based my pricing on, are +15-16 % on my price to my guests, and then they charge a 5 % service fee and a 3 % credit card fee - in total 8 %. So yes, more than Airbnb charge. If there are other fees, like the booking insurance you mention, I don’t know about them. Was that a % or a fixed amount?
I’ve heard that VRBO are supposed to be more reasonable when it comes to claims related to damages caused by guests - but I’m sure there are those who will have the opposite experience.
I had already published this post on another thread, but I'm posting it again:
In 2005 Brian Sharples and Carl Shephard founded the Rental Platform „Home Away“, they were based in the USA. They bought up all the leading local Rental Platforms in various countries around the world including VRBO (USA), Fewo-Direkt (Germany), Abritel (France), Owners Direct (UK), Stayz (Australia), there are more:
The way they ran their business was, that they kept all the various local names for the original platforms in each country. But they developed an integrated software, that was finally used by all the platforms with all the various names around the world.
As You can see, even tough the names of the platforms on the left top corner are different, the startpage looks exactely the same. The „platform“ fewo-direkt is very well known in Germany, they had 2.5 million pagevisits last month, but outside Germany noone knows them. On the other hand, almost noone in Germany knows vrbo, despite the fact that they had 50 million pagevisits last moth, 83% of those came from the US.So all the various „platroms“ combined may have 100 million pageviews, whereas airbnb had 76 million. The killer application in terms of pagevisits is booking.com though. They had 260 millions pagevisits in march, and they came from all around the world.
Anyway, if You list Your place on VRBO, Your place will be shown worldwide on maybe 20 or 30 different platforms that all have a different name.
In 2015 HomeAway including vrbo got bought up by Expedia and they still onwn it.
@Sarah977 Have you ever used VRBO as a guest?
Every interaction I've had with that site as a guest has been a travesty at best, and its customer base as a brand doesn't seem to have much overlap with yours or mine as hosts.
It seems to me like they'd have to create an entirely new product with a very different set of features (including verified guest accounts and guest reviews) in order to be attractive to homestay hosts, as well as a separate brand and marketing strategy to become attractive to homestay guests. But if there's something that appeals to you about them aside from not being Airbnb, I'm curious what it is!
@Andrew0 No, I've never used them as a guest (nor Airbnb- my minimal travelling, even pre-Covid, is to places where I am visiting friends or family and staying with them). Interesting to hear that they are a drag to use as a guest.
I've just heard that they are pretty supportive to hosts.
But I agree that the home share model needs to be a quite different category and dealt with differently in marketing and also set-up. That could be said for Airbnb, as well, and has been suggested many times here.
And I think VRBO only offers Instant Book? If so, that's not something I'd go for.
Some savvy young entrepreneur with adequate start-up funding could create a purely home-share site that could be successful, though. I do believe that with the right marketing, that could take off. And with them doing extensive research for the set-up as to the site features that suit home-share hosts and guests. Once we are out of pandemic mode, of course.