Which Properties Work Best on Airbnb vs. VRBO?! (and where you should list)

What’s up YouTube it’s Richard founder of Short-Term Rental University and Airbnb super host!

Today’s video is going to be helpful to you in deciding where to list your property by type by platform and where I think the most opportunity is for you to make the most money

So let me start off with this little caveat I think short-term rentals work WORLDWIDE! It’s a global phenomenon and there’s worldwide listings on Airbnb and VRBO and home away and booking.com and flip-key and so on. So this works everywhere in the world.

That said I have primary experience as a host here domestically and so like the rules of thumb that I’m going to talk about really are my personal experience here in the USA. I should say I’ve been, a guest I’ve stayed in many Airbnb, and I use Airbnb almost exclusively when I travel internationally. So there’s a ton of demand for Airbnb worldwide and don’t let me deter you from listing your global place or your international place on Airbnb or home away or anything else. So in order to try and make this as helpful as possible, I’m going to talk about three different ways to think about it.

It’s basically:

  • The Demographics of the people that you’re attracting
  • The Location of your property 
  • The Property type


Let’s start with the first one LOCATION! The most important thing in real estate, it’s probably why you bought your home, or your apartment, or your condo. You want to be somewhere very specific and you’re trying to attract guests to your place. Now in my own mind, Airbnb has always been an urban solution. It tends to be more popular in denser more urban areas and surrounding suburbs around that.  In my own mind vacation rental by owner VRBO or home away has always been a vacation owner in a vacation destination, who are not using their vacation home and wants to monetize it. They would like to attract other vacation people to that location in urban areas Airbnb is much more successful for me, in fact, it’s the only platform I list I’m busy enough and I have never even put an urban apartment on VRBO. Maybe I should, maybe I will at some point in the future, but right now it’s doing just fine on Airbnb and it makes my life really easy. It’s clean, it’s convenient, and I’m busy, so that’s fine.

I have other properties that are vacation homes of mine. I have one in Colorado and I have one in Alabama and there I list on both properties and I get some business on Airbnb but it’s maybe 25%! Which means the vast majority of my income in those vacation markets comes from vacation families looking to rent my vacation home and about 75% of my income comes from home away.

Let’s turn to property type. Look, if you have a shared space that’s really the bread and butter of Airbnb on the way they launched and originated. I think you can actually rent some shared spaces on home away but I think that’s the exception and not the rule. So by and large if you’re sharing of space, I think Airbnb is the go-to because I think people that are looking to share homes and spaces are going to default to Airbnb. Now, what if you have a single-family home and you’re renting that entire property out. Which is better Airbnb or VRBO / home away? In my personal experience again when it’s a vacation rental in a single standalone home, turns out that those homes have typically been rented for a far longer period of time using the traditional incumbent which is VRBO or home away. So the edge goes to that!

Finally let’s turn to demographic. LOOK it should come as no surprise at an early stage disruptive innovative force like Airbnb is likely going to attract younger people. And so in my own mind, I think of Millennials, and more innovation, and Laptop road warriors, and things like that, and or young families. People that are you know hip and cool and looking for new experiences.  So that’s sort of what I think of Airbnb type guests. Not to suggest that HomeAway people don’t include some of those trends and ideas, but I find the HomeAway guests tend to be perhaps a little bit older a little bit more in a certain thinking about when they vacation and how they vacation. They’ve been vacationing as a family for a long period of time and historically they’ve gone to say VRBO and they’re not looking for an alternate solution.  That’s the default, it’s worked for them really well, they probably vacation in the same place every single year for an extended period of time.

So again I know it’s a generality but it seems like

you’ve got two different camps you’ve got the younger more innovative people that are looking for new things and then the more sort of set in their way is happy not looking for disruption just want the exact same thing at the same price with you know relatively ease and success

So that’s the way it’s turned out for me. Also, I’ve tended to find I have younger more dynamic people, they’re visiting me in more urban areas, they’re looking on Airbnb, they like the user experience, they like the feedback loop with the reviews, they like the app, and that tends to be Airbnb. Then in my vacation rentals &  single-family homes in vacation areas, it tends to be more established families that really like using the telephone and there I have a caretaker that will actually speak to them and walk them through the check-in stages. And so it seems to be a little bit more of the older hospitality versus the newer app mindset if that makes sense.

That said the times are definitely changing and we see more and more people gravitating from the traditional methodology towards the newer. I literally see more action going from home away towards Airbnb. I don’t know if it’s weekly, quarterly, annually, but the trend is clearly that Airbnb is taking a lot of that space. There are a lot more listings, there’s a lot more activity, there’s a lot more price competition, and so the disruptive force is being evermore disruptive. So I would encourage everyone no matter where you are in the world, no matter what you’ve done in the past, at least add Airbnb again! It’s a completely free option they don’t charge for the listing. So you have absolutely nothing to lose but your time and you have everything to gain! Whether it’s a slot that you wanted to fill in your calendar whether it’s more income whether it’s a better user experience I personally find transacting on Airbnb much easier and simpler I like their tax reporting it’s just it’s disruptive and innovative in a good way and I like that and so do many of my guess I think if you haven’t listed on Airbnb you owe yourself the opportunity to try and make it your life a little better and easier and maybe more profitable think about your location think about the demographics of the people that you’re trying to attract and think about like the type of property that you have and then start there so for instance if you’ve got a vacation rental and you only use it a couple weeks a year and it’s a vacation location and you think sixty-year-old families with their kids are gonna come stay there maybe start with VRBO or home away and likewise if you’ve got a one-bedroom in downtown hip urban area where it’s close to restaurants and clubs and so on and so forth and pick a city any city maybe start with Airbnb and then as you build up your business and you get a little bit more hosting experience and you want to start to maximize your revenue Crosse try them on both keep them both live just make sure you sync your calendars and you don’t double booked which is a very common mistake when people first get started on multiple platforms so just avoid it but get started try them both and I hope you found this video helpful if you have please leave your comments and your questions below where do you link what’s the percentage of revenue that you get from Airbnb versus VRBO and like what property type demographics and location are you in let’s just share it let’s get it out there in the meantime happy hosting I hope you liked the video and I would ask that you please subscribe to the channel thanks so much have a great day oh and one more thing if you haven’t checked out our podcast check out the links below a lot of great content expert advice information I think you’re really gonna like it thanks you

Check us out across the web!


  • Richard,

    I am a big fan. We have two STR homes near Asheville, NC.. We are looking at the costs of EvolveVacationRental and feel we can do the same or better… and put more money in our pocket.

    Do you use a channel manager like http://www.Lodgify.com or http://www.MyVR.com to manage multiple sites?

    Do you use a dynamic pricing vendor?

    Is this the appropriate place to ask these questions?


    • Thank you so much for commenting!

      We use our own custom software to manage our properties as they greatly vary in location, usage, rental type, etc.

      A great place to get real-time answers to questions like this is our FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/struniversity/

      Or if you are looking for a little more exclusive access to answers from professional hosts like you, than our Bachelors and MBA may be a good place for you to compare findings with other hosts going along the journey at the same time as well as be able to ask Richard this qeustion directly during a monthly Q&A


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