You have probably heard already about the Vrbo rental platform. Even being one of the main vacation rental websites in the market, many people wonder What is Vrbo?, What does Vrbo mean?, is Homeaway the same as Vrbo? and many other questions. In this article, we answer all the Vrbo-related questions that vacation rental professionals need to know.

1. What is Vrbo? 

Vrbo itself is a relatively recent brand, although it’s existed under the name of VRBO (with capital letters) since 1995, which might be why many people still wonder about what Vrbo is. Vrbo is a vacation rental company where rental owners or managers can post their property listings and travellers can book their vacation properties. This company operates internationally- in 190 countries, and its origins are North American. To be exact, its headquarters are in Austin, Texas. 

 

2. Is HomeAway the same as Vrbo? 

The short answer is No. HomeAway and VRBO were separate companies until 2006, when HomeAway acquired the VRBO brand and for 8 years they were part of the same enterprise. However, that is no longer the case. Later, in winter 2015, the Expedia group bought HomeAway, together with VRBO and in 2020 decided to merge them under the name Vrbo, without capital letters, with a new pronunciation and a new logo. That is why we can say that the company is a relatively new brand – even if the platform has been around for several years now.

          VRBO’s logo before rebranding in 2020                                           Vrbo’s logo after rebranding in 2020

VRBO by HomeAway vs Vrbo now

3. How to pronounce Vrbo?

How Vrbo is pronounced is one of the most common questions related to the short term rental brand. And the answer is “ver-boh”, or “ver-bow”. Yes, you are already pronouncing it right. 

The brand released an advertisement to highlight the pronunciation of Vrbo, which you can watch here to master your pronunciation of Vrbo: 

4. Who owns Vrbo?

Currently, Vrbo is owned by the Expedia Group since their purchase of HomeAway for 3.9 billion U.S dollars. The Expedia Group is a very big online travel company that owns 8 other important brands, for example, Expedia.com, Trivago and Hotels.com. 

 

5. What does Vrbo stand for? 

It is a fact that is not easy to guess what Vrbo means, but actually is a very obvious acronym once you know. When VRBO first was created in 1995, it stood for Vacation Rentals By Owner. This name was chosen because they were one of the first online platforms to allow property owners to rent directly without the involvement of larger property management companies. Now it is not an acronym anymore since it has its own pronunciation and it is not written in capital letters. Instead, Vrbo is simply a name in its own right, with no hidden meaning.

 

6. Did Vrbo buy HomeAway?

As we have mentioned before, HomeAway and VRBO merged in 2006, but in fact, it was HomeAway who acquired VRBO. After that, VRBO kept operating as a single brand under the management of HomeAway. After the rebranding, HomeAway and VRBO dissolved and turned into Vrbo. The new brand also owns CyberRentals, VacationRentals.com, Homelidays, OwnersDirect, Arbitel, FeWo-Direkt, Alugue Temporada, Toprural, Bookabach, Stayz, Travelmob, and CanadaStays.

                                                         VRBO’s logo from 2006 to 2020                

VRBO by HomeAway logo

7. How much does Vrbo charge to guests?

Each vacation rental site has slightly different payment methods. In this case, Vrbo has a pricing structure based on a service fee that charges guests between 6% and 15% from the booking’s subtotal. Sometimes the short term rental brand charges a damage deposit when the booking is made. The service fee varies depending on the cost of the reservation, usually the higher the payment the lower the percentage of the fee. 

8. How much does Vrbo charge owners?

Vrbo owners can choose between two payment options. The first and most common method is to pay an 8% commission. This commission consists of 5% for the service fee and 3% for the card payment fee. The second method is to pay an annual rate of 499 U.S dollars for all the bookings you may get. 

If you are not sure if Vrbo is the best rental channel for you or your business, you can take our quick quiz. In 7 steps our Channel Advisor will give you a list of the best vacation rental websites for your rental properties.

9. Is Vrbo publicly traded?

Vrbo is not publicly traded on its own, but you can buy shares of its parent company, the Expedia Group on the stock market (EXPE). The Expedia Group went public in 1999 and since then it has not stopped growing. In fact, in 2019 they reached 107.87 billion U.S dollars in gross bookings worldwide. However, in 2020 the company suffered a massive decrease due to coronavirus, going down to 36.8 billion U.S dollars. 

Expedia group data revenue for stock market

10. Does Vrbo do background checks on guests? 

A background check is when a company or an entity requires a client to prove their identity. Usually, background checks are done to make sure that the client is over 18 years old or to avoid fraudulent situations where non-existent customers make a reservation. Sometimes the most security-concerned hosts may want to run background checks on their guests, especially if they are staying a longer period. For the moment Vrbo does not request identity verification for their guests. Nevertheless you, as a property manager or owner, can communicate directly with the guests and request any further information you would like to know

 

11. Does Vrbo offer travel insurance?

Yes. Guests are allowed to buy travel insurance when they pay for their reservations. Additionally, there are more opportunities to assure a safe trip after they have booked. They can also book travel insurance from the information emails that they receive afterwards and on the booking confirmation page. And now, you might be wondering, what does Vrbo’s travel insurance cover? In general, it includes protection in case of delays, interruption or cancellation. However, there are specific cases which might not be covered. Therefore here you can check the description of the Coverage, by entering your Policy Number.

12. Is Vrbo reliable? 

Definitely yes. As part of one of the largest travel companies in the world, it is a trustworthy rental site to list your properties. It offers multiple amenities for rental properties and it has many functionalities for property owners. Besides, it offers protection for fraudulent acts and travel insurance to ensure both guests and hosts have a good experience. 

13. How to list a property on Vrbo?

If you would like to add your property listing to this short term rental brand, and you already have listings in other rental sites, you can do it quickly and smoothly through Your.Rentals. With our software for Property Managers, you can manage your listings on multiple sites, including Vrbo, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and many others. You can also chat directly with guests from different platforms and manage the communications with all your clients. We also promote direct booking for you to increase your booking revenue. You can check here all the benefits of having a Property Management System

 

Vrbo is a very important rental platform where hundreds of thousands of hosts choose to list their vacation rental properties. It counts more than 2 million listings worldwide. It is a well-established brand in the market and with its recent new brand strategy set up by the Expedia Group, a good recovery from the pandemic is expected. To list on Vrbo and dozens of other channels using just one platform, create a free account in Your.Rentals today!

The simplest way to create a great vacation rental listing