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What Is Vrbo (Vacation Rental By Owner)?


by Blinni Das


Overview of Vrbo (Vacation Rental By Owner)

Vrbo, also known as Vacation Rental By Owner, is a popular online platform that connects travelers with vacation rental properties worldwide. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cabin in the mountains, a beachfront villa, or a spacious city apartment, Vrbo offers a wide range of options to suit every traveler’s needs.


With Vrbo, travelers can enjoy the comforts of home while adventuring in a new destination. Instead of booking a traditional hotel room, Vrbo allows you to rent an entire property, giving you more space, privacy, and flexibility during your trip.


So, how does Vrbo work? It’s simple. Property owners list their homes or vacation rentals on the platform, and travelers can search, browse, and book these properties directly through the website or mobile app. Vrbo acts as the intermediary, providing a secure and reliable platform for both owners and renters.


One of the key benefits of using Vrbo is the wide variety of options available. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, Vrbo offers properties in various sizes and styles to accommodate different group sizes and preferences. From cozy cottages to luxurious estates, there’s something for everyone.


Compared to traditional hotel stays, renting a property through Vrbo often provides cost savings, especially for longer stays or larger groups. With the added benefit of a fully equipped kitchen, travelers can also save money by cooking their own meals instead of dining out for every meal.


Furthermore, Vrbo allows travelers to experience destinations like a local. By staying in a vacation rental, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and live like a resident. You can explore neighborhoods, shop at local markets, and discover hidden gems that may not be accessible in a typical tourist experience.


What is Vrbo?

Vrbo, which stands for Vacation Rental By Owner, is an online platform that connects travelers with vacation rental properties around the world. Founded in 1995, Vrbo has become a popular choice for those seeking alternative accommodations during their travels.


Unlike traditional hotel stays, Vrbo offers travelers the opportunity to rent entire homes, cottages, condos, or villas, providing a unique and personalized experience. This allows travelers to enjoy the comforts of home while exploring new destinations.


With Vrbo, property owners have the opportunity to list their vacation rentals on the platform, showcasing the amenities, features, and availability of their properties. On the other hand, travelers can search for properties based on their desired location, travel dates, and specific requirements.


When using Vrbo, travelers have the advantage of browsing a wide range of options to find the perfect accommodation for their needs. This includes properties in popular tourist destinations, beachfront rentals, mountain cabins, urban apartments, and more.


One of the distinguishing features of Vrbo is the direct communication between travelers and property owners. This allows travelers to ask questions, discuss specific requirements, and negotiate details before making a reservation. This direct interaction can help ensure that the selected property meets the traveler’s expectations.


In addition, Vrbo offers various tools and features to enhance the booking experience. Travelers can filter search results by price range, number of bedrooms, amenities, and more to find the ideal property. They can also view detailed property descriptions, high-quality photos, and read reviews from previous guests to make an informed decision.


Furthermore, Vrbo provides a secure and convenient payment system. Travelers can make reservations and payment transactions directly through the platform, ensuring a seamless and protected booking process.


Overall, Vrbo offers a unique and flexible option for travelers seeking alternative accommodations. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a group adventure, Vrbo has a wide range of properties to cater to your specific needs and preferences.


How does Vrbo work?

Vrbo, which stands for Vacation Rental By Owner, operates as an online marketplace connecting property owners with travelers seeking vacation rentals. The platform provides an easy and convenient way for travelers to discover, book, and enjoy unique accommodations around the world.


Here’s how Vrbo works:

  1. Property Listing: Property owners can create a listing on Vrbo, providing details about their vacation rental such as location, amenities, availability, and pricing. They can also upload high-quality photos to showcase the property and attract potential renters.
  2. Traveler Search: Travelers can search for properties on Vrbo’s website or mobile app by specifying their desired destination, travel dates, and any specific requirements. They can browse through the search results and filter them based on preferences like price range, number of bedrooms, and amenities.
  3. Booking and Communication: Once travelers find a suitable property, they can communicate directly with the property owner through Vrbo’s secure messaging platform. They can ask questions, discuss rental details, and negotiate terms before making a reservation.
  4. Reservation and Payment: When both parties agree on the terms, travelers can book the property by submitting a reservation request. Property owners have the option to accept or decline the request. If accepted, travelers are prompted to make payment through Vrbo’s secure payment system, which ensures a safe transaction.
  5. Stay and Review: Travelers can enjoy their vacation rental as if it were their own home during their stay. They have the opportunity to explore the local area, experience the culture, and create lasting memories. After their stay, travelers can provide feedback by leaving a review on Vrbo to help future travelers make informed decisions.

Throughout the process, Vrbo acts as the intermediary, providing a platform for property owners and travelers to connect and transact. The platform takes the safety and security of its users seriously, implementing measures such as secure payments, verified profiles, and a review system to ensure a trustworthy experience for all parties involved.


Whether you’re a property owner looking to rent out your vacation property or a traveler seeking a unique and personalized accommodation experience, Vrbo offers a user-friendly platform that simplifies the process of finding and booking vacation rentals.


Benefits of using Vrbo

Vrbo, also known as Vacation Rental By Owner, offers a range of benefits to both property owners and travelers. Whether you’re listing your property or searching for a vacation rental, here are some of the advantages of using Vrbo:

  1. Wide Variety of Accommodations: Vrbo provides a vast selection of vacation rentals, allowing travelers to find properties that suit their needs and preferences. From cozy cabins in the countryside to luxurious beachfront villas, there’s something for every type of traveler.
  2. More Space and Privacy: Unlike hotel rooms, vacation rentals on Vrbo offer more space, giving travelers the freedom to relax and unwind in a home-like environment. Whether it’s a separate bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, or a private outdoor space, the added privacy and comfort make for a more enjoyable stay.
  3. Flexible Amenities: Vrbo properties often come with a wide range of amenities, such as fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, and entertainment options like swimming pools or game rooms. These amenities provide convenience and entertainment, making travelers feel at home during their stay.
  4. Cost Savings: Renting a vacation property through Vrbo can often be more cost-effective compared to traditional hotel stays, especially for longer durations or larger groups. In addition, having a kitchen allows travelers to prepare their own meals, saving money on dining out for every meal.
  5. Local Experience: Staying in a Vrbo property allows travelers to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience their destination like a local. By staying in residential neighborhoods, travelers can explore local markets, try authentic restaurants, and engage with the local community, giving them a more authentic and enriching travel experience.
  6. Direct Communication: Vrbo facilitates direct communication between property owners and travelers, ensuring clear and effective communication regarding rental details, requirements, and any questions or concerns. This direct interaction can help both parties establish a level of trust and ensures that all expectations are met.
  7. Secure Booking Process: Vrbo provides a secure platform for booking vacation rentals. Payments are processed through secure channels, significantly reducing the risk of fraud or unauthorized transactions. Additionally, property listings on Vrbo undergo verification processes to ensure the legitimacy of the property and the owner.
  8. Reviews and Recommendations: Vrbo allows previous guests to leave reviews and ratings for the properties they’ve rented. These reviews can serve as a valuable resource for future travelers, helping them make informed decisions and choose properties that have received positive feedback from others.

Overall, Vrbo offers a convenient and reliable solution for property owners to monetize their vacation rentals and for travelers to find unique and personalized accommodations. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Vrbo provides a wide range of options with numerous benefits to enhance your travel experience.


Comparison with other vacation rental platforms

When it comes to booking vacation rentals, there are several platforms available in the market. While Vrbo is a popular choice, it’s important to understand how it compares to other vacation rental platforms. Here, we’ll compare Vrbo with other major players in the industry to help you make an informed decision:

  • Airbnb: Airbnb is perhaps the most well-known vacation rental platform worldwide. It offers a wide range of accommodations, including shared rooms, private rooms, and entire homes. While Vrbo focuses more on whole properties, Airbnb has a larger inventory and more unique options, such as treehouses and castles. Additionally, Airbnb has a strong presence in urban destinations, making it a preferred choice for city travelers.
  • Booking.com: While primarily known for hotel bookings, Booking.com also features a selection of vacation rentals. However, compared to Vrbo, the inventory on Booking.com tends to be more limited, with a focus on popular tourist destinations rather than unique and off-the-beaten-track options. Booking.com is a convenient option for travelers who want a one-stop-shop for both hotels and vacation rentals.
  • HomeAway: HomeAway is a vacation rental platform that operates under the same parent company as Vrbo. In fact, Vrbo is often considered the North American counterpart of HomeAway, with HomeAway being popular in Europe and other regions. The main differences between the two platforms lie in branding and marketing focus, but they offer similar inventory and services.
  • Tripadvisor Rentals: As a well-established travel review website, Tripadvisor expanded its offerings to include vacation rentals. While Tripadvisor Rentals is relatively new compared to other platforms, it benefits from Tripadvisor’s extensive reviews and ratings database, allowing travelers to make informed decisions based on previous guests’ experiences. However, the inventory on Tripadvisor Rentals may be more limited compared to Vrbo.

While the platforms mentioned above offer similar services, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the availability of properties in your desired destination.


Vrbo stands out for its focus on whole properties, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking spacious accommodations with a touch of home. If you’re traveling with a larger group, Vrbo’s wide variety of properties can easily cater to your needs. Additionally, Vrbo’s direct communication between travelers and property owners allows for more personalized and flexible experiences.


Before making a decision, it’s recommended to compare the inventory, pricing, user reviews, and features of different platforms to find the one that best aligns with your travel needs and preferences.


Tips for renting a property through Vrbo

Vrbo, also known as Vacation Rental By Owner, is a trusted platform for booking vacation rentals. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, here are some helpful tips for renting a property through Vrbo:

  1. Start Early: Begin your search for a Vrbo property well in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak seasons or popular events. This will give you a wider selection of available properties.
  2. Read Property Descriptions Carefully: Pay close attention to the property’s description, amenities, and any specific house rules. Make sure it meets your needs and requirements, such as a pet-friendly policy or wheelchair accessibility, before making a reservation.
  3. Check Reviews: Take the time to read reviews from previous guests. Look for consistent positive feedback and ensure that any concerns or issues mentioned have been addressed by the property owner. Reviews can give valuable insights into the property’s cleanliness, location, and overall experience.
  4. Utilize Filters and Search Tools: Vrbo offers various filters and search tools to narrow down your options. Utilize these to refine your search based on factors such as price range, number of bedrooms, and desired amenities.
  5. Communicate with the Property Owner: Before making a reservation, take advantage of Vrbo’s messaging system to communicate directly with the property owner. Ask any questions you have about the property or the local area to ensure it meets your expectations.
  6. Understand the Payment Process: Familiarize yourself with Vrbo’s payment process and policies. Be wary of any requests for payment outside of the platform, as this may indicate potential fraud. Vrbo provides a secure payment system to protect both renters and property owners.
  7. Consider Travel Insurance: Depending on your travel plans, it may be beneficial to purchase travel insurance. This can provide coverage in case of unexpected circumstances, such as trip cancellations or medical emergencies.
  8. Be Mindful of Cancellation Policies: Pay attention to the property’s cancellation policy to understand the terms and potential fees involved should you need to cancel or modify your reservation. Make sure you’re comfortable with the policy before confirming your booking.
  9. Document and Report Issues: Upon arrival, thoroughly inspect the property and document any existing damages or issues. Report them to the property owner or Vrbo support promptly to ensure they are addressed and to avoid any liability on your part.
  10. Leave a Review: After your stay, take the time to leave a review on Vrbo. This helps future travelers make informed decisions, and it also provides feedback to property owners, allowing them to continually improve the quality of their offerings.

By following these tips, you can maximize your experience when renting a property through Vrbo, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable vacation rental experience.


How to list a property on Vrbo

List your property on Vrbo in a few simple steps to share your vacation rental with travelers from around the world:

  1. Create an Account: Start by creating an account on Vrbo’s website or mobile app. Fill in your personal details and follow the prompts to verify your account.
  2. Prepare Listing Information: Gather all the necessary information about your property, including its location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, and any unique features. Take high-quality photos that showcase the property’s best features.
  3. Write an Engaging Description: Craft a compelling description of your property that highlights its key features and benefits. Be sure to include information about the local attractions, nearby amenities, and any special considerations for guests.
  4. Set Pricing and Availability: Determine the pricing for your property based on factors such as the location, seasonality, and demand. Choose whether to set a daily, weekly, or monthly rate, and establish the availability calendar to manage bookings.
  5. Outline House Rules: Clearly communicate any house rules or policies that guests must abide by during their stay. This includes rules about pets, smoking, noise regulations, and other important considerations.
  6. Choose Your Booking Settings: Select the booking settings that work best for you. Decide whether to require a minimum stay, set a booking lead time, or provide instant booking options to maximize your property’s visibility.
  7. Upload Photos: Add high-quality photos of your property to attract potential guests. Make sure to capture each room from different angles and highlight any unique features or views.
  8. Submit Your Listing: Review all the information you’ve entered to ensure accuracy and completeness. Submit your listing for review, and it will typically be reviewed by Vrbo within a few hours or days.
  9. Manage Inquiries and Bookings: Once your listing is live, you’ll start receiving inquiries and booking requests from interested travelers. Stay responsive and engage with potential guests promptly to secure bookings.
  10. Maintain Communication: Communicate with guests throughout the booking process to address any questions, provide necessary information, and ensure a smooth check-in process. Establish clear communication channels to keep guests informed and comfortable during their stay.

Listing your property on Vrbo allows you to reach a global audience of travelers seeking unique accommodations. By following these steps and optimizing your listing with accurate information and appealing visuals, you’ll attract potential guests and increase your chances of booking successful stays.


Vrbo’s cancellation policy

Vrbo, also known as Vacation Rental By Owner, has specific cancellation policies that outline the terms and conditions regarding canceling a reservation. It’s important to understand these policies before making a booking to ensure you are aware of any potential fees or restrictions.


Vrbo offers different cancellation policies, and the specific policy for each property is determined by the property owner. Here are the main types of cancellation policies you may encounter on Vrbo:

  1. Strict: This policy typically offers little flexibility for cancellations. If you cancel your reservation within a certain number of days before the check-in date, you may not receive any refund or only a partial refund.
  2. Moderate: The moderate policy provides some flexibility for cancellations. You may receive a full or partial refund if you cancel within a specified timeframe before the check-in date. However, there may still be some non-refundable fees involved.
  3. Flexible: The flexible policy offers the most flexibility for cancellations. You can receive a full refund if you cancel your reservation within a certain number of days before the check-in date. However, some services fees may still apply and are non-refundable.
  4. No Refund: Some properties may have a no-refund policy, which means if you cancel your reservation, you are not eligible to receive any refund.

It’s important to note that each property’s cancellation policy is clearly stated on the property listing page. Before making a reservation, carefully review the cancellation policy to understand the specific terms and potential fees.


If you need to cancel your reservation, you can do so by accessing your Vrbo account and following the cancellation process. It’s recommended that you contact the property owner to inform them of your cancellation as well.


In the event of extenuating circumstances, such as natural disasters or unforeseen emergencies, Vrbo offers a Resolution Center where you can request a refund or discuss alternative arrangements with the property owner. Vrbo’s support team is also available to provide assistance and guidance in such situations.


It’s essential to review and understand the cancellation policy of any property you book on Vrbo to avoid any misunderstandings or unexpected costs. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to Vrbo’s customer support for clarification.


Safety and Security Measures on Vrbo

Vrbo, also known as Vacation Rental By Owner, prioritizes the safety and security of both property owners and travelers. The platform implements several measures to ensure a trustworthy and secure rental experience:

  1. Secure Payment Process: Vrbo provides a secure payment system that protects both renters and property owners. Payments are processed through secure channels, reducing the risk of fraud or unauthorized transactions. This reassures users that their financial information is protected.
  2. Verified Profiles: Vrbo encourages property owners and travelers to complete their profiles and verify their identity. This reduces the risk of fraudulent activity and provides transparency for both parties. Verified profiles help establish trust between renters and property owners when communicating and transacting.
  3. Cancellation and Refund Policies: Vrbo’s cancellation policies are designed to provide clarity and protection for both property owners and travelers. The policies outline the terms and conditions for cancellations, ensuring that both parties are aware of their rights and any potential fees involved.
  4. Review System: Vrbo’s review system allows travelers to leave feedback about their experience at a particular property. This gives future travelers valuable insights into the quality and reliability of the property and the property owner. Property owners are motivated to maintain high standards to receive positive reviews and attract more guests.
  5. Secure Messaging System: Vrbo provides a secure messaging system that allows property owners and travelers to communicate directly. This ensures that all communication remains within the platform, protecting user privacy and providing a channel for clear and documented communication.
  6. Coverage for Damage Protection: Vrbo offers optional damage protection plans for property owners and travelers. These plans provide coverage for accidental damages that may occur during a stay, giving both parties peace of mind.
  7. Trust and Safety Support: Vrbo has a dedicated Trust and Safety team that monitors the platform for any suspicious activity or concerns. They work to resolve disputes, handle customer inquiries, and provide assistance in case of emergencies or issues related to safety and security.
  8. Host Guarantee: Vrbo’s Host Guarantee offers property owners coverage for damage claims up to a certain amount. This provides additional protection for property owners in case of accidental damages caused by guests.
  9. Emergency Contacts: Vrbo provides emergency contact information for both property owners and travelers. In case of any emergencies or urgent situations during a stay, users can reach out to Vrbo’s support team for assistance and guidance.

Vrbo continually updates its safety and security measures to adapt to changing needs and circumstances. By implementing these measures, Vrbo aims to provide a secure and trustworthy platform for property owners and travelers to connect and transact, ensuring a positive rental experience for all involved.


Customer Reviews and Experiences with Vrbo

Customer reviews play a crucial role in providing insights into the experiences of both property owners and travelers with Vrbo. Here’s a glimpse into what customers have to say about their experiences using the platform:


Positive Reviews:

  • “We have been using Vrbo for years, and it has never disappointed us. The platform is easy to use, and we always find amazing properties for our vacations. The reviews from other travelers help us make informed decisions, and the booking process is smooth. We love the flexibility and privacy that Vrbo offers. Highly recommended!” – Jane
  • “As a property owner, I’ve had a great experience listing my vacation rental on Vrbo. The platform is user-friendly, and I appreciate the control I have over my property’s availability and pricing. Vrbo’s communication tools make it easy to connect with travelers, and I’ve received positive feedback from guests through the review system. It’s a reliable platform that has helped me generate steady rental income.” – John

Negative Reviews:

  • “I had a disappointing experience with a property I booked on Vrbo. The property didn’t match the description and photos provided. Despite contacting Vrbo’s customer support, it took a while to resolve the issue and obtain a refund. I would suggest travelers be cautious and thoroughly review the property details and communicate with the owner before making a booking.” – Lisa
  • “As a property owner, I’ve faced challenges with Vrbo’s customer support. It can be difficult to reach a representative, and response times have been slow in some cases. It would be great if Vrbo could improve their support system to better assist property owners.” – Michael

It’s important to note that customer experiences can vary, and individual circumstances may influence the outcome. Reviews provide a valuable resource for future travelers, allowing them to make informed decisions and understand potential risks or benefits before booking a property on Vrbo.


When using Vrbo, it’s advisable to thoroughly read property descriptions, reviews, and communicate with the property owner to ensure that the property meets your expectations. The review system also encourages property owners to maintain high standards and provide quality experiences for their guests.


Keep in mind that while negative experiences do occur, they are often outweighed by positive experiences and successful stays. Vrbo continues to work on enhancing its platform and addressing any concerns raised by users to ensure a better overall experience for both property owners and travelers.



Vrbo (Vacation Rental By Owner) is a popular and trusted platform for renting vacation properties worldwide. Whether you’re a traveler looking for a unique and personalized accommodation or a property owner wanting to monetize your vacation rental, Vrbo offers a range of benefits and features to enhance your experience.


With Vrbo, travelers can enjoy the comforts of home while exploring new destinations. The platform provides an extensive selection of vacation rentals, offering more space, privacy, and flexibility compared to traditional hotel stays. From cozy cabins to luxurious villas, there is a wide range of options to suit various budgets and preferences.


Listing a property on Vrbo is a straightforward process, allowing property owners to showcase their vacation rentals to a global audience. The platform provides tools and features to optimize your listing, communicate with travelers, and manage bookings effectively.


Vrbo places a strong emphasis on safety and security, implementing measures such as secure payments, verified profiles, and a review system. These measures help establish trust between property owners and travelers and provide reassurance during the booking process.


Customer reviews provide valuable insights into the experiences with Vrbo, offering both positive and negative feedback. It’s essential for travelers to carefully review property details, read reviews, and communicate with property owners to ensure a successful stay. Similarly, property owners can utilize feedback from guests to continuously improve their offerings.


In conclusion, Vrbo provides a reliable platform for connecting travelers with vacation rental properties around the world. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, romantic getaway, or group adventure, Vrbo offers a wide range of options and benefits to enhance your travel experience and create lasting memories.