What: A well-known site advertising vacation rentals by owner

Commissions & Fees: 5%, plus 3% credit card transaction fees (or annual fee of $499)

Where: Worldwide



  • VRBO is well known and has affiliated companies (Home Away and VacationRentals.com)
  • List your rental and pay a service fee when someone books
  • VRBO lists you on all its affiliated sites so they charge a bit more than AirBnb.
  • The service fee is 5% (vs. AirBnb’s 3%), plus a 3% transaction fee if a credit card is used by your guests.
    • VRBO offers an annual subscription of $499 instead of the per-booking fees if you rent your house frequently


  • AirBnb covers your home with their insurance policy when it’s rented; VRBO does not.
  • The site added a new “service fee” on travelers ranging between 4% and 9%

What Their Homeowners Say: (From Consumer Affairs)

I am a property owner. I’m reading recent bad reviews in Consumer Affairs about VRBO.com and would like to present a point of view that I haven’t yet seen in the reviews. Property owners set their refund policy and it is clearly indicated on the listing and the booking. These times of COVID-19 are not usual and customary so vrbo.com has REQUESTED owners break their normal refund policy and give refund if the cancellation is past the set refund period. Vrbo.com has also promised to refund the vrbo fees attached to the booking.

As an owner of a single beach condo I do not have endless funds to refund money. Money from bookings is used for expenses every month. I have worked with my guests to change their dates to later in the year or even next year. Most of my guests have changed their dates – fortunately. I’ve had a couple of cancellations. The problem that people are not taking into consideration is that a small business owner like me has to pay the expenses for the unit – whether guests are there or not. You can reach a point – with no new money coming in and 100% refunds – where there is no money left to pay the expenses for the condo to remain viable and be available later. Foreclosure!

This problem at hand is not the fault of any that are suffering through it. Not vrbo.com and not the property owner and not the booked guests. Please let us work together and try to solve this together. Each case is unique and if both sides try to do what is best for the big picture we will all be able to enjoy a well earned vacation at a later date. Owners and guests – PLEASE consider all sides to this! That’s all I ask. Try.

I have read all of the frustrated reviews… and as a property owner I totally understand how a traveler feels, we also list our home on Airbnb and about 90% of our travelers are from Airbnb not VRBO. I do not agree with withholding a travelers money during this virus, but I am sure some property owners were ill prepared for this and are desperate. We have elected to refund all paid rentals through at least May, if the travel advisories lift we will look at it case by case. But from an owners perspective I have guest trying to cancel into September???

There has to be a line drawn at some point, this is a business for us, we have 2 properties one in Alabama and one in MN and they both cater to different people, the one that offers secluded woods is fairing better than the beach draw property right now, but we are not mortgaged on our properties and we can hold on a bit longer than most. But as we have graciously offered refunds or in cases after May 30 reservation day let changes we are NOT allowing cancellation without any accountability from the guests in September, we have actually been asked for a full refund for a trip booked in December (as they are not sure if they can afford it).

There has to be a line drawn at some point, this is a business and some guests feel that they can take advantage of owners and use the Coronavirus to cancel trips that likely will not be impacted by the virus. I have cancelled and refunded 14 trips so far, even one for End of July as the woman is pregnant and just isn’t sure she should travel that soon in her condition, if it makes sense I do it, but unfortunately at some point the guest that is not comfortable traveling even after the lockdowns are lifted will have to share in the burden. We plan to continue to offer at least half refunds after May 30, and if there is a good reason someone still can’t travel due to the corona virus we will take it case by case. I really do not want angry guests staying in my homes so if they cancel early and I a can retentions the home I think it is a win.

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