A Beginner’s Guide to Using VRBO and Airbnb to Book Your Vacation

Photo by Alexandre Chambon from Unsplash

As the host of a rental property, you know how important it is to maximize the listing of your vacation rental property. The listing of your vacation rental is what users who are searching for vacation rental properties will view to decide if your property is the one to book.

VRBO (vacation rental by owner) and Airbnb have millions of properties listed online all across the world. As a host, you will want to take advantage of this large platform, but it can seem overwhelming just to get started.

On the other hand, as a guest, it can be overwhelming navigating these websites to book your vacation.

Whether you are a host or a guest, we have created the beginner’s guide to using VRBO and Airbnb.

VRBO for Owners

VRBO for Owners
Photo by iAlicante Mediterranean Homes from Unsplash

Let’s start with VRBO for owners first. You will need to go to www.vrbo.com to sign up and become a registered owner. You will create your vacation rental VRBO login by owner within the www.vrbo.com login section.

When you have created your VRBO login, you will have access to your dashboard. The dashboard is where you can control the various aspects of your account, such as your property details, your fee selection, and your preferences.

Use this dashboard to customize your property’s listing. The VRBO dashboard is user-friendly and easy to navigate.

You will be directed to choose how to pay the VRBO service fees. You can choose to pay the fees per booking or annually. If you choose to pay per booking, VRBO will collect 5% of the amount of each booking for their service fee. If you choose to pay annually, you will pay VRBO a flat rate of $499 a year for an annual subscription.

Airbnb for Owners

One of the benefits of choosing to list your property on Airbnb is the option to rent just one room of the property or the whole property.

Regardless if you are renting one room or the entire property, the process remains the same. You will need to sign up on Airbnb and familiarize yourself with their website.

First, create a new owner profile on Airbnb’s website. You will need to verify your personal information via photo ID and phone number. Then, you will be on your way to listing your vacation rental property.

Once your account is created, you can tailor the listing however you please. You will also be responsible for incurring guest reviews, which play a large part in a guest deciding to book your listing on Airbnb.

VRBO for Guests

If you are a guest looking to book your vacation on VRBO, there are some things you can do to make the process easier.

First, you will need to create an account so that you can book the listing, as well as communicate with the host. This is important because you may need to ask the host before you book the property.

Sometimes, a host will allow you to split a payment, but you need to first ask them if you can do that. Creating an account on VRBO will allow you to message the host and ask any questions about the property you are interested in booking.

Once you have created your account, you now have the option to communicate with hosts, place a reservation, or submit a payment.

There is also a VRBO mobile phone application for you to check the status of your reservation at the touch of your fingertips. This will allow you to receive important information, such as reservation confirmations and arrival instructions.

You can also leave a review of your stay at the property through the VRBO mobile phone application.

VRBO for guests is a user-friendly website and mobile phone application for guests to use to easily book their vacation.

Airbnb for Guests

When finding a vacation rental on Airbnb, you have the option of searching for individual rooms in a vacation rental or renting the entire property.

Once you have found a vacation rental you are interested in, you can create an account. You will need to verify your account by using a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, and through a confirmation email or phone call.

Once your account has been created, you can make a reservation, message the host, and sign rental agreements, all from the desktop website or mobile phone application. There is a messaging tab within the mobile phone application for you to talk to your host directly in the app.

The mobile application will also notify you through push-notifications that you have received a new alert. This alert notification may be the rental agreement, check-in instructions, or departure directions.

Airbnb will also prompt you to leave a review of the property after your stay. If the host has already reviewed your stay as a guest, you will receive this notification, but you will not be allowed to read the review until you have submitted a review of the host and the property.


VRBO and Airbnb are beneficial listing websites for both owners and guests. Owners are able to take advantage of the dashboard within both programs to tailor the short-term vacation rental how they see fit.

Both Airbnb and VRBO will collect fees, but the owner has the choice of how the fee is collected. VRBO can collect fees through the host-only or the host and guest. If the owner chooses for VRBO to collect fees through the shared option, then the fee responsibility will be passed onto the guest. This feature may deter guests from selecting your vacation rental if there are steep fees included in the total price.

Both VRBO and Airbnb are successful short-term vacation rental websites that have proven successful for years. Airbnb was founded in 2008, while VRBO was founded the decade before in 1995. Both websites have proven they can accommodate both hosts and guests on their user-friendly platform.