Founded in 1995 in Aurora, Colorado, Vrbo is an online vacation rental website where property managers can rent out their properties for temporary or long-term visits. Vrbo stands for Vacation Rental By Owner and is pronounced “ver-boh.”
Travelers can book a wide variety of spaces through their site including houses, condos, cabins, bungalows, and chalets. All properties on Vrbo are private, meaning no spaces are shared with the property owners or other guests. This allows travelers the comfort and privacy of their own space while traveling with family and friends.
A useful feature on the Vrbo site is how easy it is to sort by type of space. Compared to other similar listing sites, this is a main feature of Vrbo that is easy to find on the home page and not mixed with other filters in a search. Travelers can search for the type of space they want to rent by choosing between a variety of the following home types:
Vrbo also features a Trip Board that allows users to save their favorite vacation home listings and share them with others. These spaces can be booked directly from Vrbo’s site through instant booking and can be paid for with Paypal or with a credit card (MasterCard, Visa, and American Express). All payments are done through the website and all communication between the Vrbo owner and the guest should be handled through the website and the Vrbo app.
Vrbo is starting to offer virtual tours of some of their most popular rentals. It currently offers over 15,000 high-resolution virtual tours that travelers can look through from on computers or mobile devices. Given the difficulty of creating a high-quality walk through of millions of listings, this feature is up and coming and a unique perk of Vrbo compared to other similar listing sites that only have photos of their listings.
Vrbo is one of a unique group of travel sites offering rentals that the company does not own. With this type of situation, it’s a unique perk for a company to offer travel insurance — a perk you can find on Vrbo.
After booking a trip through the site, travelers have the option to protect their stay with travel insurance and can receive a refund if they’re not satisfied with that insurance within ten days.
Travel insurance adds protection in the case of delays, interruptions, and cancellations. If a traveler’s plans are disrupted for a covered reason, they can be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses and non-refundable trip fees that result.
A great feature on each individual listing on Vrbo is the amenities section. If you find a listing that doesn’t have a virtual tour, an extensive amenities section will tell you exactly what each space offers. This section is divided into groups like general amenities, kitchen amenities, safety amenities, etc. to give a holistic view of what can be found in each category. This is an easy way to see what’s available and what’s not without having to sort through the filters that other travel sites use for the listing’s amenities section.
When looking for vacation rentals, there are often hidden fees that don’t show up until booking, but Vrbo tends to have more fees than fewer. The price listed as the cost of the room per each night is usually a big underestimate of the total cost. Given the nature of the site, Vrbo charges each property owner a small listing fee and travelers a small service fee. Added to these fees are then a cleaning fee given by the property manager and any applicable taxes.
With everything considered, the overall price is often a lot higher than the bargain you saw on the original listing. While the cost might still be manageable with a large group, it may be difficult for small parties.
Unlike other all-inclusive travel sites, Vrbo only has listings for places to stay. The site doesn’t include travel packages with flights, rental cars, or other travel needs like many travel sites or hotel sites offer. Vrbo has also chosen to forego advertising experiences or tours for travelers to purchase during their stay, something that most travel sites are starting to offer. The only thing that can be booked on Vrbo is a place to stay.
According to Vrbo reviews, customer service is not a strong point. Vrbo is a compilation of hundreds of thousands of listings, and each vacation rental owner has the ability to create their own policies. Guests should check the cancellation policy for each Vrbo rental, which may vary from full refund up until check-in or partial refund from the time of booking. Each rental property has its own set of rules and a different host. One way to find the best customer service experiences among the listings is to read the guest reviews given for each property.
LeAnn Baytown, TX
1 month ago