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HomeAway vs. Airbnb

For new property managers looking to make a splash in the industry, one question seems to come up very often right off the bat: HomeAway or Airbnb, which is better?

These two companies inevitably show up in any Google searches or conversations on the topic, but which is better? Which is more cost-effective or user-friendly? The following is everything you need to know about HomeAway vs. Airbnb.

A quick Airbnb-HomeAway Comparison

Which Site is Bigger: HomeAway or Airbnb?

The entire group of companies under the HomeAway umbrella contains more than 2 million listings in 190 countries. While those numbers are impressive, Airbnb boasts more than 6 million listings in 65,000+ cities across more than 190 countries. HomeAway’s offering is impressive, but Airbnb is the clear winner in this regard. 

HomeAway was created 3 years before Airbnb, was acquired by the Expedia group for $3.9 billion in 2015 and has bought other companies in the space, including VRBO. Airbnb is an independent company that is striving to maintain its status as the market leader.

Which Site Has Lower Fees?

Airbnb’s fees are rather straightforward as it is free to list a property and then hosts pay a 3% commission fee for each reservation made by a guest.

HomeAway, on the other hand, has two separate payment options. Hosts listing their properties with HomeAway can choose an annual subscription plan for $499 to manage their online reservations, or to opt for a pay-per-booking plan where they’re charged 8% commission for each reservation. 

When deciding which company is better, that really depends on the needs, volume and scope of your property management business. Hosts are given flexibility with HomeAway, and may choose to opt for the subscription plan at the outset and then change to their commission offering later on, whereas Airbnb only has one choice to offer. 

Comparing Customer Service and Support

Both HomeAway and Airbnb offer customer service and support teams around the clock to help both hosts and guests alike with any issues that may arise. 

HomeAway’s customer service accepts both email queries and phone calls from guests and hosts, a clear advantage over Airbnb customer service which only accepts phone calls for urgent support matters. It is possible to send Airbnb customer support inquiries via email only after clarifying that the matter isn’t already included in the Airbnb Help Center. 

Both websites also offer robust FAQ sections on their websites to help both hosts and guests navigate issues or questions that may arise with their accounts, reservations, etc. 

Guest Reviews

Both websites consider reviews to be an integral part of the property rental experience and each site offers reviews as a two-way process. This means that guests can leave reviews about their stay and their hosts, and hosts can leave reviews about the guests who stayed in their properties.

On HomeAway, either the guest or host has up to one year to leave a review after the reservation has ended, but once one side has begun the process and left a review, the other party has up to 14 days to complete their review. 

The timeframe on Airbnb is much shorter, however, as guests and hosts only have up to 14 days to leave a review after the guests have checked out and completed their reservation. Airbnb also offers the ability to edit a review for up to 48 hours after posting it or until the other party has completed their review. 

Reviews on both HomeAway and Airbnb are an extremely important part of the ranking and search algorithm process for finding the best listings on each site. 

The Bottom Line

Both HomeAway and Airbnb offer a robust product to hosts to collect bookings for their short-term properties and vacation rental listings. The general consensus online is that Airbnb is more geared towards adventurous travelers looking to have shared rental experiences, whereas HomeAway is built for fully private rentals and is more family oriented.

The choice, ultimately, is yours for which website makes more sense for your business. It definitely doesn’t hurt to use both websites to give your listings more exposure, which can be easily accomplished with the help of a channel manager. 

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