You’ve probably heard about Airbnb and HomeAway. They are two well known vacation rental websites and are some of the larger players in the industry. Let’s take a deep dive into the differences between OwnerDirect, Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO.
Company and History
OwnerDirect started in 1994 by Dave Bowering as a means to privately rent out his Big White ski condos. Soon enough, the number of listed properties grew and expanded into other nearby ski resorts in British Columbia. Dave assembled a team to help with the rentals and it has grown steadily over the years to now have over 19,000 vacation rental properties listed throughout the world.
Headquarters: Kelowna, BC, Canada and Destin, FL
Year Founded: 1994
Founders: Dave Bowering
Users: 245 Thousand (last update 3/30/2019)
Listings: 19 Thousand (last update 3/30/2019)
Active Countries: 110 (last update 3/30/2019)
Airbnb started from two roommates’ idea to offer a bed and breakfast in their living room (with just an air mattress) and has now grown into renting a variety of properties including your living room couch all the way to luxury penthouse suites and private homes. They also sell activities too.
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Launch Date: August 2008
Founders: Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk
Users: 150 Million (last update 9/12/18)
Listings: 4 Million
Active Countries: 190
HomeAway, on the other hand, is a vacation marketplace of consolidated websites, including ownersdirect.co.uk, which is often times mistaken for ownerdirect.com. HomeAway acquired VRBO from the founder David Clouse in 2006.
Headquarters: Austin, TX
Year Founded: 2005
Founders: Carl Shepherd and Brian Sharples
Parent Company: Expedia
Users: 150 Million (last update 9/12/18)
Listings: 2 Million (last update 10/21/18)
Active Countries: 190 (last update 10/21/18)
To help you decide which rental site is best for you, here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between OwnerDirect, Airbnb and HomeAway.
On OwnerDirect, there are no guest service fees. To list your property is also free. Once a guest books, there is a 10% matching fee collected by OwnerDirect and the remaining 90% is paid to the owner directly.
Airbnb calculates guest fees according to the reservation specifics. It is usually between 0-20% of the booking total, but may also sometimes be higher or lower. Generally, the more expensive a reservation subtotal, the less expensive the guest service fee. Owners can also list their property for free. Once a reservation is received, Airbnb charges a service fee for hosts at 3% generally.
On HomeAway the guest or traveler fee typically varies between 5-15% of the cost of renting the accommodation. Just like Airbnb, the higher the reservation amount, the lower the percentage of service fee usually. Properties can also be listed for free here too. Owners have the option to pay the 5% per booking fee or $499 annually plus 3% credit card processing fee.
Reviews from previous renters really help when deciding on a place to stay. All three platforms allow guests who have stayed in a vacation rental to review their experience using both a star rating and a free text comment. Reviews are a two-way process on Airbnb and HomeAway, meaning hosts can also leave reviews about their guests. On OwnerDirect, owners can respond to guest reviews with their own comments. Each review is monitored and approved by our staff.
Guests and hosts can leave reviews on Airbnb within 14 days after check-out. Once review is written, you can only edit it for up to 48 hours, or until the other party finishes their review.
On HomeAway, guests and hosts have up to a year to post their comment about the stay. But, if one of them (guest or host) starts the review process, the other party has 14 days to complete their part.
Both guests and owners on all three sites can refer to reviews to try and gauge if they are a right fit for a stay.
Another advantage on OwnerDirect is their search feature. Whether you are looking for waterfront property, private pool or hot tub rather than a shared one; ski in ski out chalet right on the slopes or pet friendly properties, OwnerDirect has the search features that guests want and that most other vacation rental sites don’t offer. You’re left to sift through countless of a listings to find the ones that are crucial to your deserving holiday.
All three platforms have a complete customer service team which works around the clock to cover their worldwide locations. OwnerDirect strives to provide the best customer service possible with customer service phone numbers, emails and a Help System. Airbnb has a customer service phone number. Inquiries can also be sent via email after ensuring the topic is not covered in the FAQs and their Help Center. HomeAway customer service also accepts emails and phone calls from guests or hosts.
In recent years, the vacation rental industry has quickly become a ‘big box’ environment where many websites have been purchased and conglomerated by other larger companies. These larger companies, in general, are similar to brokers, getting a commission whenever a guest books a property through them. Within that type of environment, many guests and owners get lost in the shuffle.
We, at Owner Direct, pride ourselves on being an independent company that has offered a successful rental platform since 1994. We offer a level of service, assistance and mediation that is incomparable within the industry. Owner Direct Vacation Rentals has an exceptional online presence and A+ BBB rating. In addition to the support we provide our guests, we are also here to support our owners! If you require assistance we are here to help every day of the year!