You’ve probably heard about Airbnb, Vrbo and Tripadvisor. They are three 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, Vrbo and Tripadvisor.
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 13,000 vacation rental properties listed throughout the world.
Headquarters: Kelowna, BC, Canada and Destin, FL
Year Founded: 1994
Founders: Dave Bowering
Users: 1,660,000 website visitors (last update 11/23/2020)
Listings: 13 Thousand
Active Countries: 96
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: 100 Million (last update 8/17/2020)
Listings: 4 Million
Active Countries: 191
Vrbo, 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 and rebranded to Vrbo in 2019. Both companies were acquired by the Expedia Group in 2015.
Headquarters: Austin, TX
Year Founded: 2005
Founders: Carl Shepherd and Brian Sharples
Parent Company: Expedia
Users: 44 Million website visitors (last update 8/17/2020)
Listings: 2 Million Active
TripAdvisor started out with the original plan to focus on official words from guidebooks and newspapers but as many users clicked the “Visitors add your own review” button, the user generated social media review site took off. It now owns and runs TripAdvisor.com and its 26 sister sites like FlipKey.
Headquarters: Needham, Massachusetts
Year Founded: 2000
Founders: Stephen Kaufer, Langley Steinert
Users: 340 million website visitors (last update 8/17/2020)
Listings: 800,000 Active
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripadvisor and
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, Vrbo and Tripadvisor.
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 has two different service fee structures: split-fee where both hosts and guests pay a service fee, and host-only fee where only the host pays a service fee. For split-fee: The guest fees are calculated according to the reservation specifics. It is typically 14.2% although it can range between 14-20% of the booking total. Generally, the more expensive a reservation subtotal, the less expensive the guest service fee. Owners can also list their property for free but once a reservation is received, Airbnb charges a service fee for hosts at 3-5% generally.
For the host-only fee structure, hosts are charged 14-16% of the total booking.
On Vrbo the guest or traveler fee typically varies between 6-15% 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 plus 3% credit card processing fee or the annual listing subscription fee of $499/yr plus 3% credit card processing fee.
Tripadvisor offers free listings and charges a 3% processing fee per booking to owners but it also charges a guest booking fee. This guest booking fee is a percentage of the total rental cost. The fee is variable and ranges from 8% to 16% for the majority of bookings, but can be slightly lower in some cases.
Reviews from previous renters really help when deciding on a place to stay. All four 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 Vrbo, meaning hosts can also leave reviews about their guests. On OwnerDirect and TripAdvisor, owners can respond to guest reviews with their own comments. Each review is monitored and approved by 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 Vrbo, 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 four 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 a countless number of listings to find the ones that are crucial to your deserving holiday.
All four 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. Vrbo and TripAdvisor 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! Over the years we have received some great compliments from our owners. We always love to hear from our happy owners.