VRBO Hosting for Beginners

Welcome to our “No-nonsense Airbnb Tips and Tricks” blog! Today, we’re venturing into the world of VRBO hosting.

Even if you’re a seasoned short-term rental host, these 16 insightful facts about VRBO are bound to surprise you and could even transform your approach to hosting. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey and discover the nuances of VRBO hosting.

1. Exclusive Spaces Only on VRBO

VRBO stands out by requiring hosts to list entire properties, like flats or entire houses. This policy contrasts sharply with Airbnb’s approach, where shared spaces like a single room in a house are common.

This exclusivity on VRBO ensures guests have private, undisturbed experiences, appealing to a specific market segment that values privacy and space.

2. VRBO’s Unique Same-Day Booking Policy

In an era where instant gratification is the norm, VRBO takes a different path by not allowing same-day bookings.

This policy might seem like a drawback in today’s fast-paced world, but it serves as a strategic measure to discourage impromptu parties and problematic last-minute guests, thus protecting the interests of the hosts.

3. Understanding VRBO’s Property Damage Insurance

A significant aspect of VRBO hosting is the lack of property damage insurance for hosts. Your main line of defense is the damage deposit set on your listing.

While VRBO provides public liability insurance, it doesn’t cover damages to your property. This lack of comprehensive coverage means hosts must be more vigilant and possibly seek additional third-party insurance to safeguard their properties.

4. Handling Damages and Claims in VRBO

Dealing with property damage is straightforward on VRBO. As a host, you can claim the damage deposit without needing to provide proof.

This policy gives hosts more control and a sense of security, although it might raise fairness concerns for guests and could be subject to misuse by some hosts.

5. VRBO’s Flexible Cancellation Policy for Hosts

VRBO empowers hosts with an unusually flexible cancellation policy. You can cancel bookings at any time, even after check-in, a level of autonomy not commonly found on other platforms like Airbnb.

This feature can be particularly useful in emergency situations but also poses the risk of being misused by hosts, potentially leading to guest dissatisfaction.

6. Listing Costs and Commissions on VRBO

Listing on VRBO is free, but the platform charges a service fee of 5% on various rates and fees, along with an additional 3% processing fee.

This fee structure impacts the overall pricing strategy for your listing, as it affects not just the nightly rate but also additional fees like cleaning and pet fees, as well as the damage deposit.

7. How to Create a VRBO Listing Efficiently

Creating a listing on VRBO can be a bit time-consuming, taking about an hour. The process involves navigating through VRBO’s somewhat complex website, but once you’re familiar with it, it becomes more manageable.

Remember that once your listing is live, VRBO conducts a 48-hour review process to ensure quality and compliance.

8. Transferring Listing Ownership on VRBO

Transferring ownership of a VRBO listing is not straightforward. If you’re acquiring a property already listed on VRBO, the only way to retain its history and reviews is to gain control of the previous owner’s VRBO account.

This limitation can be a significant factor in property transactions and requires careful consideration and negotiation.

9. Maximizing Reach with VRBO’s Extended Network

One of the advantages of listing on VRBO is the extended exposure your property gets. Being part of the Expedia family, your listing also appears on around 20 other websites, including well-known platforms like Expedia and Hotels.com.

This automatic cross-listing significantly broadens your reach without any additional effort on your part.

10. Navigating Guest Reviews on VRBO

VRBO’s approach to guest reviews is more limited compared to Airbnb. While you can view an overall rating left by previous hosts, VRBO does not allow access to detailed comments.

This limitation makes it harder for hosts to get a comprehensive understanding of potential guests based on their travel history.

11. Altering Bookings and Payments on VRBO

Modifying bookings on VRBO, especially changing dates, can be a cumbersome process. Adjusting the dates doesn’t automatically update the pricing, and following up with guests for additional payments is necessary but can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating.

12. Enhancing VRBO Listing with Videos

A unique feature of VRBO is the ability to enhance your listing with a video. Unlike Airbnb, VRBO allows you to link a YouTube video of your property, offering potential guests a more dynamic and engaging view of your space.

This feature can significantly enhance the attractiveness of your listing.

13. VRBO’s Cancellation Policy Benefits for Hosts

VRBO’s most lenient cancellation policy still necessitates a 14-day notice period from guests. This policy offers a degree of security for hosts, ensuring some level of protection against last-minute cancellations.

However, it’s less flexible for guests, who may require more adaptable booking conditions.

14. Setting Age Requirements on VRBO

VRBO gives you the option to set a minimum age requirement for guests, a feature that’s not available on Airbnb.

This policy allows hosts to target their preferred demographic and potentially reduce the risk of property misuse, especially by younger, party-prone guests.

15. Custom Rental Agreements on VRBO

VRBO allows for more tailored hosting experiences by letting hosts upload their own rental agreements.

Guests must agree to these personalized terms before booking, providing hosts with a greater degree of control over their rental conditions and expectations.

16. Managing Split Payments on VRBO

VRBO offers the flexibility to set split payment terms for guests, but it doesn’t assist in chasing incomplete payments.

As a host, you need to monitor and ensure full payment before guest arrival, adding an extra layer of responsibility to your hosting duties.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Exploring these 16 aspects of VRBO hosting reveals the unique challenges and opportunities of the platform. Each point offers insights that can reshape your hosting strategy and possibly enhance your success.

Share your experiences with VRBO in the comments, and if you find this guide useful, don’t forget to subscribe for more insider tips and strategies in the world of short-term rental hosting. Happy hosting, everyone!

Suggested reading, you may also find my article on Airbnb Hosting for Beginners useful.

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