Vrbo vs Expedia: Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts



The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 24, 2024

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Vrbo vs Expedia: Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts

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If you're a vacation rental host looking to maximise your bookings and revenue, choosing the right platform is crucial. 

Vrbo and Expedia, both heavyweight contenders in the vacation rental industry, provide fantastic platforms for hosts to showcase their properties.

Understanding the differences between Vrbo and Expedia can help you decide where to invest your time and resources to achieve optimal results. In this blog, we’ll compare Vrbo Expedia in detail. So, let’s get started! 

Table of Contents

What is Vrbo?

Vrbo is a platform where you can book vacation rentals or list your property for others to rent. It was started in 1995 by David Clouse in Colorado when he wanted to rent out his apartment at a ski resort. In 2006, HomeAway bought Vrbo, and then Expedia Group took over in 2015.

Vrbo gives hosts much control over their bookings, prices, and availability, making it a great choice for newbies in the short-term rental game. Because there are fewer listings on Vrbo than on other sites, hosts face less competition in their area.

What is Expedia? 

Expedia is one of the biggest online travel agencies in the world, and it's a must-use for any hotel looking to attract more guests.

But Expedia Group is more than just Expedia.com. They own several other travel sites, including Hotels.com, Trivago, and Vrbo. They offer everything from hotel bookings to holiday packages, all-inclusive trips, local experts, car rentals, and plane tickets.

Vrbo vs Expedia: Owner and Guest Fees


Vrbo charges an 8% commission for pay-per-booking listings. Here's a simple breakdown of the fees:

  • 5% Service Fee: This fee is calculated from the total reservation amount, including any extra fees like pet or cleaning fees, but not taxes or refundable deposits. This fee helps cover secure transactions, product improvements, and 24/7 customer service.
  • 3% Credit Card Processing Fee: This fee is based on the total amount you receive, including extra fees, taxes, and deposits. If you refund the deposit, you’ll return the processing fee for that part.


Expedia’s commission rate usually falls between 10% and 30% of the booking price. The exact rate depends on where your property is, what type of property it is, and the time of year.

Hosts pay this commission per-booking basis, meaning no fees are charged until guests actually stay in the rental. Each month, hosts receive an invoice from Expedia with the fees owed. There are no signup or subscription fees.

Factors affecting Expedia’s host fees include:

  • Location of Property: Properties in popular tourist spots usually have higher commission rates than those in less popular areas.
  • Type of Property: Hotels often have lower commission rates compared to vacation rentals.
  • Season: Rates can be higher during peak seasons when demand is high.
  • Use of Expedia Marketing Tools: Hosts using Expedia’s marketing tools might face higher commission rates.

Vrbo vs Expedia: Host & Guest Protection


  • Liability Insurance

Vrbo provides liability insurance for all bookings made through the HomeAway checkout process. This insurance covers hosts up to $1 million if a traveller damages a neighbour's property or if the host is legally responsible for a guest's injury.

  • Damage Protection

Vrbo offers Property Damage Protection (PDP), an optional insurance plan to protect guests from paying out of pocket for any damages. Hosts can recommend an insurance plan level, or guests can choose their own PDP level, which can be either a refundable security deposit or a non-refundable fee.

  • Security Deposits

With Vrbo, hosts can set the amount for a damage deposit. After check-out, Vrbo holds the refundable damage deposit for seven or 14 days. Hosts have 7 or 14 days to claim all or part of the deposit if there's any damage. If not, the deposit is automatically refunded to the guest.


  • Expedia Travel Insurance

Expedia offers travel insurance that you can buy separately when booking your trip. This insurance covers various situations, including trip cancellations, delays, medical expenses, and lost baggage, and provides 24-hour emergency travel assistance.

  • Package Protection Plan

The Expedia Package Protection Plan is a bundled insurance option you can add to your booking. While it covers fewer situations than standalone travel insurance, it is usually more affordable.

Vrbo vs Expedia: Cancellation Policy


  • Guest Cancellation Policy

Regarding cancellations on Vrbo, there are five defined policy levels: No Refund, Strict, Firm, Moderate, and Relaxed.

Vrbo tends to be strict due to the nature of its rental offerings. Even the most lenient option, Relaxed, only provides a 50% refund if cancelled within 14 days of the stay.

It’s important to note that Vrbo’s refund policy does not include rental service fees.

  • Host Cancellation Policy

As a host on Vrbo, you can cancel an instant booking if guests violate your house rules or Vrbo policies. It’s recommended that the guest initiate the cancellation so your metrics aren’t negatively affected. If the guest adheres to all rules, cancellations should only occur at their request.

For circumstances beyond a host’s control, Vrbo offers cancellation waivers. These waivers may apply in cases like natural disasters, property damage, violations of house rules, or outstanding balances. According to Vrbo’s policy, cancelling a booking without a waiver can impact your ranking metrics.


  • Guest Cancellation Policy

Expedia offers a convenient 24-hour cancellation policy across all its platforms. During this period, guests can freely modify or cancel their reservations without any charges. Beyond this initial window, Expedia typically does not impose cancellation fees, though hosts may have policies that could include penalties for cancellations.

Hosts on Expedia can choose from five cancellation policy levels: No Refund, Strict, Firm, Moderate, and Relaxed.

  • Host Cancellation Policy

Hosts on Expedia can cancel instant bookings, but there are specific conditions under which this is acceptable:

  • The guest fails to comply with the host’s house rules.
  • The host encounters a valid reason for cancellation, such as a family emergency or property damage.

If a host needs to cancel an instant booking, they should promptly contact Expedia customer support to explain the situation and request cancellation. Cancelling without a valid reason or repeatedly cancelling bookings may lead to consequences for the host.

Vrbo vs Expedia: Payment Process


Vrbo provides hosts with a secure payment platform from which to receive their earnings.

After a guest checks in, hosts typically receive their payout within one business day. For new partners whose first booking occurs within 30 days, the payout is processed approximately 30 days after the guest makes their payment.

Hosts can view a detailed payout summary report, which shows the amount they'll receive after deductions for commissions and fees. 


When a guest makes a reservation through Expedia, Expedia charges the guest's credit card for the full booking amount. After deducting its commission from this amount, Expedia transfers the remaining funds to the host's bank account within 30 days after the guest's check-out date. This process ensures hosts receive their earnings promptly after guests complete their stay.

Which Platform is Best for Your Vacation Rental?

Depending on your hosting goals and property type, you can choose between Vrbo Expedia, which is owned by Expedia Group.

Vrbo focuses on vacation rentals like holiday homes, cabins, and beach houses. It's designed for hosts to attract travellers seeking these specific types of accommodations and provides tools for effective rental management.

Expedia is an online travel agency that offers a wide range of accommodation options, catering to travellers' diverse preferences. It helps hosts reach a larger pool of potential guests and provides marketing tools to enhance the visibility and performance of their listings.

When choosing between Vrbo and Expedia, it's important to consider which platform best fits your property and hosting goals to boost your rental potential. 

If you're still unsure, hire a property management company like Houst, which can help you select the optimal listing platform for your property and generate revenue! 

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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