Airbnb fights Vrbo for more vacation cabins as a travel rebound

Vacation rental brands are struggling to convince owners to list their homes on their site due to the lack of properties at certain outdoor destinations.

Sites such as Airbnb Co., Ltd.

ABNB -1.73%

And Expedia Group Of a corporation

EXPE -1.20%

Vrbo has deployed features designed to make it easier to host. During the pandemic, demand for housing in non-urban areas such as beaches and national parks was high, but some companies have announced plans to resume the economy, increase vaccinations and maintain flexible working styles.

In May, Airbnb said it facilitated the sign-up process for new hosts and reduced the number of steps required from tens to ten. The company said it has added over 100 upgrades to its platform, including one-on-one mentoring for hosting. We’re also trying to turn guests into hosts, and we’re offering referral fees to hosts who can get others to list their location on Airbnb.

In March, Vrbo launched FastStart, a program that allows hosts with Airbnb experience to transfer Airbnb ratings to Vrbo. Vrbo said it had acquired thousands of hosts through the program, although it refused to identify the exact number.

Turners has refurbished a simple pond hut behind his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and posted it on Airbnb.


The Wall Street Journal Mike Belem

“In some cases, certain areas within the vacation rental market may not be adequately supplied,” Expedia CEO Peter Kern said at a previous investor conference. this month.

Jeff Hurst, Chief Operating Officer of Expedia Brands, said the Vrbo advertising campaign, which mentions Airbnb by name, is aimed at hosts looking to diversify their listings beyond a single vacation rental platform. “We are more clearly encouraging partners who may only be listed on competitive platforms to be listed with us,” Hurst said in an interview.

Some hosts understand the benefits of listing rental properties on multiple sites. For others, a single list is sufficient.

Sharen Turner and her husband Tony Turner own a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains pond. The property in Erwin, Tennessee is said to be sold out on Airbnb until mid-August and booked until December.

Turners’ Ike no Ie is a stable source of rental income for couples.


The Wall Street Journal Mike Belem

“Why do they use a different platform because they booked us so much?” Said Mrs. Turner.

Jamie Lane, vice president of research at analytics firm AirDNA, says many professional property managers have already cross-listed units on both Airbnb and Vrbo. Airbnb has the majority of independent owners. Lane added that Vrbo’s hosts are primarily in the destination and resort markets and would normally hire a professional manager to rent a villa or investment property.

“They are absolutely competing with each other for lists,” Lane said of Airbnb and Vrbo.

Organizers say guests are traveling farther than before the pandemic and booking weekdays, partly because employers have settled on more flexible work arrangements indefinitely. Airbnb and Vrbo say they’re staying longer on rental.

One factor that exacerbates supply pressure is an increasing number of hosts removing their homes from the rental market for their own use. Joan Flynn Black, who runs a cabin near Catskill, New York, said he stopped taking guests for about a year while staying there during a pandemic. She recently reopened her property for a reservation.

“Sure, it’s not completely booked. To be honest, I’m spending time there, so I don’t want to be fully booked,” said Mrs. Black, who lives in New Jersey.

According to AirDNA, the occupancy rate of short-term rental properties in the United States reached 61.6% in April, the highest level in the history of the industry. According to AirDNA, listing nights sold in small cities and rural areas in April were 67% more than in the same month two years ago.

According to AirDNA, high-demand markets whose available list has declined over the past year include West Coast destinations Lake Tahoe, Joshua Tree, Coachella Valley, and New York’s Lower Hudson Valley.

Due to the surge in demand during the pandemic, Hillary Murphy, co-owner of an acre of real estate with up to 15 people in Joshua Tree, California, has purchased two other units in the region. The property is intended for large gatherings, retreats and special events and is equipped with facilities such as a hot tub, outdoor lounge and fire pit. Mrs. Murphy said she expects demand to continue.

Hillary Murphy’s one-acre land in Joshua Tree, California, has been reserved for most of the pandemic, and demand will continue, she said.


Hillary Murphy

“We couldn’t expand our business because it was booked,” said Mrs. Murphy. “The weekend before the pandemic was still booked, but I think weekday bookings made a big difference to our business.”

When comparing vacation rental platforms, some hosts benefit from each brand based on factors such as the revenue they can collect each night, the type of visitors the platform attracts, and the effort required to get guests to compensate for the damage. Said to evaluate. Properties being visited.

Airbnb charges 3% of the host’s booking revenue, but professional property managers are more expensive. Vrbo will charge the host a payment processing fee of 5% and 3% of the booking.Booking Holdings Of a corporation

BKNG -0.16% charges the host 15% of the booking.

Hotels are also experiencing a surge in demand and struggling to hire enough time workers, so hotels may be limiting their occupancy. Robert Mollins, chief analyst for internet and accommodation at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, said the hotel looks like a better deal for many renters as tourism in the city is recovering. ..

Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe last August. There was an influx of remote workers in the North Lake Tahoe area.


The Wall Street Journal’s Salgu Wissmath

Share your thoughts

Would you like to list your home on your vacation rental website? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

For, which also offers a list of hotels like Expedia, the pace of recovery of alternative accommodation is faster than hotels in some states, Eric, who is the global head of housing and apartments on the site.・ Bergaria says. He said the company plans to invest more in vacation rentals over the next few years.

“This is accelerating and growing,” said Bergaria. “What we are seeing worldwide right now is confirmation. [that] We have invested in the right thing. We are growing and trying to accelerate the share of the business that comes from alternative accommodation. “

Write to Dave Sebastian (

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Airbnb fights Vrbo for more vacation cabins as a travel rebound

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