Vacasa vs. Airbnb and Vrbo for homeowners

The difference between self-managing and full-service vacation rental management
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Airbnb and Vrbo are undoubtedly two of the most popular vacation rental booking sites around. But, after you’ve listed your home on one (or both) of them and wait for the reservations to roll in, there’s still plenty more to do. How will you manage multiple booking calendars and overlapping requests? How will you screen guests and support them during their stay? Who will clean and stock your home after every stay? Which marketing methods will you use to give your home constant exposure online?

This is where vacation rental managers come in. Listing your home on Airbnb and Vrbo is just a small portion of the work required to run a flourishing vacation rental. To cover the rest, you can go either of two ways: self-manage or hire a vacation rental management company.

We’ve examined both to help you decide what’s best for you.

outdoor pool of Indio, CA vacation home

Why hire a full-service vacation rental management company?

Managing a thriving vacation rental is a continuous cycle—market your home, manage your reservations, take care of guests, clean, stock the essentials, repeat. Not to mention the repairs, maintenance, and administrative paperwork in between. Things can get overwhelming fast.

Full-service vacation rental management companies take all of that off your plate, while also maximizing your bookings and rental income. Vacasa goes even further, automatically setting the optimal rates for every night to help you earn more and offering professional photography, expertly written home descriptions, and 3D Matterport tours—all included in the management fee.

This is an optimal solution if you:

  • Worry about dedicating 24/7 attention to supporting guests and continuously marketing, cleaning, stocking, and repairing your home.
  • Feel more comfortable knowing a local team is overseeing your home and your guests.
  • Prefer a hands-off investment that you can check in on from a distance.
  • Reside in another city or state from your vacation home.
  • Are focused on growing your vacation rental revenue and delivering excellent guest service.

Reasons to self-manage your vacation rental

Handing over the reins, not just the keys, to a vacation rental manager isn’t for everyone. Plenty of homeowners like to not only be a part of the process, but lead it. Managing your own vacation rental is ideal if you:

  • Like building rapport with guests and interacting with them in person.
  • Have the flexibility and time (and live close enough) to provide 24/7 guest service.
  • Want to source and supervise vendors for housekeeping, maintenance, and repairs.
  • Are a marketing enthusiast and can dive into getting visibility online through multiple methods, including email marketing, SEO, and channel marketing.

The biggest downside to running your own vacation rental business is the required time commitment and the never-ending logistics. In the industry, it’s common to hear homeowners liken their vacation home to a full-time job.

Modern vacation rental management.

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How Airbnb and Vrbo work with property management companies

A common misconception is that Airbnb and Vrbo directly compete with vacation rental managers. In reality, we partner with them and consider them industry allies. They’re booking sites and serve as a vehicle to get more visibility for Vacasa vacation homes—essential for driving more bookings.

Larger and more established national property managers will have key connections with the top booking channels and are in regular communication with them. Vacasa has established tight-knit partnerships that result in getting our homes more visibility, frequent placement at the top of search results, and guaranteed support.

At a glance: Vacasa vs. Airbnb and Vrbo

Airbnb or Vrbo

Vacasa

For your guests

You're responsible for any help your guests need

24/7 on-demand guest support, from booking to check-out

For your home

It’s up to you to find reliable contractors for cleaning and maintenance

Regular inspections, coordinating maintenance, and professional cleaning are 100% handled

For you

To keep bookings and income flowing, you may need to invest a lot of your free time

Help with taxes and permitting, smart pricing, and an easy online dashboard to keep an eye on everything

For your community

You know the ins and outs of your area, but can't always be there to watch over things

Tight-knit local teams live in and know the market—they're on the ground, ready to help


Listing your vacation home on Airbnb and Vrbo is a great first step to get exposure. However, you still have to actually manage your property, support your guests, and continuously market to travelers beyond your online listing, like promoting your property on social media and in marketing emails. Deciding between self-management and hiring a property management company largely comes down to whether or not you’re willing to dedicate countless hours to make all that happen.

Explore all the ways Vacasa will help you earn more, book more, and keep your guests happy.

Colorado vacation home with wood floors, a leather couch, exposed beams and additional modern touches

Vacation rental management FAQ

These two vacation rental channels are widely popular and offer many of the same benefits and features to homeowners, but they have two prominent differences:

  • Rental types: In addition to mainstream vacation homes, Airbnb allows homeowners to rent out city apartments, private rooms in a shared household, and unconventional stays like boats, treehouses, and even castles. On the other hand, Vrbo features traditional vacation homes, like beach condos, mountain cabins, or lake houses. Plus, they only allow homeowners to rent out the full property, not just a room.
  • Audience: Airbnb is especially popular with millennial travelers looking for unique, local experiences. (In fact, travelers can also book Airbnb Experiences hosted by locals, such as cooking classes or walking tours.) Airbnb’s city homes are well-suited for travelers who want to be in the middle of the action and business travelers looking to be close to urban centers. Meanwhile, families and large groups looking for multiple rooms and beds under one roof like to turn to Vrbo’s collection of private, full-rental vacation homes.

If you want to rent out your entire home, consider listing on both channels to reach the largest audience possible. At Vacasa, we list all our vacation homes on top booking sites, including Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, and of course our own platform, Vacasa.com. Select properties are chosen to be listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International as well.

Managing your own vacation rental can be extremely rewarding, especially if you can dedicate the time and the effort to focus on your home and guests 24/7. Self-managing comes with a long list of to-dos—some day-to-day, others handled over the long term. We’ve created a growing library of homeowner guides to help you be successful. Some guides to start with:

Vacation rental property managers take care of everything and (mostly) anything required to keep your home thriving and your guests’ stays running smoothly. This includes:

  • Marketing your home to get exposure
  • Managing multiple booking calendars
  • Screening guests
  • Taking care of guests during their stay
  • Stocking essential guest amenities
  • Thoroughly cleaning after every stay
  • Conducting regular maintenance and coordinating repairs
  • Helping with taxes and permits

See everything Vacasa handles for you >

There are many vacation rental property management companies to choose from. Start off by considering how much you’d like to take off your plate. Some vacation rental companies will market your home, yet leave the cleaning, maintenance, and guest support to you. Others are full-service, like Vacasa, and manage all the heavy lifting—marketing, housekeeping, 24/7 guest service, conducting maintenance, and coordinating repairs.

More tips when searching for a vacation rental manager:

  • Do a simple Google search for “vacation rental management.” Companies on the first page most likely understand effective vacation rental SEO strategies and how to apply that to your own property.
  • Get referrals from fellow vacation home owners in your area. It’s ideal to find a company with local staff who can maintain your property and quickly respond to guest requests.
  • Make sure they have case studies and testimonials that show what they’ve done for similar homeowners.
  • Find out what their fee includes and double-check that you won’t be charged extra.

How to hire the right vacation rental property manager >

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Call 866-256-1928 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.

If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.

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Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Tennessee, 615-671-9916); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Daned Kirkham, California DRE #01424621; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Patrice Tompkins, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.