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Vrbo Review

Friday, February 23rd

2024 Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Vrbo Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating
  • 2 million properties in 190 countries
  • "B+" rating from the BBB
  • Easy-to-use website

With an impressive inventory of 2 million properties spread across 190 countries, Vrbo has cemented its presence in the vacation rental market. Originating as Vacation Rentals by Owner, Vrbo was established in 1995 and soon gained popularity among homeowners seeking short-term rental opportunities. Over the years, it underwent acquisitions, rebranding, and is now owned by Expedia Group.

Standard search and booking process

Vrbo offers the typical user-friendly search interface, allowing users to filter rentals based on their preferences. By inputting dates, destination, and guest count, users can narrow down their options using various filters such as bedrooms, availability, price, property type, and amenities. Detailed listings with photos and guest reviews help users make informed decisions.

No background checks on hosts

Unlike its competitor Airbnb, Vrbo falls short in terms of safety protocols. The designation of "Premier Host" is based on positive attributes but does not include criminal background checks.

Hidden fees

Vrbo's fee structure can be confusing and potentially burdensome. In addition to the nightly rate, users may encounter additional fees set by hosts, such as cleaning fees. Vrbo also imposes its own service fee, further adding to the overall cost. While the platform attempts to provide at-a-glance fee breakdowns on the result page, users may still find themselves paying more than initially anticipated.

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Varying cancellation policies

Cancellation policies on Vrbo vary from property to property, making it crucial for users to review each listing's policy before booking. While some properties offer full refunds with as little as 14 days notice, others have strict non-refundable terms or require lengthy notice periods.

Breaches of "Book with Confidence"

Vrbo attempts to address rental issues through its "Book with Confidence Guarantee." Promising coverage for unexpected owner cancellations, material misrepresentation of properties, and serious health and safety concerns, this guarantee should offer some reassurance. However, the effectiveness of this guarantee has been called into question, with reports of unresponsiveness and delays in providing necessary assistance. Startling reports have emerged, such as customers losing thousands of dollars when property owners mysteriously vanished after bookings were made. The credibility of this guarantee is significantly compromised, leaving Vrbo's customers understandably distressed.

Properties not as advertised

Unfortunately, we have more negative reviews to share. One Vrbo customer discovered that a listed 2-bedroom condo turned out to be an unventilated alcove with a plastic curtain "door." The host's belongings cluttered the space, including trash and medication. Despite reaching out to Vrbo multiple times, no response was received, leaving the reviewer frustrated and cautioning others to avoid the platform. Many other users encountered misrepresented, dirty, and unsafe rentals, so it isn't an isolated incident.

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It can get worse: hidden cameras

As if those things weren't bad enough, disturbing incidents involving hidden cameras have plagued Vrbo's reputation. During our research, we learned that multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company after guests discovered covert surveillance devices in private areas, including bedrooms.

Better Business Bureau alert

At the time of this review, Vrbo was not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and held a "B+" rating. A message was posted on the company's page informing visitors that a concerning pattern of complaints had been discovered regarding cancellations, refund delays, and failure to honor guarantees. The lack of accreditation and the troubling reports are the nail in Vrbo's coffin when ranking it against higher-performing vacation rental options.

Just walk away

In our exploration of Vrbo, we have uncovered a concerning array of issues that raise serious doubts about the service's reliability. From breached guarantees and privacy violations to unresponsive customer service, the platform's track record is far from reassuring. While Vrbo boasts an extensive property inventory, that won't matter much to you if you wind up with a less-than-acceptable vacation stay. With competing platforms offering more robust security measures and greater transparency, we advise you explore our better-rated options when searching for vacation rentals.

What's the Best Website to Use for Booking a Vacation Rental?

Are you tired of the same old hotel experience when you go on vacation? Do you crave something more unique and personalized, where you can truly feel at home even when you're away? If so, then vacation rentals might just be the perfect solution for you.

If you've ever stayed in a vacation rental property, you already know their charm and allure. Unlike traditional hotels, vacation rentals offer a level of comfort, privacy, and flexibility that is hard to match. These properties are often privately-owned homes or apartments that are rented out to travelers on a short-term basis.

The Best Vacation Rental Sites Compare Vacation Rental Sites Compare Vacation Rental Site Reviews What are the best Vacation Rental Sites Best Vacation Rental Site Reviews

Vacation Rental Site FAQ

A vacation rental property is a fully-furnished apartment, condo, house (or even a castle, boat or RV!) that you can book for your next trip instead of a traditional motel/hotel. Many vacation rentals are privately owned, and the owners take pleasure in showing you everything they love about their hometown. It's a great way to get the inside scoop on your destination, from restaurants to activities.
A vacation rental is like having a home away from home. You'll have more room to stretch out, play games, eat and cook (if you want!), and maybe even throw in a load of laundry while you go explore your destination. If you're traveling with a large party - your kids, friends, extended family - a vacation rental will almost always provide the most value if you're staying for more than a night or two.
There are many well-known listing sites that let you browse by destination, number of guests, and desired amenities. Some vacation rental properties are more off the beaten path and not listed with the larger services; you can find those by searching for rentals in the area where you plan to travel.
Just about! (Maybe not in Antarctica though.) You'll have an easier time finding vacation rentals in popular tourist towns and their suburbs, but you may still discover something over the river and through the woods near Grandma's house too.
Most vacation rentals are fully furnished, with all of the linens you need for the bathrooms and bedrooms, kitchen equipment for cooking and eating meals, and often a washer and dryer. Depending on where you're traveling, you could get access to parking spots, a community pool, Wifi and more. Some really attentive property owners stock the bathrooms with spa-quality shampoo and conditioner, offer beach chairs and boogie boards for your use, and so on. You can almost always find a thorough description in the listing of what the rental has to offer.
Read the details to see what your vacation rental has. If it's not listed, it might not be there (e.g. Wifi, coffee maker, etc.). You can usually contact the owner before booking if there's something obviously missing. Also, most vacation rentals do not offer daily maid service; the cleaning is done after you leave, to prepare for the next guests.
Policies vary by owner and by listing service. Most have a required deposit that may or may not be refundable, depending on when you cancel: it's hard for rental properties to book last-minute guests. A travel insurance policy might be a smart add-on, whether you use a vacation rental property or not.
That's not common, but it does happen. It's a good idea to read through reviews from previous guests of the rental properties that interest you: that's usually the first indicator of whether or not a rental is going to be amazing or awful. But, if you book a rental and have problems - you arrive and can't get in according to the instructions you were given, the property is significantly different from what was described, you don't have running water or heat/AC - the listing service might have a toll-free number you can call to get help if you can't reach the property owner/manager.
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Continued from above...

Vacation home rentals come fully furnished and equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, from kitchen cupboards full of cookware, to cozy living areas and comfortable bedrooms. It's like having a home away from home, complete with personal touches that reflect the unique style and taste of the owner.

One of the best things about vacation rentals is the sheer variety of options available. Whether you're planning a family reunion, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, you can find a vacation rental that fits your needs perfectly. Want to relax by the beach? There are countless beachfront properties waiting for you. Prefer a secluded cabin in the woods? You'll find plenty of those too. From urban lofts to countryside villas, there's something for everyone.

Unlike traditional hotels that are typically owned by large hotel chains or corporations, vacation rentals are often owned by individuals who use them as second homes or investment properties. These owners may be local residents or people from different parts of the world. Some vacation rentals are also owned by small property management companies or vacation rental agencies that handle the day-to-day operations on behalf of the owners. These agencies may handle tasks such as marketing, guest communication, and property maintenance.

How do you go about choosing the right vacation rental? That's where vacation rental websites come in. These platforms connect travelers with property owners, making it easy to browse and book the perfect vacation rental for your needs. Not all vacation rental websites are created equal, though. It doesn't matter how many properties they have if they don't offer good customer service or aren't responsive when you need assistance.

Here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice:

  • Reputation. You want to use a website that has a solid track record and positive reviews from previous users. Look for platforms that have been around for a while and have established themselves as trustworthy and reliable. Has the platform been rated by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Selection. The more properties a website has, the greater your chances of finding the perfect vacation rental. Top rental websites have extensive listings across various destinations, ensuring you have plenty of options to choose from, while others may be limited to one country. If you're looking for something special or traveling to a popular destination during a busy time, like a holiday or summer break, you'll have better luck finding a place to stay if the company has a large selection.
  • Pricing and fees. Some websites advertise a lower per-night cost on the search page than what you'll actually end up paying after cleaning and amenity fees. It's also a good idea to check if the vacation rental you're interested in is listed on multiple websites, as there may be price differences that could help you save some cash. Look for websites that offer transparent pricing and don't surprise you with hidden costs.
  • Cancellation policy. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes plans change unexpectedly. A flexible cancellation policy can provide peace of mind in case you need to modify or cancel your reservation. Make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions regarding cancellations, refunds, and any applicable fees. Does the property owner determine the terms of the cancellation period, or does the website have a blanket policy?

Ready for a vacay? To make it a breeze to find the perfect stay, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the best vacation rental websites currently on the market. We hope this information helps you find the perfect home-away-from home accommodations for your next trip, no matter where you want to go.

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