So, we've told you a bit about what VRBO is, and given you some tips for using it safely. So now the question becomes: how does it stack up against competing websites? Here is what we liked and disliked about the online rental property booking portal.
Lots of choice — VRBO has listings for over 800,000 rental properties in over 100 countries worldwide, meaning that you're bound to find a space that you like! Of course, you can narrow down the properties that you're looking for by location, check-in/check-out-dates available, price, guest capacity, accessibility, amenities, property type, and more!
Stop worrying and start vacationing — VRBO offers several guarantees and insurance policies to help give you peace of mind while booking your rental property online. If you're afraid that you'll need to cancel your trip, or might break something during your stay, VRBO can cover you. It also protects all payments made through the website via eCheck, PayPal, or a major credit card.
A hands-off approach to booking — VRBO takes the position that it is mainly an advertising platform that facilitates transactions between renters and property managers. In light of that, you're expected to be able to work out any issues that you have with your rental directly with the property manager or owner themselves. VRBO may intervene in extreme cases, but it can't do certain things, such as force the property owner/manager to offer a refund.
Beware of insecure payment — Some property owners or managers do not allow you to pay for booking their properties through the website, preferring that you instead contact them and arrange for an alternate payment method. We would advise against booking properties like this, as paying for them off the website with cash, cheque, or money order means that VRBO can't protect your payment.
The bottom line: 7.5/10
In booking a rental property for a trip out of town, VRBO not only gives you great choice, but also good flexibility, too. Its search options let you find just the right property to book, and you can get all the information you need to know about a property before you book it by looking at photos of the place, reading guest reviews, and contacting the owner. Plus, VRBO helps to put your mind at ease with guarantees and insurance policies that allow you to book and pay with confidence, and deal with any unpleasant surprises that come up.
With that said, VRBO bills itself as an advertising firm, and doesn't often get involved in disputes between property managers and renters. That means that it's mostly on you to do your research and avoid dishonest property managers and other pitfalls before they happen, or work directly with the property manager to resolve these issues if they do happen. This includes looking for properties where you can pay the property manager for your booking securely and directly through the website. If you want a property renting website that is a little more hands-on in terms of customer support (if a bit smaller in scope), try Airbnb.com.
Well, that's our opinion on VRBO. Ready to try it out for yourself, though? We'll start by showing you how to set up a VRBO account in our next tutorial.