Monday, July 13, 2015

AirBnB vs VRBO

Last year I joined the sharing economy by renting out our over-the-garage apartment.   I’ve listed the apartment with both AirBnB and VRBO.  Both services work similarly.  Each have pro’s and con’s when it comes to using their web site. What’s interesting is the difference between their clients.

We live in Mountain View, a work, not vacation destination.  With limited hotel rooms and large companies like Google and Linked-In located in our town, along with a bunch of start-ups and VC’s, there are plenty of people needing a place to stay.  I may be getting a skewed audience since I have a standalone apartment, the main stay of VRBO; whereas most AirBnB listings are for renting out a room in a home.  Then again this can result in more AirBnB listings, since someone can rent out three individual rooms compared to one three room house.

Surprisingly about half of my renters come from each service. But that’s where the similarity ends.  AirBnB renters typically are younger and are coming to this area to work.  They typically book from two days to a week before their stay. While VRBO renters are typically over fifty and are coming to the area to visit family.  They book a month to two months in advance. AirBnB renters typically stay for shorter visits, less than a week with a few notable exceptions.  While VRBO renters typically stay for one to two weeks.  

On a recent trip to Europe I stayed in apartments.  After an initial search I only stayed in VRBO apartments since their choice was so much larger then AirBnB.  Probably because I was looking for a stand-alone apartment, not a shared facility.

Both of these companies provide a similar service. AirBnB’s valuation is more than ten times that of VRBO.  I'm surprised AirBnB value is so much higher.  Is it that much more valuable to provides a convenient platform for renting out a room instead of a whole houses?  If so, why hasn't VRBO added a "shared" option to their listings.  It would be easy to do, and could potentially increase their value ten fold.

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