HomeAway and Airbnb, which one is better?

When most people book a vacation rental online these days, HomeAway is typically still their first go-to. The company has been the 800-pound gorilla in the online vacation rental market space for almost a decade now since acquiring its chief rival VRBO (arguably the platform that started it all) back in 2006. In fact, HomeAway and Airbnb are something new in the market and which one is better?

Type of Rental 

Both Airbnb and HomeAway list available rentals by date and length of stay, location, and number of guests. However, they differ somewhat in the types of dwellings available. On Airbnb, hosts usually list their own homes for periods when they are out of town — or not; some enjoy temporary roommates. Renters can secure entire apartments, shared rooms, and even couches. There are few restrictions on the types of listings allowed, although the accommodation must be used solely for lodging.

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HomeAway is a tad more highbrow. The motto is, “The whole house. The whole family. A whole vacation.” Only rentals of entire properties are allowed. The majority of rentals are vacation homes listed by individuals or property management companies. Listings can also include condos, boats, castles and private islands, as well as single-family houses. HomeAway users might find more rentals large enough to accommodate a wedding party or group retreat. Vacation homes generally don’t have permanent occupants, so they may feel more like a hotel.


Business Model

Believe it or not, HomeAway’s business model has been surprisingly simplistic: growth and superiority through acquisition. Since its founding in 2005, HomeAway has snatched up over 20 other vacation rental sites, consolidating them under a single technology platform. They were the first company to employ this strategy back in 2005 funded by big capital guns like Austin Ventures and Google Ventures, who both realized early on that this elementary “roll-up” approach could result in plum returns with very little overhead.

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Around 2012, Airbnb burst onto the scene out of relative obscurity, rapidly establishing itself as the major potential threat to HomeAway’s supremacy. According to recent interviews with HomeAway’s CEO, however, HomeAway never really considered Airbnb direct competition. HomeAway has always focused on renting houses, based on an annual homeowner subscription model. Airbnb launched itself as a platform for people looking to scrape together a few extra bucks from renting out a room, or even a couch, in their apartment.


How Payment Works

Airbnb and HomeAway adhere to different payment procedures. Airbnb serves as an intermediary between homeowner and renter. All financial transactions flow through the site (which allows only paid, confirmed guests to review the hosts). HomeAway’s payment system depends on the homeowner’s listing plan. Generally, when guests commit to making a reservation, HomeAway connects them with the property owner or manager, who is responsible for collecting payment. HomeAway offers a guarantee that starts at $39 and reimburses travelers up to $10,000 should something go awry (say, the host double books or the rental is fraudulent).


Comments: Personally I would recommend HomeAway because of the above comparison, one more important points is that Airbnb will block your account without any reason, my experience is that my account has not been re-activate since 1 month ago even I called and email them many times. They just told me “no worries” and then ignore me. If you book a vacation (paid) and they block your account, you will never be able to contact the host and they would not help you at all!! HomeAway do not have this problem as far as I know. Also, Airbnb seems to have lot of legal issues haven’t been solved, therefore illegal lease is another point you need to consider.

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