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Vrbo – Vacation Rentals
Vrbo – Vacation Rentals
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Vacation rental
Available inEnglish
OwnerExpedia Group
RegistrationOptional, but is required for certain tasks such as booking and listing
Launched1995; 29 years ago (1995) (as Vacation Rentals by Owner)
Current statusActive

Vrbo (/ˈvɜːrb/ VER-boh[1]) is an online marketplace for vacation rentals. It was originally known as Vacation Rentals by Owner and VRBO. It is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and is owned by Expedia Group.


The VRBO website was created by David Clouse, a retired teacher, in 1995 in Aurora, Colorado with the goal of renting his Breckenridge Ski Resort condo. The website soon became popular with homeowners that wanted to list their properties for short term rental.[2][3]

By 2006, VRBO had over 65,000 rental listings[4] and was adding 100 new listings per day.[3]

VRBO originally had a subscription business model in which payment of an annual fee allowed homeowners to list their properties on the website.[5]

In 2006, VRBO was acquired by HomeAway.[6][4]

On November 4, 2015, Expedia Group announced it would acquire HomeAway, including VRBO, for $3.9 billion. The transaction closed in the first quarter of 2016.[7][8]

In March 2019, VRBO was re-branded Vrbo, including a new logo, capitalization, and pronunciation.[9][1]

In May 2019, the HomeAway and Vrbo websites were both rebranded as Vrbo.[10][11]


Strict refund policies during the COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb and Tripadvisor forced property owners to offer full refunds to travelers that were impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, Vrbo did not mandate that hosts offer refunds to guests, leaving it up to guests and hosts to work out the details of any refunds. This prompted calls on Twitter to boycott Vrbo.[12][13][14] Vrbo also prohibited hosts from downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic in refund negotiations with guests.[15]

Lack of backing of guarantee[edit]

The company has been accused of not complying with its "book with confidence" guarantee. In one case, a customer claims to have lost £6,000 after the property owner of a rental property in Ibiza booked on Vrbo "disappeared".[16]

Hidden cameras in property bedrooms[edit]

The company is the subject of several lawsuits after customers renting properties using the platform have found hidden cameras in private areas of properties, including in bedrooms. Police have also found images of guests undressed on the computers of such homeowners.[17][18]

Non-compliance with rental laws[edit]

In March 2022, Vrbo was sued by the city of Los Angeles for not complying with rental laws, including allowing hosts to profit from the platform without registering under the city's short-term rental ordinance, as required. City Attorney Mike Feuer claimed that 29% of bookings made in a recent 30-day period appeared to violate the city's rules.[19][20]


  1. ^ a b Ives, Nat (March 27, 2019). "Vrbo Changes Its Name to Match How People Say It". The Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ Minor, Nathaniel (May 16, 2016). "Short-Term Vacation Rentals, A Colorado Invention, Are Under The Gun In Denver". Colorado Public Radio.
  3. ^ a b Adams, John (June 25, 2016). "Vacation rental shootout: Airbnb vs. VRBO". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  4. ^ a b "Vacation rental site lands $160M, buys competitor". American City Business Journals. November 13, 2006.
  5. ^ Green, Peter S. (July 3, 2004). "Renting out the weekend house? A few caveats". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "HomeAway Secures Record $160 Million in Financing Vacation Rental Leader Announces Acquisition of VRBO.com" (Press release). Austin, Texas: Houston Chronicle. Business Wire. November 13, 2006.
  7. ^ Schaal, Dennis (November 4, 2015). "Expedia Acquires HomeAway for $3.9 Billion". Skift.
  8. ^ Lardinois, Frederic (November 4, 2015). "Expedia Acquires Airbnb Rival HomeAway For $3.9B". TechCrunch.
  9. ^ "Vrbo Announces Tools for Planning Trips with Families and Friends as it Unveils New Look and Pronunciation" (Press release). PR Newswire. March 27, 2019.
  10. ^ Pope, Colin (May 2, 2019). "HomeAway's out, Vrbo is in". American City Business Journals.
  11. ^ Hawkins, Lori (May 3, 2019). "HomeAway, the world's largest vacation rental site, is rebranding itself as Vrbo". Austin American-Statesman.
  12. ^ Rackl, Lori (April 1, 2020). "'Our vacation was stolen': VRBO guests fume over refunds on trips dashed by coronavirus". Chicago Tribune.
  13. ^ Schaal, Dennis (March 20, 2020). "Short-Term Rental Firms Face Backlash Over Sharply Different Coronavirus Cancellation Policies". Skift.
  14. ^ Kantrowitz, Alex (March 19, 2020). "Airbnb Said It Would Give Full Refunds For Coronavirus Cancellations. Vrbo Told Renters To Take A Hike". Buzzfeed News.
  15. ^ Keveney, Bill (March 19, 2020). "Vrbo plans to ban rental owners who dismiss severity of coronavirus threat to travelers". USA Today.
  16. ^ Brignall, Miles (February 26, 2022). "Friends lose £6,000 after Ibiza villa owner 'disappears'". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Russ, Julianna; Rahman, Tahera (July 6, 2022). "Lawsuit: Camera found inside Texas Vrbo rental property bedroom, homeowners sued". KXAN-TV.
  18. ^ Sperling, Maddy (July 26, 2022). "Hidden cameras in Texas ranch spark wave of lawsuits against Vrbo and AirBnb". The Real Deal.
  19. ^ "L.A. sues online vacation rental company". Los Angeles Times. March 21, 2022.
  20. ^ Replogle, Jill (March 21, 2022). "LA Sues Hosting Platform Vrbo Over Failure To Enforce Short-Term Rental Rules". Gothamist.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Vrbo at Wikimedia Commons