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OTA Commission Rates: Airbnb, Vrbo and More

OTA Commission Rates: Airbnb, Vrbo and More

Commission rates paid to Airbnb, Vrbo and other OTAs is a fact of life in the short-term rental industry. But the commission rates vary between different OTAs.

As a vacation rental host, choosing the right platform to list your property is a crucial decision. One of the key factors to consider when making this choice is the commission structure that the platform charges. Different OTAs for vacation rental have varying commission rates, and understanding these rates is essential to maximizing your profits.

In this guide, we'll explore:

  • What are the different vacation rental booking channels?
  • Key considerations when choosing a vacation rental booking channel
  • Understanding commission structures across vacation rental booking channel

What Are the Different Vacation Rental Booking Channels?

Considering turning your place into a vacation hotspot? Well, you're in luck because there are a bunch of awesome vacation rental booking channels that connect travelers with unique accommodations include:

  • Airbnb- One of the most well-known platforms, Airbnb allows hosts to list their homes, apartments, or even unique properties for short-term rentals.
  • Vrbo- Acquired by HomeAway, VRBO allows property owners to list vacation homes and facilitates direct communication between owners and guests.
  • Booking.com- Originally known for hotel bookings, Booking.com has expanded its offerings to include vacation rentals, allowing property owners to list apartments, homes, and other unique properties.
  • Tripadvisor- In addition to reviews and travel information, TripAdvisor offers a vacation rental platform where owners can list their properties for short-term stays.
  • Flipkey- A TripAdvisor company, FlipKey focuses specifically on vacation rentals and helps property owners connect with travelers.
  • Expedia- While traditionally associated with hotel bookings, Expedia also features vacation rentals through its platform.
  • HomeToGo- A meta-search engine that aggregates vacation rental listings from various platforms, making it easier for travelers to compare options.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Vacation Rental Booking Channel

Key Considerations When Choosing a Vacation Rental Booking Channel


When selecting an Online Travel Agency (OTA), it's crucial to consider the geographical location of your properties. Different platforms may have varying popularity in specific regions or cities.

For instance, Airbnb might be prevalent in urban areas, while Vrbo or HomeAway could dominate in more rural or vacation destination locales. Check the number of listings in your area on each OTA to determine which platform is most popular among travelers visiting your specific location. Analyzing where your competitors list their properties can provide valuable insights.

Ultimately, choosing a platform with a strong presence in your area can help maximize your property's visibility.

Property Type

The type of property you're offering plays a pivotal role in channel selection. Different vacation rental platforms may specialize in specific types of accommodations. For example, some platforms are known for promoting urban apartments, while others excel in marketing larger vacation homes or unique and unconventional stays like treehouses, yachts, or tiny houses.

To maximize your property's exposure, choose a platform that aligns with the type of property you're offering.

Target Audience

Each vacation rental platform tends to attract a slightly different demographic of travelers, understanding the typical guests who use each platform is vital. Are they families, business travelers, couples, or solo adventurers?

Tailoring your property listings and marketing efforts to appeal to the preferences and needs of the audience that frequents your chosen platform is essential. For example, if your properties are family-friendly, a platform popular among families would be a strategic choice.


When evaluating platforms, it's critical to take into account the fee structure. This includes both commission fees and any subscription or annual charges. Calculate how these fees will impact your profitability and whether they align with your business model.

While lower commission rates may be enticing, it's equally important to assess the platform's ability to generate bookings and provide support. Sometimes, investing in a platform with higher fees but robust marketing and support features can result in better returns.

Booking volume

The popularity and demand for a vacation rental platform in your area should also be a consideration. Platforms with a higher booking volume tend to attract more potential guests, which can lead to increased bookings for your property.

However, it's important to note that a more popular platform may also mean higher competition among hosts. Balancing demand with competition is key to optimizing your rental income.

Support and resources

Evaluate the level of support and resources that each platform offers to its hosts. This encompasses factors such as the responsiveness of customer support, the availability of educational materials, and the tools provided to help you manage your listing effectively.

A platform that provides robust support can significantly enhance your hosting experience and make it easier to address any challenges that may arise.

Reviews and ratings

The reputation of the platform can significantly impact the number of bookings you receive. Travelers often rely on reviews and ratings when choosing a property. Positive reviews and high ratings can attract more guests to your listings and instill confidence in potential guests.

Research the platform's policies regarding reviews and understand how they handle guest feedback, as a platform with a transparent and fair review system can be advantageous for your business.

Understanding Commission Structures Across Vacation Rental Booking Channel

Understanding Commission Structures Across Vacation Rental Booking Channel


Airbnb charges hosts a service fee, which is typically a percentage of the nightly rate for your property.

The exact percentage can vary depending on various factors, including your location and the type of property you're listing. In most cases, hosts can expect Airbnb's service fee to range from 3% to 5%. This varies based on factors like location, property type, host history, promotions, and dynamic pricing. Local market conditions and Airbnb's policies also contribute to the range, encouraging host participation and reflecting changes in demand and supply.

It's essential to note that Airbnb also charges a separate service fee to guests. This fee is not deducted from the host's earnings but is paid by the guest on top of the rental rate.


Vrbo provides two fee options for hosts:

  1. Annual Subscription: Hosts can choose to pay a one-time annual subscription fee of $499. This fee allows you to publish your property listing on the Vrbo platform for one year without incurring any additional per-booking charges.
  2. Host Commission Model: If you prefer not to go with the annual subscription, you can opt for the host commission model. Under this model, Vrbo charges hosts a commission of 5% on each booking made through the platform. Additionally, there is a 3% fee if the guest chooses to pay with a credit card.


Booking.com's commission for hosts typically averages 15% of the booking price. However, this rate can vary depending on factors like your property's location, type, and regional market conditions. Since 2019, Booking.com also applies a 2.2% payment fee to cover transaction processing costs. Hosts can use Booking.com's commission calculator to determine their specific commission rate, ensuring they accurately account for these fees and maintain competitive pricing strategies in the ever-changing vacation rental market.


HomeToGo, a leading player in the holiday rental industry with an impressive 50 million monthly users, extends two pricing models specifically designed for hosts.

  1. Split Fee Option: Under this model, hosts are subject to a 3% commission per booking. Guests, on the other hand, are charged a variable fee based on HomeToGo's pricing intelligence, with no additional fees for hosts.
  2. Host-Only Fee Option: Opting for this model means hosts don't incur any fees from guest bookings. However, a 15% fee per booking is deducted from the host's payout.


Expedia charges a commission to owners or managers for each booking made on its platform. The exact commission rate is not fixed but falls within a range of 15% to 20%. The rate applied to a particular property can depend on various factors, with the primary factor being the location of the accommodation. Other factors, such as the property's type, amenities, and demand in the area, can also influence the commission rate.

Payments for these commissions are typically settled on a monthly basis. This means that owners or managers will receive a statement of the commissions owed at the end of each month and make the necessary payment to Expedia. This commission structure is designed to reflect the varying market conditions in different regions and ensure that property owners contribute a percentage of their earnings in exchange for the exposure and bookings facilitated by Expedia's platform.

TripAdvisor’s FlipKey

FlipKey, owned by TripAdvisor, has a relatively simple commission structure. They charge hosts a 3% commission on each booking made through their platform. Additionally, there is a 3% payment processing fee. These fees are relatively low compared to some other platforms.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right vacation rental platform involves a careful analysis of multiple factors, with commission structures being just one of them. It's essential to consider your property's location, type, target audience, and the level of support and resources provided by the platform. Additionally, be sure to read and understand the platform's terms and conditions, including its cancellation policies and payment processing procedures.

Ultimately, the best platform for you will depend on your specific property and hosting goals. By carefully weighing these factors and understanding the commission structures, you can make an informed decision that maximizes your earnings as a vacation rental host. Remember that each platform has its unique strengths and weaknesses, so choose the one that aligns best with your hosting style and property.

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