The Right Choice: Management Company or VRBO?

Eva Faircloth - January 30, 2014

Most families who vacation on the Gulf Coast prefer renting a condo rather than a hotel.The benefits of multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens and great rooms for relaxing are obvious. However, the decision of whether to rent through VRBO or through a management company may not be as obvious. We’ve put this helpful guide together to help you navigate the pros and cons of both options.

Pros of Renting Through a Management Company 

  • The management company generally has a larger selection of units within your desired property and has a trained staff to help you find the best match for your needs.
  • Once you arrive, you generally have a contact nearby  in case you encounter any problems with your rental unit.
  • Local companies know more about the area and can help guide you to local activities and restaurants.
  • If you rent through an onsite management company, you will have staff at the property to assist you with any needs.
  • At properties with numerous amenities, onsite management companies are able to include access to all property amenities at the time you book your unit. They also may offer additional perks such as advanced beach chair rentals or resort charging privileges.
  • Guests renting through an onsite management company may also be offered discounts on food and other services.

Cons of Renting Through a Management Company

  • Typically the rates are a bit higher than you can find on VRBO.
  • Across the board, management companies are less likely to make exceptions or negotiate on price.
  • There may be less personalized service than you get with VRBO.

Pros of Renting Through VRBO

  • You can usually find lower rates on VRBO than you can with a management company.
  • You may get more personalized service upfront. Since you’re dealing with the owner, they will have more personal knowledge of the unit you are interested in renting.
  • The owner may be more likely to negotiate price, especially to move gap nights.

Cons of Renting Through VRBO

  • If you do encounter a problem with your rental, you could be dealing with someone hundreds of miles away trying to coordinate repairs. And if the problem is serious, there may be no other options to move you to another unit.
  • The owner’s knowledge of the local area may not be up to date or comprehensive.
  • You may have to pay extra for access to property amenities. So, you may not be getting a true picture of the entire cost of your vacation upfront.

So, the best option for you probably depends on your expectations for the ideal vacation. If you want a stress-free vacation, someone onsite to take care of problems and full access to property amenities with no extra cost, then a management company is the way to go. However, if you don’t mind taking a chance that nothing will go wrong and paying for additional services and amenities once you get onsite, then VRBO may be a good option for your family.