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A Kelowna Airbnb & VRBO Alternative

Posted on January 30th, 2021 in Hospitality
The Shore Kelowna Outdoor Terrace Fireplace

Vacation rentals are soaring in popularity, providing a home away from home for vacation-goers across the nation. The Okanagan Valley is one of Canada’s top-rated vacation destinations, offering the very best in beaches, sunshine, wineries, and winter sports. 

Kelowna is the midpoint and largest community in the Okanagan Valley. It seamlessly blends rural and urban living, surrounded by nature and rooted in rich culture. 

If you’re looking for a place to rent for your next vacation, Airbnb and VRBO offer numerous options. In this article, we’ll go over the similarities and differences between these platforms. We’ll cover the pros and cons, and offer The Shore Kelowna as a unique alternative. 

The Airbnb Experience

Airbnb is a travel community made up of renters and homeowners. Founded in 2008, Airbnb has quickly grown to become one of the biggest players in the vacation rentals market. Airbnb is known for its sheer volume and vast assortment of property types, operating across the globe in over 220 countries.

Airbnb rentals range from shared spaces, like spare bedrooms, to entire homes. Like a traditional bed and breakfast, Airbnb pairs renters with homeowners who facilitate the rental experience. Unlike traditional B&B’s, most Airbnb stays don’t include a complimentary breakfast. 

The VRBO Experience

VRBO, which stands for Vacation Rental by Owner, was founded in 1995. It merged with Home Away and VacationRentals.com in 2005 and 2007, creating another powerhouse in the vacation rentals market.

VRBO has a similar business model to Airbnb, with vacation rentals listed by homeowners through the online platform. VRBO offers more privacy, with only whole homes, condos, or apartments for rent. 

Short Term Rentals in Kelowna

Almost anyone can host a property on Airbnb & VRBO, but city bylaws also dictate who can offer short-term rentals in Kelowna. Under new regulations, a homeowner can legally rent out their principal residence for periods of 29 days by applying for a business license. 

There are situations where short-term rentals can be outside of the owner’s principal residence, but these are only in select tourist areas. These limitations are put in place to help keep the rental market fair for long-term renters, and support equity among short-term rental providers.

The short-term rental business licence restricts the number of bedrooms, number of adults per bedroom, parking spaces, and number of bookings at a time. With an influx of tourists in Okanagan summers, this can mean rentals book far in advance.

Okanagan lake beach with valley mountains in background on a clear sunny day
A Kelowna beach on Okanagan Lake with the City Park boardwalk in the background.

The Uncertainty in Vacation Rentals

Airbnb and VRBO rentals are operated by individual homeowners, so the rental experience using these platforms can vary dramatically. Reviews can provide an indication of past experiences, but there’s no guarantee that rentals will meet expectations. 

VRBO goes a step further than Airbnb, offering a Book With Confidence Guarantee. This ensures that guests are found an alternative if the booking goes wrong or if the property isn’t as described. However, as help is only available after the booking goes wrong, there’s an element of risk in both platforms. 

Your Airbnb & VRBO Alternative

The Shore Kelowna offers the luxury amenities of a hotel, the lakefront proximity of a summer home, and the booking flexibility of a vacation rental. With professional property management, The Shore eliminates the uncertainty of Airbnb & VRBO. 

The Shore is an apartment-style building with 103 modern suites for rent, with plenty of parking and two or three-bedroom suites for larger families. Steps to Kelowna’s most popular tourist attractions, The Shore is Kelowna’s choice for short and extended-stays.

A Comparison of Vacation Rentals in Kelowna

 AirbnbVRBOThe Shore Kelowna
Quality  AssuranceNone – the experience varies by owner.Partial – the experience varies by owner; a Book With Confidence Guarantee can help renters find an alternative if the property isn’t as described or if something goes wrong.Full – quality is  guaranteed through RISE property management.
Price Range$41 (hostel) – $1000+(home) per night *varies by property$40 (rv) – $1000+(home)  per night *varies by property$119 – $400+ per night
*varies by seasonal demand and suite type
Extra Fees (not including taxes)Airbnb service fee
– cleaning fee*
– extra guest fee* *varies by property
VRBO service fee
– cleaning fee*
– extra guest fee**varies by property
– cleaning fee
Maximum number of bookings at a time11103
Maximum number of bedrooms3
*as per Kelowna bylaws
*as per Kelowna bylaws
103 Studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, & three bedroom suites.
Amenities*varies by property*varies by propertyOn-site dining, fitness centre, modern kitchens, community barbeque, private patio, & terrace with fireplace.
PrivacyTypically requires interaction with the host, unless an “entire home” is selected; rentals can be shared spaces, such as a spare bedroom.Focuses on whole-property private residences, where contact with the host is typically digital.No-contact digital access, including contactless check-in and check-out.
Cancellation Policy & RefundsDetermined by the owner; refunds for service fees are limited.Determined by the owner; service fees are non-refundable.Free cancellations 8+ days prior to arrival; 50% charge 3-7 days prior & non-refundable less than 72 hours to arrival. 
Pet FriendlyDetermined by ownerDetermined by ownerYes, we’re pet friendly.
Location*varies by property*varies by propertyLakefront in Kelowna’s Lower Mission neighbourhood, steps to Gyro beach & Okanagan Lake.
*Note: Kelowna’s surrounding communities have their own regulations for short-term rentals. West Kelowna is working towards the implementation of Short Term Rental Regulations in May of 2021.

Come Soak in The Shore

Whether it’s for a weekend getaway, the entire summer, or a few college semesters, The Shore Kelowna has flexible accommodations to suit any renter. Book your stay, today! 


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