Airbnb is one of the most popular travel brands in the world. Since its launch in 2008, the listing site’s offering of unique vacation rental properties and experiences has grown immensely. With over 150 million users, Airbnb has a global reach that all property managers should take advantage of when trying to attract bookings from international travellers.
However, relying on just one platform to advertise your properties goes against vacation rental industry best practices. Instead, all property managers should adopt a multi-channel distribution strategy and get listed on a variety of sites like Airbnb to increase their properties’ visibility. The more travellers see your listings, the more bookings you’ll get. As a result, you’ll see an increase in your occupancy and revenue.
But which Airbnb alternatives should you consider listing your vacation rentals on? In this article, we’ll look at some of the top Airbnb competitors to help you attract views and bookings. We’ll explore how they measure up to Airbnb, taking into account several factors like commissions, audience and reach.
To get the most out of your vacation rental distribution, it’s important to find the right mix of channels to advertise on. The Rentals United channel manager can help you get your properties listed on as many relevant sites as possible without the hassle of dealing with each one individually. You can also have faith in a reliable connection, which means you never have to worry about overbookings. Find out how to get listed on 60+ channels with Rentals United.
Who are Airbnb’s competitors?
Airbnb business competitors include websites like Vrbo, Booking.com, Expedia, MakeMyTrip, Marriott, Top Villas, TravelStaytion, HomeToGo, Plum Guide, and Google. Not all of them are vacation rental marketplaces. Airbnb is in competition with different types of websites, including online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel meta searches.
Some Airbnb alternatives are large platforms that cater to a broad audience and offer a wide variety of accommodations. Others are specialist websites that cater to a specific traveller profile.
To give you a taste, let’s look at the top 16 Airbnb competitors that property managers should know about. Note that the commission rates listed in this article are for software-connected hosts using a channel manager like Rentals United.
- Smoky Mountains
- The Quintess Collection
- Top Villas
Founded in 1995, Vrbo – originally Vacation Rentals By Owners or VRBO – is a veteran of the vacation rental industry. The Airbnb competitor specialises in unique accommodations including beach houses, condos, cabins, villas and even boats and castles.
Vrbo has a wide reach, attracting over 48 million active monthly users. Property managers who advertise on Vrbo can also reach the 730 million monthly unique visitors who visit Expedia Group’s global family of sites.
Vrbo vs Airbnb
The most striking difference between Vrbo and Airbnb is the number of listings. While Airbnb boasts around 7 million listings, Vrbo “only” has around 2 million vacation rental properties. From the property manager’s perspective, this isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, it could mean that in your local market, there’s less competition on Vrbo than there is on Airbnb.
There’s also a difference between the type of traveller that each listing site attracts. Vrbo has an abundance of large and high-end vacation homes, so it caters to families and groups of friends as well as older and more affluent travellers.
On Vrbo, property managers can become Premier Hosts by maintaining low cancellation rates and high average ratings. This is similar to the Airbnb Superhost status in that both are rewarded with a badge that travellers can see.
As for pricing, property managers who connect to Vrbo through a channel manager like Rentals United pay a service fee of 12-15% per booking. This is very close to the 14% commission that Airbnb is currently charging software-connected hosts.
Booking.com is a large OTA (online travel agency) for hotel accommodations as well as a growing inventory of vacation rentals. The company is a close competitor with Airbnb and lists over 6 million private homes and apartments.
Booking.com vs Airbnb
What differentiates Booking.com from Airbnb and Vrbo is that it’s not exclusively for vacation rentals – in fact, it was originally a search engine for hotels. This means that vacation rental listings compete alongside hotel inventory, giving property managers the chance to level the playing field and reach guests who may not be specifically searching for vacation rentals.
Just like Vrbo, Booking.com offers only private vacation rental properties instead of the shared accommodation options (with private rooms or shared rooms) popular on Airbnb.
To help property managers optimise their listings for conversions, Booking.com offers a wide range of Opportunities and Promotions to choose from to help property managers optimise their listings for conversions.
The commission fee for Booking.com is between 12-18%, depending on property type and location. So the upper end of it is slightly higher than Airbnb’s 14%.
Expedia is an established OTA where travellers can reserve not just accommodation, but flights, rental cars, cruises and various activities. The site is broad and covers all kinds of lodgings, attracting a wide audience. As Expedia’s inventory of home rentals grows, the site is becoming more and more competitive in the vacation rental market.
Expedia vs Airbnb
Expedia has a much broader audience than Airbnb. This means you’ll have more exposure for your properties, but many of the site’s visitors may be looking for other types of accommodation than vacation rentals.
Expedia charges a commission of 15-22% depending on the location of your properties. So, you could end up paying slightly more than on Airbnb.
4. Marriott (Homes & Villas by Marriott)
Homes & Villas by Marriott International was launched in May 2019 as a way for the respected hospitality brand to branch out into vacation rentals. The channel offers premium and luxury homes in around 250 destinations worldwide.
Marriott’s vacation rental platform aims to deliver the highest standards of quality, safety, design, and amenities, holding vacation rentals to the same standard as their hotel brand. Getting your properties on the site is a perfect opportunity to reach a global audience of high-quality travellers, including members of the luxurious Marriott Bonvoy™ loyalty program.
Homes & Villas by Marriott International vs Airbnb
Compared to Airbnb, Marriott’s platform has a far smaller selection of properties and caters to a more premium audience. This is reflected in the standard of properties, as the channel only lists entire properties that meet their criteria. Commission is 10-20%, significantly higher than Airbnb at the top end of the scale, but the standard of properties also means more high-value travellers.
5. Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains is a location-specific channel that lists properties in the Smoky Mountains along the Tennessee–North Carolina border. The channel specialises in cabins and lodges in and around the Smoky Mountains national park in popular tourist locations like Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
This is a highly specialised niche channel with only around 1,000 properties listed, however an incredible 20 million travellers have booked vacations through the site. The channel has been featured in popular news outlets like The New York Times and Forbes, and the team has been recognized for their local area expertise.
Smoky Mountains vs Airbnb
The biggest difference here is the specificity and niche appeal of Smoky Mountains, which caters to just one holiday destination.
Most of the properties listed on Smoky Mountains are mountain cabins and lodges, catering to travellers with a love of the outdoors.
HometoGo was founded in 2014
is an AI-powered metasearch marketplace where travellers can search and compare listings from over 15M+ offers, in over 200 countries. In fact the site has the world’s largest selection of vacation rentals, and guests can browse offerings through a sleek and user-friendly interface.
HometoGo vs Airbnb
HometoGo is a metasearch engine which aggregates listings from different channels, allowing guests to easily search and compare listings in over 200 countries.
You can list directly on HomeToGo through a channel manager such as Rentals United. HomeToGo charges 15% on commission on each booking, which is fairly similar to Airbnb.
With an emphasis on beautiful, quality properties, TravelStaytion is exclusively for properties managed by professional hosts and property management companies. Its portfolio of properties attracts corporate travellers – young professionals and business people – who book longer stays as well as families, groups of friends and solo travellers looking to book urban getaways.
With over 85,000 properties in several hundred cities around the world, TravelStaytion’s inventory is growing at a rapid rate. Properties listed on TravelStaytion are also distributed to the metasearch engine Trivago.
TravelStaytion vs Airbnb
In contrast to Airbnb’s approach of enabling all homeowners to rent out their rooms or properties, TravelStaytion operates on a B2B business model and only collaborates with professionals who want to provide an impeccable hospitality service. Commission is 15%, which is fairly similar to Airbnb.
8. Plum Guide
Plum Guide is a luxury vacation rental website that’s rapidly gaining popularity. Their inventory is carefully curated and they only accept 3% of the applications they receive, which means only the finest quality homes can get listed on Plum Guide.
By advertising on Plum Guide, property managers can access an exclusive customer base of discerning travellers. These travellers seek luxury experiences and don’t shop on standard OTAs.
Plum Guide vs Airbnb
Plum Guide charges a slightly higher commission (16.5%). However, the typical Plum Guide customer is very different to someone who books on Airbnb. If your rental is the right fit for this luxury platform, it allows you to attract high value bookings incrementally.
To be listed on Plum Guide, properties must pass rigorous testing and home inspection. The platform only approves clean homes that are well-maintained with quality furniture and stylish interiors.
If you think your luxury properties fit the bill, Rentals United can help fast-track your application.
Holidu is a vacation rental metasearch engine based in Munich. Like HomeToGo, it aggregates listings from hundreds of vacation rental websites.
The site gets over 11 million monthly visits, and travellers can browse and compare prices of over 15 million listings.
Holidu is especially popular among European travellers and the German-speaking market. It attracts families with or without children, groups of friends, couples and solo travellers alike.
Holidu vs Airbnb
While Airbnb is a vacation rental marketplace, Holidu is a metasearch engine. However, you can get listed directly on Holidu by going through a channel manager. Commission is 15%, so very similar to Airbnb.
In the last few of years, Google has been actively increasing its influence in the accommodations market. Partnering with large OTAs and selected channel managers like Rentals United, Google has started to include vacation rentals in Google Maps and Travel Search results.
If you list your property on Google through one of its trusted technology partners, your vacation rentals can compete against hotels directly on search results pages. This gives you the chance to get in front of Google’s millions of users, expanding your reach and boosting your brand’s recognition immensely. And best of all, advertising on Google is currently free!
Google vs Airbnb
More and more travellers are using Google to find and book accommodation. Think millions every day. As a result, Google’s reach has the potential to rival Airbnb’s.
Then, there’s the matter of commissions. When a traveller clicks on your listing in Google vacation rentals, they are redirected to a direct booking page. Currently, Google doesn’t charge a commission fee on bookings, so the traffic and the bookings you get from Google are free.
And last but not least, Google is still a fairly underutilised channel. If you get listed now, you may have a competitive advantage over property managers who are not yet listed on the world’s largest search engine.
Specialising in last-minute bookings, Whimstay offers budget-conscious guests a chance to book premium properties.
Whimstay is a leading vacation rental marketplace offering great value bookings for properties in North America. Property managers benefit from an intuitive platform with top-notch support, which makes it easy to fill unsold nights and increase your occupancy.
Whimstay vs Airbnb
Whimstay is a more specialist channel than Airbnb that only lists properties in North America for last-minute bookings made within 30 days of check-in. However, the channel is rapidly growing, and announced that bookings were up 400% in 2023 compared to the previous year. On top of that, Whimstay’s commission is just 3-5%, which is significantly lower than what you will pay on Airbnb, making it a great choice for your North American properties,
12. Hopper Homes
Hopper is a travel super-app boasting 200+ million booked trips and 120+ million app instals. The app partners with airlines, hotels, homes, and car rental providers across the globe to help travellers easily plan and book entire vacations through a single app.
Hopper Homes is the vacation rental segment which is exclusively available in the Hopper app. Hopper Homes offers hundreds of thousands of direct properties, with an award-winning mobile booking experience.
Hopper Homes vs Airbnb
Hopper Homes charges a commission of 14%, exactly the same as what you will pay on Airbnb. Listing on Hopper Homes will help you reach a different audience of travellers who may be looking to book other aspects of their trip with the Hopper app. Hopper is also the leading app for Gen Z in North America. This means you may get more bookings from younger travellers and the app is likely to keep growing in the coming years.
13. The Quintess Collection
The Quintess collection is an exclusive sales channel providing high-end travellers with a carefully curated list of 1,700 luxury properties. With more than 18 years experience, the Quintess Collection offers guests a choice of stunning properties in desirable locations as diverse as the Caribbean, Bali, Tuscany, and many more.
Listing on the channel gives you the opportunity to reach discerning travellers looking for an exceptional stay in top quality properties.
The Quintess Collection vs Airbnb
The Quintess collection charges 15% commission. What sets The Quintess Collection apart from Airbnb is its focus on luxury and dedication to selecting only the best properties in the luxury market. Luxury property managers will benefit from getting their listings seen by The Quintess Collection’s target audience and members of its exclusive luxury vacation club. The channel also provides a personalised service to help guests plan every aspect of their trip and arrange premium services.
MakeMyTrip is an Indian online travel agency founded in 2000. The channel caters to the needs of Indian travellers, who can book buses, trains, flights, hotels, vacation homes, holiday packages and more through the app.
MakeMyTrip began serving the US-India travel market with great value products & services, user friendly technology and attentive customer support.
The vacation rental section of the app offers a range of properties in India and other locations across Asia.
MakeMyTrip vs Airbnb
An obvious difference between MakeMyTrip and Airbnb is that while Airbnb serves a generic worldwide market, MakeMyTrip is specifically tailored to the Indian market and travellers in Asia. Another key difference is that travellers can use MakeMyTrip to book several aspects of a trip, including transportation and hotels. This means by listing on the site you can reach a more diverse audience who aren’t specifically looking for vacation rentals.
15. Top Villas
Top Villas has an outstanding selection of over 10,000 homes in over 150 stunning destinations worldwide. The channel is one of the finest rental agencies is the world, with a portfolio that has grown substantially since the founding of the company in 2010.
Listing on the site gives you unlimited access to an extensive network of frequent, high-value travellers as well as a professional, personalised service. You can choose payment terms that suit you and will get assigned a personal account manager to answer your questions and queries.
Your properties will also be visible to an extensive network of thousands of travel agents and affiliate partners.
Top Villas vs Airbnb
Commission on Top Villas is 15%, so only fractionally higher than on Airbnb. The 10,000 homes listed on Top Villas all fit the luxury profile, and guests choose the site because of the curated selection of properties and the 5-star, hotel-style concierge services and dedicated local support that’s offered with every stay.
The channel lists properties in the Caribbean and Europe, however the majority of properties are in the US in destinations like Florida and California.
Agoda is an online travel agency and one of Asia’s leading travel-tech companies with millions of registered customers in 31 markets and 24/7 customer service.
You can list any type of property on the site and reach a global audience of 9 million Agoda users.
Agoda vs Airbnb
Commission on Agoda is usually 15%. With it’s focus on Asian travellers, Agoda is a slightly more specialised site than Airbnb, but still has a broad reach of travellers looking for a wide variety of property types.
What is the best alternative to Airbnb?
It’s impossible to say which site is the best alternative to Airbnb. Most property managers will want to list their properties on Airbnb because it remains the largest and most well-known listing site for short-term rentals in the world.
However, all the above sites have their advantages, and in order to maximise occupancy rates and profits, the best strategy is to get your properties listed on as many relevant sites as possible.
If you choose Rentals United as your channel manager, you’ll have access to all the listings sites mentioned plus more, with a trustworthy connection which means you’ll never have to worry about double bookings or missed sales.