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, that 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 competitors include websites like Vrbo, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Agoda, Expedia, TUI 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 metasearches.
Some Airbnb alternatives are large platforms that cater to a broad audience and offer a wide variety of accommodations. Others are niche, specialist websites that cater to a specific traveller profile.
To give you a taste, let’s have a look at the top 14 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.
- TUI Villas
- Plum Guide
- Glamping Hub
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.
As Expedia Group’s vacation rental brand and part of the HomeAway family, Vrbo has a wide reach, attracting over 15.9 million unique visitors a month. 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 14-16% 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.
Each day, travellers book more than 1,550,000 nights through the platform that offers hotels and vacation rentals in 220 countries. Booking.com receives 100 million visits a month.
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 16%.
HomeToGo is the world’s largest metasearch engine for vacation rentals, with more than 18 million offers in over 200 countries. It aggregates listings from over 600 different websites.
The Berlin-based startup was founded in 2014. It acquired the California-based vacation rental aggregator Tripping.com and has built a strong presence in the United States.
With its vast range of properties, HomeToGo gives travellers plenty of choices and the ability to compare listings from hundreds of different websites side-by-side. This makes HomeToGo – and vacation rental metasearch engines in general – a first choice for budget-conscious travellers.
HomeToGo vs Airbnb
While Airbnb is a marketplace (property managers list their properties directly on the Airbnb platform) HomeToGo is a metasearch engine, meaning that it pulls listings from other websites.
Homes listed on HomeToGo appear on 16 different websites, which gives owners looking for extra exposure an advantage.
Property managers can get listed directly on HomeToGo through a Channel Manager like Rentals United. HomeToGo charges a 14% commission fee, which is on par with Airbnb’s.
You may be surprised to see Google on a list of Airbnb competitors – but hear us out.
In the last couple 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, 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 can be among the first vacation rental property managers to get bookings from the world’s largest search engine.
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. The commission is 15% per booking, similarly to Airbnb.
Tripadvisor is the world’s largest review site and a global OTA used by 490 million monthly travellers. It offers short-term rental listings among other types of accommodation and many other services.
Founded in 2000, Tripadvisor is known as a highly trusted source for travellers to plan, book and review travel experiences. The site has built up over 800 million reviews for accommodations, restaurants, attractions, activities and more.
Tripadvisor vs Airbnb
Like Booking.com, Tripadvisor is an OTA as opposed to a vacation rental marketplace. So, while on Airbnb, you’re competing exclusively against other property managers, on Tripadvisor you also have hotels to contend with.
However, Tripadvisor owns a range of vacation rental brands including websites like FlipKey and HolidayLettings, where your listings also appear. What’s more, Tripadvisor listings are automatically translated into 26 languages, expanding your reach and attracting more international travellers.
Tripadvisor charges vacation rental property managers a commission fee of 10-15% per booking, compared to Airbnb’s 14-16%. So, you may get a slightly lower commission rate if you list on Tripadvisor.
The Singaporean travel agency and metasearch engine Agoda was founded in 2005 and is now a subsidiary of Booking Holdings, the company that owns Booking.com. Agoda lists over 2 million properties in more than 200 countries and regions around the world, and is especially popular in Asia.
Agoda vs Airbnb
Property managers listing on Agoda pay a 15% commission rate per booking, which is similar to Airbnb’s fees. If you want to reach Asian travellers looking to book vacation rentals in Asia or big cities in Europe, Agoda can give you lots of visibility.
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.
Formerly known as CTrip, Trip.com has 400 million users worldwide and is the number one OTA in China. Trip.com Group is the parent company of several other brands, including Skyscanner, and listings will also appear there. There are 1.2 million hotels and vacation rentals on the platform in 200 countries and regions.
When you list a property on Trip.com, it becomes visible to the large market of Asian travellers. In particular, Trip.com can help you attract Chinese travellers, an audience known for its immense buying power.
Trip.com vs Airbnb
Trip.com has a strong user base in Asia and so listing your properties on this site will mean you get exposure to a large market of travellers.
10. TUI Villas
TUI Villas is a part of TUI Group, the largest travel, leisure and tourism company in the world. The Airbnb competitor lists more than 300,000 properties and is popular in Germany and with German international travellers.
Listings uploaded to TUI Villas also appear on Atraveo and more than 1,000 other websites.
TUI Villas vs Airbnb
Property managers advertising on TUI Villas can benefit from TUI’s extensive network in the travel and tourism industry. TUI markets its vacation rentals through travel agencies and travel brochures (a benefit that Airbnb doesn’t offer). And, it has strong search engine advertising.
On the other hand, TUI Villas charges a 15-18% commission, so you could end up paying slightly more than on Airbnb.
London-based TravelStaytion is an alternative vacation rental site that specialises in professionally managed short-term rentals.
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.
Property managers who choose to advertise on TravelStaytion pay a 15% commission per booking, which is on par with Airbnb’s fees.
misterb&b is the largest gay accommodation brand in the world. Over 250,000 hosts offer their rooms and apartments in over 135 countries through the platform.
It’s the LGBTQ+ community’s booking site of choice in France and North America. While it’s not a requirement that hosts identify as LGBTQ+ themselves, only gay-friendly hosts can list their properties on the platform.
misterb&b vs Airbnb
As a niche vacation rental website, misterb&b targets a much smaller and more specific audience than Airbnb. Vacation rental property owners and managers whose audience coincides with misterb&b’s can benefit from the site’s LGBTQ+ focus.
Misterb&b charges a commission of 4.5% compared to Airbnb’s 14-16%.
13. 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. So only homes of the finest quality 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.
14. Glamping Hub
Glamping Hub is a leading online platform for luxury camping and outdoor accommodation. It has 30,000 unique rentals such as tree houses, yurts, huts and tiny houses. Its offering of unusual lodgings based in the outdoors targets a niche audience of nature lovers.
For appropriate properties, it can be a great platform to list as you will reach an audience who may not visit mainstream booking sites.
Glamping Hub vs Airbnb
With a low commission of 4%, Glamping Hub offers a good deal for property managers. The other great advantage of being listed on the site is that your rentals will be exposed to a niche audience.
However, keep in mind that for Glamping Hub to list your property, the accommodation must have direct access to nature. For example, you can list mountain lodges, cabins, treehouses, yurts, bungalows, etc.
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.