Airbnb may have the sleekest site, the catchiest name, and the biggest stockpile of brand equity, but for vacation rental owners, Airbnb is far from the be all and end all.
Over the years, dozens of websites like Airbnb have cropped up that let you list your vacation rental and increase your exposure and bookings. Even Google has forayed into the mix, adding vacation rentals to its map feature and implementing a “check availability” and “booking” option directly onto the search page. We’ll discuss this huge new development a little lower in this piece.
In this post, we’ll go over 13 Airbnb competitors, explain their fees for owners, how much they charge guests in booking fees, and what guest services they offer.
Airbnb alternatives and Airbnb-type websites include:
12. Google Maps
In many ways, VRBO pioneered home sharing. Founded in 1996 as Vacation Rental By Owner, it was later acquired by HomeAway, which also acquired VacationRentals.com in 2007. In 2015, HomeAway was acquired by Expedia, and growth hasn’t slowed since. Together, the three sites lead the industry, and as of 2018, the HomeAway family offers more than 2 million unique vacation rentals in 190 countries.
Advantages of using HomeAway, VRBO, and VacationRentals.com
Similar to HomeAway and VRBO, TripAdvisor owns FlipKey, and together, the two have become a powerhouse in the vacation rental space.
Advantages of FlipKey/TripAdvisor
Booking.com has a storied past that goes back to 1996. Over the past 22 years and several iterations, acquisitions, and changes, the site has become the steamroller it is today. Bringing in about 40 million direct visitors each month, it has the highest traffic of any online travel site. However, its hefty fees may affect how much you can make with your vacation rental.
Advantages of listing your property on Booking.com
RedAwning is a newer player in the vacation rental industry, and has emerged as a “vacation rental network” that not only lists vacation rentals, it offers a full suite of guest and reservation services. You can see our complete rundown of three of the most popular vacation rental management companies and networks here.
Advantages of listing with RedAwning
If you’ve got a high-end property and are willing to pay a high commission for every booking, onefinestay may be what you’re looking for. With that high commission, though, comes luxury services like guest concierge, property maintenance, and marketing.
As we explain here, websites like HomeToGo, Tripping, and Skyscanner provide extensive marketing and exposure for your home, however, there is little you as an owner can do to control your appearance on these sites.
Aggregators pull all of their vacation rentals and hotels from the networks and OTAs listed above, so chances are, you’re already on these websites.
Now, let’s look ahead. One of the most exciting new developments in vacation rental exposure is Google’s march into the industry. In the same way travelers can compare flights, guests are starting to be able to use Google to compare vacation rental prices and locations.
This presents both opportunities and challenges for vacation rental owners. In order for your vacation rental to appear in a map search, you’ll need to have the proper tech specs in place - namely a Google Card for each property. However, once you’re able to set up your listing in a way Google can easily index, guests will have the option to book directly through you, saving them the rising booking fees on popular OTAs.
At InvitedHome, we’ve put the appropriate measures in place, and more and more of our homes are appearing in Google search and Google Maps. For example, in the photo below, our homes Canyon View Retreat and Powder Place appear when you search for "Telluride" and click maps. Click on the Powder Place icon, and the booking option slides in on the right. It's an extremely handy way to get your home in front of more people.
The pilot program is still evolving, and InvitedHome is staying on top of it to give our homeowners the biggest edge for higher visibility and more bookings.
These days, no forward-looking analysis can be complete without at least mentioning the blockchain - an incorruptible public ledger of transactions that’s become the backbone of cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications, and dozens of aspirational startups.
While it’s still too early to consider the Beenest - a middleman-free, completely peer-to-peer home sharing platform - a viable place to rent your home, it’s worth keeping an eye on. The goal of the Bee Token and Beenest is to create a network in which you’ll never pay a fee to list your home, and guests will never pay a booking fee, thanks to the truly decentralized nature of the program.
So there you have it: 13 sites similar to Airbnb, with their own unique offerings, price structures, advantages, and disadvantages.
We’re a full-service luxury vacation rental management company whose heart is first and foremost in the world of hospitality. We operate on three core principles: