Is the Airbnb platform right for you?

It’s no secret that Airbnb has become extremely popular for hosts and guests alike. It’s a great alternative to hotels and motels. Travellers experience an extra level of comfort and a home-like feel while on vacation. For hosts, it’s a great opportunity to earn an extra bit of cash while your home would otherwise be sitting empty.

We may be a bit biased, but we love the Airbnb platform. There are a few other vacation rental platforms you may be considering if you’re looking to rent out your property on a short term basis. They may seem similar on the surface, but each of these platforms is unique and has different advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s what you should know before choosing the one that’s right for you!

Airbnb vs. Other Platforms



Monthly Traffic: 80 Million Visitors

Airbnb was originally founded as “Air Bed and Breakfast” in 2008 until they rebranded in 2009. Ten years later, the brand is a household name and a popular resource for travellers.  The company was started with the purpose of connecting homeowners to customers who are looking for short term vacation rentals. The platform is a great way for hosts to make extra income by sharing their space, and has changed the way we travel and made it more accessible. Like Uber and Taskrabbit, Airbnb has become a big player in the sharing economy.

Their process is streamlined so that you can manage bookings from start to finish right through the app. Airbnb also provides $1M Host Protection Insurance coverage for owners/hosts, which certainly provides extra peace of mind.

On Airbnb, you won’t pay to list your property. Instead, Airbnb charges hosts 3% of each booking, so you’ll want to think about that when you set your prices.


Monthly Traffic: 40 Million Visitors combined total with VRBO

HomeAway was founded in 2005 and today, they have more than 2,000,000 vacation rentals in 190 countries listed on their website. They were acquired by travel giant Expedia in December of 2015. HomeAway is great if you are renting out a cabin, a villa, or a cottage, whereas Airbnb is better suited for more central locations. When it comes to HomeAway, you’ll also see more guests that are looking for longer term vacation rentals (a month or more).

Homeaway charges hosts an annual listing fee of $499. Alternatively, you can choose to pay by booking – where they will collect 5% of your rental income.



Monthly Traffic: 40 Million Visitors combined total with VRBO

Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner) has been around for a while. It started in 1995, and of course has changed quite a bit since then. Like Airbnb, the platform makes it easy to bring in guests to your vacation rental. Funnily enough, the platform was acquired by Homeaway in 2006. They definitely share some similarities. Vrbo is also better suited for longer term vacation rentals. But you’ll see more guests who are on business trips or staying for a short tourist holiday on Airbnb.

As with Homeaway, Vrbo charges hosts an annual listing fee of $499. Alternatively, you can choose to pay by booking – where they will collect 5% of your rental income.



Monthly Traffic: 140 Million Visitors* – this includes their parent company, Trip Advisors’s traffic so keep in mind that not all of this traffic goes to hosts.

Flipkey offers vacation rentals across the world. TripAdvisor is their parent company, so you’ll find tons of useful reviews on the website. Flipkey is known for offering vacation rentals to large groups of 4-8 people. They aren’t known for the same at-home feel as the other platforms and if you’re looking to provide a space for travellers who want a local vibe, this isn’t the platform for you. This platform is best suited for those who are renting a space in a popular tourist destination.

Like Airbnb, Flipkey uses a pay-per-booking model with the same owner fee: 3%. It’s a comparably low cost for owners – but not for guests! Their guest booking fee is the highest of all of these sites at 8-16% (average of 12% per booking). This could affect a guest’s decision to book.


The takeaway

When it comes to comparisons, Airbnb offers many benefits that the competitors just don’t.

Every space is different so it’s important to think about what works best for you. If you’re unsure of which platform to choose, think about what kind of property you have, where it’s located, what kind of guests you’d like to attract and your ideal length of a guest’s stay.


Taking the plunge into Airbnb? Let us give you a hand and book a consultation.