If you're traveling with a partner or two companions, Air BnB and Booking.com are two of the most popular inexpensive accommodation options.
After utilizing both sites extensively, we believe that each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages for travelers and hosts. We've also hired a private room in our apartment and are considering which platform would be best for hosts.
If you're thinking about staying in an Air BnB or Booking.com for a future vacation, or if you're wondering which platform is best for advertising your property, keep reading since we've outlined the benefits and drawbacks of each.
For guests, Air BnB vs. Booking.com
The Benefits of Using Air BnB as a Guest
1. Air BnB is usually the most cost-effective alternative
If pricing is the primary factor in deciding whether to use Air BnB or Booking.com, finding a home on Air BnB will almost always provide greater value for money.
This is especially true in big European cities, where you may find inexpensive accommodations in good locations while many cheap hotels are located on the outskirts of town.
We've utilised Air BnB in a number of pricey locations, including Reykjavik and Copenhagen, and it's made our vacations significantly less expensive!
2. You meet locals and receive excellent advice
However many times have you stayed at a budget hotel and received helpful restaurant recommendations?
They're probably sending you to the restaurant in their lobby or across the street! This isn't the case with Air BnB, as many hosts are long-term inhabitants of the city you're visiting and have a wealth of information on things to do and see.
Furthermore, we have found that many hosts are really kind, and we frequently end up sharing a cup of tea or coffee with them and getting to know them throughout our visit!
3. You will normally have access to shared amenities
One of the best things about staying in an Air BnB private room is that you frequently have access to communal areas like the kitchen and laundry.
If you're travelling on a budget, this is ideal because it allows you to prepare your own meals (rather than eating out all of the time) and wash your clothing without having to pay a premium cost that hotels frequently impose.
Common areas can be even better in other places — our Air BnB in Gozo featured a fantastic balcony with stunning views of the surrounding countryside!
The Benefits of Booking.com for Visitors
1. You don't have to pay in advance for numerous places
One of the major drawbacks of Air BnB is that you must pay the whole sum of your stay when making a reservation.
This can mean you're paying for a room months before you use it, and you're only eligible for a refund if the host allows it in their booking policy (although, regardless of the host's cancellation policy, Air BnB provides for a full refund within 48 hours of booking).
On the contrary, many hotels on Booking.com do not need payment in advance, which means you can book a room for free!
2. If you book ahead of time, you can receive great deals
While Air BnB is usually the cheapest option, Booking.com often has great deals if you reserve ahead of time. Many inexpensive hotels provide large discounts, in contrast to Air BnB, which never offers clear accommodation discounts.
If you book within a shorter timeframe but do not travel during a high period, you can receive even better deals. We got a terrific discount on a really excellent boutique hotel in Bulgaria since we stayed during the week rather than on the busy weekends!
3. Booking.com necessitates the least amount of effort
One of the advantages of reserving a hotel through Booking.com is that once you've made your reservation, you'll have very little to do until you arrive. Unlike Air BnB, where you must call your host, confirm that they will be home when you arrive, and potentially receive detailed directions to their place.
It's often good not to have to bother about all of that, especially after a long travel, and just be able to check into a room with minimal fuss.
The Drawbacks of Using Air BnB as a Guest
1. As a guest, you must be adaptable.
When utilising Air BnB as a guest, one of the most important things to remember is that it is not the same as staying in a hotel, therefore you must be flexible at times. Check-in hours may be limited, and if something goes down, it may not be able to repair it immediately.
If these kinds of things annoy you, you should probably book a hotel, but in our experience, tiny inconveniences are never enough to keep us from using Air BnB!
2. There is a danger associated with staying at an Air BnB
While we've never had any problems with Air BnB, newspapers periodically publish horror stories regarding travellers' Air BnB experiences. When staying in someone else's home, there will always be a minor element of risk, but this may simply be avoided with some basic research.
We only work with folks whose profiles have been validated and who have received at least a couple of positive ratings. Also, before renting an Air BnB, make sure to investigate the neighbourhood to ensure that it is acceptable for your stay — you don't want to wind up in party central if you're looking for a quiet weekend away!
3. Private Air BnBs are exacerbating housing affordability concerns in several cities
One of the most common complaints travellers have about Air BnB is that it is generating housing affordability concerns in some locations because landlords are putting their properties on Air BnB rather than renting them to long-term local renters. As a result, governments in certain cities, such as Berlin and Lisbon, are tightening down and outlawing short-term rentals of entire apartments on Air BnB.
If you want to book in a larger city, be aware that entire apartments may be posted illegally and taken down before you arrive. While several travel blogs advise against renting entire apartments on Air BnB, we still use it in less-travelled cities, notably in Eastern Europe, where rental units are typically oversupplied.
If you do decide to book an entire home, make sure you do so in an ethical manner. Pay attention to who the host is and whether or not he or she is a real person rather than a holiday leasing agent. Also, make sure the host does not have many residences for rent. There's a considerable difference between staying in a local's flat to generate some additional cash and patronising a multinational company that profits from short-term rentals.
The Drawbacks of Booking.com for Visitors
1. Budget hotels are frequently antiseptic and cramped.
One of the drawbacks of utilising Booking.com is that if you're on a tight budget, many of the accommodations are cramped, sterile, and devoid of personality.
One of the things we like about Air BnB is that each room is distinctive and has a welcoming atmosphere, in contrast to many budget hotels, which all have a similar vibe.
2. Budget motels are frequently in inconvenient locations
Another disadvantage of inexpensive hotels is that they are sometimes not located in the areas where you want to stay. One of the most crucial factors to consider when booking lodging is ensuring that we are centrally placed and have easy access to transportation.
Due to the high expense of being in the city centre, many budget hotels are located further out from the city centre, which means it will take longer to move around and you will most likely pay more for transportation during your stay.
3. Booking.com's prices are almost always more than Air BnB's.
At the end of the day, we tend to be out and about exploring for the majority of the day when we travel, so we don't want to waste money on accommodations when we're only there for a few hours. That means we're always on the lookout for the cheapest, cleanest lodging we can find. Booking.com is routinely more expensive than Air BnB in practically every place we've visited.
The Verdict on Air BnB vs. Booking.com for Guests
It's crucial to assess what's important to you when considering whether to utilise Air BnB vs Booking.com for your forthcoming trip.
We recommend choosing an Air BnB for your upcoming vacation if you're on a budget, value meeting locals and obtaining their advice and want access to additional amenities.
We recommend arranging to lodge on Booking.com if you value flexibility, convenience, or are simply visiting a location with a limited number of private apartments. We recommend not waiting until the last minute to book because you can get amazing deals if you book ahead of time. On Booking.com, you can discover a place to stay for your upcoming vacation by clicking here!
For hosts, Air BnB vs. Booking.com
We rented the spare room in our flat on Air BnB for over a year when we lived in London. We never utilised Booking.com since we believed Air BnB offered a number of benefits to hosts that Booking.Com did not.
The Benefits of Air BnB for Hosts
1. Improved visitor screening and control
Hosts can have complete control over who stays at their property and gain a better understanding of who will be staying with them by using Air BnB. You can turn off fast booking on Air BnB so that you can approve or reject each guest based on their profile and past ratings. Air BnB also has a thorough verification system in place, which requires guests to upload forms of identification and allows hosts to reject guests who have not been fully vetted.
Once your home is listed on Booking.com, you have no control over who actually stays there. The reservation is immediately accepted once a guest book. This was a significant disadvantage for us as hosts, especially when we shared our apartment with incoming visitors.
2. Lower Air BnB hosting fees
On Air BnB, the price strategy favours hosts, but on Booking.com, it favours visitors. This means that if the same property is listed on both websites, you will often pay less as a guest if you book on Booking.Com, resulting in the host paying more.
If you want to reduce the amount you pay to the platform as a host, Air BnB is unquestionably the best alternative.
3. Air BnB's payment process has been streamlined.
The payment process is incredibly efficient, which is one of the major benefits for Air BnB hosts. When a guest books a house through Air BnB, they are usually charged right away. After the visitors check in to the property, the payment is released to the host.
On Booking.com, guests can pay in cash, which makes it more difficult for the host to collect payment. If hosts wish to get money as quickly as possible, they must either collect payments manually or wait until once a month to receive them via bank transfer.
The Advantages of Booking.com for Hosts
1. Gaining access to a larger market
Booking.com and comparable hotel booking platforms have traditionally been used by a larger market, but Air BnB has traditionally been utilised by a specific type of traveller.
This means that if you're a host in a less-frequented location, listing on Booking.com will almost certainly provide you access to a far broader pool of possible guests. While we never experienced this issue in London, it is definitely something to think about depending on your location.
The Verdict on Air BnB vs. Booking.com for Hosts
If you're selecting between Booking.com and Air BnB as a host, for the reasons stated above, I recommend Air BnB as your primary platform. If you want to reach out to more people, listing on Booking.Com is a smart alternative, but you'll need to stay on top of synchronizing availability across the two platforms.