Hotel...or AirBnB? That is the question that many travellers are asking themselves as they prepare for another voyage. Hotels have been around for a reliably long time, yet the success of AirBnB since its conception in 2008 has left a lot of heads spinning when navigating the endless possibilities of travel accommodation.
What is the difference?
The main distinction between these two types of accommodation is that a hotel is an establishment where multiple people can stay short term, whereas AirBnB offers home comforts in (often but not always) private accommodation, which started from members renting out their homes. Both offer privacy, but hotels tend to have more amenities and onsite facilities, AirBnB on the other hand capitalizes on offering a home away from home- in someone else’s home- with thousands and thousands of listings marketed as self-catering.
Starting with AirBnB, we have to acknowledge that there is a significant attraction to having your own space. For example, if travelling for work, there might be nothing more pleasing than having a space to cook, relax and sleep but all with their own separate areas. AirBnB also offers travellers a lot of flexibility; many listings around the world cite modifiable arrival and check out times, which is particularly useful for travellers wanting to book last minute flights, or who have transportation booked for awkward timings of the day. Moreover, AirBnB lists a range of properties, from mansions, earth homes and luxury treehouses. The uniqueness of many of the properties AirBnB advertises on their website is surely an attraction for even the travellers who only desire a roof over their head.
However, the cons of AirBnB are only too easy to find. Notoriously, criminals have abused the trust of global travellers to advertise fake listings or scams which have left people out of pocket. Although, lots of incidents such as these which have been published online were rectified and supported by AirBnB, there is nothing worse to sour a holiday than having secure accommodation ripped away. In addition, when staying in someone’s house that is not a professional listing, cleanliness could be an issue. As well as the hosts, which could play a major factor in travellers’ choices if choosing to rent a room in a private property as opposed to a hotel.
Hotels can be a wonderful option for travel accommodation due to their reliability. Even the most basic of hotels will have the necessary amenities, and it is common for hotels to list what exactly is included in the room. With so many global websites to peruse millions of hotels around the world, it can be a blessing to be able to simply book a trustworthy hotel knowing it will have everything a traveller needs. Depending on the type of traveller, hotels can offer reassurance in providing food services- which is fantastic if you do not have time in the morning to find a good breakfast spot or you are in need of room service after a late check in. Hotels do what they say on the tin, and travellers can sleep in peace knowing that hotel proprietors are held to certain standards with regards to safety and guest wellbeing.
However, hotels are still businesses and therefore now with people surging to travel post-covid 19 there has been a hike in prices. You pay for the luxury to sleep next door to other travellers. Lots of hotels can be quite rigid with their check-in in and out times, with some charging extra for the request for flexibility. Another consideration should be to investigate whether the facilities listed are open and available for use during the dates you plan to stay there. It is usual for swimming pools to be closed during off season, and even roof terraces to be shut during the winter months depending on the location you choose to travel to.
Which is cheaper?
This is a fairly hard question to answer because this depends entirely on individual needs and the travel destination. For example, from comparing costs in capital cities such as London or Madrid, it is far cheaper for a solo traveller to rent a room in an AirBnB than it is to rent a room in a hotel. For a group, it might prove cheaper to rent an AirBnB together rather than pay for individual rooms. But luxury homes listed on AirBnB can cost a fair amount, particularly as the hosts control the pricing. If you want to go to a certain destination, then you need to research if there are any major events or festivities at that location as this could indicate when will be the most expensive time to visit.
Cost is relative to what you want. If you want to be pampered, with the opportunity to make a phone call for someone to collect your dry cleaning then paying for a hotel and all its wonders is the right choice for you. Contrastingly, if you are looking for a quiet and private escape whilst travelling without the hassle of cohabiting with other people, then renting a whole place on AirBnb is probably the best option for you.
Long Story Short…
There is no clear answer to which is better: Hotels or AirBnB? That is because it is entirely your own opinion and wants that matter when making choices regarding travel accommodation. It is recommended that you at least consider what you desire from the place that will form your base during your vacations and how that might fit into your budget. Maybe if you are travelling for a longer period of time, you might want to try a mix of the two allowing yourself to experience the customer service highlights of hotels but also the freedom to be independent and stretch out in a space of your own with AirBnB.
Written by Louise Knapp