We’re all planning our next vacation, and some aspects of travel will most likely change the next time you pack your bags. Few things, however, are as exciting as planning a trip to a new location, and with the rise of Airbnb, travelers have more options for lodging than ever.
But how do you choose between Airbnb and a hotel? You may be concerned about Airbnb scams or high hotel prices, but ultimately, where you stay depends on the type of vacation you want to have and ultimately how you like to travel and experience a place.
Both types of accommodation have advantages and disadvantages, and this blog outlines some of the most important considerations in the never-ending Airbnb vs. hotel debate.
History of Airbnb
Airbnb began as a light-bulb moment, when friends Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia put an air mattress in their living room and offered a bed and breakfast for hosting short-term guests who couldn’t afford to book a hotel. It quickly expanded to become AirBed & Breakfast.
The pair, who met in college at the Rhode Island School of Design, thought working as designer tour guides would be a fun way to make money. They couldn’t afford their rent in San Francisco. It all started with an email: Gebbia sent Chesky an idea: what if they turned their loft into a designer’s bed and breakfast, complete with a sleeping mat and breakfast?
They made a website, purchased three air mattresses for their loft. They quickly realized the potential of their idea and teamed up with an old roommate, Nathan Blecharczyk, to turn it into a business. Many years later, it has grown to be a multibillion-dollar corporation.
Diversity in accommodation types
When it comes to what accommodations can provide, Airbnb frequently outperforms the competition for a wide range of travelers, including self-sufficient families and digital nomads.
Airbnb is the world’s largest home-sharing service, connecting private homeowners with people looking to rent their space. All of these stays can be found using an online tool similar to those used by most hotel chains, where you can search by destination and price range. Hotel suites match some of these amenities, but they cost more than a standard room.
Airbnbs, on the other hand, usually provide residential-style amenities like living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, laundry facilities, and, in some cases, a private parking space. These spaces, like hotels, provide a place to sleep, host different guests regularly, and are cleaned in between uses. While extended stay brands in the hotel industry are intended to cater to this customer, they lack the more spacious comforts of some residential Airbnb properties.
Which is the cheaper option?
Looking for a low-budget place to stay? Many travelers believe that hotels are more expensive than Airbnbs, but lodging prices vary depending on the city. It’s a good idea to look into hotel and Airbnb prices in your destination before making a reservation.
If all other factors are equal, loyalty programs are one perk that can significantly influence your choice. Many people are addicted to the ability to accumulate and redeem points for hotel stays, and Airbnb does not have a comprehensive loyalty program. Every dollar you spend at participating hotels will earn you points through a hotel loyalty program, and you’ll get extra points if you have elite status with the company or use a credit card with its logo.
Since you can later use them to pay for other stays, accumulating these points can significantly increase the value of your trip in the long run. Hotels can be the best value when you factor in any perks from elite statuses, like free breakfast or room upgrades.
Tip: Airbnb hosts may be open to negotiating prices depending on demand and the number of nights. You might be able to bargain for a lower rate if you intend to stay for a long time.
Do you prefer blending into the local community?
Close to nightlife, dining options, and tourist attractions, you will find many hotels. However, Airbnb is a better option if you want to blend in with the locals who live there. For the duration of your stay, reserving an Airbnb apartment or room in a house makes you a local.
Like everyone else, you’ll go to the same supermarkets, eat at the same eateries, and lock your front door behind you when you leave in the morning. This strategy also gives you the chance to explore a less-touristy (yet charming) neighborhood, which can be useful for getting a true sense of a city’s everyday life as opposed to just its highlights.
Some hotels are accommodating to guests even with standard cancellation policies in the event of unforeseen circumstances (like a sudden illness). The cancellation and refund policies of Airbnb hosts are frequently set by them and are made clear on the listing page as well as during the booking process. Additionally, you can search for listings with a free cancellation option and find listings with both nonrefundable and refundable price options.
While there are a few extenuating circumstances for which Airbnb offers cancellation policies, each person’s experience will vary depending on the circumstances. Hotels are more flexible and accommodating when it comes to cancellation in cases of unforeseen circumstances.
It depends! Hotels are easy to find, have no chores, and have assistance available by calling the front desk. However, you will likely spend more on lodging and meals. Airbnbs are private, frequently less expensive, and allow you to live like a local while saving money on food.
However, you must do your homework on neighborhoods and transportation, and their range of amenities and services can occasionally be less reliable than that of hotels. Finding a place that meets your requirements and preferences is key to finding a great accommodation option. In either case, you’ll enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience at your new destination.
This article was initially published by Trip Dhow.