Comparison of Booking.com/Airbnb for Vacation Rental Owners

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 20, 2024

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Comparison of Booking.com/Airbnb for Vacation Rental Owners

Airbnb Management Services by Houst | Short-Term Rental Experts

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Houst is a leading property management company specialising in short-term and medium-term bookings in eight countries. With over 7 years of experience and managing over 300,000 bookings, we help homeowners make the most of their properties.

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Turning part or all of your property into a vacation rental is an awesome way to earn extra cash, especially if you love hosting. It's also a fantastic way to dip your toes into real estate without breaking the bank.

Once you've decided on the rental space and the vibe you want to create, the next step is to list your property. With many local and international options, it can be confusing for newcomers, which can deter property owners from getting started.

While Airbnb might seem like the obvious choice, Booking.com, now the largest vacation rental platform in the world, is a strong competitor.

In this article, we’ll compare Booking.com vs Airbnb to help you determine which platform best fits you.

Table of Contents

How to Create an Account and Listing on Booking.com vs Airbnb

Vacation property owners renting on Airbnb often look for user-friendly platforms to list their properties and start earning. Here’s a comparison of how to set up your account and listings on both Booking.com and Airbnb:

Airbnb

Creating an Airbnb account is straightforward. Visit the Airbnb website, click on “Sign up,” and create an account using your email, phone number, Facebook, Google, or Apple ID.

To list your property, provide essential details about your rental, upload photos, choose your cancellation policy, and set your preferred payment method. Airbnb’s interface is intuitive and includes prompts to streamline the listing process.

Booking.com

Listing on Booking.com is complex. You need to select a cancellation policy, set up a payment processor account, and enable credit card acceptance for guest payments. Specify if your property is a single unit or multiple rooms. Keep in mind that Booking.com might list each room separately.

Also, your listing requires confirmation from Booking.com before it goes live, which can deter some hosts due to the setup's complexity. Despite this, the effort pays off once bookings start rolling in.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: How Do the Guests Differ?

Both Airbnb and Booking.com cater to travellers looking for vacation rentals, but they attract different kinds of guests with distinct preferences.

Airbnb Guests

Airbnb guests are all about authentic experiences. They love finding rentals that feel like a "home away from home." These travellers want unique places where they can live like locals. Flexibility is also a big deal for them. 

Most Airbnb users are Millennials who enjoy sharing their adventures with friends. They're drawn to themed houses, cosy forest cabins, yurts, and even castles, anything that offers a one-of-a-kind, Instagram-worthy experience. 

Booking.com Guests

Booking.com started by focusing on hotels, resorts, and lodges but is now adding vacation rentals. Guests on Booking.com usually have high expectations and include older travellers and families. They prioritise location, convenience, amenities, breakfast options, on-site restaurants, easy transportation access, and low noise levels.

Airbnb vs. Booking.com: Which Platform Is More Expensive?

Both Airbnb and Booking.com charge rental owners service fees for each booking they receive. As a host, it’s crucial to understand the costs associated with using each platform.

Airbnb Fees (including Host-Only fee)

Airbnb has two service fees: the Split Fee and the Host-Only Fee. The Split Fee is split between guests and hosts. Guests usually pay between 14% to 16% of the total booking amount, while hosts pay around 3% to Airbnb.

The Airbnb Host-Only Fee ranges from 14% to 16% of the booking rate. It is mandatory for hosts in most countries outside the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Argentina, Taiwan, and Uruguay, but hosts in these countries can choose whether to implement it.

Despite initial concerns, Airbnb introduced this fee to streamline pricing transparency, aiming to increase booking rates. Hosts can adjust their daily rates or offer additional services to offset this cost.

Booking.com Service Fee

Depending on the location, Booking.com charges property owners a commission rate, typically between 10% to 25%. The average commission rate is around 15%. Unlike Airbnb, Booking.com does not charge guests any commission fees.

Hosts on Booking.com can charge guests extra fees, like cleaning or service fees, in addition to the 15% commission rate. 

How Do the Cancellation Policies Compare?

When it comes to cancellation policies, there are notable differences between Booking.com Airbnb.

Airbnb Cancellation Policies

Airbnb offers six cancellation policies for vacation rental owners to choose from:

  • Flexible
  • Moderate
  • Strict
  • Super Strict (30 Days)
  • Super Strict (60 Days)
  • Long-term

Each policy varies in terms of the timeframe guests can cancel and receive a refund. Hosts have the flexibility to select the policy that best suits their needs and preferences.

Booking.com Cancellation Policies

On Booking.com, the options for cancellation policies are more streamlined:

  • Guests pay during their stay and can cancel for free within a specified timeframe.
  • Hosts can decide the cancellation charges if guests cancel after a certain date.
  • Guests are charged the full amount if they cancel, make changes, or are a no-show.

Also, hosts on Booking.com can choose to:

  • Charge a deposit
  • Charge a prepayment
  • Pre-authorize a hold

Unlike Airbnb, Booking.com's cancellation policies provide less structure for vacation rentals, requiring hosts to research and configure settings that best fit their listings.

How Does Ranking Work on Airbnb and Booking.com?

Ever wondered how your vacation rental gets noticed on Airbnb and Booking.com? Let’s see:

Airbnb Ranking

Your placement in Airbnb’s search results depends on relevance, the quality of your listing (title, description, photos, and amenities), and your hosting history (response rate, guest reviews, and booking acceptance rate).

Striving for excellence can earn you a coveted Superhost status, which boosts your visibility even more. 

Booking.com Ranking

Booking.com takes a slightly different approach. Their rankings cater to the preferences of each traveller. Factors like your Guest Review score, Property page score, cancellation rates, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Conversion rate all come into play. It’s a bit more technical, with Booking.com offering a ranking dashboard that gives you insights into your performance metrics.

Should You List Your Vacation Rental on Multiple Channels like Airbnb and Booking.com?

To maximize your property's visibility and booking potential, consider listing your vacation rental on multiple platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb. Hosts who list on both platforms report higher average bookings per month compared to those who list exclusively on either platform. Using multiple channels can increase your property's exposure and help you achieve higher occupancy and revenue throughout the year.

Conclusion 

Listing your rental property on both Airbnb and Booking.com is a smart move for maximising bookings, which is a widely adopted strategy in the vacation rental industry.

However, managing listings on both platforms can be demanding and time-consuming. That’s where vacation rental management companies like Houst come in, they help lighten the load.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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