In 2020, Airbnb Inc. executed one of the largest public offerings of the year, despite its presence within a sector that has been hit incredibly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, during its first earnings as a public company, the travel booking website lost nearly $4 billion. Despite this, it actually performed better than the likes of Booking.com and Expedia when it came to bookings and revenue.
Airbnb has really been tested during the pandemic. At the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, new bookings on the service were down 85%, which is hardly surprising when you consider it was literally impossible for Airbnb’s hosts to welcome guests through their doors.
As we head deeper into 2021 and lockdown restrictions ease, this poses an important question for accommodation business owners: what alternatives are there to Airbnb, beyond the usual raft of OTAs?
The good news is that there are quite a few, and now, more than ever, it’s a great time to try out some alternatives to Airbnb.
Why go for something other than Airbnb?
It’s important to spread your wings online when it comes to booking sources. We’re not suggesting that you should drop Airbnb altogether. Far from it; their resilience during the pandemic reveals a company which is strong enough to ride even the toughest of storms.
Airbnb has created a huge industry which offers travellers and holidaymakers an alternative to hotels and hostels. The home sharing economy is now huge, and we need look no further than Airbnb’s own growth to realise why it’s in such high demand.
Since its launch in August 2008, Airbnb has grown to process nearly 200 million bookings each year. As a result, plenty of alternatives have sprung up, and they demand further exploration.
6 Airbnb alternatives to try out
There are far more Airbnb alternatives out there than you might think, but to save you some time, we’ve sniffed around and picked out what we think are the six most deserving of your attention.
1. Tripping.com Operating in 190 countries, Tripping.com has become one of the main destinations for people looking for vacation rentals in the likes of New York, Berlin, San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro.
It’s been around nearly as long as Airbnb and has around eight million properties listed across 150,000 destinations. Some people refer to it as the “Kayak for long-term rentals”, which is a pretty accurate description. Tripping.com is backed by a team that knows its stuff, too. Founded by a former StubHub employee, the website has since partnered with Booking.com, TripAdvisor and FlipKey to offer a compelling user experience.
2. Vrbo Once known as HomeAway, Vrbo confidently tells its audience that it’ll provide “a better holiday”. Simple. And it does this by focusing on family-friendly destinations and hosts.
One of the biggest differences between Vrbo and Airbnb is that it only allows full properties to be listed. Therefore, unlike Airbnb, hosts can’t advertise availability for single rooms or annexes - there’s no such thing as sharing when it comes to a Vrbo property.
Therefore, if your accommodation business is based around offering longer stays for families, and you’re able to let out the entire property, Vrbo is definitely worth a look.
3. Casamundo Although you may never have heard of it, Casamundo is a very large booking platform which brings together around 400,000 vacation homes from across the globe.
It’s actually been around a lot longer than Airbnb, too, having been founded in 2003. Since then, Casamundo has established itself as one of the leading providers of individual vacation rentals in Europe and is a big player in Germany.
Casamundo has been a firm fixture in the market not least because of its focus on guest satisfaction, but it also works hard to provide personalised holiday recommendations to its large list of regular bookers. It could be a great option for you.
4. Wimdu If you’re looking for a fierce Airbnb competitor, look no further than Wimdu.
With around 300,000 properties to its name and a massive user base of over one million registered guests, it really deserves the attention of hosts. Wimdu has been particularly successful in focusing on a smaller subset of the market by establishing itself as the go-to holiday rental option in Europe. It’s seen as a great option for short-term rentals and the booking process is impressively fast.
5. onefinestay Offering an upmarket, expensive retreat? Then your property probably should be on onefinestay. In fact, it’s likely to provide you with more guests than Airbnb if that’s your market positioning.
Based in London and owned by AccorHotels Group, onefinestay boasts around 10,000 luxury holiday rental homes in major cities throughout the world. One look at the price-per-night of its featured hosts, and you’ll recognise immediately that this isn’t for cheap getaways.
There’s a team of helpful staff behind the online booking platform, and onefinestay even offers a ‘Higher Living’ concierge program which provides personalised guest services.
If you’re in the luxury game, get your property listed on onefinestay as soon as possible.
6. FlipKey Owned by TripAdvisor, FlipKey is arguably one of the most prominent Airbnb competitors.
Proving both domestic and international options, the properties on offer at FlipKey are very similar to Airbnb, and their ‘free to list’ option has enabled the site to quickly amass a collection of over 300,000 properties.
As you’d guess, it features strong integration with TripAdvisor, which means you’ll be exposing your property to a simply colossal number of potential guests (around 340 million, to be exact).
Providing you can keep your TripAdvisor listing in good shape, FlipKey could become a serious provider of new bookings for you.
Of course, all of the above companies take their cut of the profits in return for the use of their platforms and the marketing reach that they offer.
Once a customer has booked with you using one of the above services, make sure you capture their data so that they can rebook directly through you, or even refer their friends and family. You can even offer a discount to incentivise.