I’m not going to lie, we’ve used AirBnB a lot. We’ve found it to be an excellent way to find accommodation all around the world in lodgings that range from quirky to palatial, from budget to princely. But that doesn’t mean we don’t also keep the various AirBnB alternatives in mind when travelling and booking accommodation, and in this post we’re going share our favourite alternatives with you.
If you’re new to the world of peer to peer accommodation, take a look at Jess’s guide to using AirBnB, which will answer all your questions about both AirBnB, and the majority of other peer to peer accommodation sites like AirBnB.
So why would you want an alternative to AirBnB? Well, the thing is, AirBnB has become somewhat a victim of its own success. There’s plenty of choice, but prices (and AirBnB’s fees) have definitely started to increase since we started to use the platform in 2012. In fact, often AirBnB works out more expensive than getting a reasonable hotel. In addition, at busy times, properties can book out a long time in advance.
In some cases, it’s also become quite the industry, losing the personal touch as landlords cash in, meaning the only human interaction you get is when you get your keys at the beginning of your stay, often from an apartment concierge rather than the actual host or owner.
With this in mind, we thought a handy guide to some of the best AirBnB alternatives would be helpful. There’s a lot of choice out there, and if you’re finding AirBnB to be a bit more expensive, or not quite the experience you remember it to be, we’ve got you covered.
AirBnB is not the only accommodation game in town. Here are some of our favourite sites like AirBnB to get you started, which includes a couple of curveballs you might not have expected.
Many of these sites also have their own apps, like AirBnB, so if you prefer to use an app for apartment rentals that’s also an option.
If you’re looking for holiday accommodation in the UK and Ireland, we can also recommend reading our guide to the best websites for booking holiday homes in the UK, which has a lot of UK and Ireland specific websites, tips and advice.
First up in my list of AirBnB alternatives is Vrbo (UK version here), or Vacation Rentals by Owner. Whilst perhaps not as well known as AirBnB, these guys have over a million properties on their books and have been operating since 1996, a full 12 years longer than AirBnB.
The Vrbo model is a little different though, as they only rent out vacation properties. This means it’s not a hosted experience, and generally works best for families or groups of four or more looking for a slightly longer stay – although there are certainly many properties suited to couples. Originally, Vrbo didn’t charge guests a service / booking fee, passing this to the host instead, but they changed that in 2016, adding a booking fee to bookings.
Otherwise, the products are fairly similar. AirBnB offers a slightly slicker user experience, but it is much more popular. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on AirBnB, then definitely give Vrbo / Vrbo UK a try.
If you’re a property owner Vrbo have two different models – either you can pay an annual fee, or you can list for free and pay a fee per booking. Sign up as an owner on Vrbo USA here, or Vrbo UK here.
Like I said, a couple of curveballs. Remember when people stayed in hotels, and someone would come to make your bed and clean your room? Sure, we love apartments, but every now and then, you just want a hotel.
And the best place generally, we’ve found, for getting a great deal in any hotel anywhere in the world, tends to be booking.com.
But, what you might not have realised, is that Booking.com also list homes and apartments. So if you’re already a fan of the site and want to keep using it for your apartment booking, you can.
They are normally our go-to choice for hotel bookings when we travel – we find they have a great choice, the site is easy to use, and the prices are usually the best. So definitely worth trying for your apartment hunt too!
We’ve used them to book apartments all around the world, and appreciate the easy search filters and comprehensive review system from people who have experienced the properties.
For property owners, it’s free to list on Booking.com, with a fee applied per booking. You can sign up as an owner using this link.
3. The Plum Guide
If you like the idea of AirBnB but are worried that such a variety of choice means there could be a lack of quality, then you will want to check out the Plum Guide.
The Plum Guide accept less than 5% of the properties that apply to be on their site, and they personally vet every single one against over 150 criteria. Everything from shower pressure to the quality of the linen is tested. So you know the quality of every property will be high.
Of course, this does mean that there is a reduced choice, but the good news is that they still have plenty of homes to choose from in destinations around the world, across a range of budgets.
You can read our detailed Plum Guide review to learn more about this service and our experiences using it.
If you’re a property owner, it’s free to apply to list your property on The Plum Guide, however you do have to get through a stringent vetting process first. Once approved, there’s a one-time membership fee due on your first booking, which covers the cost of the vetting process, and then there’s a small commission charged on bookings. If you think your property has what it takes, you can register here.
4. Agoda Homes
Agoda is a well known portal for hotel bookings, but they also have an apartment rental offering known as Agoda Homes.
This lists apartments, vacation rentals, private villas and bungalows, and there are almost a million properties to choose from. So you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
If you’re a property owner, it’s also free to list your property on Agoda, which will put your property in the Agoda search engine. Property owners can register here.
For me, Homestay is what AirBnB was supposed to be. It’s a genuinely hosted experience, meaning you always stay in a hosts home. This means you get a genuine, local experience, with the feeling of living with a local. We’ve used Homestay in locations around the world, including Paris, Savannah and London, and have always had a wonderful experience.
It is worth mentioning that there are a few downsides to Homestay – the main one being availability. Whilst they have properties in over 150 countries, they don’t have the choice of somewhere like AirBnB (although the same can be said for nearly every AirBnB alternative on this list!).
For example, we tried to find accommodation in New Orleans on our recent trip there, and there were hundreds of locations on AirBnB, and less than ten on Homestay.
Of course, the number of properties available is always growing, and there are a great many listed on Homestay that you just won’t find anywhere else, like this place we stayed at in London. So if you want a truly hosted experience, this is definitely the place to start your search. In addition, all Homestay properties include breakfast, which is a serious win in my book.
If you’re a property owner, it’s free to list on Homestay. Do bear in mind that Homestay is a hosted experience, so is by definition a bit more hands on. If that sounds good to you, you can sign up as a Homestay host here.
Sonder is different from AirBnB in that they actually lease or own every property they list, and manage them directly.
This means that they have full control over the standard of every apartment, and can ensure every property they list meets their standards. They also guarantee certain amenities and services, such as WiFi, towels and bedding, high quality coffee and contactless check-in.
Sonder also offer both short term rentals and longer term stays, meaning they are a good option if you are looking for a longer term apartment rental option.
Sonder have properties in 27 cities around the world, with over 8,500 options to choose from. They range from the mid-range to the luxury, and basically offer the convenience of cleanliness of a good hotel stay, with the flexibility of an apartment rental.
For property owners, Sonder do accept applications if you want a hands-off approach to renting your property. They will lease your property from you, so you don’t have to worry about bookings, cleaning or anything else. It’s a good option if you just want a consistent income. You can find out more at this link.
Another option to consider if you’re looking for longer term apartment rental is Blueground. They specialise in stays of 30 days or longer for folks looking for fully furnished apartments.
They don’t actually own the apartments, but they do handle all the furnishings and interior design of the properties they offer so you can be assured of the quality. Properties come ready to go with WiFi, linens/towels, fully equipped kitchen and toiletries.
This is a great option if you’re between properties, thinking of the digital nomad life, or simply want to skip the hassle of buying furniture somewhere you don’t know if you’ll be staying forever.
Blueground have over 5,000 properties in 18 cities around the world in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Definitely worth checking out if you want a longer vacation rental.
For property owners. Blueground will rent your property from you for a fixed monthly income, which is a great option if you want to skip the hassle of finding tenants or handling a high turnover of guests. You can sign up as a host here.
8. House Sitting
Paying to stay somewhere is all well and good, but what if you could live all around the world, entirely for free? Sounds impossible? Well, it isn’t, thanks to the concept of house sitting.
The way this works is that people who own houses occasionally want to leave them and go on trips. These can be for any length of time from a few days to weeks or even months.
Rather than their houses sitting empty, they offer them up to people to stay in, usually entirely for free, in return for looking after the property, tending the garden, and generally keeping in in order.
In many cases, they will also have pets that they want looking after – putting a pet into a boarding house for a prolonged preiod of time can be expensive, so house sitting is a win-win situation.
There are lots of house sitting options out there – one of the biggest and most popular communities to join is TrustedHousesitters. There is a fee to join, but once you’re in, you’ll have a world of choice when it comes to free accommodation around the world! Pretty cool.
For property owners, there’s an annual subscription required to list your home, and you have to be a member of the TrustedHouseSitter community. Sign up as an owner using this link.
9. Homes and Villas by Marriott Bonvoy
Marriott are one of the more well known international hotel brands, with properties all around the world. They also operate their own vacation rental platform, Homes and Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, which has private properties available for rent in over 45 countries worldwide.
All the homes which are listed are managed by a premium property management company. The homes all come with fast WiFi, professional cleaning, 24/7 support for any issues and premium linens and amenities. Another benefit is that if you are a Marriott Bonvoy member you can earn and redeem Marriott points on stays at their vacation rental properties.
So if you were looking for a vacation rental where you can earn reward points, this is a great option!
For property owners, in order to be listed on the Homes and Villas site you need to be registered with one of the home management companies Marriott works with. You can contact Marriott to find the appropriate company for your area.
10. RV Sharing Sites
This one’s a bit off the wall, but have you considered a campervan / RV rental instead of an apartment? This will give you the flexibility to sleep in various locations, cook for yourself and generally have a flexible approach to your trip.
If this sounds good, we recommend you try out a company like RVShare. This is a peer to peer rental agency. This means you are renting from people who own an RV, and who are letting it out when they aren’t using it. Basically, they’re like the AirBnB of RV rental!
As well as RVSjare, you can also look at PaulCamper, RVEzy, GoBoony and Outdoorsy. These offer a similar concept, but they cover different regions and have different inventory, so are all worth a look.
Of course, you might prefer a traditional camper rental option. In that case we recommend Motorhome Republic, who compare prices across a range of rental companies around the world to find the best price. See their options here.
For RV owners: If you have an RV that you want to make some money off when you’re not using it, you can list it for free on RVShare here, on PaulCamper here, on RVEzy here, on GoBoony here, and Outdoorsy here.
11. TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals
When it comes to travel related reviews, TripAdvisor is probably the first website you think of. However, TripAdvisor offers more than just reviews!
TripAdvisor Rentals have over 800,000 properties listed in 200 countries worldwide, so you will certainly have plenty of options to choose from. Plus obviously there are lots of reviews to read through!
For property owners: If you own a property and want to list it on TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, you can sign up here.
12. Locally Focused and Specialist Websites
All the entries on our list so far offer fairly global coverage with properties all around the world.
However, it’s also worth checking some more locally focused websites which may offer a wider selection, or properties that aren’t available anywhere else. There are also websites which focus on particular types of accommodation.
If you’re planning a trip in the UK for example, there are a number of specialist holiday accommodation providers which primarily focus on properties in the UK and Ireland. Some examples in the UK include:
- Snaptrip – searches a wide range of UK and Ireland specific properties, with over 60,000 to choose from
- Sykes Holiday Cottages – specialize in holiday cottage accommodation across the UK
- Rural Retreats – they have less than 1000 properties on their books, but they have a strong focus on rural locations
See our guide to holiday accommodation booking websites in the UK and Ireland for some more specific examples in the UK and Ireland.
There are more options of course across a range of countries. Top Villas is an example that focuses primarily on the state of Florida for example, whilst Vintage Travel offers villas across Europe, all of which include a pool. Evolve offer apartments across the US primarily, with around 20,000 properties to choose from.
13. Our favourite AirBnb Alternative?
Of all the above, the first place we usually go to when planning a trip is booking.com. We have found that they have the best choice of properties, the search engine is easy to use, and you can filter by all sorts of categories and property features.
The fact that they cover apartments, hostels and hotels, as well as a number of other lodging options, means we nearly always find what we’re looking for at a good price. Definitely worth checking out.
If you’re looking for a platform more like AirBnB but with a focus on something a bit special, check out the Plum Guide. They don’t have quite the worldwide coverage of other providers, but we always check to see if they cover where we are going, as the properties they do have are excellent. We’ve used them a number of times and always had a positive experience. See their listings here.
Well, that about wraps up our guide to some of the best AirBnB alternatives. Hopefully we’ve given you lots of sites and apps like AirBnB to choose from for your next vacation rental.
For more AirBnB alternatives, check out Jess’s list of even more sites like AirBnB if the above weren’t enough!
We hope our guide to some of our favourite alternatives to AirBnB has helped you find the perfect property for your next trip! Before you head off on your adventure though, we wanted to share some other content we think you’ll find useful.
- If you’re planning a trip in the UK, see our guide to the best holiday cottage websites in the UK and Ireland.
- We have a comprehensive list of vacation rental websites for worldwide travel too
- We have a lot of content on travel in the UK to inspire your next trip. Check out our 2 week UK road trip itinerary, 1 week UK road trip itinerary, 7 day North Coast 500 road trip itinerary, and Highlands and Skye itinerary to get you started
- Visitors to the UK will likely want to know the cost of travel in the UK, as well as some tips for driving in the UK
- We have multiple city guides, including things to do in Edinburgh, how to spend 3 days in London, things to do in Portsmouth, things to do in Cambridge, things to do in Bristol, things to do in Aberdeen, things to do in Glasgow, things to do in Belfast and a 2 day Dublin itinerary
- Those of you travelling in the USA might enjoy our California Road Trip itinerary, Route 66 itinerary, Deep South itinerary and tips for driving in the USA.
And that’s it for our guide to our favourite AirBnB alternatives! We hope you found it useful. As always, we’re open to your feedback and questions – just pop them in the comments below. Safe travels!
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Brenda wilson says
Great article. Thanks for sharing. I found a lot of new info.
Laurence Norah says
My pleasure Brenda! Safe travels 🙂
Gramps (Bob) Rodkin says
What an absolutely amazing article. Found several tips/suggestions I’m eager to follow up on. Love your lifestyle and will be following along on Facebook and email subscription. So happy to have found you. Thanks for posting this…
Bob, aka ‘Gramps’
Laurence Norah says
Thanks so much Bob, that is much appreciated! Do always feel free to reach out if you have any questions, we’re always happy to help!
Laurene & Jess
Uhhhmmmm. That would be a big no for me. I have thoroughly read these suggestions and visited and searched every site to compare for my upcoming trip. None of the alternatives to AirBNB offered here were as user friendly or offered the selection in filters. Maybe it’s a culture difference? But several of these sites seem to be based outside the US, which is fine, except they did not offer a filter or any way to prefer a pool. A pool on vacation is a must for us. Also, for the very few exceptions where I was able to find an acceptable place available on one of these sites, they were all outrageously more expensive than AirBNB. I’ll pass.
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! So obviously different sites have different layouts, and focus on different things. I did check Vrbo, Plumguide and Booking.com to start with, and Vrbo has the option to filter both by access to a pool and private pool. Plum Guide has pages dedicated to properties with pools in different countries, such as this one for the US. Booking.com has a whole range of filters, including swimming pools. Of course, when using an unfamiliar site it can take a bit of time to get used to the interface and the way things are laid out, but I would say that if a pool is important then the three sites I checked first definitely allow for that.
I would agree that different sites focus on different things, some offering a more hosted experience like Homestay, others more similar to AirBnB, like Vrbo or Plumguide. Some are also stronger or weaker in terms of coverage of different parts of the world. Of course, if you are happy with AirBnB then stick with it!
Bjorn Nielsen says
I have been an Airbnb host for 5 years with many nice experiences. In november last year Airbnb announced their Covid concept and started to push hosts to agree. It is quite a bit overkill, like you need full cover to clean so it becomes very time intensive and you agree to have mask in all shared areas in your house. This is not the way you like to live. Now Airbnb have started to lock calenders for non agreeing hosts and make it hard for them to log in. So many hosts that offered shared living have left and the price level on the extisting stays are much higher as it is own apartments or houses. Now Airbnb is not offering shared living where you have your private room to sleap. The difference between them and booking.com, hotels.com is very small. They are just a bit more expensive as they charge more
Laurence Norah says
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. We too have started using AirBnB less, there are so many other options out there now, many of which offering better value as you say!
Have a good 2021
Benjamin Bot says
I’ve been renting short term for 2 years on Airbnb and VRBO and been really enjoying the experience and meeting wonderful ppl. I was recently permanently banned by Airbnb because a few guest didn’t rate above 4 stars. I host in a very rural area not really known for vacations, but ppl come here or are brought here because of family or manufacturing jobs are plenty here and there is a shortage of hotels. I had no issues with VRBO, I would have about equal bookings from both sites. It just really hurts to be dropped all of a sudden when you thought you had a partner. Your article really helped me to find other sources for host and guests to be able to find each other, and I feel better moving on, thank you so much
Laurence Norah says
Sorry to hear about your experience with AirBnB. Honestly, their rating system seems really messed up to me. I don’t know the point of having a 5 star system if anything under a 5 is considered bad. They might as well replace it with a binary good/bad option! Guests often don’t understand the important of the 5* rating, and how badly a 4* rating can impact a host. I’ve heard stories of guests conflating it with the hotel rating system – thinking the AirBnB was like a 3* hotel, so they give it three stars!
I am at least pleased to have been able to help you find alternatives. There are lots of other great options out there, and I hope you continue to enjoy hosting and doing well with your property 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.
Karen Garner says
Hi there, was looking for 2021 Mardi Gras info. Got to your site. Really wonderful. I was so enthralled, I read for about 2 hours, not complaining, just complimenting! Great stuff, a myriad of perspectives & options, you guys are Tres Bonn (sp?) ! Thank you for finding such a delightful way to share your talents & your obvious love of the world and ways to see it. Reading your missives, it feels like we are long time friends! With much gratitude, Karen
Laurence Norah says
Thank you so much for your kind comment – it really means a lot to hear we have connected so well with you 🙂 We sure do love the world an I am thrilled it came through to you in our writing. I hope you found everything you were looking for, and we’re always here if you have any questions! You’re also welcome to come hang out with us in our Facebook group as well 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelloversandphotography
AirBNB and VRBO are the same. They are owned by the same company, operate on the same platform with the same policies and poor customer service.
Unfortunately, the risk for scam and high fees are the same with both websites.
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for your comment. This isn’t actually true though – VRBO is owned by the Expedia Group. AirBnB is an entirely separate company. They don’t share the same platform. It’s possible you are confusing VRBO with the other brands also owned by Expedia, like Homeaway, Orbitz, and Trivago, but AirBnB is definitely not connected to VRBO at the moment.
Sara G says
Vrbo/Homeaway fees just keep climbing. They are a behemoth and are making it more and more expensive for owners and travellers. Such a shame.
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for your comment. This certainly seems to be a common trend, once a platform gains a certain level of market dominance the prices invariably rise. We have certainly observed this with AirBnB, and VRBO appear to be following the same pattern. Thankfully there are still lots of other options out there 🙂
Another great alternative is SabbaticalHomes.com they are a home sharing/swap/rental site with listings in 57 countries world wide. Because it is specifically designed for academics and scholars they have a great community of homeowners and renters, and is available for anyone to use, academic or not!
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for sharing James 🙂
I am a former airbnb host in Australia. When it first started we were fortunate to host some incredible people from all over the world then the Airbnb positive guest profile started to decline rapidly the more popular it became. I quit Airbnb a few years ago here in Australia for a few reasons;when the platform started comparing in same suburb a private room in a shared house to our 2 bedroom house for guests sole use! It bought down the medium recommended price to $85AUS per night for 2 guests! It was going to cost us money. This move was attracting a “backpackers”crowd who would upon checkout would take everything that was not nailed down! Combined with the lack of any negative comments submitted about disrespectful guests that stole items from our house (or guests whom let their kids ride through the house and left tyre marks and handlemark scrapes down our freshly painted hallway) being totally disregarded so other hosts properties would then be open to the possiblty to be abused by said guests ( no accountability) I left them to their cash extracting exercise and gave up! I have since bought a fabulous Beach house on The Great Ocean Rd and am looking for a new platform that allows me to welcome future guests AND offer me some choice on whom I host. Your suggestions are good. I would never of thought to list on Booking.Com – thankyou!
Laurence Norah says
My pleasure Renai, and for sure, the comments you have made are very similar to what we have heard from many other hosts unfortunately. Luckily, there are some great alternatives to AirBnB out there, and we hope your new property does well on booking.com!
I am really sorry to hear your bad experience Renai.
I count myself lucky as after 7 years of Airbnb we had nothing but superb experience. Guests from all around the world, the dining table full of delicious from any country you could name…. I miss those days dearly. We live in Surrey UK and predominantly our guests were young professionals who moved for work purposes and we had amazing time hosting them. From the moment Brexit was announced back in 2016 ( or was it 2017) Airbnb died out in our area. We host via booking.com now and it is totally different experience, most guests stay one/two nights and hosting is not as personal as via Airbnb.
I think pricing it correctly would attract certain clientele and by so demand certain standard vice versus. Best of luck and I can not wait for Airbnb to become active in my area again.
Amanda Ganna says
Great article and also great comments. What has brought me to this awesome site is that we are planning a trip to Colorado for Christmas we are staying 12 nights and bringing our family 8 adults and 3 children. We stayed with Airb&b last Christmas in Estes Park Colorado and had an amazing Christmas we also used them this summer in Greece and in Italy with good experiences. So as I’m searching Airb&b we come across a perfect for us property so it says 1493.58 per night ok so I click further and somehow it’s now $22,550. There is a cleaning fee of $369.00 ok I get it not that bad . Taxes $1898.0 ok (should be in the total from the start) but ok . THEN there is a fee of $2360.00 ?? For service fee ?? Really?? So now I am like doesn’t seem right I’ll just move on . I now go to Expedia just to see what the have I put all my criteria in and press search . Boom low and behold there’s the house . The SAME house but here it’s only $1275.00 per night and the total comes to $17,776.03 there’s an almost $5000.00 difference?? I am completely mind blown at this moment So I research the site that’s the property management company listed on Airb&b and go to their site . All my criteria in and there’s the same house but a different price !!! It’s 2000.00 less then Airb&b but still more then Expedia (Homeaway) I have emailed the “host” on Airb&b and waiting for the reply, we really want the home but I seriously feel like something is just off about this whole situation. Has anyone else experienced this ?
Laurence Norah says
This is something we’ve not personally experienced at this level. Certainly prices vary from site to site, but this variation just seems mad. We have definitely noticed all the fees on AirBnB have increased over our years of using it, hence we decided to come up with this list.
We hope you find a great property at the right price for you!
We (three adults) will only have 2 full days in Paris. We arrive on a Thursday afternoon and depart early afternoon on a Sunday. Could your recommend the best neighborhood to stay in please that is of course close to the metro. We definitely want to go to the Louvre, take a Seine River Cruise and see the most we can in the two full days.
How is the weather generally during the end of October.
Laurence Norah says
The metro is quite widespread in Paris so most areas you stay should be within easy walking distance of the metro. One of my favourite areas to stay is Le Marais, which is easy to get to and from by metro 🙂
In October, the weather in Paris will be cooler, but good for sightseeing. Of course rain is a possibility, and I’d recommend bringing some warmer layers so you can dress appropriately. However, it will also be less crowded compared to the summer months.
Have a great trip!
Thank you for your quick response.
Way to go on this post man. Really interesting stuff. I’ll be back to read your other posts.
Laurence Norah says
Chris Pratt says
A really easy alternative for property owners is Neighbor.com! Think Airbnb, but for storage. You don’t have to deal with potentially rude renters staying in your house and it is free to list your empty space. My wife and I have been using it for over a year now and have loved it.
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for sharing this tip Chris!
http://www.gowithoh.co.uk/ go with oh is OH NO more… dead… RIP
Laurence Norah says
Thanks very much! I’ve updated the post 🙂
Maple Leaf says
I joined airbnb in October 2016 and have been a super host ever since. On my airbnb profile I did make it very clear that there was a surveillance camera in my living room facing the hallway from the entrance, though it had never been connected.
I live in a three-level townhome in Surrey, BC, and having a “smile, you are on camera” sign to unexpected visitors is always a good idea.
However, recently, two airbnb guests stayed at my place for 9 days. After they had checked out, they sent me a message requesting a full refund, claiming that they did not see the camera until the last day.
I contacted airbnb immediately hoping that they could solve this issue with fairness. However, someone from airbnb customer experience contacted me multiple times to inform me of an investigation in progress. Today, this case manager sent me a message, saying that after a review of my account, airbnb had deactivated my account permanently. She claimed in a follow-up message that I disclosed on my profile the surveillance camera “in a private area.” This accusation is totally a falsehood, as anyone can see on my profile, I have made it very clear that the camera is set in the living room.
I find this decision totally arbitrary, unfair, and devastating. But this case manager claimed that this decision was final and that airbnb would not reconsider it.
Laurence Norah says
Sorry to hear about your experience 🙁 I hope you able to at least find another platform to share your home on!
John Abrams says
Forgive me for asking but how can you be a `superhost` from the start of joining Air BnB. I’ve had a bad experience as a guest one of the owners saying that I took towels. Why would I do such a thing? He was a `superhost` too. Although I’ve had more good than bad experiences I wonder if Air BnB is now eating itself? There doesn’t seem the nice contact that I once experienced and it seems just the same as a hotel without even a receptionist with a smile.
I think I will go back to EBAB.
I feel the same as a lot of hosts here. However, I was doing a homestay type rental and living in the same space, and at one point I got some horrible guests who lied about where they were from and wrote a bad review despite the fact that they had refused to let me improve their situation. It hurt me so badly that I quit, even though I had gotten many good reviews up to that point. The problem was that AirBNB does not allow open criticism of guest situations after they have written their review. More recently, you are also not allowed to choose who will stay in your home. I don’t rent out an apartment, I rent out my room and am female. These were two very rude, chauvinistic men from Iran who said they were Swedish. I tried my best with them and was always polite and supportive, but I got garbage in return for my kindness and that’s why I quit AirBNB. I think that as a person living in the house with my guests, I should have the right to say whether I want a males or a females, and choose people based on whatever I feel like discriminating against. Maybe that isn’t PC, but it is a simple reality. You don’t want to live with just anyone, even for a night. I have heard some other horror stories, too…
I used to do couchsurfing.com , and that was fun but it did not help pay any bills because there is no money involved.
I guess I will try Homestay.com and see if things work out better.
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for sharing your experience Pia – I hope Homestay works out for you!
Pia, I appreciate your comment! I was just telling my husband that if I was a single female host, I would probably feel comfortable hosting most women and children as well as husband/wife, but I would not be comfortable with having men I didn’t even know staying in my home. Why should I then not be able to specify that? Perhaps it’s more complicated than I am thinking, but that does not seem fair to me. What about the rights of the host, especially in the situation where someone(s) is staying inside the host’s home? Anyway, I thought I’d add my comment to support yours.
Eric Blumenson says
I find a big difference between air&b (honest) and vrbo/homeaway (dishonest). VRBO/Home Away claims to guarantee a refund or rebooking if the property advertised does not match the property in fact. In my case (ongoing), I rented what was advertised as a 3 bed, 4 person apartment that in fact has only one bed and can only accommodate two people. Not only is VRBO/Homeaway refusing to honor their guarantee; they are also saying that only their “legal department” can do so while refusing to give me any telephone number for them. I asked for this because I have written several emails to legal over many days and they do not respond. INMO, HOME AWAY and VRBO are totally dishonest organizations that should be investigated by state attorney-generals as well as the federal Consumer Protection Agency and the Justice Department.
Laurence Norah says
Thanks for sharing your experience Eric
We quit using airb&b several years ago because we don’t like their attitude towards renters and their total lack of customer service when it comes to resolving problems. Not to mention that the site has become a haven for landlords who own multiple properties throughout a city and when you rent one you might wind up up somewhere totally different than what was pictured/advertised.
We had an account with them for many years and then didn’t use it for awhile and when we finally tried to use it again the account didn’t work. They advised re-opening a new account which we did and went through all the b.s. of sending dollar deposit to/from our credit card and then booked a place in Europe only to find airb&b had closed this account and the booking was no good.
Despite multiple attempts to resolve the issue they refused to say why they had closed the account.. All positive comments from previous landlords. After researching the site, we found this was commonplace and in their fine print they can cancel you at any time without being obligated to give a reason why.
So we ” not so politely ” told then to shove their site where the sun don’t shine and started using alternative sites.
Any company that cannot be held accountable for their actions, sucks…. so we would strongly advise against using airb&b
Leanna B says
My Husband and I are about to finish building our suite where we are hoping to list with a company. After reading all the very poor reviews on VRBO and Airbnb where they are both money hungry and don’t hold up to their host complaints and compensation for damages by guests, We truly have no idea which company to list our vacation getaway with. We don’t want to list with a company that will not hold to their company promises to uphold recovery costs to damages by guest to a hosts’ home and we don’t want ourselves or our guests to be nickle and dimed to death either. We would like to have our home with a wide search engine and have an ethical filter on guests so that we as hosts would not be in harms way, but who is that company????
Laurence Norah says
Unfortunately, as I’m sure you know the way of the world is that people will often take to the web to complain about negative experiences – far more so than positive experiences. This means that these negative reviews will end up far outweighing the positive, and this is especially the case as the company gets bigger and bigger.
I definitely agree that the larger companies have gotten more expensive for both hosts and guests. The flipside is that they have a much larger user base, so you will reach more people. Whether or not having that wider audience is important to you is not something I can comment on. I’d say that the AirBnB system, just as an example, does allow for you to filter guests if you don’t enable instant booking, as you can read reviews from previous hosts. Of course, it’s not a perfect system, but I’m not sure there is one.
To be honest – I don’t have an answer for you. If there’s a more local search engine in your area, that’s one option. Alternatively, maybe there’s a different kind of insurance you can get that would cover damage, rather than that provided by the booking engines. But renting out a property to a stranger will always carry a degree of risk, that’s just the nature of the business 🙁
Matthew Williams says
I have been in the rental business for the last 15 years and yes you are correct about AirBnB and not holding up to Host claims for damages and missing items from guests. Their whole PC philosophy has gone that far that it is now biased more to the guest than the host. They do not want to upset the guests so normally come down on their side. They have forgotten that without owners and property managers they would not have a product to sell. I can find myself fighting for hours with case managers to claim back $20 on towels the guests have taken or ruined, every time I have to make a claim it is like getting ready to go into battle because they make it very difficult to make a claim, it is almost as though this is their strategy to put guest off from making claims as it is always one big hassle. I turn over $350K with Airbnb a year, with nearly 600 reviews averaging 4.8 and am a superhost and make very few claims, and with that history you would think that they would realize that when I make a claim then it is legitimate, but I still have to jump through hoops for $10 – $20, it is bloody horrible!
Saying all of that, Airbnb do generate me a lot of income ,more than the other sites.
I also use HomeAway / VRBO network and they also produce a lot of bookings, on a percentage basis I get a lot less issues with guests, damage, thieving etc than Airbnb. Also i can have more stipulations on the guests with the major one having an age restriction. We have homes that can sleep 18 people, and Airbnb does not allow me to reject the reservation based on their age. Sorry but I bet the management of Airbnb who have rental homes do not want groups of teenagers in their homes!!
I also have no issues whatsoever with claiming from HomeAway. Once the guest has left I simply go in to the setting and deduct the money from their security deposit. That is it, no battling with the guests or with case managers who have zero empathy. But they do not generate the business that Airbnb do.
Currently I am happy using both and I have to accept Airbnb for its issues, when a new site comes along that can offer what Airbnb does but has more understanding for the hosts I will be more than happy to move my listings over to them and stop using Airbnb.
Angela Dowd says
My situation is unique
How can I find an inexpensive small cabin cottage or tiny house outside Asheville NC for extended stay while I am settling in the area… Nov 10th (I own a home in Maryland and New renters are permanently moving in Nov 15th) I want a few months to acclamate but funds are short (not zero just not $100 per night ugh)
I am a writer, speaker, finishing my last semester of college (AT 50 HA) Love the arts, culture etc but nature quiet simple is what I MUST COME home to…. This is not a ‘vacation’ for me, this is a settling for second half of life.
It’s just going to be me, my fiance and a tiny dog. We both LOVE the mountains, gardening, privacy from work life, and since I owned a few businesses for 25+yrs main one commercial cleaning company… You know I care for a place temporary or not like it is my own
My motto is always return a place or borrowed ANYTHING better than when received!
I don’t see many options price wise etc on these sites especially for the area I am going to
Any help would be so appreciated MORE THAN YOU KNOW
Laurence Norah says
My advice to be honest would be to look on something like Craigslist. For longer term rentals like you describe, the apartment rental services in this post will not be quite so useful. Another option is house sitting, which might be an option if you strike it lucky, although usually finding a housesit in the location you want at the time you want is a bit tricky. So Craigslist would be my first stop, and also to investigate any similar services that the local community in Asheville might use that would give more localised options.
I hope this helps – good luck!
Another thing you can consider is local companies providing similar services to AirBnb. For example in Sri Lanka where I come from YohoBed is very popular among locals and tourists alike. I think the biggest advantage is that you get local ground support which is pretty useful when you’re in a foreign country. Also since they actually visit places and market their service they tend to have much more properties compared to what you find in AirBnb. I think this is the case in most countries. You just have to dig a bit deep to find them.
Laurence Norah says
That’s a great point Nishadha – the local option is always worth checking out. Thanks for sharing 😀
So you think Airbnb are amazing? Think again. Join up then look on their community forum about how they treat hosts who have had damage done to their property. THEN check out their website and you will find most of the comments are from hosts and guests who are fed up with their poor service and false promises! And yes I am speaking from experience as a host who worked hard to get a 5star Superhost status. First sign of trouble when some rude and obnoxious guests damaged my property and AIrbnb failed me . A $31billion empire behind them and they can’t pay out hosts proportionately minuscule amounts for reparations. HOSTS beware. I will be investigating alternatives in this article!
Exactly why I left Air B n B . They refuse to take a shred of responsibility for a single thing. They lie about their costs , they refuse to communicate in person, prefering to fob you off with emails that have nothing to do with your complaint. In the case of unruly or irresponsible guests they claim it is not their responsibility. The complete lack of communication, respect and proper customer service is truly disturbing . They do not have any humanitarian aspect about them at all, They are ONLY interested in cashing in . I will never use or reccommend them again in my life !
Emrys Jones says
As a guest booking.com are total crooks. I booked a place through them, went up there, I never got the code to enter the place on the grounds that “I hadn’t agreed to the extra terms and conditions” that the renter imposes. A bit difficult as they weren’t sent until after I was on the road.
Booking.com were completely uninterested, because I hadn’t called them at the time so they could find alternative accommodation for me. If have never seen it written that I was supposed to do this, although it is probably on page 59 of their T&Cs. Because I refused to accept that I had no grounds for complaint, they even stole my ‘cleaning fee’ for a place that I never had access to. If I hadn’t been snowed under with work at the time I would have gone to court. That is what they rely on, they steal from you and hope that you are too busy to pursue a relatively small amount of money.
Lee 'kowalski' Walker says
Word to that.
Frank Thomae says
Our biggest issue with all these other sites is that you can’t get monthly rates. We’re slow travellers, usually booking a month at a time somewhere (last year we stayed in 20 apartments totalling more than 300 nights). Staying 28 days+, you can get monthly discounts with Airbnb owners anywhere from 10-50%, which makes all the difference the way we travel. Other sites basically take the nightly rate * the number of nights…they just don’t have the same variable options. That’s our major issue. Otherwise would love to find a few alternatives to Airbnb for the way we travel.
Exactly. I feel the same after by looking at these alternatives.
None of the alternatives give longterm stays at good rate compare to airbnb.
I wish other sites improve in that aspect soon.
Wow, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! I use airbnb often and I actually like this way of finding an accommodation. But I’ve got a feeling that it losts it’s spirits. Hmm, maybe I’m wrong, but I’m just glad that I can find here some other options. Can’t wait to try some of them. Homestay seems like something worth trying 🙂
Delighted you found them useful! Homestay is definitely a great site to check out for a hosted experience 🙂
VRBO – Your information needs updating: Starting this year HomeAway/VRBO has added a booking fee to all bookings.
Also you say “generally works best for groups of four or more looking for a slightly longer stay”. My home has a 4 person maximum and half of my guests booking from VRBO are couples and about half are families of 3-4. Almost never 4 adults. Typical booking is about one week.
Thanks for letting me know David – I’ve updated the post!