Airbnb vs. Booking.com: pros & cons for the host

Renting a private apartment, a room, or a house is a win-win for tourists and their hosts

Airbnb vs. Booking.com: pros & cons for the host. Source: unsplash.com

Have a property vacant? Turn it into profit by a long – or short-term lease. The idea is not new, but thanks to the Internet and globalization the opportunities gain a larger scale. The inhabitants of resort towns, capitals or tourist attraction regions are not the only ones who have a chance to rent out their real estate flexibly. People often travel on business to various corners of the world. Some travelers require a one-night or a few nights stay during the journey time. Many students rent private apartments instead of dormitories etc.

Renting a private apartment, a room, or a house is a win-win for tourists and their hosts. The first can enjoy cheaper prices than in fashionable hotels, they can choose a convenient location not necessarily in the most popular districts, and they will not expect the intrusion of hotel staff. The hosts, in turn, can earn their fair share of money from the otherwise unused property.

Furthermore, Internet resources make the renting process comfortable and effortless. You register, place the pictures and main features of the house, dates available and price, and wait for the bookings to come in from clients. Your ad is now available to the global community!

When you’re a newbie at the real estate market, it may be hard to decide where to promote your leasing offer. Airbnb.com and Booking.com seem the most obvious choices. However, using both at the same time may result in double booking and problems with guests once your accommodation gains popularity. To choose among the two web-hosts, check their main pros and cons.

Pros

  • It is specifically dedicated to private properties.
  • The service is very flexible: you can list even a single bed in a twin room and make one-time offers for special events near your home.
  • Every room in your house available for rent may be listed separately, saving you time for rearranging the general ad after any rentals.
  • It is cheap. Registering and placing your ad are free. The usual booking fee is 3% except for residents of Italy, or those who have rigid cancellation rules.
  • The property damage liability coverage may range up to $1M as well as accident insurance.
  • You can play by your own rules setting specific requirements for the potential guests. If they violate your rules, you may cancel their order without any fines.
  • You may request a verified ID from guests for extra security.
  • The booking calendar can be synchronized with other calendars.
  • Support is available 24/7 via the phone, e-mail and live chat.

Airbnb is specifically dedicated to private properties. Source: flickr.com

Cons

  • You should always be online. Booking requests need to be approved within 24 hours. Otherwise, they expire. The answers to guests’ inquiries must also come promptly. If problems arise, guests will expect you to react right away at any time of the day. The mobile app can be helpful here, but not always.
  • Your listing will be suspended if you have a low rating, do not respond within the 24-hour term, have a low rate of request acceptances or a high rate of cancellations on guests, and fail to provide essentials such as soap, toilet paper, towels, linen etc. Though these measures are reasonable for good guest experiences, they are often influenced by subjective opinions.
  • The guest’s payment is fully collected from guests after booking. It may be inconvenient for many guests and they can refuse. Yet money is held by Airbnb for 24 hours after check-in. Meant for protection, this security measure delays accessing your income for a while. It may also be potentially exploited by fraudsters.
  • If your home is damaged by your guests, there’s no guarantee you will get 100% coverage. Especially in the event of something being stolen.
  • If you live in the EU and some other countries, you may be subject to paying VAT or rental income taxes. This legal information should be clarified before making an offer.
  • Guests pay additional Airbnb service fees. This way, your initial price may appear uncompetitive after all the final calculations.

Pros

  • Many experienced travelers who usually stay in hotels are already familiar with Booking services and tend to trust the platform.
  • Hosts may receive annual Guest Review Award based on guests’ feedbacks. It includes an official certificate and a window sticker which can be placed within the rated property to lure more guests. There is also a ready-made digital variant of the certificate which can be shared via social networks.
  • The service doesn’t charge additional fees from guests. This makes it more popular. Hence, listing here will give your ad more chances to be seen.
  • The booking calendar can be synchronized with other calendars.
  • There are a couple of partner apps such as Pulse or Booking.com Extranet which make communication with the guests mobile.
  • Booking.com has a great online marketing system, so your property will be advertised to the right people at the right time.

Hosts may receive annual Guest Review Award based on guests’ feedbacks. Source: unsplash.com

Cons

  • The service fee for the booking is not less than 15% for the host.
  • The booking is instant. You may not cancel a request without a cancellation fee.
  • You cannot choose your guests. Anyone can rent your property without prior ID verification, approval etc. This can be dangerous or lead to unpleasant experiences.
  • Booking.com is mainly a place for big hotel chains. Adding new listings is quite time-consuming when you need to lease rooms separately.
  • Transactions mainly take place directly between the guest and the host. You may need to get a special credit card reader for accepting payments.
  • The platform doesn’t offer any damage coverage. The hosts need to take care of their insurance personally. There is an option of a damage deposit on Booking.com, but it may lower the property’s popularity.
  • There are almost no punishments for guests breaking household rules. The hosts cannot leave reviews for their guests either. The only thing you can do if guests misbehave is to block them from future reservations of your property. However, it’s possible only if their misconduct matches a few scenarios provided by the Report Guest Misconduct tool. This can be found under the Reservation Tab in the Extranet app. Their current stay cannot be affected by your report.

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