Having traveled extensively using both sites, we believe that both have their own pros and cons for travelers and hosts alike.
We have also rented a private room in our apartment and have an opinion on which platform is best for hosts.
💡 Spoiler: Find free tours in any city with Civitatis
If you're thinking about staying on Airbnb or Booking.com for an upcoming trip or debating between Airbnb and Booking.Com to list your property, read on as we've highlighted the pros and cons of each platform.
If you're traveling as a couple or with two friends, two of the most common cheap accommodation options are Airbnb and booking.com.
Having traveled extensively using both sites, we believe that both have their own pros and cons for travelers and hosts alike.
We have also rented a private room in our apartment and we have an opinion on what to plan to stay on Airbnb or Booking.com for an upcoming trip or you are debating between Airbnb and Booking.Com to advertise your property, keep reading because we have highlighted the pros and cons of each platform.
Airbnb pros and cons
Airbnb Advantages ✅
- It is specifically dedicated to private properties.
- The service is very flexible: you can even include a single bed in a double room and make unique offers for special events close to home.
- Each room in your home available for rent can be listed separately, saving you time to rearrange the general listing after any rental.
- It is cheap. Registering and placing your ad is free. The usual reservation fee is 3 %, except for residents of Italy or those who have cancellation rules rigid .
- Civil liability coverage for property damage can reach up to $ 1 million, as well as accident insurance.
- You can play by your own rules by setting specific requirements for potential guests. If they violate their rules, you can cancel your order without penalty.
- You can request a verified ID from the guests for added security.
- The reservation calendar can be synchronized with other calendars.
- Support is available 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat.
Cons Airbnb ❌
- You should always be online. Booking requests must be approved within 24 hours. Otherwise, they expire. Responses to guest inquiries must also arrive promptly. If problems arise, guests will expect you to react immediately at any time of the day. The mobile app can be useful here, but not always.
- Your listing will be suspended if it has a low rating, does not respond within 24 hours, has a low rate of request acceptances or a high rate of guest cancellations, and does not provide essentials such as soap, toilet paper, towels, linens, etc. bed etc While these measures are reasonable for a good guest experience, they are often influenced by subjective opinions.
- Guest payment is charged in full from guests after booking. It can be inconvenient for many guests and they may refuse. However, Airbnb holds the money for 24 hours after check-in. Intended for protection, this security measure delays access to your income for a period of time. It can also potentially be exploited by scammers.
- If your guests damage your home, there is no guarantee that you will get coverage from 100%. Especially in the event that something is 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 bidding.
- Guests pay additional Airbnb service fees. In this way, your initial price may seem uncompetitive after all the final calculations.
Advantages and cons Booking
Advantages Booking.com ✅
- Many experienced travelers who often stay in hotels are already familiar with Booking services and tend to trust the platform.
- Hosts can receive the annual Guest Review Award based on guest feedback. Includes an official certificate and a window sticker that can be placed inside the qualifying property to attract more guests. There is also a ready-to-use digital variant of the certificate that can be shared via social media.
- The service does not charge additional fees to guests. This makes it more popular. Therefore, listing here will give your ad a better chance of being seen.
- The booking calendar can be synchronized1 with other calendars.
- There are a couple of partner apps, like Pulse or Booking.com Extranet, that make guest communication mobile.
- Booking.com has an excellent system of marketing online, so your property will be advertised to the right people at the right time.
Cons Booking.com ❌
- The service fee for the reservation is not less than 15% for the host.
- The reservation is instant. You cannot cancel a request without a cancellation fee.
- You can't choose your guests. Anyone can rent your property without prior identification verification, approval, etc. This can be dangerous or lead to unpleasant experiences.
- Booking.com is primarily a place for large hotel chains. Adding new listings is quite time consuming when you need to rent rooms separately.
- Transactions are mostly done directly between the guest and the host. You may need to get a special credit card reader to accept payments.
- The platform does not offer any damage coverage. Hosts must personally take care of their insurance. There is a damage deposit option on Booking.com, but it may reduce the popularity of the property.
- There are almost no punishments for guests who break the rules of the home. Hosts also can't leave comments for their guests. The only thing you can do if guests misbehave is to block them from future reservations for your property. However, it is only possible if your misconduct matches some scenarios provided by the Report Guest Misconduct tool. This can be found under the Reservations tab in the Extranet application. Your current stay cannot be affected by your report.
Airbnb vs Booking.Com for guests
The advantages of using Airbnb for guests
1. Airbnb is usually the most affordable option
If your decision to use Airbnb or Booking.com is based primarily on cost, you will almost always get better value for money by finding a place on Airbnb.
This is especially true in major European cities, where you can find affordable places to stay in a prime location, while many cheap hotels will be on the outskirts of the city.
We have used Airbnb in many expensive places, such as Reykjavik and Copenhagen, which has made our trips much more affordable.
2. You meet the locals and get great recommendations
How many times have you stayed in a budget hotel and received good recommendations for places to eat?
They will most likely send you to their lobby restaurant or somewhere across the road
This is definitely not the case with Airbnb, as many hosts are long-term residents of the city you are visiting and have excellent knowledge of things to do and places to visit.
Also, we generally find many hosts to be very hospitable and we often end up having a cup of tea or coffee with them during our stay and getting to know them.
3. You usually have access to common facilities
One of the nice things about staying in a private room at an Airbnb is that you often have access to common facilities, like the kitchen and laundry.
This is great if you're traveling on a budget, as it allows you to cook your own meals (instead of eating out all the time) and do your laundry without having to pay the upcharge that hotels often charge.
In some places, the communal facilities can be even more amazing - our Airbnb in Gozo had an amazing balcony with brilliant views of the surrounding countryside!
The benefits of using Booking.com for guests
1. For many places, you don't need to pay in advance
One of the big disadvantages of Airbnb is that you have to pay the total amount of the stay when making the reservation.
This can mean that you are paying for the accommodation months before you use it and that you are only entitled to a refund if the host allows it in their booking policy.
(However, Airbnb allows a full refund within 48 hours of booking, regardless of the host's cancellation policy.)
By contrast, many hotels on Booking.com do not require a prepayment, which means you can book accommodation without paying a penny.
2. You can get great deals if you book in advance
Although Airbnb is usually the cheapest option, you can often get Incredible deals on Booking.com if you book in advance.
Many cheap hotels have deep discounts, which is very different from Airbnb, where there are never explicit sales on the accommodation.
You can even get great deals if you book on shorter notice but don't travel during a peak period.
During our stay in Bulgaria, we got a great deal on a very nice boutique hotel because we stay mid-week and not on the busiest weekends
3. Booking.com requires minimal effort
One of the nice things about booking a hotel through Booking.com is that once you've booked, there's little to do before you arrive.
Unlike Airbnb, where you have to get in touch with your host, make sure they'll be home when you arrive, and possibly get specific directions on how to get to their property.
Sometimes, especially after a long flight, it's nice not to have to worry about any of that and to be able to just check into a room with minimal hassle.
Have you read enough and decided that Booking.com wins the Airbnb vs. Booking com battle? So, Click here to find a place to stay for your next trip on Booking.com!
The cons of using Airbnb for guests
1. You have to be flexible as a guest
One of the most important things to remember when using Airbnb as a guest is that it's not the same as a hotel, so sometimes you have to be flexible.
Entry hours may be restricted or if something breaks it may not be possible to fix it immediately.
If these kinds of things bother you, it's probably best to book a hotel, but in our experience, these little inconveniences would never be enough to stop us from using Airbnb.
2. Staying at an Airbnb has an element of risk
Although we've never had any problems using Airbnb, you occasionally hear horror stories in the newspapers about travelers' experiences with Airbnb.
There is always going to be a small element of risk to staying in someone else's home, however this can be easily avoided with a little basic research.
We always stay with people who have verified their profiles and have at least a couple of positive reviews.
Also, always make sure to research the Airbnb's neighborhood before booking to make sure it's appropriate for your stay: you don't want to end up in the middle of the party if you're looking for a quiet weekend
3. In some cities, private Airbnbs are causing housing affordability problems.
One of the main problems travelers have with Airbnb is that in some cities it is causing housing affordability issues as owners are listing their apartments on Airbnb instead of renting to long-term local tenants.
This means that in some cities, such as Berlin or Lisbon, governments are cracking down and ban short term rentals of entire apartments on Airbnb.
You should be careful if you decide to book in large cities, as entire apartments may be listed illegally and may be closed before you arrive.
Although some travel websites suggest avoiding entire apartments on Airbnb, we continue to use them in less-visited cities, particularly in Eastern Europe, where there can often be an oversupply of rental properties.
If you want to book an entire property, make sure you do it ethically.
Pay attention to who the host is, check if it's a real person and not a vacation rental agent, and make sure that person doesn't have multiple properties available for rent.
There is a big difference between staying in the apartment of a local who wants to earn a little extra money, and doing it with a great business that benefits from short-term rentals.
The cons of using Booking.com for guests
1. Budget hotels are often sterile and less spacious
One of the problems with using Booking.com is that if you're on a budget, many of the places tend to be less spacious and often sterile and lacking in character.
One of the things we like about Airbnb is that each place is unique and has a homey feel to it, which is in contrast to many budget hotels that tend to look pretty similar.
2. Budget hotels are often poorly located
Another problem with cheap hotels is that they are often not located in the neighborhoods where you want to stay.
When booking an accommodation, one of the most important considerations is to make sure that it is centrally located and that we can get around easily.
The cost of being in the city center ultimately means that many budget hotels are located further from the city center and this means it will take you longer to get around and you will probably pay more for transport during your stay.
3. Booking.com is almost always more expensive than Airbnb
After all, when we travel, we tend to be out and exploring for most of the day, so we don't want to spend too much money on accommodation when we're just there.
That means we always look for the cheapest room that is well located and clean. In almost every place we've visited, if Booking.com is consistently more expensive than Airbnb.
Airbnb vs Booking.com for guests: The verdict
If you're deciding whether to use Airbnb or Booking.com for your next trip, it's important to consider what's important to you.
If you're on a budget, value meeting locals and getting their recommendations, and having access to extra facilities, then we recommend looking into an Airbnb for your next trip.
If you value flexibility, comfort, or are simply traveling somewhere with few private apartments, then we recommend booking accommodation on Booking.com.
We suggest that you do not leave it until the last moment, since you can find great deals if you book in advance. Click here to find a place to stay for your next trip on Booking.com!
Airbnb vs. Booking.Com for hosts
When we lived in London, we rented out the spare room in our apartment on Airbnb for over a year. We never used Booking.Com because we thought Airbnb had a number of advantages over Booking. for the hosts.
The advantages of using Airbnb for hosts
1. Better selection and control of guests
On Airbnb, hosts can have full control of who stays at their property, as well as have a better understanding of who will stay with them.
Airbnb allows you to turn off instant booking so you can accept or reject each guest based on their profile and past reviews.
Airbnb also has a full verification system, so guests are required to upload forms of identification, and hosts can reject guests if they aren't fully verified.
At Booking.Com, once you list your property, you have no control over who actually stays there. Once a guest books, the reservation is automatically accepted.
This was a huge disadvantage for us as hosts, especially since we shared our apartment with arriving guests.
2. Lower accommodation rates on Airbnb
Airbnb's pricing model favors hosts, while Booking.com's favors guests.
This means that if the same property is listed on both websites, you will typically pay less as a guest if you book on Booking.Com, which means the host ends up paying more.
As hosts, if you want to minimize the amount you pay to the platform, Airbnb is definitely the best option.
3. Simplified checkout process on Airbnb
One of the great advantages for hosts using Airbnb is that the payment process is extremely fast.
When a guest books a property, Airbnb usually charges them instantly.
Payment is released to the host 24 hours after guests check in to the property.
On Booking.Com, guests have the option to pay in cash, which incurs an additional charge for the host at checkout.
In the case of payments that are processed online, hosts have to collect manually if they want to receive it as soon as possible or wait once a month to collect it via bank transfer.
If you want to try other options for booking hotels at the best price, we recommend that you look at Lastminute Opinions Is it worth it? Is Lastminute reliable? or if you want to try Expedia, another search engine that we love.
Skyscanner has also taken a step forward to catch up on the cheap hotel search.
The benefits of using Booking.com for hosts
1. Access to a wider market
Historically, Airbnb has only been used by a certain type of traveler, while Booking.com and similar hotel booking sites have been used by a broader market.
This means that if you're a host in a less-visited area, listing on Booking.com will likely allow you to have a much larger pool of potential guests.
Although we never had this problem in London, it's certainly something worth considering depending on your location.
What is better Booking or Airbnb? for Hosts: The Verdict
If you are deciding between Airbnb and Booking.com as a host, I personally recommend using Airbnb as your primary platform for the reasons outlined above.
Publishing on Booking.Com is a good option if you want access to more guests, but you'll need to make sure you're aware of the availability sync between the two platforms.
Would you rather use Airbnb or Booking.com? What are the pros and cons of using each? Give us your opinion in the comments below
I am sorry that this content has not been useful to you!
Let me improve this content!
Tell me, how can I improve this content?
I am a passionate traveler with an innate desire to discover the world. To date, I have had the privilege of visiting 31 countries and most of them have left an indelible mark.
During my travels, I have gained valuable knowledge on how to travel efficiently. I have perfected itinerary planning, accommodation selection, and making the most of each experience. I am proud to share my tips and tricks with you so that you can enjoy hassle-free and unforgettable trips.
On this blog, you'll find a carefully curated selection of destinations, practical tips, and honest reviews of hotels and tourist attractions. My goal is to inspire you and provide you with useful resources so that you can plan your own adventures with confidence and peace of mind.
May travel fill you with joy and open you up to new possibilities!