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Airbnb Vs. Booking.com: What is the Better Option?

You’ve probably pondered which platform reigns supreme in the Airbnb vs. Booking.com discussion, whether you’re a seasoned host or just getting started. Depending on who you ask, the answer will be different.

Over the last several years, the sharing economy has grown at an astonishing pace. Airbnb has risen to prominence as a viable alternative to established travel websites like TripAdvisor.

As of 2021, Airbnb claims that its platform has over 5.6 million listings throughout the globe. Airbnb seems to be the logical option for holiday rental operators based on this number and its worldwide brand identification.

Despite this, some hosts consider Booking.com to be their principal source of revenue. Despite Airbnb’s rapid expansion, Booking.com is the undisputed ruler of the online travel booking market, with over 28 million listings globally. Given that both platforms have millions of daily visits, it’s worth looking into which one is ideal for your company.

Discover the similarities and differences between Airbnb and Booking.com and which platform is the best option for vacation rental owners.

How Do Guests Differ Between Airbnb and Booking.com?

To figure out which site is best for your short-term rental company, you must first understand how Airbnb and Booking.com customers and their needs vary. Let’s look at it more closely:

1. Different types of visitors and their expectations

Even though both target customers need holiday rental accommodations, Airbnb and Booking.com cater to different demographics. Authentic experiences are increasingly important to Airbnb guests.

They are drawn to rental houses that provide a “home-away-from-home” feel. They want rentals that are one-of-a-kind and enable them to live like a native in their chosen city or town.

Booking.com has always been a service for hotels, resorts, and lodges, rather than private vacation rentals or single rooms. Even though it has evolved in recent years and the platform is drawing an increasing number of vacation rental homes, customers may seem more demanding.

In addition, the target audiences for both sites varied somewhat. Most Airbnb guests are Millennials who prefer shared experiences with their peers. They choose unusual rentals over regular hotels, such as themed houses, woodland huts, yurts, and castles. These establishments provide Millennials with a one-of-a-kind, Instagram-worthy experience.

Booking.com has a larger audience than Airbnb in general, although it caters to more older tourists and families. These tourists are more worried about noise levels than location and convenience. Breakfast, on-site eateries, and easy access to public transportation are more likely to appeal to them.

2. You May Learn More About Your Possible Visitors by Using Airbnb

Airbnb’s built-in guest rating system is one of its distinguishing features. After completing a reservation, the host may submit a review and assign a star rating to the guest. Every host’s star rating is added together to get an overall rating shown on their profile.

This is important for hosts since it lets them check out previous reviews before making a reservation. They may keep track of any remarks about the guest’s conduct on Airbnb as well as their booking history. The star rating might also give you an idea of how simple or difficult it will be to host them.

3. You May Use Airbnb to Vet your Visitors

Airbnb hosts, unlike Booking.com, have the option to refuse bookings from prospective guests. The Airbnb Instant Book function is enabled when a rental owner establishes an Airbnb account. This accepts all reservations automatically. If a visitor makes unreasonable requirements or has a poor rating or reviews, you may turn off Instant Book and refuse the appointment.

Booking.com does not have a comparable function, and all bookings are approved immediately. You can end up with a difficult or misbehaving visitor due to this.

How Can I create a Booking.com account and a listing on Airbnb vs. Booking.com?

Hosts are busy folks seeking vacation rental sites where they can easily post their homes and begin earning money. It’s a good idea to learn how to set up an account on Booking.com and Airbnb.

Starting With Booking.com

Booking.com accounts are created in the same way as Airbnb accounts are created.

Creating a listing on this site, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult. When making a listing, you’ll need to study and choose the best cancellation policy for your company, set up an account with a payment processor (unless you take cash payments), and enable credit card acceptance so visitors can enter their information.

You must also indicate the number of rooms in your home and whether you want to sell each room as separate or single units. After creating a single listing with many rooms, many hosts have complained that Booking.com has decided to display these rooms as independent bookable units, much like a hotel.

Furthermore, before your listing goes public, you must wait for confirmation from Booking.com. As a result, Booking.com’s more cumbersome setup approach turns off many hosts. However, once you start getting reservations, all of your efforts will be worthwhile.

Now With Airbnb

The process of creating an Airbnb account is quick and uncomplicated. Click “Sign up” on the Airbnb website to establish an account using your email address, phone number, Facebook account, Google account, or Apple ID.

To establish a listing, all you have to do is fill in the required information about your property, upload images, choose your cancellation policy and choose payment. The Airbnb interface is also quite user-friendly, with prompts and tooltips that make listings go much more quickly.

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

Vacation rental owners are charged a fee per booking on Airbnb and Booking.com. As a result, it’s critical to understand how much you’ll spend in fees for utilizing both sites’ services as a host.

• Fees charged by Airbnb

The Split Fee and the Host-Only Fee are Airbnb’s two sorts of fees. The Split Fee is a service fee split between visitors (about 14%) and hosts (approximately 3%) who pay to Airbnb.

The Host-Only Fee is around 15% of the total booking price, but guests are not charged. Except the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Argentina, Taiwan, and Uruguay, most nations have made the Host-Only Fee obligatory as of 2020.

Despite how annoying this modification seems to be, Airbnb has introduced it to enhance reservation rates. This is predicated on charging a final, upfront sum to visitors so that they are not shocked by a 14% price hike at checkout. You may compensate for this expense by charging a higher daily fee and providing extra services.

• Fees from Booking.com

Booking.com charges property owners a commission fee that varies between 10% and 25% based on their location, with the average amount being 15%. Guests are not charged any commissions. A flat rate of 15% or more may seem rather high.

Booking.com, on the other hand, permits you to impose extra costs to visitors, like cleaning and towel fees (if applicable). As a result, you may recoup your commission costs by raising your fee and charging for additional services.

•Is it true that Booking.com is more expensive?

The location of your home determines your Airbnb and Booking.com fees, so any site might charge you more. If you live in a nation where the Split Fee is available, you could presume that it is the most cost-effective pricing option for you as a host.

However, your booking rate may decrease because of the price increase your clients get while checking out. The Host-Only Fee enables you and your visitor to see each other’s prices, encouraging additional reservations.

Vacation rental owners pay an average commission rate of 15% on Booking.com. This is almost the same as the Host-Only Fee on Airbnb, thus listing on Booking.com will cost you around the same as listing on Airbnb.

What Are the Differences Between the Cancellation Policies?

Booking.com and Airbnb have a few variances when it comes to cancellation procedures. Vacation rental owners may pick from six different cancellation procedures on Airbnb right now:

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

Each of these rules differs in how far in advance of the check-in date a visitor may cancel and obtain a refund. Each policy has advantages and disadvantages, and Airbnb enables rental owners to pick their cancellation policy.

When it comes to cancellations, Booking.com does not provide as many possibilities. Property owners may provide three kinds of booking options for bookings on Booking.com:

  • Completely flexible policy – Guests will only pay while staying at your property, and they may cancel at any moment within the time range you choose.
  • Customizable cancellation policy – With this policy, you may decide how much visitors will be charged if they cancel after a specific date.
  • Non-refundable policy — If you choose this option, guests will be charged the whole amount if they cancel, alter their plans, or fail to show up on the scheduled check-in date.

After you’ve decided on your chosen solution, you may pick from the following options:

  • Charging a deposit — Guests who choose free cancellation pay a deposit at the time of booking, which they will get returned if they cancel during the free cancellation period. If they cancel after this time, they will lose their deposit.
  • Charging a prepayment – Guests may pay a portion of the full price for partly refundable and non-refundable reservations. They won’t receive their prepayment back if they cancel after making a reservation and paying, so you won’t lose money.
  • Pre-authorizing a hold on an amount — For non-refundable and partly refundable reservations, you may pre-authorize and hold a particular amount on a guest’s card, which you can then charge them for later. If the visitor fails to show up, you may use this amount as a deposit. If they don’t, you have the option of charging them or refunding the money.

You may also choose to pay no deposit, prepay, or pre-authorize, but this is a dangerous option. If you don’t have a safe payment method in place, you’ll lose money if visitors cancel at the last minute.

Regardless of the option you pick, you must pay your commission at the following times:

  1. You charge visitors who cancel or fail to show up for a non-refundable or partly refundable reservation.
  2. After the free cancellation time has expired, you charge for a canceled reservation.

The cancellation procedures on Airbnb are often more transparent and easier to follow than those on Booking.com. There is less structure on Booking.com when it comes to cancellations, so it’s up to you, the host, to investigate and figure out the ideal mix of settings for your listings.

Airbnb and Booking.com: How Do They Handle Host Payments?

There is a significant difference between Airbnb and Booking.com when compensating vacation rental owners for their bookings. When it comes to hosting payments, Airbnb takes a more direct approach. This contrasts with Booking.com, which enables vacation rental operators to collect their payments.

• Airbnb receives payments on behalf of hosts automatically

All payments between hosts and guests are collected and distributed via Airbnb’s centralized payment system. When you sign up to be an Airbnb host, you’ll be asked to choose a payment method as part of the account creation process. Bank transfers, ACH, Western Union, Paypal, Payoneer, and prepaid debit cards are among the options.

Airbnb accepts payments from guests directly and sends them to the property owner within 24 hours of their arrival. Airbnb will pay your booking earnings in monthly installments beginning 24 hours after check-in if visitors stay for 28 days or longer.

The time it takes for your cash to get into your account is determined by the payment type you choose. Payments by Paypal and Payoneer may take as little as 24 hours; however, bank transfers might take up to 5 days.

Remember that the amount you get is your booking rate fewer deductions, such as the host charge and any VAT or regional tax claims.

• Booking.com does not always charge guests.

Booking.com, unlike Airbnb, does not have a centralized payment mechanism. Booking.com does not always charge guests unless you are in an area where this is possible, Booking.com does not always charge guests. You, as the host, are responsible for collecting payments directly through credit card or bank transfer. Booking.com also offers a cash-on-arrival payment option, which might be inconvenient.

You may change your settings on Booking.com’s website to only allow online transactions to prevent collecting cash payments for your reservations. Here’s how to go about it:

• Only accept reservations from visitors who have given credit card information.

Check that you’ve chosen the appropriate guest payment option to guarantee Booking.com collects card information from your visitors. In your Booking.com Extranet, you’ll find:

  1. Select “Property” from the drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Policies” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select “Guest payment choices” from the drop-down menu.
  4. To the question “Do you take debit or credit cards at your property?” choose “Yes.”
  5. Decide which types of debit and credit cards you’ll accept.
  6. If asked, “Would you prefer to enable domestic visitors to book without providing credit card information?” choose “no.”
  • Install Stripe or VRP  as a payment processor.

You’ll need to set up a payment processor if you want to accept credit card payments and transactions. Stripe is a well-known and well-liked payment processor on the market. 

When comparing Booking.com with Airbnb, how does Instant Book work?

On Booking.com, all reservations are made instantly, and there is no opportunity to make them optional. While this is great for visitors, it’s not so great for property owners who have minimal control over bookings.

As an Airbnb rental owner, on the other hand, you have the choice of enabling or disabling this feature. Airbnb rewards instant Book users by having their listings appear higher in search results. However, if you deactivate it, you’ll have more control over your reservations.

On both platforms, how does ranking work?

After you’ve listed your house on Airbnb and Booking.com, you’ll want to think about how visible it is. As part of your investigation, it’s crucial to look at how visibility and ranking function on both sites.

• Booking.com ranking

Booking.com also provides a feature called the visibility booster. In return for a fee increases your visibility and helps your listing rank better in their search results. As a result, if you want more visibility on Booking.com, you’ll have to pay more than the commission rate per reservation.

• Airbnb’s ranking

Currently, Airbnb does not have a built-in solution to assist you in improving the ranking of your listings. If you want to improve your rankings, you may do things like updating your calendar regularly, maintaining a high response rate, and completing your host profile, among other things.

Should You Use Airbnb and Booking.com to Market Your Vacation Rental?

You want to enhance your reach in today’s competitive environment. That is why it is important to use a multi-channel approach and advertise your property on many websites.

According to RentalScaleUp, hosts who exclusively list on Airbnb have an average of 16.5 nights booked each month, compared to 12 nights for those who only list on Booking.com. However, when listing on Airbnb and Booking.com, hosts have seen an average of 17 booked nights each month, with the possibility of more.

Taking care of and maintaining your listings on both platforms may be time-consuming and difficult. Fortunately, vacation rental software like Lodgable is available to help.

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