Booking.com vs Airbnb: Which Is Better For Hosts? [2024]

Are you a host grappling with the decision between Booking.com vs Airbnb? Find about how to maximizing earnings and guest experiences.

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Are you a host grappling with the decision between Booking.com vs Airbnb? This choice is more than just a platform preference. It’s about maximizing your earnings and enhancing guest experiences.

To help you make an informed choice, we will take a look at the features offered by two of the most well-known platforms, comparing Booking.com vs Airbnb for hosts. Let’s review these two listing sites, and see which one best suits your needs.

Can You List on Both Booking.com and Airbnb?

Yes, you can list your vacation rental property on both Booking.com and Airbnb. This strategy has its advantages and challenges. 

On the upside, it broadens your reach, potentially leading to more bookings. 

However, managing multiple platforms can be tricky and might result in double bookings, creating logistical challenges. 

To simplify this process and avoid these issues, we recommend using a channel manager with calendar synchronization capabilities. This tool keeps your property’s availability and bookings harmonized across various platforms and provides a unified inbox for communication.

On the other hand, you can manually sync your Airbnb and Booking.com calendars even without a channel manager.

What is Booking.com?

To make global travel easier, Booking.com was founded in 1996 as a modest Dutch start-up and has since expanded to become one of the biggest digital travel businesses in the world. 

Booking.com started with hotels but now they’ve got a bit of everything. It links tourists with various activities, modes of transportation, and lodging, providing everything from apartments to vacation homes, you name it. It’s more about the usual stays, but still a great choice.

As a leading travel platform, it provides accommodations worldwide and the opportunity to reach a global audience and expand its business.

What is Airbnb?

Founded in 2007, Airbnb has become a household name in the vacation rental industry. 

It has transformed the way people explore and experience the world by connecting travelers with unique and personalized accommodations. Think treehouses, cool lofts, and even castles! It’s perfect if your place has a special twist. Plus, you can choose to rent out just a room or the whole house.

Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, fostering a sense of community and adventure for both hosts and guests alike.

Let’s provide a snapshot of the key differences between Booking.com and Airbnb.

Comparison pointBooking.comAirbnb
Costs for HostsCommission-based model, varying from 10% to 25%
Charges depend on location and cancellation policy
A flat service fee of 3% of the booking subtotal for hosts
Reach and Getting BookingsKnown for hotels but expanding to vacation rentalsFocuses on unique, authentic stays
Host Protection InsuranceOffers up to USD 1 million in coverageProvides USD 1 million coverage, always free
Cancellation PoliciesThree flexible policies, including “Fully Flexible” and “Customized”Imposes fees based on timing with a clear structure
Host Customer SupportOffers customer service with room for improvement, reports of response delays and language issuesProvides customer service with similar feedback, instances of delayed responses, and language communication concerns

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Costs for Hosts

Based on a commission-based business model and depending on the region and the cancellation policy you select, Booking.com charges hosts a fixed proportion, usually between 10% and 25%, for each booking. 

On Airbnb, you’ll pay a flat service fee equal to 3% of the booking subtotal. This comprises the nightly price and any optional fees you charge guests (e.g., cleaning fees). This fee does not include Airbnb’s own fees and taxes. In contrast, guests usually bear a service fee of approximately 14% of the booking subtotal.

If you lean towards a flat fee for hosts, consider Airbnb. If you prefer a commission-based approach, go for Booking.com.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Reach and Getting Bookings

Airbnb and Booking.com cater to distinct guest preferences.

Airbnb’s guests are keen on authentic experiences, often looking for that “home-away-from-home” vibe. They’re looking for unique rentals that allow them to immerse themselves in local life, offering flexibility in their stay.

Booking.com is traditionally known for hotels, resorts, and lodges; it’s expanded to include vacation rentals, even though some guests might still come across as quite discerning.

Moreover, the audiences on these platforms vary. Airbnb mainly attracts people who value shareable experiences and unique stays. On the other hand, Booking.com’s reach is broader, appealing to mature travelers and families who prioritize location, convenience, and peace.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Host Protection Insurance

When it comes to host protection, both Booking.com and Airbnb have you covered.

  • Booking.com Host Insurance – It provides up to USD 1 million in liability coverage for each reservation, automatically applied to eligible properties at no extra cost, and is backed by major insurers for global protection.
  • Airbnb Host Insurance – AirCover for Hosts offers USD 1 million coverage for injuries or property damage you might be responsible for, including guests’ belongings. This coverage is always free when you list your property on Airbnb, without the need for opt-in, ensuring peace of mind while hosting.

Hosting Tip! It’s a good idea to get your own vacation rental insurance on top of what Airbnb and Booking.com offer. This extra insurance can give you more protection and help you feel more at ease.

For more information and to find the best vacation rental insurance, you can check out our guide on the best insurance options. Or, you can request a quote from Proper Insurance for comprehensive vacation rental coverage.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Cancellation Policies

When it comes to handling cancellations as a host, both Booking.com and Airbnb offer different policies and fees.

Booking.com provides hosts with three cancellation policies:

  • The “Fully Flexible” option lets guests cancel without charges until check-in. 
  • The “Customized” policy allows hosts to set the days guests can cancel without charges, reducing last-minute cancellations. 
  • Additionally, hosts can request a deposit or pre-authorization to discourage cancellations, but keep in mind, these policies can vary for each property.

On Airbnb, hosts may face fees for canceling or causing cancellations. The fees depend on when the cancellation occurs, ranging from 48 hours before check-in to over 30 days prior. 

For longer stays, fees are calculated based on the non-refundable portion of the reservation, which includes the base rate, cleaning fee, and pet fees but excludes taxes and guest fees. These policies ensure a clear process for handling cancellations on the platform.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Host Customer Support

Both Booking.com and Airbnb offer customer service, but there have been reviews highlighting areas for improvement. 

Some guests have reported delays in response, and instances where staff didn’t effectively communicate in English. It’s important to keep these considerations in mind when using these platforms.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Ranking

Booking.com employs a unique feature called the visibility booster to enhance the ranking of listings. 

This tool allows you to improve your listing’s visibility and search result ranking in exchange for payment above the standard commission rate per reservation. Better exposure on Booking.com can be achieved but at an additional cost to you.

However, aside from the booster, your ranking can also be influenced by the traveler’s preferences when searching. This includes your review score, cancellations, conversion, average daily rate, property page score, and more.

Airbnb, in contrast, does not offer a built-in tool specifically for boosting listing rankings. Instead, the platform’s algorithm prioritizes listings based on factors like relevance to the guest’s search criteria, overall listing quality, and the host’s history. 

To improve ranking, you’ll need to demonstrate active hosting by regularly updating your calendar, maintaining a high response rate, completing your host profile, and other similar actions. 

This approach emphasizes the quality and engagement of the host rather than the ability to pay for better visibility.

Booking.com vs Airbnb: Host Payouts

Booking.com‘s approach to host payouts is less direct compared to Airbnb. 

The platform does not have a centralized payment system and often leaves it to you to collect payments directly from guests. This can be done via credit card, bank transfer, or even cash-on-arrival.

To facilitate smoother transactions, you can adjust your settings on Booking.com to enable only online transactions and set up a payment processor like Stripe for credit card payments. 

This method provides flexibility but also adds a layer of complexity and responsibility to the host’s role.

Airbnb adopts a more centralized and direct approach to host payouts. 

The platform has a system in place that automatically collects and distributes payments between hosts and guests. Airbnb hosts can choose from various payout methods, including bank transfers, PayPal, and others. 

Payments are typically released to the host 24 hours after guest check-in, or in monthly installments for longer stays. This system offers convenience and predictability for you, ensuring timely and consistent payouts.

Takeaway

So, which listing site best suits your needs as a host? 

Airbnb is a great option if you want to rent out your entire house since it provides a platform that can accommodate a variety of property types, from modern apartments to more conventional ones. For hosts who want to produce shared experiences for a younger audience, it works perfectly.

However, Booking.com could be a better choice if you own a property that isn’t an entire house or if you want a commission-based approach. It’s perfect for individuals who want to draw in a larger audience, such as families and more experienced tourists who value ease and location.

Another route is to build a website for your vacation rental and offer direct booking to reduce fees from online travel agencies. With a good marketing plan, SEO, and the right property management software, you can reduce dependency on these platforms.

Remember, you can maximize your exposure by listing on both platforms using a channel manager. Choose the listing site that aligns best with your unique hosting requirements. And if you’re interested in exploring more options, check out our post on the best listing sites for vacation rentals.

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