Google Vacation Rentals vs Airbnb

Discover the best ways to reach more travelers by comparing Google Vacation Rentals and Airbnb, and learn how they can maximize your bookings.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

Get more tips in our Vacation Rental Marketing Guide

Both Google Vacation Rentals and Airbnb are the cream of the crop when it comes to helping travelers find the perfect place to stay. 

Google is the world’s most dominant search engine, and Expedia reports that 72% of travelers use search engines to plan their trips, including finding accommodations. 

On the other hand, Airbnb is one of the most popular booking platforms with over 150 million users worldwide.

So, how do you choose between them?

In this  Google Vacation Rentals vs Airbnb comparison, we’ll go through their pros, cons, how they’re used, and what makes them different. This way, you can pick the one that works best for you as a host.

What is Google Vacation Rentals?

In early 2019, Google added a new feature to its search engine called Vacation Rentals. This feature allows users to browse vacation rental properties from various sources directly within Google’s search results.

It shows up right between the ads and regular search results, making it easy for people to find vacation rentals alongside hotels. 

Users can click on the “Vacation Rental” option to see properties that match their preferences. Google Maps also gives estimated locations, which helps protect your privacy. 

With filters for destination, price, amenities, and type of accommodation, Google Vacation Rentals ranks the best-matching properties, giving your listing a chance to be seen at the top of the search results.

How To List a Short-term Rental on Google Vacation Rentals

You’ve got three ways to list your short-term rental on Google Vacation Rentals (GVR):

  1. Direct Integration with Google: If you’ve got over 5000 properties, you can try linking directly with Google. But be ready, it’s a bit complex especially if you aren’t tech-savvy. Plus, you’ll need to hire a technical manager.
  2. Through an Online Travel Agency (OTA): You can connect your property through a partner OTA, like Trip Advisor. Just remember, Google itself doesn’t charge extra commission, but you’ll still pay OTA fees for bookings through Google.
  3. Using a Connectivity Partner: This one’s the easiest option for most hosts. Google’s Connectivity Partners allow you to connect to Google’s Vacation Rentals Partners in a few clicks, usually right from your channel manager. Then, when guests click on your GVR listing, they’ll be directed straight to your website. But first, you need to sign up for one of these partners, such as Lodgify, OwnerRez, and Hostfully. Be sure to check if your platform is already on Google’s list of connectivity partners

The Benefits of Listing on Google Vacation Rentals

Now, let’s go over some reasons why you should list on Google Vacation Rentals:

  • Increased Visibility: Google is one of the most widely used search engines globally, meaning your property gets exposed to a vast audience of potential guests.
  • Direct Bookings: GVR doesn’t charge you a fee, instead, guests can be directed straight to your website when they click on your listing. This way you can get bookings without paying commission fees to OTAs.
  • Competitive Advantage: Being listed on Google Vacation Rentals can give you a competitive edge over properties that are only listed on traditional booking platforms.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Google Vacation Rentals has a user-friendly interface for both hosts and guests, making it easier to manage listings and find accommodations.
  • Integration with Google Maps: Guests can view the location of your property on Google Maps, providing them with essential information for planning their stay.

The Disadvantages of Listing on Google Vacation Rentals

Listing your property on Google Vacation Rentals also has its drawbacks:

  • Limited Reach: While Google is a popular search engine, it may not have the same dedicated user base for vacation rentals as specialized booking platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com.
  • Competition with Paid Ads: Your listing on Google Vacation Rentals will be among the paid ads, potentially reducing its visibility to users.
  • Dependence on Connectivity Partners: To connect your property to Google Vacation Rentals without hassle, you need a third-party connectivity provider, which creates a new cost.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is a popular booking platform for travelers looking for vacation stays. They allow you to list any type of accommodation, including a room, standard home or apartment, or something more unique like a boathouse, treehouse, or even a castle.

How to List on Airbnb

It has over 7 million listings in more than 220 countries, and it is a go-to option for many travelers looking to book a place to stay. 

Airbnb focuses on safety and support as well, providing 24/7 customer service, the Airbnb Safety Center, and an Urgent Support Line. It also recognizes exceptional hosts as Superhosts which can help you earn the potential guests’ trust.

On Airbnb, you can join the host community to connect with other hosts. It’s a helpful space to ask questions, get advice, and find solutions to common hosting problems.

How To List a Short-term Rental on Airbnb

Creating a listing on Airbnb is super simple and easy. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Create an account on Airbnb as a host.
  2. Click on “List Your Space” and follow the prompts to describe your rental, upload photos, set pricing, and outline any house rules.
  3. Use Airbnb’s calendar to select when your property is available for bookings.
  4. Decide whether you want to enable instant booking or prefer to approve guests manually
  5. Complete verification steps to verify your identity as this will establish trust with potential guests.
  6. Publish the listing.

When you start getting bookings, Airbnb will take a 3% service fee from the booking subtotal. This means you’ll receive the rate you set, minus the 3% fee.

The Benefits of Listing on Airbnb

There are several advantages to creating and managing a listing on Airbnb:

  • Targeted Guests: Airbnb attracts people specifically looking for accommodation, so your listing will be seen by potential guests who are ready to book.
  • Flexible Pricing: You have control over pricing, allowing you to adjust rates based on demand, seasonality, and other factors.
  • Trust and Safety Measures: Airbnb keeps things safe and secure with features like verifying guests, guarantees for hosts, and making sure payments are safe. So, you can feel confident accepting bookings and welcoming people into your rental.
  • Guest Reviews: Positive reviews from satisfied guests can boost your property’s credibility and attract more bookings.
  • Support and Resources: Airbnb gives you access to lots of helpful resources, including guides, tips, the host community, and 24/7 help from customer service.

The Disadvantages of Listing on Airbnb

Before you take a plunge, you should also take into account these Airbnb downsides:

  • Service Fee: Airbnb charges you a service fee for each booking, reducing your earnings.
  • Competition: With millions of listings on Airbnb, it can be challenging to stand out among the competition.
  • Losing Direct Bookings: When you get bookings through Airbnb, they might replace the direct bookings you could’ve had. This means you might miss out on maximizing your earnings since you’ll be paying fees.

Google Vacation Rentals vs. Airbnb: The Main Differences

You’ve likely spotted several differences between these two platforms, but let’s summarize to make it clear:

  • Listing Source: The main difference is that GVR is a metasearch engine for vacation rentals, and Airbnb is a traditional online travel agency.  With Google, users can’t book directly on the platform, instead, they’re redirected to your website. On the other hand, Airbnb acts as a marketplace for listings and allows guests to book directly through their platform.
  • Audience: Airbnb attracts travelers who are ready to book, while on Google Vacation Rentals, users might just be starting to plan their trip and aren’t necessarily ready to book yet.
  • Fees: Google Vacation Rentals doesn’t charge booking fees, which means more money in your pockets. Meanwhile, Airbnb charges you a service fee for each booking, cutting into profits a bit.
  • Reach: Google Vacation Rentals blends right in with Google Search, giving you a chance to convert guests who might be just browsing. To find your property on Airbnb, guests have to go directly to the Airbnb platform.
  • Community: Airbnb creates a real sense of community through reviews, direct messages, and a host forum. Google Vacation Rentals doesn’t offer things like that.
  • Flexibility: With Google Vacation Rentals, you’ll enjoy more flexibility. Since you’re directing guests to your own website, you’re not tied down by the rules of traditional booking platforms like Airbnb. You can set your own cancellation and refund policies and run things your way.

Alternatives to Google Vacation Rentals and Airbnb

Do you want more options to reach a wider audience of travelers? 

No problem, as below you’ll find some of the most popular alternatives to Google Vacation Rentals and Airbnb:

  • Booking.com: Statista reports that Booking.com is the most popular booking site worldwide. It’s quite versatile, and you can list all sorts of accommodations. We’ve delved into how this platform is different from Airbnb in our Booking.com vs Airbnb comparison.
  • Vrbo (Vacation Rentals By Owner): Vrbo is an OTA platform for vacation rentals where you can list only whole-home rentals. It is ideal for hosting families and groups. Find out how it stacks against Airbnb in our Vrbo vs Airbnb showdown. 
  • TripAdvisor Rentals: TripAdvisor Rentals has been connecting hosts and travelers since 2008, and it’s another competitor to Airbnb. You can list your whole home or apartment, spare room, townhouse, luxury villa, beach cottage, and more.
  • Vacasa: Vacasa is a vacation rental management company, the largest one in North America. They take care of everything so you can earn passive rental income. The Vacasa team handles decorating, listing on Airbnb and Vrbo, communicating with guests, cleaning, and restocking supplies, among other things. Want to know more about how it differs from Airbnb and Vrbo? Check out our Vacasa vs Airbnb vs Vrbo comparison.
  • Evolve: While Evolve is also a vacation rental management company, it is a half-service provider, so it takes care of things like posting listings, managing guests, and marketing, but it doesn’t handle interior design or restocking supplies. Discover more about it in our article on how Evolve sets itself apart from Airbnb and Vrbo.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Google Vacation Rentals and Airbnb offer great ways for hosts to reach travelers. 

Google Vacation Rentals uses Google Search to send guests to your website, giving you control over bookings. 

Airbnb, on the other hand, connects you directly with travelers who are ready to book, offering features like Airbnb community and support. 

Our recommendation is not to choose between the two but to use both. 

By listing your property on both Google Vacation Rentals and Airbnb, you can maximize your visibility and reach a wider audience of travelers. 

This dual approach allows you to benefit from the direct bookings and control offered by Google Vacation Rentals, while also tapping into the targeted audience and community support provided by Airbnb. 

Simply put, combining these platforms gives you the best chance of success as a host.

How useful was this post?

Your feedback helps us write better content.

Thanks for letting us know!

How could we improve this post?