Sonder vs Airbnb: Which Is Better For Hosts? [2024]

Having a hard time deciding between Sonder vs Airbnb for your vacation rental? Here's our detailed comparison to help you find out which platform aligns best with your hosting needs.

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Sonder and Airbnb, two giants in the hospitality industry, offer unique benefits for hosts. But which one aligns best with your hosting goals?

Discover the key differences, from costs and booking opportunities to host insurance and cancellation policies. This comprehensive guide dives into the nitty-gritty of hosting on Sonder vs Airbnb.

Make an informed choice and elevate your hosting experience.

Can You List on Both Sonder and Airbnb?

Indeed, listing your property on both Sonder and Airbnb is possible. This strategy can significantly increase your visibility and booking opportunities. However, it’s important to be aware of potential challenges, such as the risk of double bookings and the complexities of handling multiple platforms.

To mitigate these issues, a channel manager for calendar sync is highly recommended. It helps in synchronizing your calendars, preventing double bookings, and consolidating inquiries in one place. For more insights, do explore our guide on effective calendar synchronization.

What is Sonder?

Founded in 2014 by university student Francis Davidson in Montreal, Sonder is a hospitality game-changer. Teaming up with co-founder Martin Picard, they created a vision for spaces that seamlessly blend practicality and style. 

Sonder aims to deliver personalized, inspiring experiences, redefining the traditional concept of accommodation.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb‘s story began in 2007 with a simple but innovative idea: two hosts in San Francisco welcomed three guests into their home. From these modest beginnings, Airbnb has transformed into a global community, now encompassing over 4 million hosts and facilitating upwards of 1.5 billion guest arrivals across the world. 

Today, Airbnb hosts are at the forefront of offering distinctive stays and experiences, fostering genuine connections between guests and local communities. This evolution highlights the platform’s significant impact in reshaping how we travel and interact with different cultures.

Sonder vs Airbnb: An Overview

Now, let’s dive into the key differences that set Sonder and Airbnb apart.

Comparison PointSonderAirbnb
Costs For Hosts▪︎ Charges a flat rate per unit, covering lodging, cleaning, and administration
▪︎ Additional fees include tax and cancellation
▪︎ Guests pay the listed price plus a 6-12% guest service fee
▪︎ Hosts receive the listed price minus a 3% service fee
Reach and Getting Bookings▪︎ Over 5,000 listings, specializing in “apartment-style hotels”
▪︎ Attracts business professionals, digital nomads, solo travelers, and groups
▪︎ Diverse spaces, catering to a broad audience
▪︎ Listing categories include entire places, private rooms, hotel rooms, and shared rooms
▪︎ Appeals to young people
Host Insurance▪︎ Promises significant insurance coverage for partners, details available upon inquiry
▪︎ Recommends obtaining renter’s insurance for personal items
▪︎ AirCover for Hosts provides up to $1 million in coverage
▪︎ Covers injuries, property damage, and theft, excluding intentional damage
Cancellation Policies▪︎ Offers a Flex Rate for free cancellation and a full refund, with conditions
▪︎ No refund for bookings canceled within three days of a reservation
▪︎ Cancellations within 48 hours or after check-in incur a 50% fee
▪︎ Cancellations between 48 hours and 30 days before check-in have a 25% fee
Customer Service▪︎ Trustpilot rating is 1.4/5 stars▪︎ Trustpilot rating is 1.3/5 stars

Sonder vs Airbnb: Costs for Hosts

Let’s break down the dollars and cents. Here’s a quick look at how Sonder and Airbnb handle costs for hosts.

Sonder simplifies costs for hosts by charging a flat rate per unit, covering lodging, cleaning, and administration. Additional fees for guests include tax and cancellation. Sonder partners with specific property owners, and for detailed cost information, it’s best to contact them directly through their website.

On Airbnb, guests pay the listed price plus a 6-12% guest service fee. Hosts receive the listed price minus a 3% service fee. Airbnb’s transparent fee structure allows hosts to quickly calculate their earnings for each booking.

Opt for Sonder if you prefer a straightforward flat-rate structure. Choose Airbnb for transparent pricing with a guest service fee. Tailor your choice to match your hosting preferences and business needs.

Sonder vs Airbnb: Reach and Getting Bookings

Sonder Reach and Guest Profile – With over 5,000 listings and a solid user base, Sonder specializes in “apartment-style hotels” featuring modern designs and amenities like stocked kitchens, luggage storage, and fitness rooms. Its guest profile typically includes business professionals, digital nomads, solo travelers, and groups.

Airbnb Reach and Guest Profile – Airbnb hosts provide a diverse array of spaces, ranging from shared rooms to private islands. They categorize listings into entire places, private rooms, hotel rooms, and shared rooms, catering to a broad audience. Airbnb’s guest profile spans young people, business professionals, digital nomads, solo travelers, groups, and families. Choose the platform that aligns with the unique experience you offer and the audience you want to attract.

Sonder vs Airbnb: Host Protection Insurance

Sonder Host Insurance – This platform promises significant insurance coverage as a feature for potential partners. However, specific details about this coverage are not readily available on their official website. Notably, Sonder does not provide insurance for personal items in properties. They recommend hosts consider obtaining renter’s insurance or personal property insurance.

Airbnb Host Insurance AirCover for Hosts provides up to $1 million in coverage. This insurance protects hosts in the rare event they are legally responsible for guest injuries or damage to their belongings during their stay. It covers bodily injury, property damage or theft, and damage caused by guests to common areas. However, it does not cover intentional damage.

Hosting Tip! It’s a good move to pair your Sonder or Airbnb coverage with personal vacation rental insurance. Explore our guide on the best insurance options for details or obtain a quote from Proper Insurance for tailored coverage meeting your vacation rental needs.

Sonder vs Airbnb: Cancellation Policies

Sonder provides a Flex Rate option at checkout, allowing guests to enjoy free cancellation and a full refund for a premium. It’s important to note that bookings canceled within three days of a reservation do not qualify for a refund or free cancellation.

With Airbnb, on the other hand, cancellations made 48 hours or less before check-in, or after check-in, incur a fee of 50% of the reservation amount for the nights not stayed. If canceled between 48 hours and 30 days before check-in, the fee is 25% of the reservation amount.

Consider these cancellation policies carefully to align with your hosting strategy and provide clarity to your potential guests.

Sonder vs Airbnb: Host Customer Support

While there are a few positive reviews, the overwhelming majority are negative, painting a picture of dissatisfaction with Sonder’s services. Its current Trustpilot rating is 1.4 out of 5 stars.

On the other hand, Airbnb’s customer service has received predominantly negative feedback on Trustpilot, resulting in a low rating of 1.3 out of 5 stars.

Despite the low Trustpilot ratings for both Sonder and Airbnb indicating challenges in customer support, it’s important to note that both companies provide a Help Center with FAQs on their websites. This resource can be a valuable tool for seeking guidance and solutions to common issues.

Takeaway

When selecting a listing site for your vacation rental, each comparison point we’ve explored plays a pivotal role in shaping your hosting experience. Fees directly impact your earnings, accommodation types define your property’s appeal, and understanding the guest profile ensures you attract the right audience. Cancellation policies and customer service quality influence the overall satisfaction of both hosts and guests.

In summary, if a straightforward, flat-rate model and a focus on business professionals align with your hosting goals, Sonder is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you seek a diverse audience and appreciate transparent fee structures, Airbnb might be the better fit.

Make your own vacation rental website and offer direct bookings to avoid OTA fees. Use SEO strategies, marketing, and property management software to reduce your reliance on these platforms.

Remember, for an even broader reach, consider listing on both platforms through a channel manager. This allows you to maximize exposure and bookings. If you’re eager to explore more options beyond Sonder and Airbnb, our guide on the best listing sites for vacation rentals provides valuable insights. Happy hosting!

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