Airbnb Competitors Analysis [2021]: How Do They Stand Out?

Everyone has heard about Airbnb and its huge popularity. It is a well-known travel platform and one of the largest brands in the accommodation industry. This company was launched in 2008. Since then, the listing offerings have grown immensely. Nowadays, Airbnb has more than 150 million users from all over the world.

The company enjoys its global reach and awareness. Therefore, property owners and managers should definitely consider this online booking platform when they’re trying to attract more customers and achieve a higher number of bookings sourced from international travelers.

On the other hand, any good manager knows that one of the best industry practices is to avoid relying on one single accommodation platform. Simply put, property owners should approach a multi-channel distribution strategy. If they’re listed on several different websites, their visibility will increase. This will further lead to increased revenue and occupancy.

In today’s article, I’ve chosen to discuss Airbnb’s competitors but I will also detail the company’s strengths and weaknesses in the SWOT analysis you will find below. But, first, let’s discover how this whole business venture started.

Airbnb Competitors Analysis – How It All Started

The idea of creating Airbnb occurred to two good friends who were living together and they’ve decided to share some of their living space with other people, especially travelers who only wanted to stay there for a couple of nights. The company was then launched in 2008. Due to their courage and initiative, travelers and hosts from all over the globe are able to enter this platform and book accommodations or list their available space.

Before Airbnb, the only possible alternatives were guest houses and hotels. Since the appearance of Airbnb, many other similar companies have emerged and they are all providing clients with good accommodation alternatives at affordable and reasonable prices.

The Pros & Cons of Airbnb

Before we begin, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons that the Airbnb platform has.

Pros

  • It focuses only on private properties without listing hotels;
  • The company provides a very flexible service: one could list a single bed in a room that has two beds or could rent an entire mansion;
  • Property owners are able to list every available room separately. This saves a lot of time when it comes to gaining visibility;
  • It is a very affordable rental service. If you own a property and you want to list it on Airbnb, all you have to do is register and place the ad. These are for free. The booking fee is normally 3%;
  • You are free to establish your desired rules for your guests and if they don’t follow them, you can cancel their booking without paying any fines;
  • For extra security reasons, you are able to ask for the guest’s ID document;
  • Airbnb customer support is available 24/7 and it can be accessed through various channels: phone, live chat, and email.

Cons

  • If you list one of your properties on Airbnb, you will have to always be online and check if anyone wants to book it because the company requires owners to approve a request in a maximum of 24 hours. If you don’t do that, the booking request will expire and you will lose a client;
  • Low ratings can lead to suspended listings. If you don’t provide all the essential items that your guests need such as soap, towels, and toilet paper, you will also risk a suspension. The downside of this is that many times, ratings are highly subjective;
  • The guests must pay the entire sum right after the booking but you won’t receive the money immediately because Airbnb holds the sum for one whole day as a security measure;
  • If one of your guests damages your house, you don’t have the certainty that you’ll receive complete coverage, especially if something gets stolen;
  • The final price that visitors see on the Airbnb platform is higher than the one you set because the company also adds an extra fee. So, for some guests, this might be an inconvenience.

Airbnb Competitors Analysis – SWOT Analysis

Before we conclude, let’s take a look at some of the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats that Airbnb is facing. Below, you will find the entire SWOT analysis of Airbnb.

Strengths

  • It is a very popular, reputable, trusted, and strong brand in the vacation rental market;
  • In its service category, Airbnb occupies a leadership position;
  • This service is a much more affordable and customizable alternative to the traditional hotels;
  • Guests have numerous possibilities to choose from when it comes to accommodations;
  • Loyal clients receive special discounts and rewards.

Weaknesses

  • The platform could face many legal issues as well as developing regulations;
  • There’s no control over the hosts’ accommodation quality;
  • Certain property managers charge high prices;
  • It is a pretty simple business plan that’s fairly easy to copy.

Opportunities

  • With Airbnb, the travel experience is constantly improving;
  • It could be easy for the company to keep expanding their services;
  • The business foresees a continued global expansion;
  • Its mobile app could become stronger, better developed, and more popular;
  • The company has the power to boost its market penetration by tailoring its marketing strategy.

Threats

  • Regarding the legal framework, the present and the future are full of uncertainty;
  • Airbnb has numerous strong competitors;
  • Many traditional hotels are changing their approach to also target the main audience of Airbnb – Millennials.

Airbnb Competitors Analysis – Top 5 Alternatives

Airbnb has many primary and secondary competitors, from other booking websites to hotels, inns, and guest houses. But, today, I will only present the company’s direct competitors which are other platforms that offer very similar services. Some of these business competitors focus on broad audiences and so they publish a wide range of accommodations, whereas others target specific niches to cater to a certain type of traveler.

Without further ado, let’s discover the main Airbnb competitors which I’ve listed in no particular order. I have, however, chosen them based on their popularity and number of online users.

1. Booking.com

Booking.com is a major player in the traveling industry. I’m talking about a massive online travel agency platform that offers both hotel accommodations and vacation rentals. This company is one of the most important competitors of Airbnb and features a list that exceeds six million private apartments and homes.

Every single day, over 1,5 million from 220 countries travelers use this platform to plan and book their next trip. Booking.com is a website that receives an average of 100 million online visitors per month. One thing that differentiates this platform from the one of Airbnb is the fact that Booking.com started as a search engine to look up hotels. Even to this day, it also lists hotels besides private rentals.

Pros

  • Most people trust Booking.com and they are very familiar with the way this platform works;
  • Based on the reviews and ratings offered by guests, a property owner could be awarded the company’s annual Guest Review award which will make your rental option a lot more popular;
  • On the platform, those who are looking for a rental or hotel have a wide variety of choices to pick from;
  • You can easily synchronize the calendar offered by Booking.com with various other calendars.

Cons

  • The host must cover a pretty big service fee of 15%;
  • The guest doesn’t need your approval when he or she is making a booking. If you cancel it, you will have to pay a fee;
  • You don’t have the liberty of choosing your guests;
  • Unlike Airbnb, Booking.com is mostly known for promoting larger hotel chains which is a downside for small property owners;
  • The company doesn’t offer damage coverage to hosts.

2. TripAdvisor

In terms of useful resources and guidance for travel, TripAdvisor is one of the best options out there due to its numerous reviews and ratings that are given by travelers. It lists thousands of accommodation locations all over the planet and it also rates restaurants, venues, and other places.

On this platform, besides vacation rentals and hotels, you will also find many restaurants, travel forums, and things to do in the location you want to travel to. This website will definitely help you make well-informed and educated decisions regarding travel plans, accommodation booking, and the places where you will want to eat.

Pros

  • One of the platform’s most useful and important traits is represented by its reviews which are offered by real travelers and online users who share their personal experiences through text messages and photos;
  • Due to the photos that other reviewers publish on TripAdvisor, you will achieve a realistic impression of the place you want to go to;
  • On TripAdvisor, you will find a wide variety of useful information about the hotel or apartment in which you will stay, the city you’re about to visit, best places to see, fun things to do, the most affordable restaurant to go to, and more;
  • Unlike the edited photos you will encounter on the official website of hotels and other accommodation types, on this website, you will also see real photos made by travelers who’re using their cameras or phones to make those photos.

Cons

  • You don’t really know who is contributing to the platform. Anyone who has access to the Internet can post a negative review there, and there’s no way to control or verify if what they’re saying is true or not;
  • The site has recently launched a new feature that allows you to directly book a hotel or accommodation. But, being so new, this feature is less extensive than the one provided by other similar platforms.

3. Vrbo

When you first take a look at both Vrbo and Airbnb, it might seem that these two services have many things in common. For starters, they were both created to be used as alternatives to traditional accommodations like hotels. Vrbo was initially called “Vacation Rental by Owner.” It has a longer history than Airbnb, being launched in 1995.

The platform consists of more than 2 million property listings located in 190 countries. However, Airbnb managed to achieve a higher level of popularity due to the fact that it provides unique experiences for travelers and guests. At the same time, however, listing a property on Vrbo might offer boosted visibility because your ad will also be featured on other traveling websites included in the Expedia Group, the present owner of Vrbo.

Pros

  • Guests have more opportunities in terms of upscale accommodation options;
  • This platform focuses mostly on larger groups and families but this can also be a downside, based on your preferences and needs as well as your travel habits;
  • Hosts can choose between two available fee models;
  • Guests can save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on expensive hotel rooms.

Cons

  • You will find a limited range of listings here. So, there will be fewer choices to select from;
  • You won’t find hotels; the site lists only private properties;
  • Some ads and photos could be misleading.

4. HometoGo

HometoGo is one of the biggest search engines for travel and accommodations in the world. It lists over 18 million offerings located in more than 200 different countries. This platform is in fact a metasearch engine and it aggregates home rentals and private properties sourced gathered from more than 600 websites.

The company was launched as a startup, in 2014, in Berlin, Germany. Since then, it has gained a lot of awareness in the US, after it acquired Tripping.com which was a popular vacation rental aggregator from California. On this website, you will find numerous types of properties and you will even see comparative charts of the same property offered by multiple platforms.

Compared to Airbnb which is a direct marketplace where owners can list their properties, HometoGo is a meta engine. Simply put, this platform extracts listings from other vacation rental platforms.

Pros

  • The platform is very user-friendly and the team behind it is constantly updating all the content;
  • Everything is transparent on this website and you are able to see the different prices of a certain property offered by several websites and providers;
  • If you are a host, you will like HometoGo because your property will gain a lot of awareness since it will appear on no less than 16 websites.

Cons

  • Some might say that the fee that HometoGo charges hosts is a bit high;
  • Airbnb is more reputable and has a higher level of trust from online users.

5. Agoda

Agoda is a well-known travel agency located in Singapore but it also plays the role of a metasearch engine. The business was launched in 2005 and, in time, has become a Booking Holdings subsidiary. This is the same company that also owns Booking.com. On this platform, you will find more than 2 million properties from over 200 countries.

It is known worldwide, but the highest level of popularity is seen in Asia. With this service, you will be able to check similar rooms in a side-by-side comparison, without even opening your laptop due to the existence of the Agoda mobile app. The app features numerous useful details such as amenities, prices, facilities, and more.

Pros

  • The whole booking process is very simple and pretty straightforward;
  • Both the online website and the Agoda mobile app are intuitive and user-friendly;
  • You can choose from a wide range of room types;
  • There are two available payment options: credit card and via PayPal;
  • You will find significant discounts through which you can save a lot of money.

Cons

  • Sometimes, you will need to be patient because it can take a while until the hotel gets the confirmation from the Agoda platform;
  • The best deals on the platform are the ones that are booked the quickest, so you must decide quickly when choosing an
  • accommodation;
  • The final price will be increased by additional service charges and fees.

Airbnb Competitors Analysis – Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How Could Airbnb Improve Its Services?

Answer: As long as you become a very good host and provide your guests with high-quality services and a friendly attitude, you should soon become a successful property listing on Airbnb. Here are some tips on how can Airbnb, through their hosts, can improve their services, and gain more profit:

  • Create a sustainable environment as well as an inclusive one that accepts all decent people, regardless of their nationality, race, gender, and more;
  • Like any other market, the hospitality one is also dynamic. So, you should adjust your prices to meet the current demand;
  • Automate your communication and make yourself available to reply to all the questions your potential or future guests might ask;
  • Publish some appealing yet realistic photos of your property and be transparent about all the facilities it has to offer;
  • Be available for your guests and offer them guidance just like a travel expert would do.

Question: Who Are the Main Competitors of Airbnb?

Answer: All the businesses described above are important competitors of Airbnb. But, besides Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and all the others I have mentioned previously, there are other competitors as well:

  • Expedia;
  • Plum Guide;
  • Google;
  • TUI Villas; etc.

Question: What Is the Main Trait that Differentiates Airbnb from Its Competitors?

Answer: Unlike other similar platforms, Airbnb focuses on urban properties owned by hosts who’re located in cities rather than hotels located in larger yet isolated resorts. So, Airbnb targets urban destinations and addresses mostly Millenials.

Question: What’s the Motto That Airbnb Uses?

Answer: Long story short, Airbnb wants to provide personalized and exquisite traveling experiences to global guests by helping them find proper and suitable accommodation options that have character, besides essential amenities and facilities.

Airbnb Competitors Analysis – In Conclusion

It’s very difficult to say which of the competitors presented in today’s article is the best Airbnb alternative since they all offer many amazing services. At the same time, I am sure that many property owners and managers will still want to collaborate with Airbnb since this is the biggest and most popular website that focuses on short-term vacation rental in the world.

Still, each competitor comes with its own advantages, hence, the best strategy you might consider is to list your properties on as many platforms as you can afford. Make sure to choose those websites that are the most relevant for your services.

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