5 Similar Alternatives to Airbnb (Get the Full Scoop)

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Beautiful cape cod style beach house

I’m going to say it, I’ve not had much luck finding good places on Airbnb. It’s not for lack of trying.  I’ve often started my vacation rental search on Airbnb, but soon end up elsewhere.

My preferred vacation rental website is VRBO.  I’ve stayed in VRBO accommodations 6 times.  The main reason I love VRBO is the selection is outstanding.  The website is also super easy to use.

If you’re not wild about Airbnb and are interested in alternatives to Airbnb, you’re in the right place.  Our list includes only services that are very similar to Airbnb. We don’t list every type of accommodation website such as for long-term executive stay arrangements or hotels.  The 5 services below really do function like Airbnb, each with a bit of a unique flavor and specialties.

Before we get to the list, I explain what Airbnb just to get you up to speed.

Airbnb came up with such an innovative idea in 2008 when they launched a company for travellers. Not just the backpackers but hosts also earn plenty of benefits through Airbnb. If you have already heard the name, that’s because it is widely known across the globe as it has a huge network in around 34,000 cities. There are many other similar alternatives if you look for the similar website or accommodation arrangements.

Here’s our list of excellent Airbnb alternatives.

1. FlipKey

Rental condo in city

The owner of FlipKey is renowned travel review website called TripAdvisor. They cover a variety of topmost travel destinations around the world. It is reputable given it is owned by TripAdvisor; which is a popular reviewer of travel destinations along with hotels/accommodations.

FlipKey says they have nearly 300,000 list of rentals in more than 11,000 cities It is one of the principal Airbnb competitors with various domestic and international offers.

For travellers:

For guests, it is as easy to book a stay as any other website. You can get your booking done immediately by entering your dates, payment information and sending a message to the owner of the property. FlipKey provides accommodation such as a bathhouse, villas, beach house, home and apartment. They do not offer shared rooms; however, you can find your required type of rooms by using proper filters. It is important to note that FlipKey is popular for listing private rooms or an entire property for rent.

For hosts:

Hosts can sign up for free and can be a member. As the website provides a pay-per-booking plan, owners hardly need to keep the availability and listing up to date. A host can respond to inquiries and accept reservations from potential guests.

2. VRBO

Hawaii rental condo in resort

VRBO is my favorite vacation rental booking website.  I’ve booked fabulous places via this website including a fabulous Hawaiian vacation.

VRBO is an abbreviated form of Vacation Rentals By Owners which was started way back in 1995. It is owned by HomeAway which is a prominent vacation rental website that also runs some smaller rental websites too. VRBO emphases on the entire rental of property. Thus, almost every rental is full space rental; which means guests get to have entire property(home/apartment) and no shared rooms.

For travellers:

VRBO is specifically for vacation rentals rather than business travel. It has over 2 million listings around the globe and offers enough area to transform a foreign property into a home for a vacation. The average property on VRBO is 1,850 sq.ft with a backyard.

For guests, just like any other vacation rental website, you go through hundreds of thousands of accommodation listings, choose the dates and approve pricing. The price may include additional costs such as a processing fee, cleaning fee, taxes and damage waiver fee. You can buy some insurance that protects you from accidental damage or covers a cancellation.

Many listings include many photos which is helpful for booking, but this isn’t unusual. Most such sites offer this.  The booking process is very straightforward as long as the hosts reply to rental requests quickly (mine always have).

For hosts, VRBO provides 3 options for promising hosts:

  • Annual subscription Through this service, you can rent your property around the year and can receive guests at any time of the year.
  • Pay-per-booking This service assists you to have guests/backpackers infrequently.
  • Outside management service or 3rd party outsourcing With this, you can browse and have third-party management partners on the website. It is an advantageous option if one wants to host but does not have time to manage to list.

3. Wimdu

Vacation rental apartment in Paris, France

Wimdu is a leading European portal that provides vacation rental accommodations. This company has increased its inventory recently and spread wings around the world with over 300,000 properties in over 100 countries.

Along with offering large number city apartments, it also provides farmhouses, chalets, homes, boats, tree-houses. However, it is important to note that one does not need to be European to host or to be guest via Wimdu.

For travellers:

For guests, a traveler has to pay 12% of booking fee on the basis of pricing of a property he/she has chosen. In rare cases, it might require paying a cleaning fee or pet fee. Wimdu guests, as well as hosts, are protected with 100% free insurance policy. The cancellation fee differs from property to property and is not posted or known publicly.

For hosts:

For hosts, Wimdu has tended to be a popular choice as owners do not have to pay host fees. Thus, a host can list their property on the website without any charges. It is essential to know that the host will have to paya 3% of processing fee. It facilitates payments between both the hosts and guests in order to assure safety and prevent scams.

4. OneFineStay

Vacation rental townhome London

Onefinestay was established in 2010 in London and dwells into luxury shared accommodations. The rentals offered by them provide homey feeling in a hotel-like stay by replacing the towels and toiletries with deluxe versions. Guests do not have an encounter with the owner of the house as one of the staff members greets on checking in who also works as a concierge. Onefinestay ensures that the chosen property is well-situated at a visually beautiful location with consistent cleanliness. After getting acquired by Accor Hotels, the services have been expanded to more cities.

For travellers:

For guests, Onefinestay is a luxurious alternative to Airbnb. Their motto is ‘made-to-measure hospitality’.  It has 2,500 homes in 7 major cities in 4 countries. It plans to grow the business from 7 to 40 cities by 2020. Since it is owned by the AccorHotels group, guests have the benefit of staying in exceptional houses, villas and apartments with a broad range of hotel services. It guarantees a homestay in a splendid private residence.

For hosts:

For hosts, unlike other vacation rental websites, hosts here do not need to worry much about a perfect home decor or quality products provided in the home. The company modifies things as per the requirements and replaces the linens with its own.

The company manages all the inquiries from the day of guests booking to their end of the stay. It includes cleaning, the arrangement of furniture, making beds, supplying new towels and shampoos/soaps before a guest arrives. The team is open to being contacted 24/7. Also, the team assures to return after guests leave and make it as perfect as it should be.

5. HomeAway

Rental lake house in Maine

Found in February 2005, HomeAway is a vacation rental website and online classified space where owners pay for advertising their property. After spending many family vacations, Sharples and Carl Shepherd realized that finding and getting a rental property online was not as easy as booking a hotel room. So they established the company in Austin, Texas.

For travellers:

For guests, It’s good to know that HomeAway consists of more than 2 million incredible rental places in 190 countries. The guest/traveler fees vary between 4% to 9% of the cost of renting the property. It may vary depending on the type of the property. So if you rent an accommodation that costs $600, your HomeAway guest fee would be around $24-$54.

For hosts:

For hosts, HomeAway has multiple options to pay fees. Either they can pay on annual basis or they can choose to pay up front as per the required services. Hosts have to pay from $349 to $999 if they choose to go with an annual package. They can also pay $0 and 10-13% per booking which depends on the services required by the guests. Hosts are allowed to charge an extra credit card processing fee of 2.5%.

HomeAway provides easy-to-reach customer care services along with support through emails. It has a robust review system that helps people get a great sense of each offering.

At the end of the day, know what type of property you want, your budget, space needs, amenities needs, insurance coverage preferences, and don’t forget to put together a travel coupon book (from sites such as couponobox.com) to save on various things during your travels.

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