Written by Karlee Steffanni

Hotels vs. Airbnb: A Comparison For Tourists & Investors

Hotels vs. Airbnb: A Comparison For Tourists & Investors

Hotels vs. Airbnb: Which is better?

Over the years, Airbnb has been criticized for its role in “tearing apart cities,” and even sparking the ‘death’ of hotels. While the online vacation rental by owner marketplace has certainly opened up new doors for travelers, the countless homestay horror stories have a way of sticking with you.

So what’s the bottom line when it comes to services like Airbnb, Homestay, and VRBO? Are they really worth it? And is the hotels vs. Airbnb battle a legitimate concern? Ultimately, there will be pros and cons, plus countless differences between hotels and vacation rentals. Some travelers live for the unique experiences provided by platforms like Airbnb. More traditional travelers may be less than impressed.

Whether you’re looking to save money with an Airbnb stay or make money as a host, there are a few areas hotels and Airbnbs are at odds. We’ll let you decide who wins the war.

6 Ways Airbnbs Are Different From Hotels

1. Sometimes things get weird at Airbnbs

And when issues arise, your options are limited. Take this Redditor’s experience, for example…


Where the host lied about Wifi–arguably the holy grail of amenities. And then also acted like a total creep.

At a hotel, if you arrive and find the accommodations are not as promised, there are clear steps for resolving the issue. At a home rental, there usually is no front desk to hear your complaints.

Airbnb travelers have the option to request a refund for these kinds of occurrences. But that doesn’t guarantee somewhere else to stay. If there is nothing available in the area, you could end up sleeping in your car. To prevent creepy and dishonest hosts, your best bet is to scour the reviews. Keep in mind, however that reviews aren’t fool proof. Despite your best efforts, that “beach house by the shore” could still be a beach-themed storage unit across the street from a Long John Silver’s.

2. Occasionally, your Airbnb may not exist

Even with 37 reviews and an average four out of five star rating, your vacation rental could still be a scam. That was the case for this couple, who booked an Airbnb for a trip to Ibiza last month.


“Denise and Ian Feltham at Las Boas, where they discovered the apartment they had booked did not exist.” Source: Kate Palmer, Money Reporter | The Sunday Times

A pet-friendly location with lavish amenities in a prime location, the Feldmans thought they had struck gold. When they arrived, they found the vacation rental was fake.

They were without a place to stay, and out $10,000.  Needless to say, in this particular fight between hotels vs. Airbnb, our money is on hotels.

3. A hotel stay vs. the guest room vacation

The obvious draw for Airbnb has always been the budget-friendly accommodations. But is Airbnb really cheaper than booking a hotel room? Not necessarily.


Screenshot from r/Airbnb via Reddit

To verify this, we did a last-minute price comparison for hotels vs Airbnb over the busy Victorian Weekend in Cape May, NJ. Traditional hotel rooms were available for around $130 per night.

Surprisingly, the only Airbnb listed cheaper than local hotels was a single room in the home with a host. Priced around $125 per night (before fees), it was the same rate as a private hotel room–minus the stranger danger.

With that in mind, if being hosted by a local is your ideal getaway, the reviews weren’t bad.

4. Investors: Bring Your Own Hospitality Management (BYOH)

Wondering how much money you could make as an Airbnb host? Homestay guests aren’t the only ones with horror stories to swap. Airbnb hosts and home rental landlords have a unique set of nightmarish tales to bring to the table.

If you plan on investing in vacation rentals, make sure you’re prepared for everything the job entails. You’ll bear the responsibility of managing guest questions, concerns, and of course, their complaints.

Make sure you do it with a smile.

As an Airbnb host, the success of your business will rely largely on reviews. You can’t make everyone happy, so prepare to get some negative ones.

5. Hosting = Cleaning up other people’s 💩


Airbnb hosts often vent to one another about rowdy guests trashing rentals with huge parties and the costs of cleaning up after them. Think it can’t be that bad? Take a look at the scene from this luxury San Francisco Airbnb home rental, found in alarming condition last year. Amongst the wreckage were piles of trash, feces, and blood-stained sheets.

Yes, this is a drastic example. But it’s a real one. When it comes to the war between hotels vs Airbnb, cleaning up after people is a reality across the board, even for small Inn’s and boutique hotel properties. Unless you’ve purchased equity in a hotel from a crowdfunding platform like HotelierCo, owning vacation property comes with responsibilities.

They’re not always glamorous.

Is Airbnb killing hotels?

Despite claims that a battle between hotels vs. Airbnb will ultimately wipe out hotels,  the total U.S hotel construction pipeline continues expanding in 2019. Airbnb is certainly shaking things up across the board. But hotels aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Vacation ownership, without the hassle

Much like owning a hotel, vacation rental ownership comes with challenges and responsibilities. Today, everyday investors can own commercial real estate (CRE) when they invest with specialty crowdfunding platforms like HotelierCo. The best part? You can skip the tough stuff and head straight for the perks. Get started toady with an investment of $2500.

Invest Now

Still need more information? No problem. Click to unlock your free membership with HotelierCo. Membership is free, with no commitments.

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