Hotels vs. Airbnbs
Airbnb’s sudden thrust into the mainstream has not only shaken up the traditionalist hotel industry, but is also re-imaging the way we travel by offering a hospitality service that’s perfect for people seeking unconventional vacations, a cheaper place to stay or simply for folks needing somewhere to crash. Airbnb’s are relatively new to the market as the company celebrates their 10th anniversary this year, but even in that short lifespan the company has stolen some of the spotlight and business from major hotel companies.
Now, travelers around the globe are scratching their heads trying to figure out the best place for their travel arrangements, and that now comes down to two options, hotels or Airbnbs. Truly there is no perfect answer, but there most likely is a service that is better suited to you and the trip you’re planning to take. So, to better help your decision, we’ve listed out the pros and cons of each service.
Pros for hotels
Let’s start with the classic way of living when you’re out traveling, and although Airbnbs have blown up all over the world, they’ve barely made a dent in the hotel industry. Last year Airbnb’s total revenue for the year was a stunning $2.6 billion dollars. What about hotels you may ask? Well, in the United States alone total revenue was almost $200 billion dollars, add $500 billion internationally. So, despite the splash that Airbnb’s are clearly making, don’t expect the hotel industry to really shift anytime soon.
© Duane Storey
One of the biggest pros for hotels is the convenience packaged with the reliability. While most Airbnbs are also decently convenient when it comes to the overall experience, it’s the reliability of the product mixed with the convenience that really gives hotels the edge. With a hotel, especially by brand, you know what you’re getting into, a standard room, bed and shower with an overall property and location that you can see with high-definition pictures. This makes it a perfect option for vacation or business travelers alike.
READ MORE: Travel Profile: Romeo Blanco
Hotels also offer round-the-clock reception, something you’re at the mercy of the Airbnb owner if you decide the other way. If you do run into problems while staying at an Airbnb you can still easily, and directly take it to some representative from the company, but it’s gonna be a whole lot more awkward telling the owner his place isn’t what you expected.
Cons for hotels
The cons for hotels are pretty straightforward and you probably already figured this one — the price. When compared to Airbnb’s, the price for hotels can sometimes be outrageous.
© H. Zo Rakotondramanana
You’re also going to be staying with hundreds of other guests, some blasting loud music or letting kids run around the room next door to you. Basically, there’s a lot more variables at play here then staying in a stand-alone house.
The other gripe that some may find with staying at a hotel is a loss of authenticity. Staying in hotels, especially a chain hotel like Holiday Inn or Marriott is almost like going to Paris just to try their McDonald’s. You’re playing it safe, but in doing so you may be losing out in the fun of staying in a local house or apartment in the area.
Pros for Airbnb
Airbnb have fought hard to get where they are now by constructing a business model that puts communities, as well as guest’s needs first. They join the list of startup companies who are taking on traditional companies with a technological approach — Uber, Tesla and Netflix to name a few. Now, Airbnb is making gigantic waves in its respective industry by taking on the traditional practices that the industry followed.
© Fion Atkinson
The biggest caveat for Airbnb’s is the price, because they will almost always be a better bang for your buck in any city. If you look at New York the best deal you’re going to find for a hotel is going to be around $100 (at the very cheapest). But, if you’re staying alone in the city you can get an Airbnb for $50 bucks. If you need two rooms to split with a friend you’re looking at or around $80 dollars.
Airbnb’s also usually offer kitchen access, so if you’re not trying to live the restaurant life you’ll be able to have some home cooking while away. Another pro is family-type travel, with Airbnb offering residences in any size. Meaning if you want to rent a mansion for a family vacation or a weekend getaway with a group of friends, you can do that.
Cons for Airbnb
Being a relatively new company has made things a little complicated for Airbnb, as they’ve already ran into a slew of legal troubles across the globe. One one side, some cities, like Columbus and Cleveland, have actually invested in the company, but some of the biggest travel destinations still offer problems for Airbnb. On the other, places like Paris, New York and even San Francisco, the city where Airbnb was started, have pushed the company back with legislation or just by simply speaking out publicly against the company.
© B. Yuen Thompson
Now, one of the most glaring problems that some residents have experienced is getting a property that is far worse than the condition described. Stories of travelers coming across cockroaches and poor living conditions in even five-starred Airbnbs is rare, but they’re more frequent than similar stories in well-reviewed hotels.
But, all of that pales in comparison to the worst thing about Airbnb’s, the fact that the host can actually cancel on you. Airbnb allows both the host and guest to cancel their reservations as late as the day before arrival. Once again, it rarely happens, but if it were to happen to you it would likely put a substantial fork in the middle of your vacation plans.
READ MORE: Five ways to reduce travel anxiety
For those looking for a winner, there’s none because that can only be determined by you. There’s no right or wrong option, there’s just the option that works best for you. Here’s to hoping you find it!