Hotel vs Airbnb
The rise of Airbnb brings about an ongoing debate over the best value accommodation for travellers. Airbnb or hotels? There are many factors involved, and it usually comes down to individual circumstances and preferences. Below, you can read through the pros and cons of Airbnb vs the pros and cons of hotels. The final answer depends on what you’re personally looking for, so there are some questions to consider which can help you decide between a hotel vs Airbnb.
The Pros of Hotels
Hotels are all about luxury and convenience. The price includes the comfort, additional services, and prime location you can expect from a hotel. These are the primary benefits that hotels can offer you which Airbnbs probably can’t:
- Regulation – Hotels are highly regulated and have full teams of employees to manage all areas of the business.
- Security – It feels safer in a well-lit, constantly-staffed hotel, with rooms off street level and a safe for valuables.
- Customer Service – Most hotels staff their reception desk 24/7 and provide hospitality whenever you need it.
- Housekeeping – The cleaning standards of hotels are more reassuring and you don’t have to clean up yourself.
- Room Service – Most hotels allow customers to order food directly to their room, at any time of day or night.
- Amenities – Hotels have many conveniences, from inclusive breakfast to mini-bars to onsite gyms or offices.
- Consistency – You generally know what to expect from staying at a hotel, especially if it is a familiar chain.
- Discounts – Hotel chains often participate in loyalty programmes, or offer direct or online booking discounts.
The Cons of Hotels
On the downside, the many pros of a hotel stay usually come at a literal price. The more you are getting, the more you will be paying for it. The impersonality and faster pace of hotels can result in an unfulfilling experience for customers.
- Expensive – The fancier the hotel is and the more amenities it offers, the more your booking is going to cost.
- Impersonal – A mint on the pillow or complimentary toiletries is normally the only personal touch in hotel rooms.
- Higher Turnover – Many more people are likely to have stayed in your hotel room before you than an Airbnb.
- Lack of Authenticity – You won’t feel like a true local when you are completely surrounded by other travellers.
The Pros of Airbnb
If you want more control over your routine and to feel at home in your temporary lodgings, then Airbnb has the edge. They are more suitable for longer stays and can be just as central as hotels without costing as much for the privilege.
- Lower Prices – Airbnbs are usually less expensive than hotels, and you can often negotiate prices with the host.
- Authentic Experience – You can really get a feel of the local culture and what everyday living is like in that city.
- More Privacy – More options for self-check-in and check-out, no nearby room neighbours or staff bothering you.
- More Variety – A huge selection of both traditional and unique places to stay, costing less than boutique hotels.
- Friendlier – Surrounded by locals who can give authentic advice on where to go, what to do, and what to eat.
- Personal Kitchen – You can’t cook your own meals in a hotel, but you can in an Airbnb which includes a kitchen.
The Cons of Airbnb
The negative side of Airbnb is that it offers none of the pros of a hotel. There is less luxury and security, meaning that you have to be fully responsible for yourself and your possessions at all times. This includes personal travel insurance.
- Less Regulation – Many governments are introducing local regulations for Airbnb, but it is mostly unregulated.
- Booking Difficulties – The booking process takes longer and there is more of a risk of cancellation by the host.
- Lack of Customer Service – It can be difficult to report a problem or resolve a complaint if anything goes wrong.
- Local Impact – Airbnb can have a negative impact on local economies, driving up housing costs for renters.
- Self-Service – This is a double-edged sword, because you have to supply most things and clean up yourself.
Hotel vs Airbnb: Things to Consider
The fact is that neither a hotel nor an Airbnb will always be the better option in any given situation. Travelling usually requires flexibility, since your needs will change according to the purpose of your trip and who you are travelling with.
Are you travelling alone or in a group?
Lone travellers will generally be safer in a hotel, where it is secure and there are lots of other people. Groups and families are likely to save money with Airbnb, which offers houses and apartments for varying numbers of people.
Are you travelling with children?
Trying to stop young children from running amok in the limited space of a hotel can be a nightmare. An Airbnb can offer more of a homely atmosphere for families, and probably more opportunities for child-friendly entertainment.
How long is the trip going to be?
If it is only a short stay, then a hotel is the better option. Everything you might need during this short time is provided for you and cleaned up after you. The benefits of an Airbnb are more suitable for medium-term or long-term stays.
Is the trip for business or leisure?
Brief business trips have different objectives than trying to experience the city like a local. Business travel usually requires a more professional environment and a higher standard of convenience and customer service than Airbnb.
How important are amenities?
Do you like having fresh clean towels, your bed made for you, your meals cooked for you, toiletries or services on demand? You can get these at a hotel, but you have to sort them out yourself in an Airbnb, which also costs time.
Do you have a strict budget?
Lower budgets make Airbnb more worthwhile than hotels. Budget hotels offer fewer amenities, so you may as well choose a self-service Airbnb with more space and more private facilities for you to make use of throughout your stay.
Are you more of a tourist or do you prefer to feel like a local?
If you don’t mind being a tourist, or maybe prefer to be around other travellers, then a hotel will do. But if you crave authenticity and prefer to do things like the locals do, then Airbnb can cater to this and create personal experiences.