By Rowan Clifford
Author of Airbn’b’Smart and Hospitable user
Inside the Airbnb bubble, it’s easy to think that it exists as an isolated island devoid from any competition in the outside world.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Airbnb’s rapid rise to world domination in the vacation rental industry has kick-started a global arms race to scoop up as much of the market share in this sector as possible, with the likes of Booking.com spending in excess of $5 Billion in 2019 on marketing alone.
So, who are the biggest competitors for Airbnb? And, what are their unique value propositions?
Let’s find out…
Airbnb industry trends
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which canceled travel plans and even the need to travel at all, has posed severe threats to the Airbnb industry and paused the company’s consistent year-over-year revenue growth.
But Airbnb has successfully navigated this challenging operating environment and increased its market share during this time.
At the pandemic’s peak, new bookings were down about 80%, and a growing number of short-term rental hosts switched to typical long-term rentals.
Airbnb successfully pivoted and launched “monthly stays” to compete with traditional rental services but without the standard annual rental agreements.
As many people put their properties up for rent when short-term rentals rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb listings skyrocketed.
According to AirDNA, as it stood in September 2022, 54% of active listings have been added to the platform since 2020.
And as international travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, the company expects strong demand for Airbnb.
Airbnb market share
Although Airbnb operates in the intensely competitive travel accommodation industry, the company’s market share has risen dramatically since 2010.
It is estimated that Airbnb now accounts for upwards of 20% of the vacation rental industry as a whole and generates half of its revenue from listings outside the US.
With over 6.1 million listings in September 2022, Airbnb surpassed the pre-pandemic period of September 2019 by 19.2%.
Now the company operates in 220 countries across the globe and has more than 150 million users worldwide.
But that’s enough about Airbnb’s market share; for now, let’s get back on track and delve into the industry heavyweights that are the leading competitors for Airbnb.
Top Vacation Rental Competitors For Airbnb
You may be interested in reading our detailed guide on hosting at Booking.com.
From its origins as a small startup from Amsterdam—founded in 1996—Booking.com has risen to become the global travel industry heavyweight.
With its focus originally on aggregating Hotel and short-term accommodation onto one marketplace, it’s now turning its attention to the booming vacation rental industry as well.
With the enormous amounts being invested in marketing (in the USA, especially), it appears that Booking.com is starting to gain a bigger chunk of the market share.
“It is growing faster than our core business, and we’re pleased with that,” said Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel.
Booking.com VS Airbnb: What sets them apart?
Both Booking.com and Airbnb are the giants when it comes to letting private accommodation. So, where should you list your property? Let’s compare Booking.com vs. Airbnb.
Booking.com is still primarily a platform for booking Hotel/Holiday apartment-style accommodation, whereas the core of Airbnb’s listings is still from small-time homeowners looking to monetize their properties.
However, Booking.com—and the recent addition of its ‘Homestays‘ section—aims to change its image on this front.
With Airbnb and Booking.com both looking to provide end-to-end solutions for the entire travel journey—from car rentals and flights to activity bookings and restaurant reservations—the competition has only just begun.
And it’s beginning to heat up!
Why not list on multiple platforms?
Did you know that it’s possible to list your property on more than one platform?
Well, if you’re a Hospitable user, this process is actually really easy.
In fact, we currently offer direct integrations with some of the biggest competitors for Airbnb, so you can list your property on multiple platforms—and expose your property to a much bigger audience—and manage the whole thing in one place.
And, because the integrations are seamlessly updated (in real-time), you’ll never run into the problem of double bookings like you would if you were to attempt this manually.
Whichever platforms you choose, make sure your place is ready for the STR business. You can make several smart choices that will save you from unnecessary expenses in the long run. Download our free guide on how to prepare your place for short-term rentals.
Say no to double-bookings!
Expedia Group is a massive conglomerate company with many smaller subsidiary companies under its umbrella brand, making it a massive player in the vacation rental industry, and a big competitor to Airbnb.
Although it’s subsidiary brands don’t have the same global brand recognition as Airbnb, they do have plenty of regional recognition, and for this reason, they are definitely one of the competitors to watch out for.
Expedia Group subsidiary brands
Bookabach is predominantly available in New Zealand (also parts of the South Pacific), and in many regions, is a popular alternative to Airbnb.
Stayz is targeted exclusively at people looking for accommodation in Australia.
TravelMob is popular with travelers in South East Asia, places like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam.
Expedia Vs. Airbnb; What sets them apart?
Expedia has gone down the route of acquiring multiple different country-specific travel brands. This has given them an advantage with brand recognition and traction in these local areas.
However, Airbnb continues to make inroads in all of these locations whilst maintaining its operations all under one brand.
In the future, Expedia may try to amalgamate all of its subsidiaries under one brand, however, this remains to be seen.
Until then, however, I see Airbnb continuing to erode market share from Expedia’s subsidiaries over the coming years.
Flip Key was founded in 2007 — originally as a house-swapping platform — and after being featured in Travel and Leisure Magazine’s Top Travel website list was quickly acquired by Trip Advisor in 2008.
Since then, Flip Key has continued to grow, now boasting more than 830,000 listings in over 179 different countries worldwide.
It seems Flip Key has the same end goal as Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia group combined; The holy-grail of travel — to create a seamless complete travel experience for their users. From car rental to flight bookings, restaurant recommendations to local tours.
And with Trip Advisors backing, they have a good chance of achieving this goal and giving Airbnb a run for their money in the vacation rental space.
Flip Key vs. Airbnb; What sets them apart?
Flip Key has the advantage of the combined wisdom of over 500+ million Trip Advisor traveler reviews. This gives them a unique advantage over many of the other travel platforms — Airbnb in particular.
This collective wisdom can help their users create more informed travel decisions, which can only be a good thing.
However, once again it seems that the Airbnb brand reigns supreme as Airbnb still dominates Flip Key in almost all markets. Will it stay like this forever? Who knows.
But for now at least, Airbnb is continuing to dominate and scoop up more and more market share.
Tripping.com (also known as HomesToGo)
Although not exclusively a competitor to Airbnb, HomeToGo/Tripping.com is a search engine that aims to aggregate the vacation rental market on one platform.
Their system gathers booking information from booking websites: Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, FlipKey, Housetrip, Roomorama, Interhome, Novasol, Wimdu, ZenRentals, Bedycasa, WayToStay, Gloveler, HolidayVelvet, 9flats, AlwaysOnVacation, RedAwning, Housetrip.
Users can search by price, ratings, location, and a long list of features and amenities.
Tripping.com vs. Airbnb; What sets them apart?
Although not necessarily a direct competitor to Airbnb, Tripping.com does offer users a unique opportunity to find and compare listings on multiple platforms (including Airbnb).
However, after using Tripping.com to research this article, it’s evident that their integration with Airbnb pricing is not very accurate whatsoever.
In fact, the prices displayed on Tripping.com for Airbnb listings are totally inaccurate!
Whether this is because Airbnb won’t let them integrate with their system fully or whether it’s because Tripping.com is affiliated with many of the other companies in the list above, I’m unsure.
However, I don’t see Tripping.com eroding too much of Airbnb’s market share any time soon.
Vrbo vs. Airbnb
Airbnb and Vrbo have a lot in common, and they offer many similar features to hosts and guests. Both are P2P rental sites that allow private and commercial accommodation owners to rent their places out. Both platforms act as brokers by advertising and executing a transaction, and they get a commission from each booking. Let’s compare Vrbo vs. Airbnb to help you determine which of the platforms may be right for you as a host.
No need to choose!
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What is the difference between Airbnb and Vrbo?
Both platforms allow listing different types of property, including houses, apartments, treehouses, and more. So what is the difference between Airbnb and Vrbo? The main difference is the property availability. Airbnb allows property owners to list shared spaces, while on Vrbo, you can list only the entire property. Besides, Vrbo requires owners to showcase at least 15 pictures of the home, while on Airbnb, as few as five photos will do. Another difference between these popular platforms is the listing fee. At Airbnb, property owners can list their homes for free, and pay a 3% host commission rate for each reservation.
Vrbo has steep service fees for hosts. Property owners can choose between 2 models based on their estimated annual income. They can either pay an annual subscription or pay-per-booking. Annual Vrbo fees are typically around $500, and if they choose the pay-per-booking option, the host commission rate starts from 8% per booking but can go up to 10% depending on the reservation.
Airbnb has hit the vacation rental market by storm, completely changing the landscape in its short history.
However, as the market is maturing, so too are the competitors for Airbnb who are hot on their heels.
Will Airbnb trump them all and become a monopoly in the vacation rental market?
But, one thing we do know, though, is that the competition is heating up. And, free-market competition is a good thing for hosts and guests alike — bringing down prices and reducing fees.
Luckily though, you can hedge your bets by listing your property on multiple different platforms seamlessly (with the use of Hospitable), in that way, you can hedge your bets without having to pick a winner.
So, go get yourself signed up for a Free 14 day trial with Hospitable and get your property listed on multiple platforms right now.
You’ll be glad you did.
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