Travelers Are Comparing Airbnb To Hotel Prices & Here’s How They Find Cheap Rentals In 2023

Several longtime Airbnb customers recently let off some steam about how the rental platform has changed over the years, and they’re sharing some solid reasons for going back to classic hotels when you travel.

A thread about the topic recently attracted thousands of comments on Reddit’s r/travel community, where it’s pretty clear that the Airbnb-versus-hotels debate is a toss-up in 2023.

“Remember when Airbnb was new?” reads the original post that sparked the thread. “Such a good idea. Such great value.”

The user went on to say that the platform has lost its lead on hotels in recent years, with shocking prices that are “often more expensive than hotels,” only you also have to “clean and tidy up after yourself at the end of your visit .”

The user then asks others if they’re still loyal to Airbnb, or if they’ve “ditched” it to go back to the classic hotel model.

Many pointed out that the line between the two has blurred since Airbnb first launched in 2007. Nowadays, they say you’re just as likely to rent from a property management company as you are from an individual with a spare bed, which was the original pitch behind Airbnb.

“I try my absolute best to rent from someone who seems to actually own the place,” wrote one top commenter. “I liked Airbnb when it was just people renting out a holiday home they weren’t using or something. But it’s quickly become just massive conglomerates buying up land and churning them out as Airbnbs with no service and no care. It was inevitable I suppose .”

Another user offered a simple distinction: “Hotels for solo (travel), Airbnb for groups.”

One user shared a hack for getting cheaper rates when it’s a management group running the Airbnb.

“I recently saved $1,000 by just googling the property name and finding the direct website for the property management group,” they wrote. “I could rent directly without using Airbnb. Everything worked out great.”

Another user seconded that idea and pointed out that “especially in southern Europe or Asia,” you can try to cut a deal for cash by going around Airbnb and talking directly to the management group.

“Seems like every property management group in ski towns are listing their inventory on Airbnb and Vrbo,” added another user. “Super easy to just Google property management and browse listings there without supporting the online travel agencies.”

Others pointed out that while there’s something more human about renting directly from a private owner, that owner could be “awful and aggressively entitled” as well.

Of course, cutting a cash deal outside of Airbnb runs the risk that you’ll have to deal with issues yourself, as a few users pointed out. It also makes it harder for you to navigate language issues and payments.

Still, with Airbnb prices on the rise, it’s hard to blame anyone who wants to shop around. In fact, the company has seen a 35% increase in its average daily rental rate since the pandemic began, per MarketWatch.

Airbnb actually predicted that its average room rate would come down heading into 2023, but that rate remained steady in the first quarter of the year, Airbnb told shareholders in its latest report.

An analysis by the travel website Nerdwallet recently found that there’s no clear winner in the hotels-versus-Airbnb debate. That’s partly because it can be an apples-to-oranges comparison, especially since Airbnb properties and cleaning fees can vary so widely.

Nerdwallet found that Airbnbs are typically the cheapest when you book about four weeks in advance, while hotels are cheaper for short-term stays and for couples.

As the Reddit users so clearly pointed out, the gap between Airbnb and classic hotels has never been smaller. That means it’s more important than ever to do your research before your next trip!

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful of your adventure.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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