The King Is Dead!
Or Is He?- Airbnb vs Hotels

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I am absolutely in love with learning and sharing all things real estate. I’m an agent for Jacaranda Real Estate In Harare, Zimbabwe. This blog will be the ultimate resource for all things real estate so subscribe and stay tuned.

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Should your next vacation be a hotel or Airbnb?

In the world of commercial real estate in the tourism industry, there has been a long-standing stance that Hotels are the avenue towards the best offerings in the industry.

This is seemingly no longer the case due to the massive global rise of Airbnb. Which has allowed many average local individuals to set up their properties for accommodation under the Airbnb banner.

Below, I am going to weigh out specific key differences between what differences you can expect between Airbnb and Hotels.  

What You Should Know About Airbnb vs Hotels.

Below is a list of all the considerations I will further discuss in this post:

  • Price.
  • Privacy and Access.
  • Novelty and Amenities
  • Service and Profesionalism.
  • Legality and Regulations.
  • Stability and Expectations.

At the end of each discussed consideration, I will state who currently has the advantage and for what reasons.

Considerations Of Airbnb vs Hotels

1. Price

One of the most jumped on “facts” as to why most people have decided to jump ship on the SSS Hotels is because Airbnb prices are often a fraction of what you’d get at hotels for the same price while typically getting far larger living space.

This previously indisputable fact is growing far more disputable with each season. Have you ever wondered why in most cases, Airbnb hosts charge seemingly discounted prices for what you’d get out of them? It is because, for the longest time, Hosts were not charged occupancy taxes for their taxes which hotels were.

This is no longer the case for all Airbnb locations; cities all around the globe are beginning to either heavily restrict Airbnb operations or regulating them more sternly; with a common regulation being the addition of the accommodation tax charge they had avoided all these years.

Add to this the potential of the guest service fee which can range up to 14% as stated by Airbnb – (HERE)


The king is injured but healing.

As it stands, Airbnb is still on average going to be the cheaper alternative of the two accommodation options. This, however, is an ever closing advantage as  Airbnb becomes more and more regulated across the globe.

A consideration that could continue to make Airbnb the best option on price despite growing regulation costs could be the “Special Deal” offer on Airbnb which allows a form of haggling between guests and hosts to take place.

Your chances to find special promotions for most hotels are rare but the opportunity to straight-up haggle with them is near non-existent.

2. Privacy, Isolation, and Access.

Whether or not you’re the type of individual, family or group who prefers to be somewhat isolated in their accommodation space whether it be for access to amenities such as the pool, dining area or lounging areas – Airbnb is service commonly known for complete isolation whilst hotels only offer guaranteed isolation within the confines of your room.

Hotel guests should also expect to pay a premium for large spaced rooms that offer private amenities. For the same price, they would likely be able to stay on a full property that is isolated from anything else; on Airbnb.


The king has been struck – But so has the challenger.

For the social, hotels are always going to be the better option for meetings and interacting with other people but if you’re like me and you’d rather not hear kids screaming and running around you until you get into your room; the seclusion of Airbnb is unmatched.

3. Novelty and Amenities

On average, Hotels are going to offer you more internal amenities (within the zone accommodation) than Airbnb.

 You can expect hotels to have pools, gyms, breakfast, room service, cleaning, and internet access.

The above amenities are mostly standard and available to all occupants of the hotel. For individuals who decide to occupy more high-end rooms in the hotel; they can expect more premium amenities to be offered; such as concierge services, private elevators, and premium gift boxes.

Airbnb amenities are more of a mixed bag but they will mostly ebb towards offering less on average. Most Airbnb properties are, after all, based on some form of residential property so you can expect residential level amenities such as a kitchen, toiletries and occasionally a swimming pool and outside furniture area.

Occasionally, Airbnb offers better proximity amenities that surround the property; such as being near an important and well-known landmark or activity center.


The king lives.

Airbnb hosts will usually lack the funding and resources to offer higher-end amenities. Hotels, on average will offer better quality baseline amenities and can afford to offer luxurious amenities to those willing to pay for them.

4. Service and Professionalism.

A hotel is like a machine; having different parts constantly doing different things to make the entire system works to your benefit.

As soon as you enter the property you can expect staff to help you with your bags, direct you to your room, give you knowledge on the hotel and the city, assist you with getting set up and so much more. Hotels from start to finish, focus on providing guests with an autonomous system of quality professional service delivery.

Airbnb for better or for worse will on average leaves you alone to do as you do. On certain occasions, the host may go the extra mile to offer breakfast or help you settle in but for the most part, once they show you around the property – they will leave you to be on your way.


Long live the king.

Hotels have a huge advantage in trained staff and facilities to offer guests the majority of all the resources and services they would require.

Airbnb hosts usually operate alone or hire a general caretaker of the property to assist in a few key areas of the property such as to refill utilities.

5. Regulations

Airbnb is very often criticized for its lack of well-defined regulations concerning its ability to provide accommodation to guests. This has often resulted in the general advantage of offering much lower prices than other offerings as hosts were not paying accommodation taxes.

As cities continue to work towards enforcing laws and regulations on the brand this advantage of the price will lessen as will the fear of being penalized for operating or using Airbnb decreases.

Hotels, on the other hand, have a long history of regulations in effect to ensure that guests are covered and standards are met.

These regulations often result in many forced expenses and taxes on the hotel model which in turn leads to far higher costs of accommodation for guests.


The king is in a stalemate

It’s difficult to outright state that the lack of regulation for Airbnb is a huge issue when compared to regulated hotels. Only in very rare situations has Airbnb been made illegal such as in Thailand, but even then; the chances of facing huge penalties for hosting or being a guest are low.

The more reliable trend for Airbnb hosts is that they will face a period of change where regulations will be put in effect. This will result in better protection of guests at the cost of higher fees.

Regulations are unlikely to result in Airbnb fees rising to hotel levels as most hosts will not have to charge to compensate for the huge overheads that are found in hotels such as for labor and facilities.

6. Stability and Expectations

Hotels are run by experts in routines and management. The chances of hotels canceling on you, overbooking, treating you poorly or fixing you into a reservation you need to change are low.

On average, this is more likely the case with Airbnb. Hosts are usually average people like you and me who haven’t had the experience in handling accommodation services for people.

The platform will penalize hosts who cancel on you but it can happen and your ability to adjust your reservations with hosts is often impossible.

It should also be noted that guests are more likely to face discrimination from hosts over the Airbnb platform than hotels. That’s not to say that it is a common occurrence but as hosts are not as vetted as hotel staff and managers to be of a specific standard, it is more likely.


The king reigns.

Airbnb is theoretical accommodation Russian roulette; you may be lucky and come across a host who gives you the sort of treatment that would give the most expensive hotels a run for their money or you might come across a host who has a few less than ideal prejudices which wouldn’t make themselves evident from their hosting reviews.

Hotels are less likely (though not impossible) to give you vastly different experiences depending on what you pay. Hotel brands are aware that bad PR can drastically hurt their bottom line and ensure any forms of discrimination are handled swiftly.

Who is this Airbnb for and Who are Hotels for?

Who Is Airbnb For?

  • Groups – a family or friends who don’t mind living close together for the duration of the stay in a home [Airbnb hosts typically charge per property not per person.]
  • People who want to get away – on average hotels only provide isolated areas within the room you’re staying in; Airbnb, on the other hand, can give you a whole home to yourself.
  • Local Experience – Hotels may have the advantage when it comes to offering luxury amenities but Airbnb gives you the greatest opportunity to get the local experience. This is because you’re staying with people who live and interact locally.
  • Money savers – I stated above how Airbnb will likely be experiencing a price increase in the near but this increase won’t likely result in prices rising to average hotel fees.
  • Cleanliness –  A survey was conducted which concluded that on average, Airbnb offered cleaner accommodations than hotels. You can find the study [HERE]

Who Are Hotels For?

  • On the job individuals –  If you’re on a business trip and need to ensure that necessities such as the internet are available, working or will be handled with speed and efficiency if there are problems; you are better off with a hotel. Airbnb can’t guarantee what hosts state.
  • Special consideration individuals – if you’re traveling with children or individuals who may have specific handicaps; hotels are a better option. This is because they are both able to afford specialty amenities to be on hand as well as more likely to quickly respond to special needs.
  • Individuals who want more security – Hotels offer better all-around security from both people who want to harm you and from forces outside of your control. If you miss your flight or have to urgently stay a few extra days; there is a higher chance to be accommodated by hotels than Airbnb hosts.


Though hotels and Airbnb opperate within the same boundary of tourism accomodation; they have different approaches in their offerings.

As Hotels offer more luxury and dependency on their services, Airbnb focuses on locality and independence for the guest to do as they please.

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I am absolutely in love with learning and sharing all things real estate. I’m an agent for Jacaranda Real Estate In Harare, Zimbabwe. This blog will be the ultimate resource for all things real estate so subscribe and stay tuned.