6 Similar Alternatives to Airbnb (Get the Full Scoop)

Think Airbnb is the only game in town? It's not. There are several excellent alternatives to Airbnb. We list 6 that are very similar to Airbnb but offer their own advantages and unique travel offerings.
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Beautiful cape cod style beach house

I’m going to say it, I’ve not had much luck finding good places on Airbnb. It’s not for lack of trying.  I’ve often started my vacation rental search on Airbnb, but soon end up elsewhere.

My preferred vacation rental website is VRBO.  I’ve stayed in VRBO accommodations 6 times.  The main reason I love VRBO is the selection is outstanding.  The website is also super easy to use.

If you’re not wild about Airbnb and are interested in alternatives to Airbnb, you’re in the right place.  Our list includes only services that are very similar to Airbnb. We don’t list every type of accommodation website such as for long-term executive stay arrangements or hotels.  The 5 services below really do function like Airbnb, each with a bit of a unique flavor and specialties.

Before we get to the list, I explain what Airbnb just to get you up to speed.

Airbnb came up with such an innovative idea in 2008 when they launched a company for travellers. Not just the backpackers but hosts also earn plenty of benefits through Airbnb. If you have already heard the name, that’s because it is widely known across the globe as it has a huge network in around 34,000 cities. There are many other similar alternatives if you look for the similar website or accommodation arrangements.

Here’s our list of excellent Airbnb alternatives.

1. FlipKey

Rental condo in city

The owner of FlipKey is renowned travel review website called TripAdvisor. They cover a variety of topmost travel destinations around the world. It is reputable given it is owned by TripAdvisor; which is a popular reviewer of travel destinations along with hotels/accommodations.

FlipKey says they have nearly 300,000 list of rentals in more than 11,000 cities It is one of the principal Airbnb competitors with various domestic and international offers.

For travellers:

For guests, it is as easy to book a stay as any other website. You can get your booking done immediately by entering your dates, payment information and sending a message to the owner of the property. FlipKey provides accommodation such as a bathhouse, villas, beach house, home and apartment. They do not offer shared rooms; however, you can find your required type of rooms by using proper filters. It is important to note that FlipKey is popular for listing private rooms or an entire property for rent.

  • Easy and convenient booking system.
  • Great choice for traditional vacation rentals.
  • Travellers can factor in reviews on the properties based on TripAdvisor’s top rating system.
  • Access to highly-reviewed destinations near the listed property.
  • Travellers will be charged extra fees for taxes, cleaning services, service charges and more.
  • Booking fee that range from 5 to 15% of the total rental cost.
  • Payment and cancellation policies vary.

For hosts:

Hosts can sign up for free and can be a member. As the website provides a pay-per-booking plan, owners hardly need to keep the availability and listing up to date. A host can respond to inquiries and accept reservations from potential guests.

  • Free signup to be a member and list properties on the site.
  • A processing fee of 3% per booking to be covered by the host.
  • Payments are released 24 hours after guest’s check in.
  • Site shares expert advice for perfect listing.
  • Being a part of FlipKey community means you can get tips on best practices from seasoned rental owners.

Key Facts:

  • Has over 300,000 rentals.
  • Operates in over 11,000 cities and 179 countries.

  • Founded in 2007 and acquired by TripAdvisor in August 2008.

2. VRBO

Hawaii rental condo in resort

VRBO is my favorite vacation rental booking website.  I’ve booked fabulous places via this website including a fabulous Hawaiian vacation.

VRBO is an abbreviated form of Vacation Rentals By Owners which was started way back in 1995. It is owned by HomeAway which is a prominent vacation rental website that also runs some smaller rental websites too. VRBO emphases on the entire rental of property. Thus, almost every rental is full space rental; which means guests get to have entire property(home/apartment) and no shared rooms.

For travellers:

VRBO is specifically for vacation rentals rather than business travel. It has over 2 million listings around the globe and offers enough area to transform a foreign property into a home for a vacation. The average property on VRBO is 1,850 sq.ft with a backyard.

For guests, just like any other vacation rental website, you go through hundreds of thousands of accommodation listings, choose the dates and approve pricing. The price may include additional costs such as a processing fee, cleaning fee, taxes and damage waiver fee. You can buy some insurance that protects you from accidental damage or covers a cancellation.

Many listings include many photos which is helpful for booking, but this isn’t unusual. Most such sites offer this.  The booking process is very straightforward as long as the hosts reply to rental requests quickly (mine always have).

  • Easy and convenient booking system, including a mobile app.
  • Great option for classic vacation rentals suitable for families.
  • Same listing and pricing as HomeAway.
  • No booking fee.
  • Travellers will be charged extra fees for cleaning fee, processing fee, damage waiver fee, and tax.
  • Offers extra insurance when booking for a fee.

For hosts:

  • VRBO provides 3 options for promising hosts (Annual Subscription, Pay-Per-Booking and Outside Management Service)
  • Annual subscription Through this service, you can rent your property around the year and can receive guests at any time of the year.
  • Pay-per-booking This service assists you to have guests/backpackers infrequently.
  • Outside management service or 3rd party outsourcing With this, you can browse and have third-party management partners on the website. It is an advantageous option if one wants to host but does not have time to manage to list.
  • Subscription fee of $499, 3% credit card processing fee, 5% pay-per-booking fee.
  • Two types of payment options: Advanced Payment Service and Check-in Payment Service
  • Advanced Payment Service is when payment is transferred to the host’s bank account 3-7 business days after booking.
  • Check-in Payment Service is when payment is transferred to the host’s bank account 3-7 business days after guest’s check in.

Key Facts:

  • Has over 2,000,000 active listings.
  • Operates in 190 countries.

  • Started in 1995.

3. Wimdu

Vacation rental apartment in Paris, France

Wimdu is a leading European portal that provides vacation rental accommodations. This company has increased its inventory recently and spread wings around the world with over 300,000 properties in over 100 countries.

Along with offering large number city apartments, it also provides farmhouses, chalets, homes, boats, tree-houses. However, it is important to note that one does not need to be European to host or to be guest via Wimdu.

For travellers:

For guests, a traveler has to pay 12% of booking fee on the basis of pricing of a property he/she has chosen. In rare cases, it might require paying a cleaning fee or pet fee. Wimdu guests, as well as hosts, are protected with 100% free insurance policy. The cancellation fee differs from property to property and is not posted or known publicly.

  • Europe’s number one choice for city apartment rentals.
  • Bookings are made directly with the host.
  • Booking fee of 12% of the total rental cost.
  • Extra fees for a cleaning fee and a pet fee may apply depending on the booked rental.
  • Covered with 100% free insurance policy except for within the USA and Canada.

For hosts:

For hosts, Wimdu has tended to be a popular choice as owners do not have to pay host fees. Thus, a host can list their property on the website without any charges. It is essential to know that the host will have to pay a 3% of processing fee. It facilitates payments between both the hosts and guests in order to assure safety and prevent scams.

  • Wimdu community has 80,000 hosts who earn an average of $1,018 USD per month from their bookings.
  • Hosts can list their properties for free.
  • A processing fee of 3% per booking.
  • Payments are transferred to host’s bank account 24 hours after guest’s check in.
  • Covered with 100% free insurance policy except for within the USA and Canada.
  • Rental properties are insured up to €500,000.

Key Facts:

  • Has over 350,000 apartments and holiday homes.
  • Operates in more than 150 countries.

  • Founded in March 2011.

4. OneFineStay

Vacation rental townhome London

Onefinestay was established in 2010 in London and dwells into luxury shared accommodations. The rentals offered by them provide homey feeling in a hotel-like stay by replacing the towels and toiletries with deluxe versions. Guests do not have an encounter with the owner of the house as one of the staff members greets on checking in who also works as a concierge. Onefinestay ensures that the chosen property is well-situated at a visually beautiful location with consistent cleanliness. After getting acquired by Accor Hotels, the services have been expanded to more cities.

For travellers:

For guests, Onefinestay is a luxurious alternative to Airbnb. Their motto is ‘made-to-measure hospitality’.  It has 2,500 homes in 7 major cities in 4 countries. It plans to grow the business from 7 to 40 cities by 2020. Since it is owned by the AccorHotels group, guests have the benefit of staying in exceptional houses, villas and apartments with a broad range of hotel services. It guarantees a homestay in a splendid private residence.

  • Properties are carefully curated based on a 50-point evaluation scale incorporating cleanliness, accessibility and aesthetics.
  • The company ensures hotel-like service throughout your stay.
  • Tailored services may include the ff: a travel advisor, concierge, WiFi, iPhone to use, fresh linens, and cleaning services.
  • A value for your money type of experienced unparalleled even by hotels.
  • Offers professional staff, high quality experience and top notch service.

For hosts:

For hosts, unlike other vacation rental websites, hosts here do not need to worry much about a perfect home decor or quality products provided in the home. The company modifies things as per the requirements and replaces the linens with its own.

The company manages all the inquiries from the day of guests booking to their end of the stay. It includes cleaning, the arrangement of furniture, making beds, supplying new towels and shampoos/soaps before a guest arrives. The team is open to being contacted 24/7. Also, the team assures to return after guests leave and make it as perfect as it should be.

  • Hosts don’t have to do anything at all. All that’s asked is they exclusively rent out to Onefinestay and be available for rent at least four weeks per year.
  • No need to meet and talk with guests.
  • Can avail of 30% discount on Onefinestay homes.
  • Can enjoy local events such as art exhibits, dinners and cooking classes as part of Onefinestay community.
  • Onefinestay also offers custom services for hosts such as a personal home manager and bespoke maintenance services.
  • Covered with a unique insurance policy.

Key Facts:

  • Has over 2,500 homes.
  • Operates in 4 countries.

  • Started in 2009 and acquired by AccorHotels in April 2016.

5. HomeAway

Rental lake house in Maine

Found in February 2005, HomeAway is a vacation rental website and online classified space where owners pay for advertising their property. After spending many family vacations, Sharples and Carl Shepherd realized that finding and getting a rental property online was not as easy as booking a hotel room. So they established the company in Austin, Texas.

For travellers:

For guests, It’s good to know that HomeAway consists of more than 2 million incredible rental places in 190 countries. The guest/traveler fees vary between 4% to 9% of the cost of renting the property. It may vary depending on the type of the property. So if you rent an accommodation that costs $600, your HomeAway guest fee would be around $24-$54.

  • Easy and convenient booking system, including a mobile app.
  • Great option for classic vacation rentals suitable for families.
  • Same listing and pricing as VRBO.
  • No booking fee.
  • Travellers will be charged extra fees for cleaning fee, processing fee, damage waiver fee, and tax.
  • Offers extra insurance when booking for a fee.

For hosts:

For hosts, HomeAway has multiple options to pay fees. Either they can pay on annual basis or they can choose to pay up front as per the required services. Hosts have to pay from $349 to $999 if they choose to go with an annual package. They can also pay $0 and 10-13% per booking which depends on the services required by the guests. Hosts are allowed to charge an extra credit card processing fee of 2.5%.

HomeAway provides easy-to-reach customer care services along with support through emails. It has a robust review system that helps people get a great sense of each offering.

  • HomeAway provides 3 options for promising hosts (Annual Subscription, Pay-Per-Booking and Outside Management Service)
  • Annual subscription Through this service, you can rent your property around the year and can receive guests at any time of the year.
  • Pay-per-booking This service assists you to have guests/backpackers infrequently.
  • Outside management service or 3rd party outsourcing With this, you can browse and have third-party management partners on the website. It is an advantageous option if one wants to host but does not have time to manage to list.
  • Subscription fee of $349 for a basic package to $999 for a platinum package, 2.5% credit card processing fee, 10-13% pay-per-booking fee.

Key Facts:

  • Has over 2,000,000 vacation rentals.
  • Operates in 190 countries.

  • Founded in February 2005.

At the end of the day, know what type of property you want, your budget, space needs, amenities needs, insurance coverage preferences, and don’t forget to put together a travel coupon book (from sites such as couponobox.com) to save on various things during your travels.

6. Florida Rentals

Key West Florida beach

Florida Rentals helps travelers find and book the perfect vacation rental for their next visit to Florida. Whether it’s a week-long trip with your children, a romantic long weekend with your spouse, or a reunion on the beach with a large group of friends – they have vacation rentals to suit every need.

For Travelers:

The options for a fun Florida vacation are endless. From the Orlando theme parks to the exotic Everglades National Park, and all the way down to laid back Key West, just get yourself to Florida and the rest will handle itself. A vacation rental offers you the space, privacy, and amenities of home – all for a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel. If you’re planning to visit Florida with a large group, booking one house for everyone saves hundreds of dollars over a block of hotel rooms. You can also choose from a variety of differently styled homes. Looking for waterfront vacation rentals by owner? They’ve got them. Hoping for more of a luxury villa vibe? They have that, too. If you want to be in a downtown, high-rise apartment building near a sports stadium, they can accommodate. The size of the property and its location is up to you.

Many of their condo rentals are located on the oceanfront and in quiet areas. Other rentals even come with high-end amenities like a home theater, private hot tub, patio with a grill, or in-home chef. Your vacation also would not be complete without the Wifi, flat screen TVs, in-ground pools, and game rooms offered by many rentals. Some of their Florida beach rentals are also pet-friendly, so bring along all your family members (even the ones with four legs) to relax beachfront.

Need more benefits? How about the fact that each house rental contains a kitchen, meaning you can save money on self-cooked meals at home, rather than expensive dining out. You’ll also have more flexibility with your length of stay. If you’re looking for an extended trip, many rentals accommodate long term stays of a month or more.

For owners:

Florida Rentals started in 2017 with over a decade of experience in the industry. They know what owners want, and they know exactly what they’re NOT getting from some of the big names on this list.

They only work exclusively with properties in Florida. From the theme parks to the warm gulf waters and the sugar sand beaches – you can’t beat a trip to Florida.

They charge NO service or booking fees – which saves you 20% over other rental websites. Their team consists of rental industry experts, and they take pride in providing the best customer service to travelers.

They also allow travelers to connect directly with owners, removing communication restrictions normally placed on rental sites.

They have subscription fees ONLY.

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