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What’s the difference between hosting on Booking.com & Airbnb?

For the last couple of years, Booking.com has started to focus on Airbnb-type vacation rental units on their platform. When listing your property among well-known hotel brands such as Hilton and Marriott, it’s important to understand how the platform operates and the differences between Booking.com and Airbnb.

While these may be confusing at the beginning, remember that many hosts list their homes on alternative sites to reap financial rewards. We assure you the effort you make to understand Booking.com is worth all the time and energy! Here are some critical differences between Booking.com and Airbnb; and common questions explained for you to increase your occupancy rate!

How do guests differ between Airbnb and Booking.com?

Along with the various verification methods, Airbnb also has two-way reviews where you can leave reviews for your guests. Even though this is very helpful for keeping your guests responsible for their actions, Booking.com doesn’t have it. With Airbnb, you have the opportunity to check reviews of your potential guests before accepting a request, but this isn’t an option on Booking.com.

As you know, guests are eager to ask questions before they book your place. Sometimes, you may answer tens of questions (including discount requests) about your property and still end up getting a notification that the guest has booked another place. This happens a lot on Airbnb. In contrast, reservations get confirmed without prior guest communication at Booking.com.

Another thing to know is that guest’s expectations of your place might differ. Since Airbnb guests are aware that they’re going to stay in someone’s home, they won’t have the same expectations that they would if they were to book a hotel. Guests of Booking.com however, are more likely to expect a place with hotel standards such as 24-hour check-in, complimentary towels, and toiletries.

How much will you be charged?

Every transaction involves two parties: the guest and the host. While Airbnb charges both parties, Booking.com doesn’t charge guests a fee to book. That being said, it charges hosts a percentage of the total booking price, which you need to pay at the end of every month.

So, if you want to list your property on both sites, you need to take that difference into account. Otherwise, you might end up with less money than you think you’d earn. 

How to handle payment issues

Airbnb collects the payment on your behalf and pays you through your payout method on check-in day. Booking.com, on the other hand, generally requires you to handle the payment procedure yourself. You’ll get a credit card number from Booking.com to guarantee the reservation when someone books your place. That information is only accessible for the 10 days after the reservation has been made. 

In the case of a no-show (no one shows up on the day of check-in) or last-minute cancellation, you’re on your own to cover your potential gain. For example, imagine a reservation booked several months in advance and your guest canceling at the last minute. Because you don’t have access to their credit card information anymore, you’d end up with an empty property.

The cancellation policy

Although Airbnb has more flexible and free cancellation options (and sometimes even forces hosts to apply them), cancellation rates are quite low since guests make a payment when they book your place. When creating your Airbnb listing, you can select one of the three standard cancellation policies and decide if you still want the booking amount in case of a cancellation.

In contrast, most Booking.com properties don’t have a pre-payment requirement and have free cancellation; which is very useful for guests and not fun for hosts. Although you have the option to choose a non-refundable booking, it’s not preferable for guests among those refundable options. This means that while it’s understandable that cancellation rates are higher on Booking.com, you need to adjust your calendar regularly and make sure there’s no difference between your Airbnb and Booking.com calendars.

Still, by listing your property on Booking.com, you can create some extra revenue for your unoccupied nights and avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Airbnb vs Booking.com

Pros
  • More reservations for vacant days
  • More visibility
  • Bookings with less prior conversation
  • Higher booking rate

Cons
  • Complicated payment handling
  • No guest reviews
  • Higher cancellation rate
  • Constant need for synchronization

Once you decide to list your property and go live on Booking.com, you need to make sure you don’t get overbooked on the same dates. Imagine two guests arriving at the same property on the same day. One from Airbnb and one from Booking.com, it would be a nightmare.

Guesty syncs the calendars between Airbnb and Booking.com in real time. This means that whenever you get a reservation on Booking.com, it immediately closes those dates on your Airbnb calendar (and vice versa). Considering the different commission structures between Airbnb and Booking.com, using Guesty allows you to update your prices from a single calendar, and your nightly prices get updated accordingly across Airbnb and Booking.com, so you can select the desired amount no matter where the reservation comes from.

Guesty gives you a lot of flexibility to manage your properties professionally on the go. The key to getting more reservations is listing your properties on multiple channels and syncing them with each other with a hassle-free smart tool such as Guesty.

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