Airbnb is the household name for travelers and tourists who want a place to stay at a reasonable price. It is an online platform that connects property hosts with travelers.
Short for “Air Bed and Breakfast,” Airbnb works by letting hosts rent out their properties on an online peer-to-peer platform. The guests explore these various properties online, check out prices, images, and reviews, and book right from the platform if it meets their expectations. The business world often cites Airbnb as a classic example of an innovative idea that took over the traditional rental market in a matter of years. And it comes down to the inspiring and interesting story of how it all began.
Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were two industrial designers who had moved to San Francisco in 2008. When they found themselves unable to pay rent, they decided to rent out three air mattresses in their apartment. They started getting customers pretty quickly and realized the potential this idea had. Soon, the little experiment became an impetus for a transformational business we now know as Airbnb.
Eleven years later, Airbnb became the exclusive member of the “unicorns,” a group of businesses with over a $1 billion valuation. As of 2022 (Q3), Airbnb is valued at over $70 billion. Moreover, in 2021, the Q4 revenue of Airbnb was $1.5 billion. Overall, Airbnb’s 2021 revenue for the full year was $5.99 billion.
Airbnb’s Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky had to say this about the successful Q4 of 2021:
“The fourth quarter was another record quarter, and 2021 was the best year in Airbnb’s history – despite the global pandemic.”
Any business that is successful at such a scale inspires others to do something better. That is why Airbnb has some major business competitors and alternatives, which will be the topic of our discussion today.
Without further ado, let us learn about the 15 biggest Airbnb competitors and alternatives.
- Founded in: 1996
- Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Booking.com is a part of Booking Holdings, a company with a valuation of almost $72 billion as of September 2022. Booking.com is a major Airbnb competitor and a leading provider of travel, tourism, and hospitality services. It has over 28 million accommodation listings and offices in over 70 countries. It began as a small Dutch startup that gradually became a top provider of lodging, travel, and transportation services to customers worldwide.
Booking Holdings reported revenue of $10.96 billion in 2021. Even though this revenue is almost double of Airbnb’s 2021 revenue, we must also consider that it is representative of all of Booking Holdings and not just Booking.com.
The key difference between Airbnb and Booking.com is the target audience. People who want the experience of a “home away from home” gravitate towards Airbnb. On the other hand, Booking.com is more tilted towards listing hotels, resorts, and lodges. Even though Booking.com is now listing more and more vacation rentals, people might still prefer Airbnb if they’re interested in a homely experience for a few years to come.
Moreover, Booking Holdings owns various brands related to the travel industry, such as Kayak, Rentalcars.com, and Agoda, which strengthen the position of Booking.com as a top Airbnb competitor.
- Founded in: 1996
- Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, US
Expedia Group is a big player in the travel industry and owns other large sites like Trivago and Hotels.com. Just like Booking.com, it provides services like hotels, car rentals, and flights to its customers. The Expedia group has a market valuation of about $16.4 billion (September 2022). In 2021, the Expedia Group reported revenue of $8.6 billion. Again, it shouldn’t be taken at face value as it represents the whole business of the Expedia Group rather than just Expedia.com.
The key difference between Expedia and Airbnb is that Expedia is an all-rounder travel agency. Unlike Airbnb, which primarily deals in home rentals, Expedia focuses on multiple travel products such as lodging, flights, rental cars, cruises, and more. Even though Airbnb is also adding these services to its business, it is still seen as more of a home rental service by customers. People who want a comprehensive travel experience might prefer Expedia over Airbnb.
The Expedia group has over 3 million properties listed over a network of websites, and it aims to become a leading player with the help of technology like AI. Due to its expanded services, it also has access to a much larger audience than Airbnb. All these reasons make Expedia a formidable Airbnb competitor.
- Founded in: 2000
- Headquarters: Needham, Massachusetts
Whenever you search for a hotel review, you will likely find Tripadvisor in the top results. But did you know that Tripadvisor also has a long directory of tours and accommodation listings? Additionally, TripAdvisor runs leading holiday home rental websites like HouseTrip, Flipkey, and HolidayLettings, giving it a much higher number of listings than Airbnb.
In 2021, TripAdvisor was valued at $3.7 billion and recorded a revenue of $0.9 billion. Even though its revenue is nothing close to that of Airbnb, its growing business and access to a wider market put it on the list of top Airbnb competitors.
- Founded in: 1995
- Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Vrbo proved itself as a serious competitor of Airbnb back in 2020 when it recorded twice the number of bookings as Airbnb. It has a listing of over 2 million “whole homes” worldwide, and its target audience is families looking for a professional, comfortable, and safe lodging experience. Since Vrbo stands for “Vacation Rentals by Owners,” it is by far the most similar competitor of Airbnb in terms of the business model.
The key difference between Airbnb and Vrbo is the accommodation type they offer. Vrbo offers stand-alone vacation homes only. Unlike Airbnb, it doesn’t offer shared spaces or other unique lodging options like campsites. On the other hand, Airbnb offers various lodging options like stand-alone rentals, shared spaces, and even hotel rooms. Ultimately, a person’s preference will decide who they end up choosing.
Vrbo is a part of Expedia Group Inc., giving it a market valuation of about $16.4 billion(Q3). It is an excellent alternative in terms of its reach and similarity to Airbnb. Expedia Group reported revenue of $8.6 billion. Even though it represents all the companies in the group and not just Vrbo, it does provide considerable strength to Vrbo as an Airbnb competitor.
- Founded in: 1998
- Headquarters: Singapore
Agoda is a popular travel agency that offers its services in lodging and flight service areas. It has about 2.9 million listings in 200+ countries and is a preferred option for many Asian travelers.
The key difference between Airbnb and Agoda has to do with the term of your stay. Many guests who are interested in short-term rentals prefer Agoda. Agoda offers better value for stays less than one week. However, guests who are interested in long-term stays prefer Airbnb because of the discounts they are likely to get for longer stays.
Agoda is a part of Booking Holdings, which has a market capitalization of $72 billion and reported revenue of $10.96 billion(2021). Being a part of Booking Holdings considerably backs up this platform, making it a well-known competitor and alternative to Airbnb, mainly in the Asian travel market.
- Founded in: 2017
- Headquarters: Singapore
Trip.com is part of the Trip.com Group, a publicly listed company and one of the biggest travel agencies in the world. It has over 1.4 million hotel listings in 200 countries and regions. Trip.com also owns some of the largest car rental companies worldwide, such as Hertz and Europcar, giving it a much wider audience than Airbnb.
Even though its model is not the same as Airbnb’s, the number of services it provides gives it access to a bigger market. However, unlike Airbnb, Trip.com has a less than 30 days stay policy on its listed properties.
Trip.com Group has a market cap of about $17 billion. Moreover, Trip.com reported net revenue of $3.1 billion in 2021. This was a 9% increase from 2020. All these statistics make Trip.com a challenging competitor and a reliable alternative to Airbnb.
- Founded in: 2006
- Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
FlipKey is a part of TripAdvisor Rentals, giving it access to over 830,000 listings in over 190 countries. Its pay-per-booking pricing model is the real competitive advantage over Airbnb. Using this model, the guest only pays after getting a reservation. FlipKey also offers a nice selection of apartments, villas, and beaches. However, unlike Airbnb, FlipKey doesn’t offer shared space listings.
FlipKey is also well-known among guests and hosts due to its smooth and accessible customer support, communication, and guest-friendly refund policies. It is a dependable Airbnb alternative with clear competitive advantages.
- Founded in
- Headquarters: Portland, Oregon
Vacasa is an Airbnb competitor and alternative that is bringing tech innovation to the business. It is a vacation booking platform that uses AI-powered tools for pricing and scheduling cleaning after stays. Moreover, they’re bringing transformation for consumers by giving immersive 3D simulation experiences of the properties guests are interested in booking. This is one of the key differences that sets it apart from Airbnb.
With the use of technology, Vacasa is not only giving competition to Airbnb but also other players. Vacasa generated a record $1.9 billion in Gross Booking Value for the full year of 2021. It was a 105% rise year-on-year. Moreover, Vacasa went public in December 2021, paving its way as a significant Airbnb competitor. Currently, it has a market cap of $1.59 billion.
- Founded in: 2014
- Headquarters: Berlin, Germany
HomeToGo is more of an Airbnb alternative than a competitor. It is a search and comparison website that partners with businesses like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and even Airbnb. It helps travelers find an ideal accommodation by combining data such as price and amenities from partners.
HomeToGo has a competitive edge over Airbnb and other service providers due to its budget-friendly options. Moreover, if you want all the information related to various travel agencies in one place, HomeToGo is a no-nonsense option and a great Airbnb alternative.
Earlier in 2021, Lakestar SPAC announced to take HomeToGo public later in 2021. To that end, HomeToGo received a funding injection of $295 billion from Lakestar SPAC, which will provide considerable financial backing and an advantage over Airbnb.
- Founded in: 2015
- Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Also famously known as “Airbnb for RVs,” Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer rental agency that has proven itself as a great Airbnb alternative because of its financial success. It is a niche service provider in the travel industry, letting its customers rent campervans, motorhomes, and RVs. Even though Airbnb also offers campsite listings, Outdoorsy beats the competition because it provides exclusive services in all things; RV and camping.
The company saw remarkable success during the Coronavirus pandemic. When other travel agencies came to a halt, Outdoorsy saw a tremendous 4600% growth from April 2020 to October 2020. Seeing this trend, the company CEO Jeff Cavins predicted to reach $1 billion in sales by February 2021. In September 2021, it was announced that the company was considering going public, which was expected to value it at $1 billion. However, there has been no recent news about its expected IPO yet.
For its phenomenal success alone and a niche target market, Outdoorsy is a promising Airbnb alternative.
- Founded in: 2009
- Headquarters: London, UK
OneFineStay can be an attractive Airbnb alternative for people who are more interested in luxury and upscale vacation rentals. Providing its services in all the major cities like London, Paris, Rome, and New York, OneFineStay has made itself popular as the “finer” option in the world of vacation rentals. This is the key difference between Airbnb and OneFineStay.
In 2016, Accor, a world-leading hotel group, acquired OneFineStay for $170 million. Even though AccorHotels had planned to expand OneFineStay to 40 new cities, the latest news is not too encouraging. Accor admitted that its expansion goals for OneFineStay are not going as planned. Despite this, Accor shows confidence in the potential of the company.
- Founded in: 2013
- Headquarters: California, United States
Glamping Hub caters to guests with a special kind of travel need, i.e., glamor camping, and that is where it differs from Airbnb.
Glamping is an upscale camping experience that covers everything from accommodation to amenities and services. Glamping Hub also focuses on eco-friendly travel and has over 30,000 accommodations, such as campsites and ranches. For those interested in unique accommodations, GlampingHub also has a selection of luxury treehouses, Mongolian yurts, and train cabooses.
Glamping Hub reported revenue of $900K in 2021. Moreover, according to the latest information publicly available, the company is valued at $44 million. Although these numbers are much lower than Airbnb’s, Glamping Hub’s unique business model makes it a niche alternative that promises an exclusive camping experience Airbnb might not provide for its guests.
TurnKey Vacation Rentals
- Founded in: 2012
- Headquarters: Austin, Texas
TurnKey is more of a local Airbnb competitor in the US, where it manages premium homes in over 80 destinations across various states. Their focus and difference lie in the premium accommodation experiences in areas like Napa, Holden Beach, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and Asheville.
It has so far received $120 million in funding, and Vacasa also signed an agreement in 2021 to acquire TurnKey. With this agreement, TurnKey has set its sights on a bigger market share and giving a tough time to Airbnb.
- Founded: 2010
- Headquarters: Brentwood, Tennessee
THIRDHOME brands itself as a “luxury property and travel club.” It allows its members to rent out their second homes and also access second homes listed by other members worldwide. Their network is spread in over 90 countries, with each home averaging about a value of $2.25 million. THIRDHOME’s business model is unique, innovative, and different from Airbnb, which is enough to call it an Airbnb competitor.
In 2020, THIRDHOME partnered with TurnKey, and in 2022, it got into 17 new partnerships to increase its market cap. Currently, it has an average value of $2.4 million. If this trend continues, we can safely assume that THIRDHOME is well on its way to becoming a leading Airbnb competitor in a few years.
- Founded in: 2011
- Headquarters: Berlin, Germany
Wimdu might seem a modest alternative to Airbnb because of its presence in 20 countries and about 350,000 listings, which is lesser than Airbnb. However, it is still a worthy competitor due to its similarity and a curated section of luxurious city apartments and vacation rentals at an affordable price.
What’s even more interesting is that Airbnb felt threatened by Wimdu and accused it of copying their model and going so far as to call them “scam artists” indirectly. This alone shows why we can call Wimdu an Airbnb competitor.
Whether you’re a traveler, a host, or a business enthusiast, this comprehensive list of Airbnb competitors and alternatives can provide you with quick information and financial data. This list can also help you figure out what you can do differently if you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur in the travel and hospitality industry.