Top 14 Airbnb Alternatives That Are Incredibly Unique


Airbnb Alternatives

Airbnb is the “original” sharing economy company, taking a good idea and turning it into a global phenomenon. With over 5.6 million properties listed in more than 200 countries, Airbnb has become an essential part of the travel industry. But I’ve got a surprise for you — there are tons of sites like Airbnb that may be a better fit for your needs.

That’s right, there are actually MANY sites that do what Airbnb does and alot better than them to boot. It’s true! I knew you were on the edge of your seat — so let’s take a look at my top alternative sites like Airbnb!

Airbnb is a fantastic service when you are looking for a vacation rental, especially during the busy holiday season. However, you should know that Airbnb isn’t your only option. There are other services that have been developed to help you find an unforgettable stay in your destination of choice.

Searching for Airbnb alternatives can be time-consuming and tedious. Even worse, it usually ends up with links to more hotel sites than you can handle. So to save you the time, effort, and energy of plowing through numerous options, I’ve narrowed down the list of alternatives.

Airbnb Alternatives

When it comes to vacation rentals and shared stay experiences, Airbnb seems to have a corner on the market. And while Airbnb may have the name recognition, it’s far from the only option in an exploding vacation rental industry.

If you can’t find what you are looking for on Airbnb, we are here to help. The following breakdown takes a look at 14 different vacation rental alternatives.

VRBO

VRBO is one of the only platforms that can match Airbnb in name recognition. With a strong marketing presence, it has accumulated over two million listings to date. It also has properties in nearly 200 countries.

While Airbnb offers rent and shared spaces, VRBO focuses exclusively on vacation rentals. Guests will gain exclusive access to the entire property, making it a great choice for family vacations or company retreats.

Some other key distinguishing features of VRBO include:

  • Lower fees – guests will pay between 6 – 12% of the booking fee on VRBO, as opposed to 14% on Airbnb
  • More mature clientele – VRBO attracts more families, whereas Airbnb appeals to younger adventurers looking for a getaway
  • More cancellation policies – VRBO offers five different cancellation policies, while Airbnb only offers three

 

Sonder

Sonder is a disruptive name in the hospitality industry as we head into 2022.

While its stays feel like an Airbnb stay, Sonder rentals are licensed as hotels. When you rent an Airbnb, you rent a space owned by a private owner. With Sonder, the company itself leases and manages its rentals. Because of this model, Sonder captures the best of both the hotel and homeshare experience. Guests get the privacy of an Airbnb stays with the amenities of a hotel.

Some other points of distinction for Sonder that guests have noted include:

  • Streamlined check-in – Sonder uses a concierge who is waiting to check the ID of the guest and grant access to the rental. Airbnb can sometimes involve a lot of back-and-forth with the host on where to locate a key
  • Less awkward – Airbnb guests know they will be renting someone else’s home. Nonetheless, it can be a bit awkward making yourself at home in a stranger’s space. Sonder offers a cozy, home-like feel without being too personalized
  • Hotel-standard cleaning – although Airbnb hosts clean their listings, they may not get out all of the stains or funky smells. Sonder offers pristine, hotel-standard cleanliness for its rentals

 

Plum Guide

Launched in 2016, Plum Guide is a relatively new vacation rental platform. However, it is taking the industry by storm, with over 12,000 holiday homes listed worldwide.

Like Airbnb, Plum Guide is a peer-to-peer vacation rental platform. This means that the owners themselves list their properties on Plum Guide and guests book the stays. Plum Guide makes its mark through exclusivity. It doesn’t list just any property. On average, its rentals are much more luxurious than a typical Airbnb listing.

The following are some of the ways Plum Guide makes its mark from Airbnb:

  • Curated website – anyone can list on Airbnb. Plum Tree properties must be evaluated prior to listing, with only about 3% of properties making the cut
  • Home critic – once a property is chosen, a Plum Guide critic inspects the home to ensure it conforms to standards. The home critic will assess the home on some 150 factors. Some of these include WiFi speed and quality of location
  • More comprehensive reviews – guests get a better selection of information when reading about Plum Guide properties. They can read about such things as floor plans, noise levels, WiFi speed, access information, and local transportation

 

Sabbatical Homes

Sabbatical Homes is a community that provides temporary homes to academics, scholars, and artists. More than just a home-share platform, Sabbatical Homes is a place for like-minded scholars to connect.

One of the neat features of the platform is that it is not strictly a place for rentals. You can do exchanges with scholars around the world. Meet on the platform, get to know one another, and engage in a house swap. Find inspiration in academic communities in other parts of the world.

There is also a cool house sitting feature on the platform. Perhaps you are on a modest university stipend. You can find places to house sit to defray the cost of your stay.

 

Agoda Homes

Agoda Homes is a big hitter in the Asia vacation rental landscape. The site helps millions of guests find a place to stay each year.

Like VRBO, Agoda Homes only offers entire homes. This means that you will not be sharing spaces with the homeowner or other guests. Agoda has over 700,000 houses, apartments, and bungalows on its site. It services more than 50 countries.

Some key points of distinction between Airbnb and Agoda include:

  • Fees – although each platform will likely end up charging around 10% as a service fee, the host-induced cleaning fees on Airbnb make it more expensive
  • Payment – both sites accept all major credit cards. However, users really enjoy the ease of paying through PayPal on Agoda. You can use PayPal on Airbnb, but it typically requires extensive verification
  • Value – Agoda provides excellent value on stays shorter than one week. This makes it a great option for travelers hopping from place to place and needing a last-minute place to crash

 

Vacasa

Hosts like the convenience of being able to list their property on Airbnb. However, the side hustle of generating rental income can become a full-time job due to property management.

The demands on hosts’ time are usually felt by guests. You may show up to your Airbnb to find trash in the trash can. Or that the pictures on the platform don’t match the most recent condition of the property.

Enter Vacasa.

Vacasa is a full-service vacation rental management company. Vacasa takes the onus off the host and allows them to generate income from a professional-quality listing. With over 30,000 properties in its portfolio, Vacasa has a solid worldwide presence.

Among the benefits of choosing a property listed on Vacasa include:

  • Customer support – Airbnb hosts may be too busy to immediately respond to inquiries. Vacasa is ready and waiting to handle guest concerns
  • Local teams – Vacasa does not task just anyone with managing a property. They have trained professionals in all of their destinations to ensure all properties are up to standards
  • Maintenance – Vacasa performs regular service inspections on all properties to maximize guest comfort and safety

 

Homestay

Unlike VRBO and Agoda that list only full properties, Homestay focuses exclusively on home shares. This makes it an ideal choice for travelers who do not mind sharing spaces and prioritize developing deeper connections.

Relatively small compared to Airbnb, Homestay only has about 33,000 listings around the globe. While there are not as many options on Homestay, it does offer some advantages:

  • Lower price listings – Homestay is an immersive community. Hosts generally prioritize welcoming travelers as opposed to making money. While there are similar hosts on Airbnb, the chances of finding a great rate on Homestay are better
  • Fees – Homestay charges a 15% booking fee, with no guest fee. Airbnb charges a lower booking fee but can have a guest fee of up to 12%. This means that not all money goes to the host
  • Student features – Homestay has a special portal for students. This makes it a great choice for those studying abroad

 

Boutique Homes

If you have a flair for the eccentric or the avant-garde, then Boutique Homes may be the ideal platform.

Boutique Homes focuses on properties that have some sort of defining characteristic. Maybe it’s a tiny home. Perhaps a beachfront property. Or it could be a rental that has some kind of unique architectural features.

While these types of properties are on Airbnb, you will not have to filter nearly as much on Boutique Homes. The platform also has a “for sale” section, distinguishing it from Airbnb.

 

FlipKey

FlipKey is the company that powers the vacation rental experience on TripAdvisor. With over 400 million monthly visitors and 860 million reviews, TripAdvisor is a highly respected name.

In terms of fees, features, and functionality, Airbnb and FlipKey are extremely similar. Guests can expect to pay around 10% in fees on each platform.

Airbnb does have a bigger set of listings than FlipKey. However, FlipKey does have an impressive 300,000 listings.

FlipKey does not allow shared rooms to be listed on its platform–only private rooms or entire properties.

 

House Sitter

If you are on a budget but have got to get your travel fix, housesitter.com is a strong option. As its name implies, this platform grants access to a property in exchange for your services as a house sitter.

Although this can result in free–and possibly even paid–stays, there are some drawbacks:

  • Extensive interviewing – you will be required to communicate with the owner via Telesafe. It may take a lot of interviews for owners to get comfortable with you. Depending on the property type, the process may also be very competitive
  • Restrictions – unlike typical vacation rentals, your time is not truly your own when house sitting. You may be required to be at the property during certain hours of the day
  • Not mobile-friendly – this site does not come with a convenient app. All actions will be web-based

With that said, if you truly want to travel and make yourself available, this is a great platform. You may even get owners reaching out to you for opportunities.

 

Homes and Villas by Marriott International

When it comes to lodging, Marriott is one of the most respected names in the game. Therefore, if you need quality assurance, Homes and Villas by Marriott has you covered.

Like Plum Guide, Homes and Villas by Marriott is a curated platform. This means that the properties listed have all been vetted by Marriott professionals to ensure standard conformity.

In addition to getting the hotel-like experience for your vacation rental, you accumulate Marriott points with each stay. This can lead to free nights and other perks at any Marriott property.

The downside is that this platform is one of the more expensive vacation rental options. In addition, it does not offer shared spaces.

 

Oliver’s Travels

A leader in exclusivity, Oliver’s Travels specializes in holiday villas. Their team of experts has meticulously reviewed over 100,000 homes, with only the top 2% getting listed.

This is a premier site for travelers looking for an international holiday getaway. From a medieval castle to a private island, this site helps all of your wildest travel dreams come true.

Due to the high price of the listings, it is ideal for large groups looking to rent a private residence. However, if you have the money, this site also offers add-ons such as in-home chefs and tour guides.

 

Noirbnb/Innclusive

Noirbnb and Innclusive are two travel apps to keep an eye on as we head into 2022. Although neither currently have a functioning website on which to book stays, the mission has a chance to be game-changing. Noirbnb and Innclusive focus on providing a welcoming stay for minority groups. The platforms are meant to celebrate diversity and welcome people from all walks of life.

Unfortunately, there have been stories of discrimination on Airbnb. Although it’s not indicative of the entire community, some hosts have rejected highly-rated guests seemingly for skin color.

As the need to ensure equality in travel gains further traction in 2022, keep an eye on these two platforms.

 

HomeAway

HomeAway has been one of the vanguard companies of the vacation rental industry. It was founded in 2004 (three years before Airbnb) but has had a turbulent ride to 2022.

In 2015, it was purchased by the Expedia group and run as a sister company to VRBO. However, as of summer 2020, it has actually been absorbed by VRBO. All HomeAway searches are now redirected to the VRBO servers.

Nonetheless, as one of the first movers in the sphere, HomeAway still garners searches. Just know that the same features that distinguish VRBO distinguish HomeAway, as the two are essentially one and the same.

 

Conclusion: Airbnb Alternatives

Airbnb is the undisputed king of sharing economy accommodation, and these are just some of the many Airbnb Alternative sites that exist out there. Some are similar in features, some offer more specific services, but all of them want to claim a piece of the pie that Airbnb has helped bake.

As you can see, there is a lot of competition in this industry and it will take a lot for Airbnb to remain relevant on a global level. However, we do believe with their funding and resources (not to mention their brand name) that they should be able to retain some market share.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but the intention was to point out some of the best and most trusted ones that I came across, and provide a little info about why they deserve your attention. 

You can find Airbnb alternative sites that offer lower prices, or larger spaces, or whatever it is you may be looking for. And with these being online platforms, users will be able to more easily review them and help others decide which one is best for where they need to stay.

Well, there you have it! Those are the top Airbnb alternatives! I hope this list helps you find an alternative that works perfectly for your needs. And if you have any questions or feedback — feel free to let us know!

Thank for reading!

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