Airbnb, l love you. Everyone who reads this blog knows that. I have stayed at many places, in different countries at Airbnb rentals, and l have had only 1 bad experience. I can’t say enough good things about it. It is nice to be on vacation, and be able to come back to a homey place, usually with a kitchen so you can cook to cut down on the costs. Most of the homes have wifi, sometimes even suggestions on things to do in the area by the nice hosts or hostesses. Some you interact with, some you don’t. Here’s why you might need to choose a hotel over AirBnB.
AirBnB is not always the best deal – Not by a long shot
The one thing l have noticed lately is that as more people use Airbnb, the rental prices have crept up. I know some people have turned this into a side hustle, and l can appreciate that, but it seems more and more people are pricing their units according to “how much money they need” as opposed to what the market dictates. I have become complacent in some ways and hadn’t really paid attention.
That is, until our trip to Barcelona. I can’t remember what it was exactly that made me check hotel prices. My conclusion is that AirBnB has gotten too expensive for real. Is there a cheaper alternative to AirBnB? Surprise..it might be a hotel!
I had narrowed down the area we wanted to stay called L’example, close to the Sagrada Familia, one of the places on our itinerary. The cheapest price l could find in the area on the Airbnb site was €107 per night for our dates. I thought that was a little steep. It was also on the 5th floor, with no elevator. That might have been what did it for me. I didn’t fancy hiking up the stairs, especially not after walking for hours sightseeing. I checked out last minute.com which used to be my go to, as l have gotten really good deals in the past.
AirBnB vs Hotels: A price comparison
I settled on the Ayre Hotel Rosellon, which is practically next to the Sagrada. I liked the modern look of the hotel and was even happier to see that the price was €109 for the first night which was a Saturday, but then dropped down to €89 for the following nights! Quite a difference! Since the frugal part of me loves a good deal, that’s where we stayed because by the time you added the €48 cleaning fee from the host and the €73 Airbnb “service fee”, The clear winner was the hotel which priced out at €183 less overall. Yeah!!!! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot to loads of people, but to me, it is. We could have some fancy meals with that money :-) . Why pick a hotel over AirBnB? It was a no-brainer money saving move.
While l love the convenience of staying at a home, it was nice to stay at a hotel for a change. It was:
-Nice to come back to a freshly made up room after roaming the city.
-Nice to sit on the rooftop terrace, sipping Cava and eating tapas.
-Nice to have them hold our bags the last day after checkout as our flight wasn’t till late at night.
-Nice of them to still let us use the wifi and “lounge” for a couple of hours before we set off for the airport.
The takeaway from all this is that it’s always a good idea to double check hotel rates nowadays. You just might be able to get a better deal. I plan on being more vigilant in the future. I know a lot of hotels even include free breakfast (this one did not. It was an extra €12 which we passed on). Over our way, there are no “reward” credit cards or travel hacking to be done. You have to pay. Let’s hope also that the hosts start realizing that they need to be more realistic with their rates, especially the cleaning fee, which tend too be pretty high. I once saw one that was equal to the price of one night stay. Really people??? :-) .
AirBnB vs Hotel Decision Making Tips:
- Make sure to check for what your total cost will be. Often, it’s not just the cost of the room, it’s also the AirBnB fees and cleaning fees and sometimes city tax fees. When it’s all added up, decide if it’s still a good deal after comparing hotels to AirBnB.
- Check prices on other AirBnB type sites such as homeaway or BRVO to see if you can get a better deal.
- Check hotel prices. Don’t just assume that AirBnB has the best price.
- Check if the hotel has complimentary airport pickup which itself might make the hotel cheaper than AirBnB.
- Try to find a hotel that offers free breakfast. It might be cheaper in the end once you calculate meal costs at an AirBnB.
- Make sure you carefully read the reviews on your AirBnB host. There are too many horror stories of images online that look nothing like the accommodation. For me, l look for hidden messages. If all the reviews constantly praise the host, but not the place itself, it sends up red flags that the host is a nice person and therefore people are hesitant to write negatively about the AirBnB rental.
- AirBnB prices per night, but if you have a longer stay, prior to booking, send a message to the host and see if they can offer a discounted price if you find someplace you really want to stay at. If they say yes, it might swing your decision one way or the other.
- Remember to change the currency setting if needed so that you compare apples to apples. If you need to change currency, go to your profile on AirBnB page and then settings. You are also able to change it on some pages that have a currency selector button when you reserve. Make sure you are comparing AirBnB versus hotel prices in the same currency.
- Make note of the check-in time. More and more, I am finding that AirBnB hosts are having later check-in times. It’s not unusual to see 4PM, sometimes 6PM which is ridiculous. Nothing worse than dragging luggage all over town while you wait to check in. Hotels usually offer free, secure storage. Some hosts do too, but a lot of them don’t.
- Check on the amenities offered. For instance, If you like to watch TV to relax after a long day of tourist activities, make sure to see if the AirBnB has a TV set. Do you need a pool? a massage? or things that are readily available in a hotel but not in an AirBnB?
- Hotel Industry vs AirBnB is a big deal right now. The hotel industry is mad at the loss of business and are being aggressive in trying to regain the customer. This might work in your favor and can score good hotel deals. Book direct from the hotel for offers like we did.
- Make sure you input the correct number of guests when you book on AirBnB. The price shown on AirBnB is usually per person and will usually adjust higher for 2 people. Hotels on the other hand price for 2 already, so your overall price might be cheaper at the hotel.
What about you? Have you every used Airbnb on your travels? If so, have you noticed that the prices are creeping up? Is AirBnB cheaper than a hotel? The answer would be not always. Do you have any suggestions on saving money on accommodation whilst traveling? If so, please share your secrets with us.