Airbnb or Booking.com: which site should you choose to list your accommodation?

What are the differences between Booking.com and Airbnb for hosts? In other words, which platform should you advertise on?

Would you like to rent out your room to generate income, or make the purchase of your apartment profitable by putting it up for seasonal rental? You’ve probably already thought about listing your property on Airbnb, Booking.com or other Airbnb competitors. But which of these two platforms brings in the most bookings?

Airbnb was launched only 10 years ago, in 2008, as a community platform for renting and booking accommodation between private individuals, and its meteoric growth has prompted hotel giants to position themselves in this market. Booking.com, created in 2005, is an online accommodation booking site offering hotels, self-catering cottages and, for some years now, villas and apartments. To help you choose between Airbnb and Booking, here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of renting out your property on either platform.

Airbnb vs Booking.com: what commission? How much will I get?

Each transaction involves two parties: the guest and the host. While Airbnb charges both parties, Booking.com does not charge guests a booking fee. Instead, it charges hosts a percentage of the total booking price, which you must pay at the end of each month.

Commission hôte sur Booking vs Airbnb

If you want to list your property on both sites, you need to take this difference into account. Otherwise, you could end up with less money than you think. Booking.com’s commission-free policy makes customers feel more confident when booking. It’s psychological. You can therefore slightly increase your prime rates on Booking.

How are payments handled on Airbnb and Booking.com?

Airbnb collects the payment on your behalf and pays you on the day of check-in.

If you use Booking.com, on the other hand, you will usually have to handle the payment procedure yourself. You will receive a credit card number from Booking.com that will guarantee your reservation when someone books your apartment. This information is only accessible for 10 days after booking. In the event of a no-show (no one showing up on check-in day) or last-minute cancellation, you alone assume your potential loss. For example, imagine that a reservation made several months ago is cancelled at the last minute by the traveler. Since you no longer have access to credit card information, you’ll find yourself without a tenant.

How do the cancellation conditions work on Airbnb and Booking.com?

Although Airbnb has started to introduce more flexible and free cancellation options (and sometimes even force hosts to apply them), cancellation rates are quite low since guests make a payment when they book your apartment or vacation home. When you create your listing on Airbnb, you can select one of three standard cancellation policies and decide whether you can still receive the booking amount in the event of a cancellation.

Unlike Airbnb, most properties listed on Booking.com don’t require prepayment and feature free cancellation, which is great for guests and not always fun for hosts. Although you have an option to choose only non-refundable bookings, activating it will not be appreciated by Booking customers. While it’s understandable that cancellation rates are higher on Booking.com, it also means that you need to adjust your calendar regularly and make sure there’s no difference between your Airbnb and Booking.com calendars.

But by listing your accommodation on Booking.com anyway, you can generate extra income for your unoccupied nights and avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.

Place your ad on Airbnb AND Booking.com
Benefits Disadvantages
  • More bookings and more revenue
  • More visibility
  • Reservations with a minimum of prior discussion
  • Higher booking rate
  • Complicated payment management
  • No customer reviews
  • Higher cancellation rate
  • Constant need for calendar synchronization

Once you’ve decided to list your property and make it visible on Booking.com, you need to make sure you’re not overbooked on the same dates. Imagine that two travelers, one booked on Airbnb and one on Booking.com, arrive at your property on the same day…

How are customers different at Airbnb and Booking.com?

In addition to the various verification methods, Airbnb also offers two-way reviews where you can also leave reviews for your guests. While this is a great way to empower your travelers, Booking.com doesn’t offer it. While on Airbnb you have the option of viewing reviews from potential guests before accepting a request, you won’t be able to see previous reviews on guest profiles on Booking.com.

As you know, Airbnb customers are eager to ask questions before booking your apartment or house. Sometimes, you answer dozens of questions (including discount requests) about your property and still receive a message that the customer has booked another listing. It’s extremely frustrating when this happens. Unlike Airbnb, reservations are confirmed without prior communication with customers on Booking.com.

Another thing to know is that guests’ expectations of your property may differ depending on the platform on which they book your accommodation. Since Airbnb customers are aware that they’ll be staying with someone, they expect this to be the case. Whereas Booking.com guests are more likely to expect hotel-standard accommodation (or even to arrive at a hotel) such as 24-hour check-in, towels and other free toiletries.

Appartement Airbnb ou Booking

Airbnb vs Booking: about the Host Guarantee

Booking.com offers no guarantees for hosts, unlike Airbnb. In fact, Airbnb offers the Host Guarantee, and the platform has communicated extensively on this subject to reassure property owners. However, you should be aware that this guarantee only applies in very rare cases, even when major damage has occurred in your apartment or house.

Conclusion: should you list your accommodation on Airbnb or Booking?

If you’re only thinking of renting out your apartment or house for a few days a year, just to make a few bucks, then Airbnb is the place for you. However, you’ll need to follow all our advice in our guide to holiday rentals. Booking.com is still dominated by hotels, and if you add to this the fact that it charges higher fees (15% vs. 3% on average), Airbnb is the clear winner.

However, Booking.com seems to have made a good foray into the vacation rental business, and the platform attracts around 1 million paying customers every day. When you have this volume of business, bookings become more regular and more attractive. What’s more, as an owner (or investor) of seasonal rental properties, you need to keep a close eye on Booking, as the site could well become the dominant player in the market. Also, creating an ad now on Booking and understanding how it works will give you a non-negligible head start on future ads that will be created in the near future.

Ultimately, the ideal answer to the question « which of Airbnb or Booking should you choose to list your accommodation online? » is both (as well as all the other rental sites). None of these sites have exclusivity agreements in their contracts, so you can list your property on multiple sites. The problem is that you’ll have to manually update availability every time your property is booked. If you’re not quick enough, you could face double bookings, among other things…

To solve this problem, there are management software programs that synchronize the calendar on each platform in real time. You can also use a concierge service. In both cases, you’ll have to leave a percentage of your income. No pain, no gain…