With all the quirks and options on offer, the VR industry — also known as vacation rental booking — sure isn’t what it used to be. Websites like Airbnb and Vrbo have gone more than mainstream, offering travelers of all sorts plenty of superb alternatives to the traditional hotel experience—all at substantially lower prices. It’s even been found that in the U.S. alone, day-trippers and getaway-seekers alike spent nearly $87 billion on vacation rentals in 2019, tripling in size in just the last 7 years! Let’s just say that good old stays at various high-rise hotels are starting to become nothing but a distant memory because the fact of the matter is, vacation rentals are here to stay.
Opt for something way more extraordinary than a dimly lit room with a fluffy king size bed or some boring beige carpets and striped wallpaper. How about a country villa, a spacious loft, or even—if you're feeling really crazy—a nice glamping tent?! What’s more is that oftentimes, on top of the potential savings, you’ll also be able to get local resident’s input on things such as sights to check out and snazzy spots to chow down. But since good and reliable rentals aren’t always the easiest to hunt down, here's an overview of some of the most popular sites offering alternative accommodations (in addition to the hot San Francisco startup that started it all). Ladies and gents, may we present the best and brightest Airbnb competitors.
A leading search engine for vacation rentals, Tripping.com has got over 8 million properties in 150,000 destinations, offering travelers with more than wide variety of unique accommodations especially for the long-term. It’s been deemed as the “Kayak for long term rentals,” a one stop shop for vacay-homes that has partnered up with several major hotshots in the VR business to allow users to easily compare vacation rentals across providers.
Founded in 2009 by Jen O’Neal, a former StubHub employee, and Jeff Manheimer formerly of Travelzoo, the San Francisco-based company boasts a partnership with AARP and since teaming up with Booking.com in 2015, was the first vacation rental metasearch website to debut on-site booking. Plus, with friendly relations with major sites from Vrbo, FlipKey, Housetrip, and TripAdvisor to Wimdu, ZenRentals, Bedycasa, and WayToStay, as well as numerous others, it’s the perfect spot for users to browse by price range, ratings, locations, and a lengthy list of other features and amenities.
HomeToGo.com is the world’s largest search engine for vacation rentals, with more than 18 million offers in over 200 countries around the world. With such a vast range of properties, HomeToGo gives its users an unrivalled amount of choice. More than 1,300 providers are integrated into the platform, including Booking.com, Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, and TripAdvisor.
Founded in 2014, HomeToGo quickly became a favorite of savvy travelers due to its user-friendly interface, easy price comparison, and impressive amount of offers. Users can quickly compare properties from a diverse range of providers, with features such as its smart filtering and flexible date search making it easier and faster to identify the perfect vacation rental. HomeToGo simplifies the complicated, often time-consuming process of finding somewhere to stay by curating the best offers in the same place. Everyone can plan their perfect vacation rental quickly with HomeToGo.
Acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008, FlipKey is one of the main Airbnb competitors and provides adventure seekers with both domestic and international offerings, with each property profile detailing everything from the number of bed/bathrooms, amenities available, and detailed descriptions of the space, to management information, photographs, and weekly availability. Though cancellation and payment policies vary by property, this VR favorite offers the ability to easily browse listings based on certain parameters such as low-cost, family-friendly, luxury, or even by the type of trip you’re hoping to embark on—i.e. city, beach, mountain getaway, etc.
The “vacation rental marketplace,” as it so lovingly calls itself, has got a growing inventory of over 300,000 properties with exposure to over 160 countries. Plus, since they introduced their Free-to-List option, it’s become even more of an ultimate fave, as it often receives enough targeted visibility to provide an average of 72 inquiries per listing per year. What’s more is that when you team up with FlipKey, your vacay-rentals will be equally distributed to a dozen other popular sites, including good old TripAdvisor, meaning that all in all, you’ll be exposing your property to just over 340 million travelers per month—with no extra charge! There’s even a Pay-Per-Lead option that allows you to only pay when you get qualified leads. Yes, please.
The London based company, owned by AccorHotels Group, has been gaining momentum in the vacation rental market as a luxury option for travelers seeking a five-star experience and amenities, while also enjoying the space and flexibility of a vacation rental. With handpicked properties and an intense vetting process (including an onsite inspection), onefinestay provides a truly unique offering.
Having more than 10,000 luxury vacation rental homes in resort destinations and major cities worldwide, one of the big differentiators of Onefinestay is its hospitality and concierge function. The platform offers access to a team of helpful staff who will help you book your holiday. The platform also recently released a more extensive, ‘Higher Living’ concierge program, which offers 24 support for personalized requests, ensuring guests are taken care of during their holiday. Guests can expect to pay significantly more for the additional luxuries and services, but the company prides itself on offering unparalleled luxury and guest experiences.
Vrbo offers worldwide accommodations from people willing to rent out their space. The company was founded in 1995 and is considered a pioneer in the vacation rental industry. The brand was later acquired by the Expedia Group in 2015 and has quickly become one of the leading vacation rental platforms in the industry.
One of the biggest differences between Airbnb and Vrbo is related to the property types that can be listed on each platform. Vrbo only allows entire properties to be featured on its website while Airbnb currently allows travelers to book shared accommodations with their host. Though both sites provide short-term rental accommodations, Vrbo is better suited for longer stays and Airbnb is a great option for those looking for shorter trips.
Though it hasn’t been around for as long as some of the others, this one’s definitely an up-and-comer to watch. Headquartered in Lausanne, it’s know as “the AirBnb of Europe” --but without the 3% commission. So while AirBnb is popular for travelers in North America, European getaway seekers are going wild for this “online holiday rental marketplace.”
What’s more is that since it’s currently an untapped market with very little competition for visibility, you’ll have the pleasure of being one of the first properties in your area on the site, which means you can get a head start at building on that reputation to further reap the benefits down the line. Plus, it’s absolutely free to list your property so there really is nothing you have to lose! Check it out now.
Casamundo is a large booking platform aggregating more than 400,000 vacation homes across the world. Founded in 2003, Casamundo is one of the leading providers of individual vacation rentals in Europe, and has acquired a top position in the German online travel market. The company is known for its exceptional guest service, sending personalized selections of vacation rentals to help guests choose the perfect vacation rental for their holiday.
Acquired by Airbnb in 2017, Luxury Retreats mixes the great usability of Airbnb’s platform with unforgettable experiences and extravagant luxury villas and cabins. The company was originally founded in Montreal in 1999 with only a single property. It has since expanded to offer a carefully curated portfolio of over 4000 luxury properties in more than 100 destinations globally. These villas serve as beachfront escapes, city breaks, and a lavish home base for large groups or corporate retreats. Travelers can enjoy a 24/7 personal concierge service available for assistance, as well as complimentary full-service guest support.
There are no sign-up costs or fees for homeowners wanting to partner with Luxury Retreats as it follows a pay-for-performance model. With upscale rentals in the Caribbean, Central America, South Africa, New Zealand, North America, Europe, the South Pacific, and more, guests can live up the extravagant life virtually anywhere in the world.
With over one million registered users and about 300,000 properties in over a hundred countries, this one’s another fierce Airbnb competitor that’s doing an impressive job in getting a slice of the private-rental pie, especially in Europe-- since unlike the North American VR giant, Wimdu seems to focus more on rental market spaces across the pond (while Airbnb has its sights set on global domination!). It’s a great option for short-term rentals, offering travelers with a more than easy and pleasant booking and rental experience that’s easy to navigate so that you can get on your way to that stellar va-cay. Fast.
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Search cabins, cottages, beach homes, apartments, mansions and more in top travel destinations on Tripping.com:
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This article was written by Pamela Chan.