Vacation rentals are made simple these days thanks to websites like Airbnb and Wimdu. When it comes to choosing between the two companies for your next vacation or for renting out your home, there are several factors to consider. For the third installment of our "Companies Q&A Series," compares two of the most well-known short term rental companies to help you get on with your next adventure!

Airbnb and Wimdu: Which service fits my needs?

Airbnb is one of the leading American vacation rental platforms with an inventory of more than 1,000,000 listings in more than 190 countries. The majority of Airbnb properties are shared rooms, entire homes or apartments, and private rooms, however, cabins, villas, castles and other unique accommodations are also available to vacationers.

Wimdu is the leading European portal for renting city apartments. Although a large chunk of the listings are apartments they also rent out holiday homes, chalets, farmhouses, boats and even treehouses! As of 2015, the German company has an inventory of more than 300,000 rental properties in more than 100 countries all over the world. The website proudly reports their community of more than 80,000 hosts earns an average of $1018 USD per month from bookings. It is worth noting, hosts and guests do not have to be European to use Wimdu services, but the website does tend to attract travelers and homeowners from Europe. American Wimdu hosts should be aware of European holidays in order to effectively increase business and prepare for more bookings around those dates.

Do Airbnb and Wimdu Charge Host Fees?

Both Airbnb and Wimdu are popular choices for homeowners because they do not charge host fees. Listing a property on Airbnb and Wimdu is 100% free. The hosts will only pay a 3% processing fee to Airbnb or Wimdu respectively whenever guests book a vacation, similar to a credit card fee.

Airbnb and Wimdu facilitate payments between hosts and guests to ensure the safety of both parties and to avoid scams. Airbnb and Wimdu will only transfer payments from guests to hosts 24 hours after check-in. However, this does not mean bookings are always refundable until payments are received ( see below, "Cancellation Fees").

Are There Guest Fees at Airbnb and Wimdu?

Airbnb guests pay a service fee that ranges between 6 and 12% every time they book a rental. The percentage charge will decrease if more nights at a higher price are booked.

Travelers booking with Wimdu pay a flat 12% booking fee based on the price of the listing.

Sometimes Airbnb and Wimdu hosts require a cleaning fee and or a pet fee ( see below, "Pet Friendly Vacations"), and this information will be included in the prospective property descriptions.

Free Insurance: How does Airbnb and Wimdu ensure my safety and protect my property?

Airbnb has two automatic insurance programs at no additional cost, the Airbnb Host Guarantee and the Host Protection Insurance. The Airbnb Host Guarantee protects hosts' possessions from harm up to $1,000,000. It does not protect cash and securities, pets, personal liabilities, or shared or common areas. Luxury items like jewelry, collectibles and artwork have limited protections, so it is advisable that hosts relocate these items before renting out a vacation home.

As of January 15, 2015, if a guest is injured in an Airbnb property, the Airbnb Host Protection Insurance provides coverage to hosts and landlords under a general commercial liability policy. This protection is worth up to $1 million per occurrence. If, however, the host already has homeowner's or renter's insurance from a third party carrier, that existing policy will act as the primary.

Wimdu hosts and guests are automatically covered by the 100% free insurance policy. The policy applies worldwide except for within the USA and Canada. Rental properties are insured up to €500,000. Travelers who do not already have their own coverage for their trip are covered as well. Claims below €150 must be settled between hosts and guests. The type of damage covered by this vacation rental insurance policy includes damages to the host's space caused by guests, damages to household effects and fires. In order to make a claim, you must contact Wimdu via email 10 days after the damages occurred at the latest. You can do so by using this email address: [email protected]

24/7 Support: How do I get in contact with Airbnb & Wimdu customer service?

Airbnb and Wimdu are dedicated to great customer service. Both offer free 24/7 customer support. You can reach them through these direct lines:

  • Airbnb: Download the Airbnb app, access the support center online or contact a team member by phone: 1-855-424-7262
  • Wimdu: Fill out a form by clicking "Contact Us" on the top right of the homepage, or contact the 24-hour support line: 1-347-480-2117

Reviews: How do guests rate their experience with Airbnb and Wimdu?

Airbnb lets guests rank their experience through a five-star scale. There is an overall rating as well as separate ratings for accuracy [of online listing vs. reality of the property], cleanliness, check in, value, location and communication. All posts can be edited by the author within 48 hours of posting, but afterwards they are unchangeable.

Wimdu guests rate their overall experience on a 1-10 scale. The average score is displayed in the top left hand corner of each listing. Written reviews are posted on every listing as well. Hosts from both Airbnb and Wimdu cannot publicly reply to reviews or delete bad reviews.

Cancellation Fees: What policies do I need to know about before booking with Airbnb or Wimdu?

Airbnb and Wimdu have very similar cancellation policies that fit into a tier system: Flexible/Free, Moderate, and Strict. Airbnb has one extra level ("Super Strict") that is by invitation only. Hosts with high-end properties and or tend to book long-term reservations are most likely to be offered "Super Strict" as a policy option.

Wimdu charges a cancellation fee for bookings that are cancelled late under the "Free" policy or cancelled on time or late under the "Moderate" and "Strict" policies. The fee varies for every property and is not posted publicly. If you are concerned about having to pay a hidden cancellation fee, discuss the total price with the Wimdu host.

Hosts choose which policy they would like to use for their listing, and guests can find the information listed under "Prices" (Airbnb) and "Conditions" (Wimdu). The charts below give an in-depth overview of two cancellation policies.

Airbnb Cancellation Policy

Full Refund Partial Refund Refund after Check-in
Flexible 100% refund 24 hours before check-in After check-in, can cancel future days of trip after 1st 24 hours Nights not spent within 24 hours of cancellation are refunded 100%
Moderate 100% refund up to 5 days before check-in Within 5 days of check-in or 24 after: 1st night non refundable, remaining nights 50% refund Nights not spent within 24 hours of cancellation are refunded 50%
Strict 50% refund up to 7 days before check-in No refund within 7 days of check-in No refund after check-in
*Super Strict 50% refund up to 30 days before check-in No refund within 30 days of check-in No refund after check-in

Wimdu Cancellation Policy

Full Refund Partial Refund
Free 100% refund (including Windmu service fee) up to 2 days before check-in. 5% refund for cancellations made less than 2 days before check in. The cancellation fee will still be charged.
Moderate 100% refund (minus the cancellation fee) up to 4 days before check-in. 5% refund for cancellations made less than 4 days before check-in. The cancellation fee will still be charged.
Strict 50% refund up to 7 days before check-in (minus the cancellation fee). 5% refund for cancellations made less than 7 days before check-in. The cancellation fee will still be charged.

Special cancellation policies apply at Wimdu. In the event of a death within the immediate family between 7 days to 24 hours of check-in, guests will receive a full refund and no cancellation fees will apply. If there is a death within the immediate family 24 hours before arriving, guests will receive a 75% refund and the host will receive the remaining 25%. No cancellation fees will be applied. Death certificates will be required as proof for refunds. Also, if a guest experiences a tragedy (i.e., natural disaster, terrorist attack, war) and can prove there is no alternative to cancellation, Wimdu will reimburse the guest 100%, and zero cancellation fines will be required.

Pet Friendly Vacations: Can I bring my dog?

The pet policy for Airbnb and Wimdu are basically identical. Hosts determine whether or not to allow dogs. Guests will see "Pets Allowed" under the "Amenities" section of Airbnb and Wimdu when they are searching for the perfect getaway. It is always a good idea to discuss bringing your furry friend to your vacation rental before booking. Hosts can impose pet fees, and they might need to know more about your pet before approving your request. Learn more about finding your perfect pet-friendly vacation home here.

Find a pet friendly vacation rental at!

Taxes: What will I be required to report if I want to be a host at Airbnb or Wimdu?

Airbnb hosts must enter their tax status under "Payout Preferences." There are three types of tax statuses: US citizens (must file a W-9 and receive a 1099-K), non-US citizens with a US taxpayer identification number (must file a W-8ECI and receive a 1042-S), and non-US persons (must file a W-8BEN and receive a 1042-S).

Value-added tax (VAT) is charged to Wimdu hosts and some Airbnb hosts. The tax rate will be based on the total for the reservation. The VAT status is dependant on the laws in the host's country of residence, services provided and the property's status as a private or commercial residence.

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