Homestay vs. Airbnb

How are these companies different?

Airbnb is an online platform – accessible via mobile device app, tablet or computer - that allows users to list their properties as well as search for unique accommodations around the world. Homestay is an online community, also accessible by app, that connects users with individuals who open their homes to travelers. Guests who book on Homestay are lodged with a host family, whereas guests on Airbnb can choose to rent private spaces.

What are their individual missions and histories?

About Airbnb

Airbnb is a privately owned company based in San Francisco, CA, which was founded in August 2008, by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk. The company started as a way to help the co-founders pay rent by hosting guests on an airbed in their apartment – hence the name Airbnb. Their company mission is not only to make accessible renting out homes, apartments or extra rooms, but also to provide guests with interesting places to stay around the world while fostering a sense of belonging amongst their user community.

About Homestay

Homestay is based in Dublin, Ireland and was founded by Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn who sought to bring homestays from educational to mainstream travel.

Homestay’s mission is similar: to connect users with global homestays and authentic, immersive travel experiences through an online booking platform of hosts and travelers.

What is the size and scale of each company?

Airbnb has approximately a million listings at a range of price points in over 34,00 cities and 190 countries worldwide, whereas Homestay has more than 15,000 homestays in over 140 countries.

How do I make a booking on each site?

Users can browse listings on each site for free, inputting their desired destinations and travel dates. With Homestay, if a guest is interested in a particular stay, they can contact the host via the site to check availability. If the host is available, the user will receive email verification and then confirm a reservation with a 15% non-refundable deposit. Guests later pay remaining costs to Homestay hosts directly. It is suggested that users on both sites complete a profile for safety reasons before booking. On Airbnb, the process is similar: one can either request a booking from a host on their listing page, or use instant booking, which doesn’t require communication with hosts: only the input of arrival and departure dates, number of guests, and payment information.

What are the costs? Is there a membership fee?

It is free to browse on either site. There is an optional member Log in on both sites, although before a booking is made, users are prompted to create a username and password for better communication and access to the site in the future. There are no membership fees on either site. On Homestay, creating a listing is free: users only pay when they confirm a booking. Homestay takes 15% of each booking; the rest is paid directly to the hosts.

Airbnb has guest and listing fees. Guests pay the cost advertised on the listing plus a 6-12% guest service fee, a regressive fee dependent on the price of the listing, which goes directly to Airbnb. Hosts receive the listing price of their accommodation, minus a 3% host service fee.

Listing fee Booking fee (paid by hosts) Guest fee
Airbnb None 3% 6-12%
Homestay None 15% None


Airbnb offers both the reservation of an entire place, and a single or shared room, as well as accommodation in original spaces like castles, tree houses, igloos, wagons, and boats, in a addition to more traditional housing. In a Homestay, the hosts are always present, and the type of room (i.e. single or shared) fluctuates per house.

Airbnb Homestay
Are others present? You choose Always

Does each site have ratings and reviews? What else should I know about the process?

Listings on both Airbnb and Homestay are reviewed on a 5-star system basis, which is visible on each listing page. Guests can rate their overall experience in addition to different categories like: accuracy of description, cleanliness, location, etc. Homestay accommodations may have specific house rules and breakfast included in the stay, which is mentioned in the listing description. Airbnb has its own mobile app that allows instant booking and search.

How do I become a host on each site?

For Airbnb, users can register themselves as a host and choose to go through a verified ID process. Then hosts will need to create a detailed listing of the space for rent including photos, as well as set a checkout method and guidelines for who can book their space. Finally, hosts communicate with potential guests on the site and respond to inquiries in order to assist the booking process.

In order to become a host on Homestay, users are required to create a free online profile through the site. Once an account is created, hosts need to complete a profile detailing their home and themselves. The only prerequisite of hosting is that a family needs to be present through the duration of the guest's stay in order to create an authentic travel experience. Once Homestay reviews their profile, the family can start hosting guests!

How do I get in contact with Airbnb and Homestay?


Airbnb Customer Service

Airbnb App

Airbnb Fees


Email: [email protected]

Call the Main Office Phone number: +353 (0)1 6753010

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