Many travelers are beginning to question traditional hotel booking, which seems to be stuck in the early 00s, or even before, both in terms of tech and commercial policies. In the last five years, the so called P2P lodging has completely changed the accommodation market, broadening the offer.
Apparently, now you can get more that the standard 15 sqm hotel crypt for just the same price. Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Airbnb has become the world’s largest accommodations’ marketplace, with estimated reservations of $12.3 billion in 2016, which make it a true travel powerhouse.
The giant is shedding its skin and can count on a solid base of loyal customers who hardly change their mind. According to a research by Goldman Sachs: “If people have stayed in peer-to-peer lodging in the last five years, the likelihood that they prefer traditional hotels is halved (79 percent vs. 40 percent).”
Our LO-BA-NY Test seems to confirm this trend. In fact, Airbnb is in first place by a wide margin. Here’s the Top 3 ranking for accommodation booking: #1 Airbnb (4.66), #2 Hotels.com (4.33), #3 Agoda and Booking.com (4.15).
The tricky nature of the hotel booking sector, that surely does not excel in terms of price transparency and user experience, is also stressed by the fact that there’s not a Hopper for accommodation booking. To be more precise, actually there was one, called TheSuitest, but it was acquired and shut down by ClickTripz.
Traditional hotel booking sites can also take advantage of the fact that the cost for the accommodation represents on average only 30% of our trip budget, and most of the times is very fragmented, meaning that the traveler has very little incentive to focus the attention on every single price.
Anyway, our advice to find cheap accommodations is to visit Airbnb first, and then eventually the hotel booking sites. If you’re staying for more than 3 nights, always negotiate the price. With Airbnb you can do that by sending a message to the host directly through the site. Chances are you will get a better deal.
But if you are looking for something more special, check out these other options to find budget accommodation and meet like-minded people along the way.
- Hostel-booking platform for young travelers: Hostelworld
- Home exchange communities: Couchsurfing and HomeExchange
- Max flexibility: Staydu (for free, in exchange for help, or for a fee)
- For voluntourists and eco travelers only: WWOOF and HelpStay
- Sustainable, eco friendly accommodations: Ecobnb and Green Pearls
- Campsite bookings in EU and in the US: Campings and Camp Native
- Community driven spaces for digital nomads: Roam and Coliving
- Pet friendly hotels, vacation rentals, and campgrounds: BringFido
Can’t resist spending the night in a glamorous tree house or tipi, and don’t have to stay on budget like the rest of us? Glamping Hub may be your thing. They offer one of the largest collections of unique outdoor accommodations.
Finally, travelers with mobility problems and other disabilities can choose from over a thousand accessible accommodations across the globe on Accomable.