Remember when one of the best money-saving travel tips was to book an Airbnb rather than a hotel?
Not only were nightly rates almost always much cheaper, but Airbnbs and the hosts themselves were often designed to be the most memorable aspects of a trip.
These days, staying in a Airbnb rarely involves big savings or friendships with hosts. For better or worse, features like self-check-in ensure that hosts and guests never even meet. Meanwhile, many listings are managed not by landlords, but by corporate property management giants – without the convenience of full-time on-site staff.
And the cost? A June 2022 analysis by US personal finance firm NerdWallet looked at 1,000 Airbnb reservations in the US for 2022 or 2023. While there’s no way to compare costs directly from each Airbnb is different, some key metrics provide clues as to when Airbnbs is better or worse than a hotel.
In some cases, Airbnb rentals are still a bargain compared to hotels. Other times, they are far from it.
Airbnb is rarely cheaper for short stays
For short stays, Airbnbs are rarely a bargain for two reasons: discounts and cleaning fees.
Savings increase with trip length. The per-night rate ($213/€213) for an average seven-night Airbnb stay was 32% cheaper than a one-night stay ($314/€314), according to NerdWallet analysis.
Why are longer stays cheaper? One of the reasons is multi-day discounts. Hosts offer these incentives because they prefer to have fewer reservations to manage and insure occupation.
Another reason is cleaning costs. Although not all listings have one, the median cleaning the fee is $75 (€75), according to NerdWallet analysis. Since it is a one-time fee, the cost is reduced by longer stays. A cleaning fee of €75 is higher for a one night stay than for a three week stay, where it would only be around €3.50 per day.
Since hotels typically don’t have a cleaning fee, travelers staying a night or two might be better off with a Hotel if the Airbnb cleaning fee is high.
Airbnbs is more profitable for large groups
For single travelers and couples, Airbnb are generally more expensive (although NerdWallet’s study only looked at “whole” properties, so people sharing a room or house could still save).
NerdWallet compared the price per person for Airbnbs with a maximum capacity of two adults versus a hotel room in the same city. He also compared the cost of a Airbnb with a maximum capacity of six people against the cost of booking three hotel rooms (assuming two adults per room).
The average Airbnb for six people ($60/€60 per room) was 33% cheaper than booking three hotel rooms. But the average hotel ($89/€89) was 29% cheaper than booking an Airbnb for two ($125/€125).
Other cost factors to consider when booking accommodation
Of course, every traveler’s situation is unique and other costs go into a trip beyond the listed price. Transportation is a key factor – parking fees, free airport shuttles, and proximity to public transport or attractions can all impact the overall cost of your trip.
Airbnbs often offer budget services such as laundromats and kitchens, while hotels may offer loyalty points, free of charge. breakfastpool access and free activities that might save you paying for outdoor entertainment.
Then there is service to consider. At an Airbnb, you may meet a real host who may share insider tips or you may not interact with some kind of Personal at all. If you’d rather talk to a human — or just need personal assistance with directions or help clean up a mess — a hotel might be a safer bet.
Given the variability, it is impossible to claim that Airbnbs are better or worse than hotels. And with hotels reducing housekeeping and room service due to staff shortageAirbnb’s lack of benefits is less and less pronounced.
But if you’re booking a trip in 2022 assuming Airbnbs is still the best deal, reconsider your strategy.