The Airbnb story began in 2008 when two friends shared their accommodation with three travelers looking for a place to stay. Just over a decade later, it is estimated that the company now accounts for over 20% of the vacation rental industry. As a travel platform, Airbnb competes with other brands like Booking.com, VRBO, FlipKey, and given its massive amount of traffic from Google. Also, platforms like Google Travel can be considered potential competitors able to cannibalize part of Airbnb’s market.
|Competitor||Description||Key Insights||Competitive Overlap||Differentiation|
|Booking.com||An online travel agency offering a wide range of accommodations, including hotels, vacation rentals, and apartments. Booking.com competes with Airbnb in the accommodations booking market.||Booking.com provides a platform for booking accommodations, including vacation rentals and apartments.||Both offer accommodations booking, but Booking.com includes various property types, including hotels.||Booking.com’s extensive hotel listings and broader accommodation options.|
|Vrbo (HomeAway)||A vacation rental platform owned by Expedia Group, specializing in whole-home rentals and vacation homes. Vrbo competes with Airbnb in the vacation rental market.||Vrbo focuses on whole-home rentals and vacation properties, offering a variety of options for travelers.||Both offer vacation rentals, but Vrbo emphasizes whole-home rentals and vacation homes.||Vrbo’s focus on vacation homes and larger group accommodations.|
|Expedia||An online travel company that operates multiple brands, including Expedia.com and Hotels.com. Expedia competes with Airbnb in the accommodations booking and travel services market.||Expedia offers accommodations booking, flights, and other travel services, including vacation rentals.||Both provide accommodations booking, but Expedia has a wide range of travel services and partnerships.||Expedia’s comprehensive travel services and global presence.|
|TripAdvisor||A travel website known for its user-generated reviews and recommendations. TripAdvisor competes with Airbnb by offering vacation rentals and accommodations booking.||TripAdvisor provides user-generated reviews and ratings for accommodations, including vacation rentals.||Both offer vacation rentals, but TripAdvisor is known for its reviews and recommendations.||TripAdvisor’s focus on user-generated content and recommendations.|
|Agoda||An online travel agency owned by Booking Holdings, offering hotel bookings, vacation rentals, and accommodations. Agoda competes with Airbnb in the accommodations booking market.||Agoda offers a platform for booking accommodations, including vacation rentals and apartments.||Both offer accommodations booking, but Agoda is part of the Booking Holdings portfolio and emphasizes hotels.||Agoda’s global hotel inventory and partnership with Booking Holdings.|
|TurnKey Vacation Rentals||A vacation rental management company specializing in full-service property management for vacation homeowners. TurnKey competes with Airbnb by offering property management services.||TurnKey manages vacation rental properties on behalf of homeowners, offering a full-service solution.||Both are involved in vacation rentals, but TurnKey focuses on property management services.||TurnKey’s full-service property management and maintenance.|
|Homestay.com||An online marketplace for booking homestays and unique accommodations hosted by locals. Homestay.com competes with Airbnb by offering homestay experiences.||Homestay.com specializes in connecting travelers with local hosts offering unique accommodations and cultural experiences.||Both provide homestay experiences, but Homestay.com emphasizes staying with locals and unique stays.||Homestay.com’s focus on cultural and unique experiences hosted by locals.|
|Onefinestay||A luxury vacation rental platform owned by AccorHotels, offering high-end accommodations and personalized services. Onefinestay competes with Airbnb in the luxury vacation rental market.||Onefinestay offers luxury vacation rentals with premium amenities and concierge services.||Both offer vacation rentals, but Onefinestay specializes in luxury properties and personalized services.||Onefinestay’s focus on luxury accommodations and concierge services.|
|FlipKey||A vacation rental platform owned by TripAdvisor, offering vacation homes, condos, and apartments for rent. FlipKey competes with Airbnb in the vacation rental market.||FlipKey provides vacation rentals, including homes, condos, and apartments, with user-generated reviews.||Both offer vacation rentals, but FlipKey is part of the TripAdvisor network and focuses on user-generated content.||FlipKey’s association with TripAdvisor and user reviews.|
|Tripping.com||A vacation rental search engine that aggregates listings from various vacation rental platforms, allowing users to compare and book accommodations. Tripping.com competes with Airbnb in the vacation rental search and booking market.||Tripping.com aggregates vacation rental listings from multiple platforms, enabling users to search and compare options.||Both facilitate vacation rental searches, but Tripping.com acts as a meta-search engine for multiple platforms.||Tripping.com’s ability to search and compare listings from different sources.|
Many think of Booking.com as an online hotel aggregator, but the company also lists over 6 million private homes and apartments.
This means that vacation rental listings compete directly with hotel vacancies during a search.
As a result, it is thought that holiday makers searching for hotel accommodation may then change their minds after being exposed to private listings.
To increase conversions, Booking.com also offers a range of tools to private property owners.
In some cases, the Booking.com commission fee is much lower than a comparable Airbnb fee.
VRBO is a veteran of the vacation rental industry, having been founded in 1995.
Owned by the Expedia Group, property owners who use VRBO tap into approximately 730 million monthly users who visit the Expedia global family of sites.
While VRBO matches Airbnb in terms of diversity of property types, it cannot compete with the sheer number of properties that Airbnb lists.
Having said that, VRBO tends to be geared to more affluent users or families who require larger homes.
Like Airbnb, VRBO users can earn titles by maintaining high average ratings and low cancellation rates.
Commission fees between the two companies are also quite similar.
A key competitor of Airbnb, FlipKey is an online marketplace listing more than 830,000 properties in 190 countries.
FlipKey allows owners to list their properties for free and gives users the ability to search for properties using a variety of parameters.
The company also offers a group booking facility in most of the world’s popular tourist destinations.
The fee structure is the most defining characteristic of FlipKey, charging a 3% processing fee and a subsequent fee of 5 to 15% of the total rental cost.
In recent years, search engine company Google has been exerting its influence in the vacation rental market.
In partnership with certain online travel agencies and channel managers, Google now incorporates vacation listings into Google Maps and travel-related search results.
Google represents a major competitor to Airbnb – at least where the organic search is concerned.
Vacation rentals listed through one of the search engine’s trusted partners are likely to occupy a high visibility position and be seen by millions of searchers.
TripAdvisor (TA) is the largest review site on the internet with almost half a billion monthly users.
Like Booking.com, TA is an online travel agency as opposed to a rental marketplace.
Nevertheless, it offers hotel accommodation alongside vacation rentals and other services such as car hire.
TripAdvisor can also be read in 26 languages, so it could be argued that TA has far more reach than Airbnb.
To further increase its reach, TA owns a suite of related sites such as FlipKey and Holiday Lettings.
- Airbnb has cornered 20% of the vacation rental industry, but it faces high competition from companies offering low commissions for property owners.
- Traditional hotel booking companies such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor are now offering private vacation rentals alongside their hotel room listings. This has the potential to increase their reach.
- Google is also becoming a significant player, advertising vacation rentals in Google Maps and giving Google-owned listings priority in organic search results.
Key Highlights of Airbnb’s Competitors:
- Offers over 6 million private homes and apartments alongside hotels.
- Competes directly with Airbnb by providing vacation rental listings.
- Lower commission fees in some cases compared to Airbnb.
- Provides tools for property owners to list and manage their rentals.
- VRBO (Owned by Expedia Group):
- Founded in 1995, offers around 730 million monthly users.
- Competes with Airbnb in vacation rentals but tends to attract more affluent or family-oriented users.
- Similar commission fees to Airbnb and diverse property types.
- Part of the Expedia global family of sites.
- Lists over 830,000 properties in 190 countries.
- Allows free property listings and offers group booking facilities.
- Charges a 3% processing fee and additional fees of 5-15% of rental cost.
- Competes directly with Airbnb’s range of property listings.
- Generates revenue primarily through advertising.
- Exerting influence in the vacation rental market by integrating listings into Google Maps and search results.
- Represents competition in organic search visibility for vacation rentals.
- Largest review site with nearly half a billion monthly users.
- Offers hotel accommodations and vacation rentals alongside other travel services.
- Collects commissions from travel partners for accommodations and experiences.
- Owns related sites like FlipKey and Holiday Lettings.