Hotels Are Now Cheaper Than Airbnbs, New Research Finds

You’ve got your destination picked, and your airline tickets sorted. Now, all that’s left to do is figure out where you’re going to stay. Usually, that comes down to deciding between a hotel and a vacation rental. And according to a new study, hotels might actually be the less expensive option.

The U.K.-based consumer website Which? recently compared the average price of “thousands of hotel stays and 300,000 listings on Airbnb and Vrbo” over one year across 50 destinations. It found that, on average, hotels were the less expensive option in more than 75 percent of the areas analyzed. 

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

“When launched, private holiday rentals from platforms, such as Airbnb and Vrbo, offered a cheaper alternative to hotels, but our research found that is no longer true in most countries,” the team noted in its findings. 

According to the research, the most significant price difference is on the popular Greek island of Santorini, where a one-bedroom rental is £84 (about $104) more expensive than a hotel room. 

The research also found that hotels were cheaper in every single capital city it reviewed, including Amsterdam, which had an $83 difference, Singapore and London with $75 differences, and Dubai with a $70 difference. It even found that in San Francisco, the city where Airbnb was founded, travelers could save $44 by booking a hotel over an apartment on Airbnb.

“The rise in rates since 2019 has been driven by the move from small, city center apartments to large rural houses with more amenities in places that usually charge more,” a spokesperson for AirDNA shared with the researchers. “We’ve also seen some effect from inflation.”

The one place the team found vacation rentals to be cheaper than hotels? France. The findings noted that it was less expensive to book a vacation rental over a hotel in Antibes, Avignon, Biarritz, La Rochelle, and Nice. However, it was still cheaper to get a hotel in both Bordeaux and Paris. 

Of course, sometimes travelers have different needs on vacation — needing a kitchen, for example, might mean a vacation rental is a better fit for your trip. But, as the research shows, it’s a good idea to do thorough price comparisons when deciding where to stay.

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