The short-term rental space is practically synonymous with Airbnb and Booking.com. While this is understandable, as both the OTAs have revolutionised the way we travel. They are also lulling guests into a false sense of security.
We’ve explained on numerous occasions how platforms like Airbnb don’t provide you with the ‘guest protection or guaranteed safety‘ that you are entitled to as a guest. But what about the costs?
Did you know that online booking a stay via Airbnb and Booking.com is burning a bigger hole in your pocket, too? Did you know that booking a property rental directly could potentially save you hundreds of pounds?
Let’s delve into this topic today and explore why OTAs do not provide all the value for money that they so frequently promise.
Aggressively Fluctuating Rates
While it’s normal for all short-term rental accommodation (and even hotel accommodation) to have fluctuating rates. Depending on location, season, and competition – Airbnb’s rates are perhaps the most unpredictable.
According to a recent report from CNN.com, the OTA’s average rates across all properties increased by an alarming 37% post-pandemic. The same goes for Booking.com where guests are left with eye-watering costs for accommodation in desirable locations (even if they are members of Booking.com’s famous app).
The reason for this aggressive fluctuation is mainly related to the pandemic. And how the OTAs (Airbnb in particular) put enormous pressure on property hosts in terms of fees, therefore forcing them to increase their rates.
For a guest in a post-pandemic world, online booking a property rental via Airbnb can easily cost an arm and a leg.
Hidden Costs with Online Booking with Airbnb & Booking.com
What many guests don’t realise is that OTAs, such as Airbnb, are known for sneakily adding “hidden charges” to every guest booking.
Since the peak of COVID, cleaning has become a huge priority within the industry – and Airbnb hosts now have the option of adding an additional cleaning fee to their regular online booking rates, which can hike costs by up to 15%.
This means that if you’re booking a short-term rental stay on platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com, you might be unpleasantly surprised by additional charges that you had not accounted for at the beginning of your booking experience.
Booking directly with rental properties providers is usually a lot more transparent; and the cleaning is nearly always included within the original rate.
Extreme Growth (and Greed)
Just as Uber has reinvented the taxi market by offering a better and more user-friendly experience, Airbnb set out in 2008 to completely revolutionise the way people travel.
So, much like Uber, the OTA started out with artificially low prices to get people hooked onto the brand and concept – with every intention to increase fees (for STR hosts) in the future.
Naturally, when host fees increase, so do the booking rates for guests. But Airbnb has played a steady and calculated game, with the plan to take over the short-term rental market entirely.
The best way to slow this down and offer more eco-friendly and all-around “better” guest experiences is for more guests to book directly with short-term rental hosts rather than rely on Airbnb.
To find out how much cheaper booking directly with Luke Stays is, compared to using Airbnb or Booking.com (with additional and exclusive guest freebies), have a browse through Luke Stays property portfolio, which covers regions of the UK, Europe, and the UAE.