Hotel vs Airbnb?

Contributed By: Suzette Sutton - Founder, Australian Home Hosting Expo on

The recent trend in home sharing has brought the tourism industry a whole new pool of customers. And they are travelling to non-traditional tourist locations.

Looking at the volume of travellers and destinations, (without getting into policy issues), a whole new and separate market has been created by the home sharing economy.

Many home hosts around the world are listing their family home – the WHOLE home – for travelers to rent by the night, by the week or longer. Yes, there are a lot of rooms in private homes available on these platforms if you are a solo traveller or a couple, but have you ever tried to travel with 3 (or more) children? Probably not, because the expense of renting multiple hotel rooms or having additional roll-away beds in a hotel room does not make for an affordable or comfortable travel experience. This is one of the main reasons that a vacation at a hotel has been out of reach of many, so they holiday at home or don’t travel at all, and their dollars stay in their pockets.

Affordable accommodation ADDS to the pool of customers. Guests who choose a home share listing for their vacation may not have undertaken that travel without the availability of a whole home for their accommodation.

A 2017 Deloitte report about Airbnb reveals that in Australia, 80 percent of their 40,000 hosts share the homes in which they live, and 74 percent of listings are located outside traditional hotel districts.

Accommodating travellers in these new locations reveals opportunities for localised tourism which has gone untapped until the so-called disruption of the hotel industry. But has the hotel industry REALLY been disrupted? Hasn’t the hotel industry priced themselves out of reach of this sector of the market?

Has the hotel industry provided the “live like a local” experience? Has the hotel industry provided the “home away from home” and family (and pet) friendly accommodation that this sector of the travelling public seeks?

Yes! travellers can now enjoy the experience of holidaying with pets – an experience that was not readily available in the past and is a rarity to find on the hotel listings.

Living like a local is OFTEN in the cultural experience sought by the type of travellers who choose home hosted accommodation. Those who enjoy hotel accommodation will choose hotel accommodation still.

Home hosts are typically making 6 to 10 recommendations of local activities or destinations, restaurants, bars, places of interest, and entertainment. The host NOW becomes an ambassador for tourism in that local area and can influence extra tourism spending.

The only disruption to the hotel industry has been that there are more travellers now who have experienced the joys of travelling and will probably upgrade to a hotel room when the kids have flown the nest.

1 Comment

  1. Author

    It’s an interesting point. I know when I recently travelled to Sydney with my wife and 3 children for an appointment she had down there in Paddington, we stayed in AirBnB because there was simply no hotels in the area we were travelling to. It was an entirely residential area. I’ve had similar experiences in Fitzroy in Melbourne with AirBnB. Both times we stayed in spectacular properties, the home in Fitzroy is actually used in the TV Series Offspring and was owned by an interior designer, it was amazing with a private studio out the back, a loft bedroom upstairs, and of course a huge house as well complete with fireplace. In Paddington we hired a 3 story terrace house for about $250 a night. It was architecturally amazing with an attic and an underground bedroom and it was incredible to have so much space for our family for the week. We did indeed wander the streets of Paddington like locals and had a ball exploring all the bars and restaurants in the surrounding area. I normally stay in hotels, but when travelling with a family of 5 to an area such as Paddington or Fitzroy that doesn’t have any hotels, AirBnB definitely comes in handy.

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