Hotel vs. Airbnb: What Do Travelers Prefer?


When you travel, you need a place to stay. The two most common options are hotels and home rentals, and Airbnb is the top home rental platform by far. If you’re interested in knowing what type of accommodations are most popular, we have the answer, courtesy of The State of Travel 2024 by Going. We’ll also go over how you can choose the best option for your next trip.

Going reports that 83% of travelers prefer hotels, compared to 64% who prefer apartment and home rentals. (Respondents were allowed to select more than one option, which is why the percentages add up to more than 100%.) Here’s the full list of options and how many travelers chose each one.

  • Hotel: 83%
  • Apartment and home rental: 64%
  • Resort: 24%
  • Campervan/camping: 11%
  • Hostel: 9%
  • Couchsurfing: 5%

Hotels vs. home rentals: Pros and cons

Hotels and home rentals each have their benefits. To be clear, every hotel is different, and every home rental is even more different. But in general, here’s where each option shines.

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Hotels: Consistent quality, more amenities, and better locations

The biggest advantage hotels have is quality. Hotels have quality control, and major hotel brands are expected to provide a certain level of service. If you have a problem during a stay, there’s staff at the front desk 24/7 to help resolve it.

With home rentals, quality is hit or miss. You need to carefully look at pictures and read reviews before you book. If you have a problem, you may need to call the booking platform or the host, and it often takes more time to get issues resolved.

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Hotels also tend to have lots of amenities that home rentals usually don’t, especially if you stay in four- and five-star hotels. These can include:

  • Restaurants
  • Spas and swimming pools
  • Concierges to help with planning and booking activities

It’s also worth mentioning that hotels are often better located, especially in popular destinations. For example, in cities known for their beaches, hotels usually have the prime locations right on the beach. If you book a home rental, you may be several blocks away.

The main drawback with hotels is that they tend to be more expensive than home rentals. This is especially true if you have a family or large group and need multiple rooms. But hotels also have loyalty programs and hotel credit cards. You can use these to earn points that you redeem for free stays.

Home rentals: More affordable and spacious

Prices on home rentals have gone up quite a bit over the years. However, if you’re looking for budget-friendly options, you’ll probably still have more luck on home rental platforms. For example, you can find lots of smaller homes and room rentals on Airbnb, which tend to be cheaper than hotels.

This is especially true if you need a larger space for multiple people. If you have a family of four or a group of five friends, a hotel room probably won’t cut it. You’d either need to book multiple rooms or a suite, both of which are expensive. In that situation, you’d most likely save by booking a home rental.

Another reason home rentals can be easier on your personal finances is that you have access to a kitchen. If you want to prepare some meals yourself so you’re not going out to expensive restaurants all the time, you can do that. You can’t do that in most hotel rooms.

Some travelers also prefer home rentals for the atmosphere. It feels like being at home, which a hotel definitely doesn’t. This can be nice on longer trips. If you’re staying a week or longer, that could be a lot of time to spend in a hotel.

Choosing between a hotel and a vacation rental

The right place to stay will depend on your travel preferences, budget, and the type of trip you’re taking. Here’s when it makes sense to go with a hotel:

  • You’re looking for a high-quality place to stay, or you’re going on a luxury vacation.
  • You want to have on-site amenities, such as a restaurant and concierge.
  • You have a travel credit card with your favorite hotel chain or you’re a member of a hotel loyalty program.
  • You don’t mind spending more to ensure you have a great time on your vacation.

Here’s when you’re normally better off with a home rental:

  • You have a large group and need plenty of space.
  • You’re traveling on a tight budget.
  • You’re staying at a destination for a week or longer and don’t want to feel cooped up in a hotel room.
  • You don’t mind taking the time to compare home rentals and read plenty of reviews.

Both options can make for a fun vacation. It’s just a matter of choosing the one that best fits you and your upcoming trip.

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