The Airbnb app is known as one of the world’s leading platforms where people can either rent their real estate property or find a place to book.
Airbnb is a disruptive platform that brought many changes to the hospitality industry and forever changed the way people travel and accommodate. Short-term rentals have become a more popular choice over hotels because they offer a more personal experience, making the Airbnb business a lucrative venture.
However, during this past decade, a notable number of competitors have appeared, standing as alternatives to the Airbnb app. Today, Airbnb is not the only option for finding affordable accommodations or renting them out.
Are you a real estate investor looking for ways to rent out your vacation rental outside the Airbnb app? Here is a short guide to Airbnb app alternatives to expand your listings and supplement your Airbnb income.
Best Airbnb App Alternatives
Many people decide to try their luck on another app similar to Airbnb because—let’s be frank—the Airbnb marketplace is pretty competitive and crowded. This is especially true for cities that accommodate thousands of tourists per month. Those who are just about to start a rental property business may find it difficult to get the exposure for their listings.
Other reasons why short-term real estate investors might want to try another app like Airbnb are:
- They want help promoting or marketing their property
- They want help managing their property
- They want their listings to get more exposure
- They want to supplement their Airbnb income
- They have received poor reviews on Airbnb and want to start with a clean slate
- They want to avoid Airbnb fees
If you’re more of an app person than a desktop or laptop person, you should also choose your platform based on that. The app Airbnb has developed is versatile, locally optimized, and provides all the tools and data you need to run a business. However, Airbnb’s competitors also have powerful apps that we suggest you install and explore.
Here is our list of Airbnb alternatives worth considering:
Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) is the first app similar to Airbnb in our list of alternatives. VRBO has been active since 1996 (or 12 years longer than Airbnb) and boasts having more than a million properties on their books. But unlike Airbnb, their model is different—you can use it only to rent out the entire property.
VRBO doesn’t offer a hosted experience which typically works best for large groups of people (4 or more), families, or those looking for a longer stay. Besides the rent fee, guests are required to pay a booking fee. Besides that, the properties offered there are quite similar to those on Airbnb. And just like the Airbnb app, you can use the VRBO app to register and rent your investment property.
Some of the things you should know about becoming a host on VRBO:
- Payment and cancellation policies vary by property.
- They charge 5% per booking and a 3% credit card processing fee, or $499 for an annual subscription.
- You can only list private homes.
- You cannot delete reviews.
- There are free-to-list and paid options. Paid options get more exposure on the website and in their app.
Another well-known Airbnb app competitor, Booking.com, is used for booking hotel rooms, but it also accepts apartments, guest houses, homes, etc. There are more than 1.5 million nights booked via their site every day, with almost 70% of those being couples and families. Hosts also see many benefits from their complimentary search engine marketing that can get exposure to your listings.
As a host, you can create security and damage deposits, customize your availability calendar, and set rules. If anything goes wrong, you have the guest misconduct reporting feature. Hosts only pay a commission per night booked (up to 15%, it varies by city) in order to list there.
The platform has a great filter that helps guests narrow down their search, which is quite necessary since you can find everything on Booking.com. You can find anything from bed and breakfasts to hotels, as well as search for accommodations with handicapped access or those that are pet-friendly.
Besides regular taxes, the only additional fee is the cleaning fee of $50 for apartments. As for the pricing, you have the flexibility to create per-stay, per-guest, or per-night pricing for your rental.
As for the downside, the only thing that came to our mind is the overwhelming number of options for potential guests. If you don’t want your rental property to be compared alongside hotels in your area, then you may want to avoid listing on this platform.
Unlike the Airbnb app, which offers accommodation and experiences, the Booking app offers a wider range of services. They can use it to book flights, airport taxis, city attractions, car rentals, and combination of tickets, etc.
Another short-term rental platform to have on your radar, FlipKey is owned by TripAdvisor and stands as one of the more affordable options, taking only 3% per booking. You can list any type of accommodation from a single room to single- or multi-family homes to houseboats. And as an added benefit, your listings will also be displayed in search results on TripAdvisor. This means that your property could be found by anyone browsing TripAdvisor for flights or hotels in your city.
The 3% fee per booking is based on your total rent, which includes any optional and required fees for the property. You have the free-to-list option available, as well as different booking methods like booking requests, inquiries, and instant booking. Potential guests have great filtering options, including family-friendly, luxury, low-cost filters, etc. That enables hosts to focus on their target audience and find the most suitable category for their listings.
If the dates are available, travelers can book your property instantly or send a payment request. There are some awesome property management tools as well: you can add booking windows, state house rules and booking policies, and set up seasonal pricing.
FlipKey’s advantages for hosts include a simple registration and listing procedure, diverse categories of rentals, and access to a top-notch review system. On the other hand, they charge additional fees on top of regular nightly rates, and offer reduced inventory (compared to other rental sites), which might keep potential guests from booking on the platform.
FlipKey app (TripAdvisor Rentals) offers similar features to the Airbnb app for host operations that allow you to add listings, talk to guests, and manage your rental strategy.
Expedia Group is not exactly a short-term rental booking platform, but an all-in-one aggregator and travel platform. But that doesn’t mean you can’t list your investment property there. Expedia covers many distribution channels (more than 200 sites available in 35 languages) and can get your listing in front of millions of eyes.
Regardless if you own a vacation home or a multi-family residence, you can list it here as Expedia covers properties of all sizes and types. First, visit Expedia Partner Central, register, choose your contract type, and sign up. Their platform has great UX which simplifies the entire process of listing and managing properties, availability, and prices.
When it comes to reservation payments, there are several ways to accept them. Your guests can after arrival, at the time of reservation, or have the payment split 50-50. Each time you get a reservation, you pay Expedia a compensation percentage.
Property management offers very high flexibility – you can set up your rate plans, room types, amenities, and property policy (including fees, taxes, deposit, cancellation, etc.) very easily. You can connect/integrate Expedia with other platforms and use various tools for analytics and revenue management.
Their app is not as optimized and powerful as the Airbnb app, according to online reviews we had the chance to see. But still, the Partner Central app provides the real-time data and tools you need to stay up to date, manage inventory, boost listing exposure, engage with guests, etc.
Despite its large audience, SimplyOwners isn’t as popular as other rental platforms. Nevertheless, it is still a choice worth considering, especially if you want to invest in a vacation rental.
To learn more about how we will help you make faster and smarter real estate investment decisions, click here.
Mind that SimplyOwners operates on a different listing model – you don’t get to list your property yourself, but you need to submit it to their team which comes up with a draft. If you like it, then you pay a fee and the team lists your property on the platform.
Rental owners pay an annual listing fee on a per-property basis, and you get a discount if you have multiple listings. Your guests are charged the property price without any additional service fees. The main advantages of SimplyOwners is that you get many potential guests looking to rent directly from an owner. You pay for the service once a year and, most importantly, their team is very good at providing support.
Mashvisor: A Valuable Tool for Aspiring Airbnb Hosts
If you are a newbie in the Airbnb business, then you most certainly need a way to secure your real estate investment with the right data. Accurate and fresh information about real estate markets in different cities (as well as those within each city) is very valuable in this business.
Mashvisor is here for all aspiring Airbnb hosts who are still studying the feasibility of turning their property into a rental or are still looking to purchase good income properties for sale.
The advantages Mashvisor brings to your benefit are numerous, so we’ll list them one by one and provide a short explanation of how you could use them.
Mashvisor provides comprehensive data lists that contain information about investment properties in cities across the U.S. But, what if you’d like to look into a neighborhood in Lafayette (CO) that’s not on our list? You just type in “Lafayette CO) or zip code or the name of that neighborhood. Our heatmap will redirect you to the map of neighborhoods where you can set additional filters based on your investment goals. You can filter properties by their:
- Listing Price
- Airbnb Cash on Cash Return
- Airbnb Monthly Rental Income
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate
Once you choose a filter, there will be a color-coded map displayed to show you high-performing and low-performing areas.
To start looking for and analyzing the best investment properties in your city and neighborhood of choice, click here.
Want to find the best investment property according to your budget and goals? Use property finder, set your location, and start customizing by setting filters – budget, rental strategy (in your case, Airbnb), type of property, and the number of bathrooms and bedrooms.
Furthermore, you can use indicators like median property price, listing price, rental income, occupancy rate, cap rate, and cash on cash return. These are crucial for real estate investors trying to find the best places for Airbnb investment and create the most viable investment strategy.
Rental Property Calculator
Since Mashvisor can show you all these important metrics, it’s essential for you to know for which purposes to use them. One of them is to conduct property analysis to find out a property’s profit potential and determine the best financing option for your investment. Mashvisor helps you perform both traditional and Airbnb analysis.
As a short-term rental investor, you are probably most interested in the Airbnb analysis and Airbnb calculator. The Airbnb calculator can help you determine a property’s potential ROI (if you turn it into a short-term rental). It can generate a property analysis based on criteria such as: location of the property, size of the property, property’s selling price, and comparable Airbnb properties in the neighborhood.
Our Airbnb calculator collects data from Airbnb which it then uses to build a clear picture of how a specific property would perform as a short-term rental. In the end, this will help you decide whether it’s smart to invest in a particular property or not.
Rental Income Comparison and Expense Calculator
The ultimate goal of your short-term rental investment is to have it generate profit. Most investors want their monthly income to cover the mortgage with some money surplus on top of it. If you try to figure profit potential manually, it will take you days to compile all data into one database and then start comparing. Mashvisor turns a days’ worth of work into a five-minute analysis of long-term rentals and Airbnb comps.
Mashvisor aggregates the average price per day and occupancy rate for Airbnb properties in the area to help you calculate a property’s profitability. You can take these two metrics of a specific area and determine how much profit you can expect to get by renting the property to Airbnb guests.
What makes it even more difficult to calculate an approximate cash flow of your short-term rental are expenses.
Use Mashvisor to calculate your approximate income based on the occupancy rate or by getting an aggregate number based on the size of the property and neighborhood. Then, with just a few more inputs, you can calculate your startup costs and monthly expenses to get an approximate cash flow on your property.
Finding a rental home is pretty easy, right? Well, maybe it’s easy to find a property to purchase, but what about determining its profit potential and finding tenants to stay in it? Expanding your reach through platforms other than Airbnb is a smart move, so check these six Airbnb app alternatives that we found useful and interesting. Be sure to check all the upsides and downsides as well as to match your strategies there with your Airbnb strategy.
And even if you’ll be using other platforms, the Airbnb data that Mashvisor provides can still be of great use for you. Use it wisely to find the most profitable properties, calculate your cash flow and ROI on rental property, and check your cash on cash returns and cap rates.
To get access to our real estate investment tools, click here to sign up for a 7-day free trial of Mashvisor today, followed by 15% off for life.