Hotels frequently cheaper than Airbnb rentals for British tourists

Private holiday rentals, such as those offered by Airbnb and Vrbo, have soared in popularity over the years. Many holidaymakers enjoy the freedom to cook their own meals or enjoy a larger living space than a hotel.

However, while many British tourists assume that holiday rentals are a cheaper option, new research from Which? Travel has found that hotels are often the affordable choice.

According to new research from the consumer group, the price of a one-bed on Airbnb and Vrbo outstripped the price of a hotel room in 38 UK and world destinations. The research didn’t include five star hotels.

The average price of a one bed Airbnb or Vrbo property was £120, nearly a fifth more than a hotel room, which cost £101 on average.

In Santorini, one of Greece’s leading destinations, a one bed rental on Airbnb and Vrbo was £203 a night on average, 71 percent more than a hotel stay at £119. Tourists would pay around 58 percent more for a private rental in Amsterdam.

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The price difference was also stark in the UK. In Southwold, one of Britain’s prettiest seaside towns, a private rental was £233 per night compared to £155.

Hotels were also cheaper on average in several of the UK’s major cities, including London, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

However, while hotels could seem cheaper, tourists may need to spend more on meals than they would in a private rental with their own kitchen. Larger groups are also more likely to save money by staying at a holiday let.

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Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “Many holidaymakers may be surprised to discover that the average cost of hotels in many destinations is cheaper than one-bedroom holiday lets, which are often promoted as a popular option for travellers trying to save money.

“When planning your next trip, don’t assume a hotel will cost more, but instead check rates across different platforms. For larger groups that need more rooms and space, private rentals are still likely to beat hotels on price.”

Holiday lets soared in popularity during the pandemic and demand has seen rates rise by 11 percent in the UK since 2019.

A Vrbo spokesperson said: “Vrbo only lists whole, private, holiday homes, which is a different experience to booking a hotel room. When you book a Vrbo, you are able to take advantage of amenities within the comfort of the property such as being able to cook and eat together in the kitchen, or relax together in shared spaces with friends and family. This also means that travellers can save money during their stay, if they don’t want to dine in a hotel or a restaurant.

“Vrbo strives to be as transparent as possible about pricing. For example, an inclusive pricing feature in the search experience helps guests have a better idea of the total cost of a booking as well as the nightly rate. Each listing page and the check-out experience also includes itemised costs with details on fees and taxes. Hosts are ultimately responsible for setting their own fees, but we encourage hosts to consolidate their fees, so the guest has a better expectation of the total cost when they’re searching.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “This data is wrong and based on flawed methodology. It overstates prices on Airbnb, and compares standard hotel rooms to entire places listed on Airbnb, which typically include kitchens and living spaces.

“There is something for every budget on Airbnb and nearly half of guests say booking on Airbnb saved them money. A quarter say they specifically chose Airbnb over other types of accommodation to save money.”

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