Remember the days when one of the best money-saving travel tips was booking an Airbnb versus a hotel? Not only have nightly rates always been much cheaper, but Airbnbs and the hosts themselves are often shaped to be the most memorable aspects of the trip.
These days, an Airbnb stay rarely involves big savings or friendships with hosts. For better or worse, features like self-check-in make it so that the hosts and guests never meet. Meanwhile, many of the listings are managed not by the owners, but by giants in the management of the company’s property – without the convenience of full-time employees on the site.
And what is the cost? NerdWallet’s June 2022 analysis looked at 1,000 Airbnb reservations in the US for 2022 or 2023. Although there’s no way to directly compare costs because every Airbnb is different, some key indicators provide clues about when Airbnb is better or worse. from a hotel.
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In some cases, Airbnb rentals are still a good deal compared to hotels. Other times, they are far from it.
For short stays, Airbnbs are rarely a good deal for two reasons: discounts and cleaning fees.
Savings increase with trip length: average nightly rate A seven-night stay on Airbnb was 32% cheaper of a one-night stay, according to a NerdWallet analysis.
– Overnight accommodation: Average price per night is $314.
Seven-night stay: average price per night $213 (32% cheaper per night versus one-night stay).
Why is longer stay cheaper? One reason is multi-day discounts. Hosts offer these incentives because they prefer to have fewer reservations to manage and ensure occupancy.
Another reason is the cleaning fee. While not all listings have it, the average cleaning fee is $75, according to a NerdWallet analysis. Since it is a one-time fee, the cost is reduced with longer stays. The $75 cleaning fee is more for a one-night stay than for a three-week stay, being only about $3.50 per day. Since hotels usually don’t charge a cleaning fee, travelers who spend a night or two may be better off with a hotel if the Airbnb cleaning fee is exorbitant.
For solo travelers and couples, Airbnbs are usually more expensive (although the NerdWallet study only looked at “whole place” properties, so people sharing a room or house may still save).
NerdWallet has compared the individual price of Airbnbs with a maximum capacity of two adults versus a hotel room in the same city. I also compared Airbnb’s cost with a maximum capacity of six versus the cost of booking three hotel rooms (assuming two adults per room).
The average Airbnb price for six was 33% cheaper than booking three hotel rooms. But the average hotel rate was 29% cheaper than an Airbnb booking for two.
Here’s how to break down the average costs per person:
Airbnb Small (fits 2 adults): $125.
Large Airbnb (fits six adults): $60.
Hotel room (accommodates two adults): $89.
Other factors to take into consideration
Of course, the situation of each traveler is unique, and other costs go to a trip that only exceeds the sticker price. Ask yourself about:
Transportation: Does the hotel charge a parking fee? Is there a free airport shuttle? Is the hotel downtown and walkable, while your Airbnb may require a rental car?
Staff availability: For Airbnbs, you may never meet the host or interact with any type of employee. If you’d rather talk to someone (or simply need personal assistance for anything from getting directions to helping clean up the clutter), the hotel may offer better deals.
Then again, even hotels are still understaffed. The American Hotel and Residence Association expects hotels to end in 2022 with 1.97 million employees, which is 84% of pre-pandemic levels, and an AHLA survey in May 2022 found that 97% of hotels report being understaffed.
food: Can you skip restaurants by cooking in an Airbnb kitchen? Is hotel free breakfast more convenient?
Other amenitiesDoes Your Airbnb Include Laundry? Are daily activities included in your hotel, making you skip paying for other entertainment if you’re going to spend all day at the pool?
For remote workers, what about office space? The Deloitte Spring 2022 survey of 4,200 Americans asked about the factors that go into their residency decisions. “Space to work” saw a 19% increase in 2022 vs. 2021 — and an Airbnb workspace with a separate office or backyard could be more enjoyable than staying in a small hotel room.
Additional Fees and Payment MethodsDo you owe resort fees? Airbnb doesn’t have a loyalty program, but can you stay at the hotel for free with points?
Given the variety, it’s impossible to declare Airbnbs better or worse than hotels. And given the continuing decline in hotel services like housekeeping and room service, the sometimes-faded feeling that surrounds Airbnb is a tough comparison with the disappearance of hotel services, too.
But if you’re booking travel in 2022 assuming Airbnbs is always the best deal, reconsider your strategy.
NerdWallet conducted an analysis of 1,000 Airbnb listings (including taxes and fees) with check-in dates in 2022 or 2023, as well as more than 400 hotel listings in the United States.
The analysis looked at base rates, as well as other fees such as cleaning fees, for one-, seven- and 30-night stays, also broken down by reservations made three days, four weeks and 47 weeks in advance. Data was collected for ten regions across the United States, covering accommodations for a maximum of two guests versus six.
The Deloitte Summer Travel Survey 2022 was conducted between March 23 and March 30, 2022. A representative sample of 4,233 Americans was taken in the survey and of these, 2,536 qualified as travelers. Only 1,960 participants completed the longer version of the survey because they stayed in paid accommodation, rather than with family or friends. The survey examined travel behaviors during the season, including longer flight patterns for summer travelers.
AHLA’s mid-year 2022 results on the state of the hotel industry were produced using analysis from Oxford Economics, data from STR, and surveys by AHLA and Morning Consult. The AHLA Hotel Owners Survey was conducted among over 500 hotel owners from May 16 to 24, 2022. The Morning Consult survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA, was conducted online from May 18 to May 22, 2022, among citizens. Sample of 2,210 adults. Data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, gender, educational attainment, ethnicity, and region. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.0 percentage points.