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calendar icon20 Sep 2023

What’s cheaper – an Airbnb or a hotel?

Renting a holiday property through websites like Airbnb and Vrbo has traditionally been a cheaper option than booking a room in a hotel. But new research has found that is no longer the case.

Consumer group Which? compared the average price of a one-bedroomed property on Airbnb or Vrbo with the cost of a hotel room. It found hotels were cheaper in 38 of the 50 destinations included in the research.

The biggest difference uncovered was in Santorini where a one-bed rental is £84 a night more expensive than a hotel room. This means you’ll be looking at forking out an extra £588 for a week-long stay.

What about in the UK?

The picture was similar in the UK. With a one-bedroomed holiday let proving more expensive in all but one (Salcombe) of the 13 destinations considered.

In Southwold, a one-bed rental is typically £68 more expensive that a hotel room. This means you’ll pay £476 more for a week’s getaway.

Hotels cheaper for city breaks

The research also revealed hotels are cheaper in 24 of 30 cities around the world. A one-bedroomed Airbnb or Vrbo is £67 more expensive than a hotel room on average. And that's without adding on service fees.

Why are holiday rentals more costly?

According to data analytic company AirDNA, the cost of staying in hotels fell significantly during the pandemic, with holidaymakers preferring coastal and rural destinations.

Although hotel rates have started to increase again. They still haven’t caught up with Airbnb and Vrbo.

It’s worth noting that a bigger holiday rental might be better value for a group though.

France - the exception to the rule

If you’re planning a trip across the Channel, you may find Airbnb and Vrbo are still a cheaper option. The research found holiday rentals were cheaper or the same price in five of seven destinations:

  • Antibes
  • Avignon
  • Biarritz
  • La Rochelle
  • Nice

But they were more expensive in Bordeaux and Paris.

Which? suggested this may be down to the fact that France has more Airbnb and Vrbo listings than any other country apart from the US.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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