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Why Hotels Are Cheaper Than Airbnb In Most Destinations, According To New Report  

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Airbnb has been getting a bad rap recently. In 2021, Barcelona became the first European city to effectively ban Airbnb.  A cascade of cities and even counties followed.

Then, earlier this month, New York followed suit by banning booking service platforms like Airbnb from offering short-term unregistered rentals in the city.  

And to add insult to injury, now a new report from Which? has found that Airbnb’s aren’t actually any cheaper than hotels in most destinations anyway.  

Woman on balcony having tea overlooking city

The study found that a one-bedroom short-term let from a platform such as Airbnb is more expensive than a hotel room in 38 of the 50 destinations surveyed.  

This might come as a surprise to many because when they first launched, private rental sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo offered a cheaper alternative to booking a hotel in many in-demand cities.  

These are the destinations where the differences were the biggest:  

Big Savings In Capital Cities

Hotels were cheaper than Airbnb in every capital city included in the investigation.  

The following 7 capital cities are a clear example of this: 

Facade of a hotel in Amsterdam

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in Amsterdam is $224. The average price of a hotel room is $143.  

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in Singapore is $174. The average price of a hotel room is $100.  

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in Greater London is $200. The average price of a hotel room is $126. 

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in Dubai is $157. The average price of a hotel room is $87. 

Dubai viewed from above via a hotel window

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in Barcelona is $172. The average price of a hotel room is $116. 

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in Hong Kong is $121. The average price of a hotel room is $65. 

The average price of a one-bedroom Airbnb in San Fransisco is $201. The average price of a hotel room is $157. 

New York, New York

Because the effective banning of Airbnb in New York has been such a big media focus in the past couple of months, the study also looked at the costs of hotels versus Airbnb in New York City.  

Hotel Room in New York

It found that not only were Airbnb's in the city more expensive than equivalent hotel rooms but also that many New York options still listed on the site are actually illegal.  

You are no longer allowed to rent out a whole home for less than 30 days in New York. This means that the only legal Airbnb options in the city are those where the owner resides in the property and where the property is officially registered for short-term rental.  

This change is expected to drive up nightly rates in the city further.  

New York

The trend of banning Airbnb and other short-term rental sites is only set to continue. From October 1 Scotland will also introduce a restrictive licensing scheme for short-term lets, for example.  

Are Hotel Rooms Really Better?

When asked to respond to the study, Airbnb said “This data is wrong and based on flawed methodology” because private lets generally have more space than hotel rooms.  

And it is worth mentioning that when you book an Airbnb, you will typically have more space than a hotel room. But this isn’t always the case.  

Airbnb keys in front of mountains

You will also often have a kitchen or cooking facilities, which means you could save money in the long run if you compare the costs of eating out with the costs of cooking for yourself.

It is ideal if you enjoy cooking for yourself on vacation but not important if you feel eating out is part of the fun of the trip.  

Airbnb app

Finally, the Which? study concludes that a bigger Airbnb may still be better value for a group as the cost of a larger let is often cheaper than the combined cost of several hotel rooms. Many families also prefer the space and flexibility offered by Airbnb.  

But in terms of cost alone, in most cases, a hotel room will be cheaper than an Airbnb rental.  

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Sunday 24th of September 2023

Usually you want to have just a room a and not an apartment and not extraordinary luxus, if you compare that airbnb is almost always cheaper than a hotel and better, because you have more friendly and natural environment in opposite to the professional and artifical people in hotels. I guess the average price in this "study" are high, because in big cities there are luxus appartment, that are very expensive and only for millionaires. Dubai...haha Ive been there few months ago and found a room in Marina Bay (very expensive) for about 30 € a night. Have fun to find something similar in a hotel.

Daniel Zim

Thursday 21st of September 2023

Don't forget that Airbnb charges a HUGE service fee for doing absolutely nothing.


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

I travel with my 90-year-old mom and we ALWAYS select Airbnbs over hotels for stays of more than 3 nights. Why? The kitchen for one. We don’t eat out more than twice a week at home, and we love shopping for groceries at local markets, trying new and different flavors and experiences. Two, it is nice for each of us to have our own rooms, as my mom like to nap in the afternoon. Three, most hotel rooms in large European cities are extremely small, and only provide a single chair. In an Airbnb, there are multiple seating areas and options. So even if an Airbnb is more expensive, and I question the examples offered in the article, the advantages over a hotel far outweigh the cost savings,

Vivek Thoopal

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

There is something weird about the report...a bias at play? I have used airbnbs in uk Australia india and South africa after comparing the hotel prices on TA. Airbnbs have invariably been cheaper and simply better (at comparable prices). The anti tech platform trends seem to reflect the will of the lobby rather than people qt large

Ognian Hristov

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Amsterdam hotels are also more expensive, I had to book ok hotel room for 150 USD 40min from Amsterdam by train