Airbnb has become synonymous with renting your apartment to strangers online. But did you know that Booking.com also offers apartment and home rental listings?
In fact, 750 million travelers have booked alternative accommodations like homes and apartments on Booking.com, the company recently revealed.
Note: I am a Booking.com affiliate and also receive a referral bonus if you sign up for Airbnb via my link. As usual, articles on my blog reflect my personal opinions and experiences. If you choose to sign up for either service, using my link helps support The Weekend Jetsetter!
If you’re listing a short-term rental property, it can only help you make more money to list it on multiple sites. So in this post, I’ll explore how to list your apartment on Booking.com and what to expect.
What It’s Like to List Your Apartment on Booking.com vs. Airbnb
If you list your apartment on Booking.com, the main benefit is that your property can now be viewed by a broader set of consumers who are looking for a place to stay. The site lists hotels, apartments and rental homes meaning you might snag a customer who originally set out to look for a hotel.
The main difference between the two platforms is in how they construct their fees. Airbnb charges fees to both hosts and travelers. Booking.com takes a percentage commission of each booking. Booking.com also enables owners to increase the fee they pay to boost search rankings. This seems like a good solution for hosts with multiple properties, not so much for someone renting just one.
It’s worth noting that on Booking.com you do not have the option to decline guests who attempt to book your apartment. If it’s available, anyone can book. So if you’re renting out just a room in your home, you might want to stick with Airbnb so you can vet the strangers you’ll be hanging out with.
Additionally, hosts do not review guests on Booking.com (although guests can review properties). The transaction is much similar to booking a hotel.
Many hosts have found that Booking.com guests are less “high maintenance” than Airbnb guests. They don’t ask many questions prior to arrival or request special accommodations at the same level as they might on Airbnb.
Managing Your Calendar on Airbnb and Booking.com
Listing your apartment on Booking.com and Airbnb can make managing your calendar a bit challenging. However, there are several solutions.
The simplest (but not the most efficient) is to not list your Airbnb as “Instant Book.” Then, you can manually approve each Airbnb guest, ensuring that no one books over a Booking.com guest. Both sites allow you to import/export your calendar and sync with third party calendars like iCal. Then, you can align your availability across both sites in terms of dates you don’t want guests to arrive. The con here is that you can’t really just set it and forget it. You have to make sure you’re regularly ensuring your calendars are updated and booking requests addressed. If you’re booking a high volume of guests, this might not be the best approach. Then also make sure that you use a good property management company if you are investing in property to let, we have used this excellent property management company in Hampshire who have helped so much it’s ridiculous so they are a great example of the kind of company to use.
An easier way to handle this is with Guesty, a platform that allows you to manage your calendar across multiple sites automatically in one place. Guesty charges commissions starting at 3% per booking, which as you might guess, can easily add up. Therefore, I only recommend a solution like this if you’re listing multiple properties. Or, if you’re really just so busy and profitable from your short-term rental business that you don’t really miss that 3%.
How Payments Work When You List Your Apartment on Booking.com vs Airbnb
How you’re paid varies on the two platforms. On Airbnb, your guests usually pay immediately for their reservations (or pay in two installments). On Booking.com, you can make reservations “non-refundable” and collect upfront payments. Or, guests can pay upon arrival. Again, this is more similar to a hotel experience.
Note that if guests are paying you directly, you’ll need a credit card processor (like Square).
Booking.com sends you an invoice for how much commission you owe them. That means you must ensure you set aside a portion of each sale. Airbnb takes their fees automatically.
The Bottom Line on Listing Your Apartment on Booking.com vs. Airbnb
At the end of the day, which platform you host your short-term rental on depends on your preferences. Airbnb allows more control over who you’re hosting. Booking.com opens you up to a whole new world of guests. And ultimately, you can make more money by including your listing across both platforms.
If you want to socialize with your guests, Airbnb is probably the best platform. Although, I think it’s slowly moved away from the social focus as more businesses list full-time short-term rental properties vs. personal properties.
If you’re interested in trying Booking.com, you can sign up to list your apartment here.
(P.S. I write this post under the assumption that you have permission from your landlord to list your property, or that you own your property. Always make sure you’re following local laws and the rules outlined in your lease. If you don’t, you could be at serious risk of eviction or worse!)