Airbnb vs. hotel: 10 factors to consider

Published Date: November 28, 2023

A multifamily unit that could show the differences between an Airbnb vs hotel.
According to a 2022 survey, over 60% of Americans would rather book a stay at a hotel instead of a home rental like Airbnb. Although Airbnb can be a cheaper option, many people prefer the amenities and consistency of a hotel stay.In this guide, we’ll share Airbnb vs. hotel pros and cons, and cover the top 10 factors to consider when looking for your next accommodation. We’ll even introduce you to a third option — second homes — and share how it stacks up against the short-term rental competition. 

Overview: Airbnb vs. hotel

Airbnb is usually the cheaper option, based on the nightly rate. However, you can also expect variabilities in quality, privacy and amenities. Hotels may be more expensive, but they often offer a more consistent experience for guests.
PriceAverages $137 per nightAverages $149 per night
Accommodation typesShared rooms, private rooms and entire homesMainly private rooms 
SafetySafety precautions varySecurity cameras and key card access are the norm
Booking experienceBook within a single appBook on the hotel’s website, by phone or on a third-party platform
LocationsAvailable in urban, neighborhood and rural destinations Typically in urban areas and near airports
PrivacyHosts may live on the property or nearbyLittle to no privacy outside of your room
AmenitiesVaries with each listingTypically on-site concierge and housekeeping
Length of stayLong-term travel discounts availableWell suited for stays under a week
Accessibility featuresAccessibility filters are available when browsingIn general, all hotels must be ADA compliant 
Cancellation policiesFees and policies vary, but are often flexiblePolicies and fees vary 
CheckoutHosts provide checkout instructionsHotels may require you to return key cards


Airbnb facilitates both shared and private short-term rentals, connecting travelers with hosts who offer accommodations in their homes or properties. Airbnb has helped guests find accommodations in popular tourist destinations and remote environments since 2008. Airbnbs are typically quick and easy to book, cancel and check into, making them a top contender in the short-term travel market.
Airbnbs are generally cheaper than hotel rooms (based on nightly rates)The quality of each listing can be inconsistent
Guests can experience living like a local and sometimes have the option of getting to know the hostLittle to no guest services available 
Guests can book entire homes, complete with a kitchen and other living spaces Safety features can be difficult to gauge


A hotel is a private business that offers travelers accommodations, access to shared facilities and guest services. They are primarily located in urban areas and typically only have private rooms available. In general, hotels offer a consistent level of quality, so many travelers know what to expect during their stay.
Hotels offer convenient services like housekeeping and room service Hotels are often more expensive than Airbnbs (based on nightly rates)
Surveillance cameras and key card access are common safety featuresMost hotel rooms do not include a cooking space
Some hotels offer loyalty programs that can generate discountsHotel rooms typically lack a personal touch 

The differences between Airbnb and hotels

A chart compares the differences between an Airbnb vs hotel.
Now that you know how both business models function, let’s take a closer look at the differences between Airbnb vs. hotels.


When it comes to Airbnb vs. hotel prices, Airbnb has a broad spectrum of accommodation options at different price points, while hotels are often more expensive per night. AirbnbGlobally, the average cost of an Airbnb is $137 per night, though this price can vary significantly depending on factors like location, property type, size and amenities. Airbnb provides a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly to luxurious. Here is a breakdown of what’s included in the price:
  • Room rate: the cost to book the room or home
  • Cleaning fee: the cost of cleaning the space before and after your arrival
  • Service fee: the cost for the host to use the Airbnb platform
  • Taxes: any local and tourist taxes associated with the listing
HotelsThe global average cost of a hotel is $167 per night. A hotel room may be more expensive because it is a fully managed accommodation that includes staff members who assist you during your stay. Motels offer cheaper alternatives, while exclusive resorts represent the pinnacle of luxury. Here is a hotel price breakdown:
  • Room rate: the cost to book the room
  • Meals: "complimentary" meals, like breakfast, are factored into the price of your stay
  • Resort fees: the cost to keep the resort and its amenities properly maintained
  • Taxes: any local and tourist taxes associated with the area

Accommodation types

Hotels specialize in providing private rooms, while Airbnb has multiple accommodation types to suit your budget’s needs.AirbnbHosts can categorize their listing based on the layout of their lodging: 
  • Shared room: Similar to a hostel, guests share a room and bathroom with one or multiple strangers.
  • Private room: Similar to a hotel setting, guests have a private sleeping area, though they may still have to share a bathroom.
  • Entire home: Guests have exclusive use of sleeping areas, bathroom, living space and kitchen.
HotelsAlthough you can share a room with your friends and family, private rooms are the only accommodations you’ll find in a hotel setting. However, some luxury hotels offer penthouses and villas with a kitchen and a dining and living room.


When it comes to safety, hotels may have more resources to keep guests secure than Airbnb. However, even the largest hotel chains are not immune to security breaches.Airbnb Since Airbnb listings are managed by individual hosts, it can be difficult to accurately gauge the safety of a location. A Plos One study shows that an increase in short-term rental solutions like Airbnb may lead to an increase in violent crimes within that neighborhood. Here are the safety features that Airbnb provides to combat this:
  • 24/7 safety line: Although there is no in-person Airbnb staff available, there is a call center available at all times.
  • Host background checks: Every Airbnb host must pass a background check.
  • Fire prevention: Airbnb encourages every host to install multiple alarms and provide an extinguisher in every listing.
HotelsBoth Airbnb and hotels can be subject to data breaches since travelers have to share personal information when booking online. Cybercrimes aside, hotels generally take the following security measures to keep guests physically safe:
  • Security staff: Some hotels have security personnel on site.
  • Safety box: Many hotel rooms are equipped with lockable safety boxes.
  • Fire prevention: Along with fire and carbon monoxide alarms, hotels generally equip each room with a fire extinguisher and sprinkler system.
  • Security cameras: Many hotels install security cameras in common areas.
  • Key card access: Many hotels have a key card system that only allows verified guests to access private rooms and shared hotel amenities. 


If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path lodging option, Airbnb may have what you’re looking for. If a room in the city is what you need, consider staying at a hotel. Airbnb One of the most attractive qualities of Airbnb is that you can find unique accommodation options across the globe. From a snow igloo in Finland to an underground bunker in New Mexico, Airbnb listings are sure to impress the most seasoned travelers. Airbnb has listings in over 220 countries, including rural and urban settings.HotelsSimilarly to Airbnb, currently features 228 countries with hotel listings. Hotels are generally found near popular attractions and dining options in dense urban areas. Since hotels require operating staff to cater to guests, it can be difficult to run this business model in remote locations. 


Both hotels and Airbnb have privacy concerns; however, many Airbnbs allow self check-in procedures that limit or remove face time with hosts. Airbnb Like safety, privacy can be difficult to gauge from Airbnb listings. Even if you book an entire home, you could still share a wall or outdoor space with your host. While some hosts may live on the property, others live nearby or may remotely manage their property. The key to finding a private unit is to read the property description and reviews thoroughly. HotelsIn terms of your room, it’s hard to find a more private option than a hotel. However, once you leave that space, you may find yourself swimming in a sea of people in the common areas. Even the most luxurious hotels typically have a check-in procedure that requires guests to have public interactions before retiring to their private rooms.


Hotels often provide guests with a few basics, while some offer more luxurious amenities like gyms and spas. Airbnb amenities can vary widely — from nonexistent to the most unique and coveted. Airbnb Airbnb amenities can vary from listing to listing. In general, don’t expect the same amenities as you would receive during a hotel stay. Available amenities depend on individual hosts, and their quality can differ per listing. Here is what Airbnb considers some of the top amenities hosts should include:
  • Free parking: Either covered, driveway or street parking may be available. 
  • Wi-Fi: It will be mentioned in the listing, but it is typically available.
  • Air conditioning: Either built-in or portable units may be available.
  • Pets allowed: Guests can choose to view only pet-friendly listings.
  • Kitchens: Not only do kitchens help cut the cost of dining out, but they also extend the available living space.
HotelsOne of the defining features of a hotel is the wide array of amenities offered to guests. Along with the amenities mentioned for Airbnb, hotels typically offer at least one of the following as well:
  • Swimming pool: Either indoor or outdoor pools and a hot tub may be available.
  • Room service: Order food straight to your room for an added fee.
  • Spa: Book spa packages online or at the front desk for an added fee.
  • Housekeeping: Request fresh towels and allow the professionals to clean up when you’re not in the room.
  • Concierge: Someone is available to answer questions in person.

Length of stay

Hotels are ideal for a weekend getaway. But if you’re searching for a place to stay longer than a few nights, Airbnb may be the better option. Airbnb Booking an entire home on Airbnb may be more comfortable than hotels for long-term travel. Airbnb also offers weekly and monthly discounts to travelers wishing to book a longer stay. The discount percentage, however, is determined by the host and varies for every listing.HotelsMost hotels cater to short-term travelers who prioritize convenience and location over long-term travel amenities like a kitchen or laundry facilities. Extended-stay hotels cater to long-term travelers, but they won’t be available at every destination. 

Accessibility features

Both Airbnb and hotels try to create more accessible spaces for their guests; however, hotels are often more accessible since they’re commercial businesses.Airbnb While Airbnb does have an “Accessibility features” section in their search filters, hosts are not required to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. Here are the accessibility features you can include in your search:
  • Step-free entrance: ensures wheelchair users can easily enter
  • Toilet grab bar: allows guests to safely sit down and get back up
  • Entrances wider than 32 inches: ensures wheelchair users can comfortably go from one room to the next
HotelsIn general, hotels are required to comply with ADA guidelines. Along with the features mentioned above, here are some more examples of how hotels adhere to ADA policies:
  • Ramps: if stairs are present, a ramp ensures everyone can easily access the entrance, including wheelchair users and strollers
  • Elevators: ensures that guests do not have to climb multiple flights of stairs 
Handicap parking: makes it easier for guests with mobility challenges to enter and exit the facility


Some guests may prefer to stay at hotels to avoid the long list of checkout procedures some Airbnb hosts require.Airbnb The Airbnb checkout experience can be as simple as locking the door when you leave or something similar to what’s expected from a paid housekeeper. Here is what a lengthy checkout procedure could look like for an Airbnb stay:
  • Take out the trash
  • Strip the bed 
  • Put linens in the washer
  • Turn off all lights
  • Wash the dishes
  • Clean used common areas
  • Lock the doors and gates
Hotels In general, a hotel has a housekeeping crew that is responsible for a majority of the cleanup after your stay. However, guests may also be responsible for small tasks like returning the room key. Note that the added convenience of leaving the cleaning to the professionals may result in higher costs.

The second home difference

A graphic shows the benefits of owning a Pacaso compared to renting an Airbnb vs hotel.
Whether you want a romantic weekend getaway or a few weeks of tranquility at your favorite destination, nothing beats the cozy atmosphere of an actual home. Here are the benefits of buying a second home with Pacaso over renting short-term accommodations:
  • Co-own your second home to ensure a consistent quality experience.
  • Easily schedule time in your home, thanks to SmartStay.
  • Invest in a real estate asset and potentially benefit from equity. 
  • Enjoy a fully managed vacation home with a professional property manager.
  • Relax in your home away from home.
When it comes to booking an Airbnb vs. hotel, the cheaper option will be Airbnb. However, the price of a hotel may be well worth it. From guest services to prime urban locations, a hotel typically offers a consistent level of quality to every guest. If a unique accommodation equipped with a kitchen (and a potentially long list of checkout procedures) is what you’re after, book an Airbnb. If a home away from home in a dream destination is your priority, then consider owning a second home. As a co-owner of a Pacaso, you can skip the headache of property management and schedule a relaxing stay your own second home. Already have a vacation destination in mind? Pacaso homes are available in a variety of world-class locations.

Airbnb vs. hotel FAQ

Is Airbnb cheaper than hotels?

Based on nightly rates alone, an Airbnb is generally cheaper than a hotel. However, the cost depends on the length of stay, group size and location. From a price perspective, it’s hard to beat a shared room on Airbnb. However, hotels may offer more value on the dollar when you factor in amenities, concierge services and security features.

Why are hotel rooms on Airbnb?

Individuals and entities can list their accommodations on Airbnb. As long as the hotel pays the Airbnb service fee, they can benefit from the large pool of Airbnb users.

Should I stay in an Airbnb or hotel?

If the price of the nightly rate is your priority, consider staying in an Airbnb over a hotel. However, if you’d like to have a wide array of amenities and guest services available during your vacation, a hotel may be a better option.

Why would you choose Airbnb over a hotel?

You might choose Airbnb over a hotel because the nightly rate has the potential to be cheaper and less interactive than a conventional hotel stay. With self check-in, for example, guests do not have to physically interact with their hosts. If you’re comfortable bunking with strangers, staying in a shared room on Airbnb can potentially reduce vacation costs as well.

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