Alternatives to AirBnb

Just read this article and I thought I would share. Pretty interesting ideas and if you are doing this full time, it might be a good idea to cross list your home on these sites!

Today, Airbnb gets the most attention of any homeshare business. In fact, Boston was named the most expensive city for users of the service. Airbnb may be rising in popularity, but there are a lot more homeshare services out there. We talked to representatives from Airbnb and five other homeshare networks to see what makes them stand out.

Airbnb has endless amounts of travel opportunities and differing accommodations in more than 34,000 cities and over 190 countries. “More than just a great place to stay,” the representative said. “Airbnb strives to provide a sense of belonging for individuals who are traveling, no matter what city or country.”

You can also get compensated for putting your home on Airbnb. The representative said that many Airbnb hosts “use the extra income to pay off a mortgage, fund a passion project or save up for a big trip.”

Guests and hosts both review each other, which is how Airbnb keeps tabs on safety and user experience.

“Both guests and hosts review each other,” the representative said. “Unlike some travel sites, all Airbnb reviews are authentic: you can only review someone you’ve transacted with on Airbnb.”

Other safety precautions include verifying host/guest identities by connecting on social networks, by scanning their official ID, or finding some way to confirm personal identification.


Jia En Teo, Co-founder

What makes Roomorama a little different is the demographic. They focus on mid-range to high-end professionally managed properties, with more than 50,000 properties worldwide, 90 percent of which are not shared with a host. Most users get a private travel experience. Teo said that what separates them from other sites is that users can book instantly.

“This kind of direct-connection, instant confirmation is not available on other travel sites,” she said. “We are ‘hotelifying’ the booking process by offering properties that can be booked instantly, without having to wait for hosts to reply.”

She also said it can be very profitable for hosts.

“A host who has a one-bedroom home in a large city like New York, London, or Singapore, can easily make $180 to $200 per night.”

Roomorama also verifies every host they have.

“We have a validations team that personally vets host accounts to ensure that we don’t have fraudsters who put the entire community at risk,” she said.

Swap and Surf

Sylvain Garms, Co-founder, project developer

As you might guess, this site is only for surfers.

“You have a profile for houses, but also a profile of surfers that live in the house,” Garms said. “It’s important to know who you are going to swap with.”

Garms emphasized that what makes Swap and Surf different from other sites is the need to share interests and a passion between guest and host.

Right now, using this service costs no money and works “like a club.” Garms said in a year he expects they will have a $60 fee for using the site.

Camp in My Garden

Clare Fairburn, Community Liaison Person

In this home-share, you don’t stay in a home, but a garden as an alternative to staying at a campground. (It seems to be most popular in Europe.)

“Garden camping tends to offer a degree of privacy and freedom that commercial accommodation cannot,” Fairburn said. “In Europe, in particular, people have to tolerate crowded and noisy commercial campsites, often very open and exposed.”

But, don’t expect to make a profit giving up your garden, but also don’t expect to pay a lot to stay. The average nightly rate is between 7 to 10 dollars and campers are not hosted every night.

“For most hosts it’s something they like to do occasionally, enjoying the new company, cultural exchange, the feeling of helping people enjoy the area and—very important—having people share and make the most of their garden, and make all that mowing and weeding worthwhile,” Fairburn said.

But, is this safe?

“Campers private message and book through the site so that we have a record of visits,” Fairburn said. “We have a review system and include safety advice on the site, and will take a strong and proactive interest if we hear of any problems.”


Erin Portman, PR Manager

“HomeAway’s inventory is focused more in vacation destinations and is always a free resource for travelers, unlike other sites,” Portman said.

It seems that HomeAway can be pretty profitable for hosts.

“The average owner listing on HomeAway books their property 18 weeks and grosses more than $26,000 in rental income each year,” Portman said.

Portman referenced a Vacation Rental Report survey that reports, “54 percent of HomeAway owners cover 75 percent or more of their mortgage by renting their home. 65 percent of HomeAway owners cover 50 percent or more of their mortgage by renting their home.”

They also have an online booking tool through their site, and those who pay with this tool “are covered up to $10,000 at no extra cost.”

“HomeAway’s Basic Rental Guarantee is free for all travelers and covers up to $1,000 to combat listing fraud, owner identity compromise, and impersonation,” Portman said. “Additional insurance coverage can be purchased to cover incidences of fraud up to $10,000, property damage up to $5,000, and trip cancellation protection up to $50,000.

Love Home Swap

Ben Wosskow, Chief Marketing Officer

Love Home Swap says they have “60,000 stylish homes available in 160 countries worldwide,” and that their members use the money they made to pay for vacations.

Wosskow said “members save an average of $3,500 on the cost of accommodation each time they travel through our site.”

Their safety practices are based on trust, but they also have identity verification and deposit services.

“Trip reviews are a key element of building trust and we collect these from our members every time

He said what makes them unique is their use of points. Points are used when you cannot do a two way swap. According to their website, “You can use the time that you know your home will be sitting empty to earn points.”

“Then [you can] use those points to book time in another member’s home – anywhere in the world – when it suits you,” said Wosskow.

You can also gain points when people stay at your second home.

Do any of these homeshares sound like they would work for you?

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I originally planned on focusing on just Airbnb because they’re the clear leader, although after seeing all the unused space between bookings (I’m just starting out) …Roomorama sounds like a good choice to possibly fill in the gaps since I have a private apartment.

All the other ones mentioned in the article wouldn’t really be a good fit for me, but anyone have any experience with Roomorama?

@leland - we have a bunch of Beyond Pricing users who are on multiple platforms. Most of them are renting their entire apartment, so I don’t know any good alternative sites for individual rooms (does anyone else?).

The most volume we see is from HomeAway/VRBO, Flipkey, and We are actually seeing a lot of people get last-minute bookings from The only thing is that you need to be able to process credit cards yourself (which you should be able to do with a Square merchant account).

We haven’t seen people get many bookings from Roomorama, Wimdu, 9 Flats, etc. but I’d love to hear if others have more success.

One thing we recommend is that everyone is on multiple channels, because as @leland mentioned, Airbnb doesn’t always have enough demand to fill your rooms. Even when people are using Beyond Pricing to dynamically price their place, if they are only on Airbnb, especially during slow months like the winter in most cities, they have a lot of vacancies.

This is really interesting, thanks.

Is there any way to handle cross site calendar updates? For example, if something is booked on Airbnb, will it get blocked out on other sites, and vice versa? Or is this something that needs to be manually done?

The one thing I like about Airbnb is the host guarantee, it provides a nice safety net in case you have a trouble guest. How do others compare (if it even matters, a trouble guest is going to be a pain to deal with, host guarantee or not)?

Hi Leland,

Yes - you can simply link everything to a single Google Calendar and connect via an .ics calendar link.

Other sites are admittedly not as good at offering an all-in-one solution for the host. HomeAway allows you to charge a fee to guests for that extra protection as does Flipkey.

There’s a decent summary on Tripping:

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I tried listing on 9Flats in addition to Airbnb. I listed my largest room, which has an attached bath and is the highest price. I listed it on 9Flats for $70 which is very fair. I thought it might be good to try a European based company to try for a different market segment than on Airbnb.

However, the 9Flats notification system never worked… I had to remember to check the site to see if I had gotten any booking requests. I actually lost 3 potential bookings because I didn’t get any notice and didn’t see the inquires in time. I wrote 9Flats customer service and it took several days to get and answer – which was that I had set up my account correctly so they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting the text notifications.

Anyway, I became so frustrated with the whole thing, and my Airbnb bookings really have gotten very steady, so I just delisted on 9Flats.

Has anyone else tried 9Flats? Or any other platforms that will list rooms – and which, if any, do you recommend???

Happy Hosting – Lia

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@LiaGarry While I was hosting on Airbnb before 2 years, someone from Wimdu Guest Service called me to ask if I was interested to list my apartments on Wimdu. I said “Why not?” Then they created a copy of my listings by themselves. It was a good start.

As @leland said, I used an app called Your Porter App ( to sync my calendars between two platforms. So whenever I get a booking on Airbnb, my calendar on Wimdu gets automatically blocked those dates. It was easy to manage everything from a single point.

I keep listed on the website for more than 6 months and I get one single inquiry (not a reservation) on eastern period, which does not make any sense because I can definitely get a booking for a better price on Airbnb anyways.

I also know that the more reservations you get on Airbnb, the higher position they put you on search results.

After this adventure of 6-7 months, I decided to prioritize Airbnb to have better reputation there. I closed my account on Wimdu.

Right now, I believe that Airbnb is a leading platform with a huge community, but I also know from some friends that Wimdu leads on some part of the worlds (like Greek Islands) so I believe the best solution would be giving a try after all. :slightly_smiling:

Have any of you received marketing calls from these other listing companies?

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9 Flats stinks. I dumped them long ago.

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We have listed on Wimdu and Airbnb, we have had a few bookings from Wimdu but the vast majority come through Airbnb. We haven’t had any issues with Wimdu but then we have never had to contact them in an emergency.

Luckily we are pretty much full using just airbnb but we are about to bring a new listing on line and are considering other platforms.

I just looked at yourporter. It imports from Wimdu. Are they connected? Why just Wimdu and not others? That makes me suspicious.

In two days I have my last Flip Key guests, that booked a year ago, I already ‘phased’ them out long ago.

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Hi Kristina,

I see that this Wimdu post is from last year and i just wanted to kindly ask about updates of wimdu.
i just register with them as a host in the US, they asked for my ID. is it normal?
are they still not reporting to IRS?

thank you

Well, I am not sure about the reporting. If they ask for your social security number then yes, they could report you. If they ask for your other ID, it’s just for verification. By the way, even if THEY don’t report you, you still have to report all your income to the IRS! I wouldn’t advise not doing that!

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Hermit is a great alternative i’ve been using (n.b. just London listings apparently). As a host, you have a small business use your home as their office space during the day, paying you a monthly rent. There’s much more visibility on your earnings, it requires far less maintenance and you actually earn more on average than I did with Airbnb… Worth checking out - i love it so far (

I also host on The Plum Guide. They’re based in London and relatively new but the experience has been brilliant. They only list a select few hosts and they have a pretty intense testing process but I’m getting much bigger bookings and better guests. You can sync your calendars with AirBnb and the plumbing is essentially the same: they take the same cut of the profit etc.

Definitely worth checking out!


We can add to this list and

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Just for kix I listed on Glamping hub and have my first booking as of yesterday.
The cons are that they write your copy for you and their first version of my copy was so wildly inaccurate it could have read, “located within walking distance to the moon, K’s cottage is the perfect, blah blah blah,” so going through the so called editing process with the company is a bit of a PITA. Another con is no security deposit (well you can collect one but it’s up to you to return it, so I did it through PayPal.) you will have to tell the guest upon inquiry that this is the case. Each inquiry creates a separate message thread and was not easily changed or edited.

One easy pro is that they can collect non commissionable tax for you. Yet another pro is that you can set the cancellation policy on NO refund! However you still get paid upon check in. When my guest saw this she took out her own travel insurance. What a hell of a concept!

If you look through their properties you will see they are mostly exotic or outdoor ones like yurts and tree houses but there are also regular houses listed.

Rates seem to be about the same as Air.

You can send them any of your reviews to get started or they will pull them off Air.


VacationHosting at allows flexibility for hosts to post their listings as Properties or Vacation Rentals. The latter has the option to pass the site’s Service Fee to the guests. It also enables hosts to use their properties as Home Exchange (Home Swapping) with other hosts within the platform, whenever they want to travel. Furthermore, hosts with office tables or conference tables in their properties can also list their spaces for rent under Work Spaces, whiles hosts with available parking spaces on their properties can rent out those spaces under Parking Spots.

Well Johnny, aren’t you going to offer us Private Beta invites? :smiley: