Alternatives to Airbnb2

In our parts (Ontario, Canada), ABB is still the most known and trusted platform for tourists to use. Tourism is the main source of our income as there are very few jobs the other 8 months of the year, so we depend on STA income. imo, Airbnb has become insufferably dictatorial. Their new rules are maybe not so stringent for those who are renting spaces just to turn them into airbnbs. However, the rules are tough on those of us who are renting out personal spaces, even if the rental part is a separate unit. I would love to ditch airbnb if there were an economically competitive alternative. Has anyone found one that competes exposure-wise with them?

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I started my Airbnb two-bedroom rental unit last June in the lower-level of my house. However, my bookings slowed five months later. My last Airbnb booking was in February.

Two months ago, I also registered my rental space on FlipKey, TripAdvisor and Since then, I have only had reservations through

I believe the reason is advertises more than Airbnb. I cannot recall when I last saw an Airbnb ad on TV or on my Internet streaming. Also, VRBO has been advertising heavily in my Northern California TV viewing area and in commercials before watching YouTube online videos.

I would also like to list on Trivago; but I can’t, because my wife and I live full-time above our rental unit and guests may not use our upstairs private kitchen.

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They are all dictatorial.

Also Homeaway/VRBO


@mypictonhouse It sounds like you share part of your home. I do the same and haven’t found a good substitute for Airbnb. VRBO and Homeaway seem to focus on whole-house vacation homes.

@Don_Burns I’ve heard booking’s cancellation policy makes the host responsible for the cost of replacement lodging. Do you know if that’s still the case?

In my area lodging is extremely scarce; in the high season I’d easily pay over $450/night if I needed to re-home someone for a reason covered by Air’s EC policy. So, not only would I miss out on income, I’d pay out of pocket at least 2x the revenue I’d expected from that stay.

I suppose on Air the risk is in the guest cancelling under EC (that’s burned me a few times! So much for a Strict policy). On Booking the risk is your own need to cancel. In reality, both should be covered by travel insurance.


A tangential question: would using the sites that seem to specialize in whole house vacation homes be of any use for whole house non vacation homes?

: (
It’s icky that they couch all their iron-clad rules in language that is supposed to reflect their care about “the community” when their thinly-veiled policies are obviously aimed at increasing profit margins.


Good question. Again, in my parts, people are loathe to rent long-term since the advent of serious tourism 5 years ago. Landlords have few rights in Ontario and renters often refuse to leave/damage the property/know the system inside and out. I would love to be able to rent my whole house during the shoulder season knowing that (1) I was covered by the company’s insurance policy (going through my own would hike my ins premiums) and (2) I could ask the visitors to leave if they were breaching any rules of conduct (as opposed to going through the Landlord and Tenant board for years involving paralegals/lawyers).

Allison, sorry. What’s EC?

Extenuating Circumstances


Why in the world would you want to pay a commission and be subject to extenuating circumstances and be micromanaged bya listing site rather than just getting people through Craigslist or Zillow or other sites?

That is why you try to get direct bookings and convert all of the HomeAway or Airbnb or customer as you get into future direct bookings.

… the reason why I dropped Booking like a hot potato …

I can’t find the original wording … on host responsibility for putting up a cancelled guest in a hotel – you would think it would be on this page, who knows if it is elsewhere:

The only downside to listing my two-bedroom rental on is: my home rental listing is mixed with local hotels and motels. My home phone number is publicly seen, as are the telephone numbers of hotels and motels in my area.

This morning, I received a telephone inquiry at 7 a.m. for a future reservation. This happened two weeks ago at the same early-morning hour, which woke me up both times.

I remind callers, we are a private home and not a hotel/motel with a 24-hour desk clerk. One caller was disappointed when learning we are not a hotel/motel and would not make a reservation with us.

At least I am receiving far more inquiries and bookings through, than of Airbnb.

Some people are not yet ready to stay in a private-home. My late-father always thought “Bed & Breakfast Inns” are private homes where guests are served breakfast in their bed. He preferred to eat breakfast in a restaurant; so my family never stayed in a B&B due to his ignorance.

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For the same reason I use Airbnb. It’s another option. Not to mention, how many people go to Zillow or Craigslist while they are traveling and/or need a place to stay short term?


I was still talking about short term just not vacation type listings: Budget friendly, no frills, second hand but good functional furniture, not in any sort of resort area, etc.

Set up a separate, free, phone number that doesn’t ring you at all hours. Years ago I set up a magicJack number when I had a long term tenant move out early right as I was deploying overseas. I paid ($35) the first year but since then I have been able to keep the number with the free magicJack app.

I now have limited functionality in that I can not reply to text messages and I get what seems to be a cyclical 1 second drop in audio every 30 seconds or so, when I am speaking on the phone with someone if I decided to pick up. Mostly I use it as an answering machine / voicemail that does not make my real number public. What’s nice is that I can also get all the voicemails delivered to my email box and that is super helpful!

I think the current in thing is the Google number. I haven’t done it though because I have already established my magicJack number. I had even paid $10 extra to get the number I wanted when I signed up so it was a win win for me.

Bottom line, DON’T publish your personal number and get another free one.


It is, but not the way a few on here believe it to be. You must:

Try and find accommodations nearby that are of a similar (or better) standard. If you need help with this, our Customer Service Team is available 24 hours a day.

So if you host a homestay, you need to source another homestay, if it’s an apartment… and so on.

Bottom line is that if you need the safety net of an EC cancellation, BDC isn’t for you.


Yes it is. they fined me before I had a single booking. I’m done with them. besides their 15% commission is very high.

Hello Adrienne12, not sure how they would have fined you before you even had a booking. That has not been my experience. And for all the hosts that so far haven’t had cancellations that point is somewhat moot.

But just to mention about the 15% fee on booking: in the end all sites charge a comparable fee for connecting you to a guest and guess what - in the end the guests pays it.
Just on Airbnb, VRB and Homeaway the guests sees most of the service fees disclosed, whereas for booking you add it into price and the guest doesn’t see the fee.

Oh, I hadn’t realized the replacement had to be the same type of lodging.

That makes Booking even riskier for me!

I’m one of about 15 legal home shares in my town. I don’t think any of us enter the high season with a weekend still unbooked.

If I had an emergency that required cancellation I’d be lucky to find them a hotel room, much less a 3-room suite. The cost would likely put me into the red for a month. Guess no BDC for me!