What kind of guests can you expect from the different vacation websites?

I’ve rented a two-bedroom apartment vacation rental since more than 4 years. I’ve used several vacation rental sites like Airbnb and from my experience there is a clear difference when it comes to the type of guest I receive from the different vacation rental sites:

Flipkey by Tripadvisor:
Mostly families with older children or elderly couples. Nationalities: American, UK, Australian. Staying typically 2-7 days and in average longer than guests from the other vacation rental sites I’m using. Guests require a high standard, but are paying well and there are very few problems and complaints.


Wide variety of guests: Groups of young people, families with younger or older children, groups of elderly people, solo travelers. Nationalities: Any, I’ve received people from most countries worldwide. Most guests are overally happy with their stay, but many guests (especially Americans) seem to always have “suggestions” for improvement. More than 50% of my bookings are from Airbnb.


Mostly European guests. Many elderly couples / groups or families with older children. Nationalities: Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, French. Less then 10% of my bookings come from Wimdu. People from the South of Europ (Spain, Italy) rarely leave reviews and if they do they keep it veery short with usually a good rating. Can be some language problems as very few guests from these countries speak proper English


Very similar to Wimdu, but I’ve had very few guests from this site the past two years.


Wide variety of guests: Groups of young people, families with younger or older children, groups of elderly people, solo travelers, business travelers. Nationalities: Any, I’ve received people from most countries worldwide. Many Asians. Guests seem to love or hate the property, 90% of the reviews are 9 or 10 star reviews (out of 10) whereas 10% of the reviews are really bad (less than 5 out of 10). Often possible to charge higher prices compared to the other vacation rental sites listed above, but payment must be done on site (Booking.com has no system for collecting payment from the guests). Guests from Booking.com often leaves the apartment dirtier as they expect it to be a hotel and there is more risk involved (not possible to pre-screen guests)

www.booking.com - homestays

Elderly couples or families with older children. Nationalities: British and Australian. Most guests are overally happy with their stay, but many guests seem to have “suggestions” for improvement.


What’s your experience with the websites listed above or other vacation rental web sites you’re using??
Do you use any particular website to attract certain types of guests?


After two years:

Airbnb: A wide spectrum of guests covering the full gamut. Mostly Americans, which some do come with a unique set of refined whining and demanding skills, but overall a welcomed lot.

VRBO: Good guests. Messy company.

Bookings.com: A hotel crowd and mentality. An obnoxious company. Bad fit from the start.

Flip Key: Ok, but consider their Trip Advisory a potential can of worms.

Windu: Just started. The others: no opinion.

Airbnb: sends me my favorite guests.They know what to expect .
Booking.com: nightmare. I do not think that this site is suitable for homeowners. Fraud after fraud… Credit card processing results in decline most of the time. I don’t deal with them anymore.
Wimdu: not a single booking for the past year.
VRBO: had a back charge, did not like how they handled it. Guests from there vary. Had couple fraudulent credit card transactions.
Flip keys: I only had 4 guests from this site and they all were very good. 5* reviews from all of them. Unfortunately I don’t get many inquires from here or guests.
For the past 3 months my guests are from Craig’s list. I was hesitating to advertise through them. I started because through Air I had no inquiries for awhile. Good thing here that you get to talk to a guest in person and then can decide.It is a cash transaction or money order. There are no reviews. Craig’s list listings need to be updated every other day otherwise it goes far in search.


Airbnb: nearly 99.9% of my guests. They have typically been a good fit for what I offer and my location, although the occasional one will not read and crab about my location in a review.

FlipKey: typically sends inappropriate guests, newbies and the wrong kind of traveler to me. When I had an entitled little jerk walk off the property, I had decided I would only lsit with them to try to steer bookings to Air. A lot of lookie loos. When there is a problem, all customer service is in India.

Wimdu: I like them. The guest pays all fees, you keep 100%. They consistently have sent me quiet, easygoing single travelers from Germany.

VRBO. Not listed with them.

Roomarama: no bookings

Home escape. Great idea but still new so zero inquiries yet.

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Oh, I can’t resist saying this, sorry :slight_smile:

I find that Europeans speak very good English because mostly they learn it from an early age at school. But they learn proper English English. It’s American that they don’t understand :wink:


@jaquo Language skills in “Europe” (there are vast differences between the different countries), depends a lot on age and what part / country in Europe people are from. Younger people seem in general to have better language skills. There is also a big difference between the different countries. While “everyone” in Northern Europe speaks English fluently, many people from countries such as France, Italy and Spain don’t understand a word of English (including many younger people).

From the Guardian. 'This shows the most spoken second languages in Europe. '.

The fact that English is the most spoken SECOND language in most European countries doesn’t mean that everyone can speak it :slight_smile:

BTW funny that they have left Norway out. Norway is a part of Europe too.

Ha, I wondered what that grey lump was :slight_smile:

Yes, you’re right. The official statistic is that 38% of people in those ‘blue’ countries speak English. What the fluency level is, it doesn’t say. Although I imagine that when they say ‘speak’ English, that implies a reasonably high level.

Then I suppose there are people in addition who are like me who, although I would never claim that I can speak French, know enough to get by despite having zero French grammar knowledge. (I must sound like an idiot to the French but I can manage without my translation app).

What I should have said was ‘in my experience’. This includes many years of hosting and lots of European travel. Germans in particular - even quite small kids - tend to speak very good English.

This has been my experience:

Airbnb - mostly ‘creatives’ from Brooklyn and NYC area, although a handful of older couples.

VRBO/HomeAway - at first older travelers, but for a short period there I was getting younger folks who caught on to the fact that Airbnb had a booking fee and VRBO did not. Historically my VRBO people are looking for a full-on vacation, 1 to 2 weeks. Less so now with their sliding fee. That said, LOTS of VRBO people who had successful stays with me just come directly to me now.

Craigslist - It works in my market because most of my guests across all platforms drive to me from the greater NYC area. They are not flying from anywhere exotic to go to the Catskills. Or, if they are it is because they have family in the area. It is especially helpful if you are interested in renting on a weekly and monthly basis. I often hear "I live in Florida now, but my family is in Catskill or Saugerties … " Sadly, I often can’t accommodate them because I just don’t rent out my whole summer to a single family.

I haven’t bothered with the others because I am renting as much as I want to now.

Yes it’s very true. I get so many inquires from Craig’s list because I rent weekly. First I listed as monthly but then I saw others weekly prices , and tried myself. It works very well and I make couple hundred a month more this way.
With Air my minimum stay is 7 days, I have zero I interest

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I confirm that I have no problem understanding Brit guests but I mostly don’t get what American guests are saying !

Back to the topic, almost all my guests book through Airbnb and are nice, well traveled families.

I do not enjoy my HomeAway/VRBO guests so much, they are less friendly. I also receive many silly inquiries through HA and many reservation requests from Qatar and Saudi Arabia (I plead guilty of really not wanting to hosts guests from these countries).