Why an Airbnb listing MUST be cheaper than a hotel room?

Since my many years of hosting I have reached a point on where the quality of my place and even my customized service is better than what you will get on most hotel rooms. So I wonder myself why I should be charging less (far less) than a hotel room and going further on the question why I have the feeling that Airbnb promotes itself as the marketplace where you go when you want cheap accomodations for your vacations? Doesn´t look fair for guests to pay more for something better?

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Good question! For us here in rural Hawaii, there are very few choices other than hotels. If you visit Hawaii and stay out at the resorts you’ll pay a bundle for the room, resort fees, parking, etc. You’re also kind of captive out there so you’ll pay a bundle for dining. If you come further south, there are Airs, VRs, one hostel and one old fashioned hotel.

For these reasons, I’m not a hotel. I’m an alternative. I’m priced fairly for what I offer (large studio near fantastic snorkeling in a quiet area… studio has gear, cooking, BBQ and privacy). I charge 99 per night and slightly more at Christmas. My low season rate is $79. Yet, I’m dinged on value and location. Just what do you want for $99??? I’ve given up trying to figure out why guests think it is too expensive!


I don’t think AirBnB MUST be cheaper. But I don’t think that you can charge hotel rates and get many bookings, no matter how good your place is.

I agree with konacoconutz. We ARE an alternative. We do things better or as good as a hotel. But not everyone likes the anonymity and Big Box feel of a hotel. Our guests are looking for a quality experience in a more intimate setting. The same people who have always stayed at Bed & Breakfast places rather than Big Boxes. We charge $90 for poolside privileges, a great bed in a detached cabin, and a gourmet cooked breakfast in a quiet neighborhood! Marriott or Melia or Hampton, at $300 or more a night, can’t compete with me. Go ahead and set your rate to that of your closest hotel. I’d bet dollars to donuts your bookings fall off to zero in a heartbeat.


There are sites like Wimdu that do advertise themselves with catch phrases like “a vacation rental, 50% cheaper than an hotel” but I have never read something like that from Air. Air sells the “belong anywhere” and “trust & community” concepts even if this may just be a marketing gimmick.

On average I would say that my prices compare with mid-range hotels of my area, but they get a whole 2 br apartment for the price of a hotel bedroom (that sleeps 4). Though there is a real price difference during peak periods when they charge prices I would not feel comfortable asking for my listing.

But hotels do have costs we don’t have (24/7 front desk, VAT, daily cleaning service, room service…) so I think it is somewhat expected to be a tad cheaper.


I disagree, our peak rate is over $350 a night and we have had almost 100% occupancy during that period for the past 2 years.

A couple could get a hotel room for a less than that but we’re offering a whole, 1 bed apartment with large private terraces and lake views in the centre of a city where high quality hotels are scarce.

We tend to get 4 stars on average for value, but I am happy with this. If we were consistently getting 5 stars, I’d think we’re too cheap and as it isn’t affecting our occupancy, I think I’ll keep the rate as it is at least.


Our rates are higher or the same than an average hotel room…our peak (not the event weekends) during the summer is $165 which my husband still thinks is too cheap.

We have a 2 bedroom house that sleeps 7 and fully stocked kitchen .5 mile from the beach. If 7 people want to stay in a hotel they are getting two rooms at $160+ a night with no back yard, parking right in front of your stay and privacy.

I personally would rather spend more on an airbnb stay than a hotel. I love supporting local. =) Have you tried increasing your rates a little at a time to see how it does?

@IslandNeuk - our prices are similar. We will go as low as $100 during the off season but go up to $250 during special events. You can get hotel rooms for that but I think we offer a much better experience.

People can get cheap (and fairly nasty) hotel rooms here for $69 a night so we are definitely more expensive than a hotel. I don’t want the bargain travellers anyway. :slight_smile:

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I would love to take my wife to your place for awhile. We both work a lot and could use a nice vacation.


Oh Yes!!! Here in Hawaii you’d be lucky to find anything for $250 per night at the resorts. If it is under that, it’s probably low season. But as I said…add PARKING, RESORT FEES, TAX OF 13.45% and other nickel and dimiing–they all take their toll!

I will take your reservation as long as you don’t nit pick about something! LOL!!! I yam what I yam… not the Mariott, not the 4Seasons, not a hotel, not a B&B, not near town! blah de blah de blah!!! I am teasing you… but seriously, I have disclosed all these things a thousand ways from Sunday, and guests still arrive saying “We didn’t think it was this far from town!!!”

What’s happened with your second place? The lively hoppin one in the city center smack dab in the middle of the nightlife? :smile:

I’ve actually been sorting it out all evening ready to take pictures tomorrow and hopefully take the listing live to accept bookings from August.

We’re actually going to be living here ourselves for a few months while we get some major work done on our house so we’ll at least see for ourselves how bad the noise is.

Coming in with a lower price on this one initially, aligning with the cheaper hotels but hoping to ramp it up once we have some bookings and reviews.

If anybody wants a bargain place to stay in a lively part of Copenhagen, let me know!


I DO I DO!!! That’s a great headline by the way: [quote=“copenhagenhost, post:12, topic:4176”]
bargain place to stay in a lively part of Copenhagen,

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This article compares Airbnbs and hotels prices in different cities. It turns out that in some of them (SF, Austin or Barcelona for instance), Airbnbs are actually more expensive than hotels :slightly_smiling:



That was the original idea of Air to be cheaper than hotels.
Also considering that we don t have overheads and pretty much no investment was done to start this business I don’t see why we should not be cheaper.
Also many Airbnbs don’t offer amenities such as pool, gym, saunas. Then there is no breakfast included, some hosts don’t provide toiletries. In my case, we live in a same house. There are lots of things to consider why Air needs to be cheaper to get business from people.

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@Barthelemy I am surprised Austin shows higher. I am booking a whole house there now and SO many places are under $100 a night right in the middle of everything. Really cute houses!

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This is a great question and one I have yet to figure out. I am a licensed B&B in a small riverside community and have been in the lodging/hospitality business for 20 years. I have only just started on Airbnb. Airbnb hosts have been taking business from me for years and to be competitive, I now host Airbnb as well. If you can’t beat em, join em…right? Anyway, I am considered ‘expensive’ based on airbnb listings near by, but what I offer in location and amenities I will not discount my listing further. According to the airbnb recommended price listing, I should have my place at less than half of what I’m currently listed at. I refuse to do it. Having tried it once when I opened my B&B back in the 90’s, the old saying is true that You get what you pay for. This goes for clientele too. I work too hard to be giving it away. Just sayin


LOL. :smile:

Have to disagree with you on this one, Ken. I host a luxury apartment in Sydney and charge $500 per night in the high season. Am fully booked and 100% 5 star reviews. Depends on the market, I think.


Hi Monica,

I definitely agree with you that as we Airbnb hosts often provide personalized concierge services that comparably priced hotels wouldn’t provide we should be able to charge more. I’ve had guests ask to use our printer, have us draw them maps to local attractions, borrow our printer, give them recipes, etc. Also, hotels charge for many things that Airbnb hosts don’t: parking, beverages, Wifi access, etc. The problem is that most Airbnb hosts don’t really treat Airbnb as a business and calculate how much they spend, including their time at a reasonable rate, vs. how much they charge. Therefore, if you charge more than a hotel guests will choose to stay with your neighbors who don’t charge as much.