Air BnB vs Chez Nous, HomeAway etc(24 Posts)
I am looking for a house/villa to book for sometime in summer in France.
In previous years I have used all the main companies - Owners' Direct, Chez Nous, HomeAway with no problem.
Am looking on Air BnB website right now and there are plenty that fit our wishlist.
Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about booking via this site? I know that all the websites are just booking platforms and it's up to the buyer to take the hit if anything goes wrong.
They all charge different commissions. Any site with a book now option takes a commission varying between 3 & 10 %. Find something you like and the price. Then find it without the listing site and telephone them or email them.
Air bnb charge the owners 3% commisson and then on top of that charge the holiday maker a booking fee. You pay Airbnb but the owner doesn't see the money until after you arrive at the property. On the one hand this means your money is safer, but on the other hand takes away the relationship you have with the owner of the property and means you pay more for your holiday - it could be £100s more.
There are good things and bad things about the system. For preference I would prefer to book directly with the owner, but if I couldn't speak directly with the owner for any reason and had any reason to be concerned then I would book through airbnb.
If looking at airbnb make sure you click the whole house option with your search. the whole idea of this portal is that you are sharing space with the host so if you don't click it you could end up sharing say a kitchen or bathrooms. some properties the host lives above as well. whichever you go for make sure the listing is genuine and always pay through their platform.
Airbnb gives guests some protection in that they don't payout to the hosts until the day after you check in, so if it's awful you can call them and get the payment stopped and they will move you to another place (as far as possible)
They will also find you emergency accommodation if you turn up and there are no keys or the property doesn't exists or something.
This is rare though and if you check reviews carefully you should be 100% fine.
Just make sure the reviews are for the actual property you are booking for, some scammers have stolen accounts and listed fake properties using hosts good reviews to dupe people. It's pretty easy to spot though especially as they ask guests to pay by Paypal!
I've been hosting on Airbnb for 3 years and touch wood never had a problem which means my 100s of guests haven't had problems either.
I'm not a big fan of Airbnb TBH. I haven't had a bad experience with them as such, but I don't like the fact that you pay up front.
Also I'm finding increasingly that they are not any cheaper than booking with other agents.
In fact, a holiday apartment we booked in Amsterdam last year Was more expensive through Airbnb than booking.com.
I also dislike their inflated cleaning fees.
We ususally use booking.com, where you can secure your hotel/ apartment with a deposit, and pay a few weeks before,
We also sometimes book directly with a hotel, and pay on departure.
We did this in October in New York.
I've had a really good experience with AirBNB where a host cancelled last minute and there was no other accommodation in the area at anywhere close to a similar price (a big sports occasion) - I booked a much more expensive place and they repaid me the difference between the two.
I've also used homeaway and owners direct successfully but would now only pay using credit card or through the websites as there are a number of fake villa scams being operated.
We're using Airbnb this summer and the places we are going only require half payment upfront and half later. And you can cancel free of charge up to a certain point.
I also dislike their inflated cleaning fees
Cleaning fees are set by the host. Many have no additional cleaning fees at all.
The property we rented in Amsterdam last year was more expensive through Airbnb than .booking.com. This was because the cleaning fee was 40 euros.
Right, but that's the host's choice not Airbnb
Although I don't think hosts should be allowed to add on cleaning fees, all fees should be built in to the cost for clarity for guests. I don't charge one.
Yes, of course it's the host's choice Gallavich but then obviously people will choose not to book through Airbnb if there is such things as cleaning fees, and Charging for extra people per night, if those charges make Airbnb more expensive than other accomadation providers. why would they?
For the owners, booking.com is the most expensive option as they charge 15% commission from the owner. Payments are taken by the owner and commission is taken by direct debit from the owners bank account by booking.com. If the owner has to cancel with any of these sites, it is the owner that has to pay the difference.
Booking.com is the most tricky site for me as it has to be updated individually unlike all the others that are updated automatically by our booking system using iCal - not exactly brain science in terms of integration. So if a booking comes in between system A and you having a chance to update booking.com you are totally screwed.
I normally look around HomeAway or Owner's Direct and then search the internet for the house/villa again. In most cases there is a decent website and if you book direct you save the host fees, I know in one case we got a cheaper rate as we booked with them instead via the portal.
I personally don't like AirBnB, I feel strange being in a person's private space. Holiday homes are normally a bit more detached feeling as they are often used purely for rental, not a private residence.
We normally pay a deposit and then 6-8 weeks prior arrival the rest and then we get the details for keys etc.
We've booked a couple of times with owners direct, and had good experiences.
The thing I'm finding about Airbnb is that while they may have started off as being a cheaper option, they increasingly seem to be the same or in some cases, more expensive than other providers.
I'm also not that keen in being in people's personal space. One -Airbnb we stayed in in spain, had all of the wardrobes packed to the rafters with the hosts clothes. There was no room for any of ours!
They were also lots of toys. Which we didn't appreciate, and just took up space.
I've not used AirBnB and I have to say I would prefer to use other sites. I've heard a few horror stories about people getting their accommodation cancelled at the last minute after booking it a long time ago. Plus it seems as if people aren't honest with feedback as you don't want to get a bad score as a guest.
As a customer I really like Booking.com as it's easy to book and majority of properties are cancellable if circumstances change - shame that it's harder for property owners though. I've also used flipkey and owners direct a number of times and it's always worked out well.
Majority of property owners rent out their vacation homes through multiple site - I'd always try to avoid Air BnB by preference.
Airbnb feedback is pretty reliable as you can't see your feedback until you have left it for the other party (and if you don't leave feedback in 14 days the other party's gets published but you can no longer review them)
I've used owners direct and air bnb several times, never had a bad experience with either of them.
I prefer air bnb purely for the reason that there seems to be more reviews left by people. I won't book anywhere without a review and like to see what previous guests think of the place. I might not always be swayed by them, if they complain about something not an issue to us or if it's one bad review out of 40 good ones for example but i like to at least get a feel for the place from the feedback.
OwnersDirect/HomeAway/VRBO etc are all scheming thieves. I rent out a house in SW France and have been very successful using OD, until now, when I have 0 bookings for next year. And I suspect it's because they've changed their algorithms to favour those clients who use the entire new 'platform' and our house is at the bottom of the list, and I don't choose to let OD take any more than my subscription charge (£200+) which would include a service charge and percentage. I do use 3 smaller agencies but they don't have the clout that OD etc. have therefore I get far fewer bookings through them. So Hobson's Choice really. Makes me livid.
I use AirBNB on a fairly regular basis, both in the UK and overseas (Australia, France, USA and Portugal so far) and I've always been very happy. But I do my research and I carefully pick which properties to stay in (must have feedback or be a superhost if it's a new property). I always book the entire property.
In fact, I'm actually writing this post from an AirBNB cottage in Suffolk where we're staying for New Year. I could have booked direct but it was actually cheaper through AirBNB (unusual I know but the owner uses a property agency for direct bookings so they must take a hefty cut). The owner contacted me within minutes of booking and has been super-responsive to any questions from me. I find all of the owners are very responsive, and some of them quite lovely. One couple have actually become good friends of mine!
My only unhappiness with AirBNB relates to an apartment I booked through them in Miami. I booked at least 6 months in advance (it was part of a bigger trip) but the owner cancelled a few weeks before I was due to arrive. It quickly became apparent that it was the Miami Open tennis when I was due to be there and the owner had realised they could get a lot more money for their apartment so cancelled my normal price booking. I had no comeback and was pretty p*ssed off as by then all the decent apartments/hotels were booked and anything still available was either a dump or $600+/night. Not AirBNB's fault, it was entirely down to the owner.
As an owner in France I would say use those sites to find somewhere you like the look of - then google the place and find the owners own website and book direct. You'll save the fees, the owners save the fees and you'll be able to correspond directly with the owner. Guests who book direct here always get a bit extra in their welcome pack as a thank you for making the effort
Agree with jenpetronus, listing sites are now earning up to 20% of the rental cost between charges to owners and guests - this will only increase as they squeeze smaller listing sites out. By all means use them to research/read reviews but if you can find the property directly you should get a better deal.
Most property owners now take payment by credit card so you are covered if there is an issue, if you are paying by credit card via a listing site check that your payment is protected when using a third party for booking, most aren't.
Also worth being aware that when you search for a property on a listing site the properties have been ranked by the website based on their profitability for the website, if you search for a particular location you will be offered properties many miles away before those in your chosen location if they produce better returns for the listing site.
I think I worded my original message incorrectly: I am a holiday home owner, not renter. Sorry.
I've researched Booking.com as an alternative to Owners Direct but they have bad feedback on the Guardian today. Am now looking into Wimdu - a German company which Trust Pilot approves of....
If you would like me to pm you with the companies we use to adertise with I'm happy to. We've rented out our gite for 11 years and aim for around 30 - 35 weeks a year
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