These are the destinations around the world where hotels are cheaper than Airbnb

When booking a holiday, many travellers assume that Airbnb and Vbro rentals are cheaper options than staying in hotels.

However, Which? has found that this is not always the case.

The watchdog compared the cost of thousands of hotels – excluding five-star options – with 300,000 one-bed listings on Airbnb and Vrbo around the world.

After studying costs from San Francisco all the way to Southwold, they discovered the price for rentals was much more than the average cost of a hotel in a whopping 38 out of 50 destinations. 

Private rentals are almost 19% more expensive on average, coming to £120a night compared to £101 for hotel rooms.

Shockingly, holidaymakers could be spending an extra £80 per night by choosing to stay in a private rental over a hotel in some destinations. In total, this could cost a traveller hundreds of pounds per trip.

The most sizeable price difference could be found in Santorini, where a one-bed rental on Airbnb or Vrbo is £203 a night on average – 71% (£84) more than a hotel stay (£119).

Coming in second place on the list was the Portuguese town of Almancil. Holidaymakers there could save as much as £81 per night by choosing a hotel (£63) over a private rental (£144).

Meanwhile, the third biggest saving to be had is closer to home, in the picturesque seaside town of Southwold in Suffolk.

At an average cost of £155, a hotel room in Southwold is among the priciest the in the UK according to the consumer champion. Yet, is it still cheaper than staying in an Airbnb or Vrbo in the town, where you’ll pay £223 per night – an increase of 44% (£68).

As a result, over seven days holidaymakers could save as much as £476 by opting to stay in a hotel.

The fourth largest price gap is in the popular city of Amsterdam. Here, one-bed Airbnb and Vrbo listings are 58% more expensive per night at £183, compared with £116 a night for a hotel.

In the US, the biggest price gap is in tech hub San Francisco, where hotels are £53 ($65) per night and private rentals are £163 ($202).

Which? found that hotel rates in many Asian cities are cheaper too. In Hong Kong, one-bed private listings are 85% (£45) more expensive on average.

In Australia meanwhile, prices differ most in Sydney. Private rentals are priced at £121 per night here, while a hotel would set you back just £87.

Here in the UK, hotels were found to be cheaper in the four largest cities. In Greater London, an Airbnb or Vrbo stay costs 59% more at £162, while the average hotel stay comes in at £102.

Holidaymakers in Edinburgh could also save £22 per night by staying in a hotel in Edinburgh, and visitors to Cardiff and Belfast could cut down their spending by £11 and £5 per night respectively.

However, this isn’t the case in all countries. France has the one of the largest private rental markets in the world, and Airbnb and Vrbo listings are cheaper or the same prices as hotels.

A one-bedroom rental in Antibes, Biarritz, La Rochelle or Avignon costs less than a hotel room, although rental listings in Bordeaux and Paris are more expensive.

Which? noted that private rentals increased in popularity during the pandemic and the demand has remained high. The watchdog also added that while staying in a hotel may be cheaper, prices have also risen quickly in the industry. According to hospitality analyst CoStar, room rates are up by 11% in comparison to 2019 in the UK and in the US rates have increased by 14%.

Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel said of the findings: ‘Many holidaymakers may be surprised to discover that the average cost of hotels in many destinations is cheaper than one-bedroom holiday lets, which are often promoted as a popular option for travellers trying to save money.

‘When planning your next trip, don’t assume a hotel will cost more, but instead check rates across different platforms. For larger groups that need more rooms and space, private rentals are still likely to beat hotels on price.’

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