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Whether you're travelling solo or bringing the whole family along for the ride, next time you book a trip, make sure you choose the best holiday rental company for your needs.
Airbnb is perhaps the best-known homestay accommodation provider, but HomeAway is another option with a great range of private and hotel-style properties on offer. It's also now the new home of Stayz and is your go-to source for Australian home rentals.
Airbnb vs HomeAway
|Where are its stays?||Airbnb’s stays cover 81,000 cities across 191 countries.||HomeAway lists over 2 million properties in more than 190 countries.||Airbnb and HomeAway have a similar range of locations.|
|Is it safe?||Yes. Both hosts and guests are vetted and payments are secure. Hosts and guests also leave feedback about one another. However, you should always be alert for suspicious behaviour and put your safety first.||Yes. Property listings are vetted and guests can leave feedback about their experience. Payment methods vary, but HomeAway offers tips on ensuring your payment is secure. Nonetheless, you should always watch for suspicious behaviour.||Both companies carefully review and monitor their holiday rental experiences and activity on their websites.|
|Is there free breakfast?||Some hosts provide free breakfast.||Free breakfast is included in some rentals.||Airbnb and HomeAway allow hosts the option of providing free breakfast.|
|Is there a loyalty program?||Airbnb has its Superhost program that verifies the site's hosts who exceed expectation for their guests. Hosts who have been presented this title have a badge appear on all their listings.|
A Superguest was in the works in 2018 but never came to fruition.
|No||Airbnb has its Superhost program.|
|Is it partnered with anyone?||No||Yes. HomeAway is part of the Expedia group and is strongly connected to sister brands such as Expedia and Wotif.||HomeAway has many brand partnerships.|
|Is there free Wi-Fi?||Most listings offer free Wi-Fi.||Most properties have free Wi-Fi available.||Most properties listed by both companies have free Wi-Fi.|
|Are stays pet-friendly?||Some properties are pet-friendly and that will be mentioned in the listing.||Many properties are pet-friendly. To find them, apply the "pets allowed" filter.||Both companies have a lot of pet-friendly listings.|
|Are stays family-friendly?||Airbnb has many family-friendly properties. Potential hazards for children, such as stairs, will be outlined in property descriptions.||Most of HomeAway’s listings are family-friendly. Use the "suitable for kids" filter to find child-safe properties.||Airbnb and HomeAway both have many family-friendly stays available.|
|Is there online chat?||No||No||Neither has online chat.|
|What are my payment options?||Payment options are determined by the property manager. They typically include direct debit, credit and debit cards.||Airbnb has more consistent payment methods available.|
|Are there gift cards?||Yes||No||Airbnb has gift cards.|
|Are there service fees?||Yes, for most listings.||Yes, the service fee is usually 6-12% of the total price.||Service fees apply for bookings with both companies.|
|Is there an age limit?||Age limits are uncommon and are imposed at the host’s discretion.||Typically, there is no age limit, although some properties are unsuitable for children or the elderly.||In most cases, neither company’s listings has an age limit.|
|Is there a deposit?||Yes. Payments are processed once the booking is approved.||Yes. Payments are processed as soon as the booking is approved.||Airbnb and HomeAway both require a deposit.|
|Does it allow for long term rentals?||Long term rentals are allowed in some properties, and are charged on a monthly basis.||Some properties welcome long term rentals. This will be mentioned in the description.||Both companies have long-term rental properties on offer.|
|Do hosts provide towels and shampoo?||Hosts can provide towels and shampoo, but they are not required to.||Some hosts provide towels and shampoo, but it is not compulsory to do so.||Airbnb and HomeAway give hosts the option to provide towels and shampoo.|
|Will the host be there?||This depends on the type of accommodation and your arrangements with the host.||Typically, your host will welcome you, but will not stay for the duration of your rental. This depends on the type of accommodation and any prior arrangements.||The host is not usually present except to welcome you to the property. This varies, depending on many factors.|
|Can I price match?||No||Yes||HomeAway will price match.|
|Does it allow for cancellations and changes?||Yes. Fees may apply. Refunds may be available.||Yes. Cancellation policies differ from one rental to the next. Refunds may be available and fees may apply.||Airbnb and HomeAway both give hosts a certain level of control over their cancellation policies.|
|Does it have smoking rooms?||Some properties have smoking rooms.||Smoking rooms are available in some properties.||Both companies have some rentals with smoking rooms.|
|Book||Book with HomeAway|
Who offers the best price?
HomeAway will price match on properties with the Best Price Guarantee label. If you find a lower price for the same property on another website within 24 hours of booking, HomeAway will refund the difference.
Airbnb, meanwhile, does not price match, so you can’t be sure the rental price is the cheapest available. However, the huge range of accommodation types offered by Airbnb means that for the flexible traveller, it’s often the cheapest option.
We searched for the same property type, dates and number of guests with both Airbnb and HomeAway and found the cheapest accommodation through HomeAway. The price difference was about $125 on a 4-night stay in Byron Bay.
Although the Airbnb listing was newly renovated, HomeAway's property is walking distance to the beach and offers more space both indoors and outdoors.
Any other differences worth noting?
Airbnb has a huge variety of accommodation options, especially for travellers on a budget. This makes it important to read the entire listing before making a booking so that you know what to expect regarding inclusions, sleeping arrangements and space sharing.
Properties are sometimes shared with the host, or even with other guests, which can be good or bad depending on your needs.
Airbnb also has some additional services on offer. Airbnb Experiences allows locals to sell experiences to visitors, Airbnb Restaurants lets you browse and book the top restaurants in your location, and Airbnb Plus offers upmarket, quality verified accommodation.
HomeAway does have one distinct advantage over Airbnb: the Book with Confidence Guarantee. All HomeAway customers are covered by the guarantee, which includes comprehensive payment protection, 24/7 customer service and rebooking assistance if your booking is cancelled at the last minute.
Airbnb also has host guarantees and guest refund policies in case your stay goes awry or your stay is not as expected, however this requires you to submit a claim and fees more arduous than HomeAway's offering.
What are the deals like?
Airbnb’s hosts create and manage special offers. They can set low prices for certain dates, or take a certain percentage off the overall price. Long-term rental discounts and service fee discounts are also available.
Examples of deals that can be offered include 50% off the service fee on selected dates.
HomeAway has deals and promotions though they're not as frequent.
Airbnb wins by default, with plenty of special offers available, although it can be difficult to find them.
Latest deals from Airbnb and Homaaway
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