I was looking for a room for two people on AirBnb and Booking.com. On AirBnb seems there are cheaper rooms. Booking.com looks like is more expensive.

Do you know why? What's the difference between AirBnb and Booking.com? Can I trust AirBnb (is it safe to book a room here)?

  • 4
    If you're looking to stay in a hotel or inn or other such establishment, use booking.com. if you're looking to stay in someone's spare room, in-law suite, or their apartment while they're on vacation, use Airbnb. Apr 15, 2018 at 16:13
  • 1
    You can trust the AirBnB payment system but you should take care to check the host’s rules on cancellation before booking. For a short term booking of less than 28 days, once the host accepts your request, or if you book a reservation with Instant Book, your payment method will be charged for the entire amount at that time. Whether the reservation is two days or two months away, AirBnB holds the payment until 24 hours after check-in before giving it to the host. airbnb.co.uk/help/article/92/…
    – Traveller
    Apr 15, 2018 at 16:39
  • Cn you trust AirBnB what? Trust the company? Trust individual hosts?
    – Peter M
    Apr 15, 2018 at 17:17
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    @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas, Your comment is a perfect answer. You should add it as such. I would only add that if you stay with AirBnB because of the cost difference, stay with only highly rated hosts. You should also use your phone to videotape everything when you come in and videotape everything when you leave to record the state of the apartment/room. And if there is something wrong with the state of the room/apartment, communicate this early to the host using the AirBnB platform otherwise you may end up being blamed for it. Apr 15, 2018 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


What's the difference between AirBnb and Booking.com?

The difference is that on booking.com you book commercial establishments which main business purpose is to provide accommodation to travelers. On AirBnB you're booking - as Roddy of the Frozen Peas said above - someone's else personal property.

What is means to you:

  • Services available. AirBnB is similar to as if you stayed in your friend's home. So usually you will not receive typical hotel services such as 24hr front desk (and the ability to check-in at 2am), luggage storage, or laundry services. The check-in and check-out hours are usually limited, and often require advance coordination.

    On the other hand you might get extra services, such as host could meet you on a nearby train station, and walk you through.

  • Reliability. If something is broken during your stay, such as you returned to your room at 11pm and found out the air conditioner doesn't work, or a clogged bathroom - you generally have a much better chance to get it fixed in a hotel. They will have maintenance people on call, and they can just move you to a different room (even in a different hotel if they're full). For AirBnB the host is limited in their abilities, even if he/she is a handyman, and moving you to a different room/apartment is usually not an option.

  • Flexibility. If you need to extend your stay upon arrival, or arrive early, a hotel usually would be able to accommodate you (often only at rack rate though). With AirBnB it is much harder to achieve.

  • Lack of guarantee. Realistically your reservation on AirBnB is not guaranteed, and those are routinely canceled because the hosts changed their travel plans, or simply found out a big event is coming and they could re-rent and make more money. Just search Twitter for "airbnb canceled" and you will see a lot of those every day.

There are advantages too, however - if you travel in a large group, you can rent a bigger place than a hotel. You'd stay in a more home-like environment, often in a good/exclusive area, and the price for accommodating that number of people may be cheaper.


I've used both. Booking.com usually gets a number of rooms from hotels and "resells" them at a discounted price. The advantages (in addition to a lower price than if you went directly through the hotel) is that you have the option to cancel your reservation pretty close to the check-in date, you also accrue "points" towards a free stay (after using booking.com for 5 hotel visits, and you're dealing with established hotels as opposed to Airbnb where you "rent" a couch/room/apartment/house from someone else (who has been somewhat vetted by Airbnb). The one time I did stay at an "Airbnb" apartment was when I went to NYC and I actually booked it through....Booking.com so I felt safe that the apartment would be as advertised (and it was) because I was "protected" by Booking.com's policies. Let me mention a few disadvantages with Booking.com. You don't necessarily get a lower rate than you would from the hotel. Many hotels have programs like, "Stay 3 nights, get the 4th night free" and/or giving AAA/AARP/Veterans discounts of up to 15% so you may actually be better off, in some cases, going through the hotel. And you will be less likely to get a room facing a brick wall.

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