Why Guests Are Choosing Hotels Again Over Airbnbs


During the pandemic, Airbnb and other similar-style listings were booming as travelers sought smaller, more intimate lodgings that felt safer than hotels. People still wanted to get out and explore, but they feared the high level of interactions and exposure that would come with staying at a hotel among other guests and staff. However, now that vaccines are available and things are settling a bit more, travelers are turning to hotels once again.

While travel industry experts say that short-term vacation rentals will continue to be popular amongst those seeking stays that avoid large crowds, there is a shift occurring that shows interest in luxury, boutique, and lifestyle hotels on the rise. Economy hotels are likely to continue to struggle, but those that offer more high-end and curated experiences are and will continue to experience an influx of guests who are looking for ways to escape and feel pampered.

Let’s take a look at some of these top reasons why guests are choosing hotels again over short-term rentals:

1. Better Prices

While vacation rentals like Airbnb might initially seem more affordable, often they come with loads of fees that get tacked on to the initial price once you check out. And once all of these fees are added up, it often ends up costing more than a stay in a hotel. Of course, some hotels, especially luxury ones, can come with a high price tag, but usually, this is because you get a lot more when you stay in a luxury hotel versus a vacation rental.

2. Better Management and Service

Another major draw of hotels is the quality of service. Short-term rentals are great if you want to avoid interactions and are just looking for something simple. But after the pandemic, people are tired and stressed, and they want to escape to places that make them feel pampered, which you aren’t as likely to get with an Airbnb. Hotels, however, have thorough operational structures and provide all the services you need to feel taken care of.

3. More Amenities and Unique Offerings

As we mentioned above, people want to feel pampered, but they also want unique, personalized experiences. Newer generations of travelers especially love staying at places that are trendy, funky, charming, and unique. They want thoughtfully curated experiences and destinations that allow them to escape from the stress of their daily lives. Thus the shift towards boutique and lifestyle hotels.

4. Health & Safety

Health, safety, and privacy are also primary concerns these days amongst travelers. While vacation rentals might initially seem more private as you get the entire place to yourself, they are typically less regulated and secure. Short-term rentals are much easier to break into and often aren’t up to code, lacking things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Hotels, however, are highly regulated and have insurance policies and safety measures in place to protect their guests and their belongings. Not only that, but hotel staff and employees tend to know the area, and can generally offer assistance if there is a minor emergency or you fall ill while traveling.

5. Better Value and Quality

One of the top reasons travelers are turning towards hotels again is because they simply provide better value and quality to their guests. As hotels do operate on a larger scale, they typically have more money to provide top-notch services, experiences, environments, and products. The rooms and other spaces are nicer, and the services and processes are more thorough and streamlined—every little detail is thought of and brought together to provide guests with the best experience possible. This just isn’t something you tend to get with an Airbnb, and even if you do, it’s often much more expensive than getting the same or better at a high-end hotel.

What Hotels Can Do to Stay on Top

While hotel stays are on the rise again, there will always continue to be fluctuations in the industry, and there are some vacation rentals that put in the effort to provide high-level quality experiences as well. So, if hotels want to remain relevant and continue to attract new generations of travelers, they’ve got to go above and beyond what they physically provide.

To continue to attract guests, you’ve got to consider updating the quality of your marketing strategies in addition to your hotel offerings. Customer wants and needs are changing, which means the ways you attract new guests need to as well. A data strategy, for example, can give you better insights into the market and what today’s customers are looking for in a hotel stay. This can mean doing some research and data analysis, or it can be as simple as going through your online reviews to find out what your current guests are saying so you can make improvements where necessary.

Final Thoughts

After the stress of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that guests are turning to hotels again that can make them feel special, and pampered and offer them an escape. However, it’s important to continue delivering quality service and make improvements to meet demands to continue attracting guests and providing superior experiences.

It’s also essential for hotels to continue providing safe and clean environments, as we aren’t entirely out of the pandemic yet. Hotels do require a higher level of interaction, so it’s crucial to show guests that you still have their health and safety in mind with thorough housekeeping protocols. 


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