In 2015, booking.com quietly began offering the ‘homestay’ option on its platform. This allowed individual hosts offering holiday homes a chance to access booking.com’s significant short-term rental traffic. For a company so well-known for finding low prices on hotel rooms, this move may have seemed counterintuitive. But as word spreads, savvy hosts have learned that booking.com may be an excellent platform to list their short-term rental properties with, especially in the Middle East.
Airbnb is still the market leader for creating revenue from short-term rentals, but booking.com is becoming legitimate competition. Fortunately, both platforms allow the option of listing the same holiday home with additional sites, accessing greater exposure and higher occupancy.
Booking.com Generates Increased Last-Minute Bookings
There are some important differences between booking.com and Airbnb. Airbnb does not provide instant bookings unless the hosts decides to offer this. There is the option to screen guests, and converse with them via the site before confirming a booking. Booking.com allows instant bookings and does not offer a guest profile or reviews by other hosts for the guests. There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of system. While it increases occupancy, especially for last-minute bookings, not every host is willing to accept all guests.
Guests can leave reviews for booking.com stays at holiday homes and short-term rentals. Similar to Airbnb, these reviews are key to increased bookings. Airbnb processes all financial transactions on the host’s behalf, while booking.com requires involvement from the host in processing credit card payments. This requires additional set-up and the ability to accept payment through a system like Square. Issues with card payments required attempting to contact guests and cancelling bookings when payment is not successful.
Managing Multiple Booking Platforms Can Be Challenging
Because confirmed bookings can come through at all times on booking.com, attention to availability is essential, especially if using multiple platforms. Those using this system as part of a concentrated revenue system should consider professional management to ensure double bookings are avoided and all guests receive the individual attention they require.
While Airbnb provides a channel for ongoing communication between guests and hosts, booking.com does not. Airbnb guests generally require more attention and communication for their short-term rentals. Booking.com guests tend to be more independent.
Booking.com—Access to More Short-Term Rental Guests
It’s clear that booking.com recognises the advantages of providing a ‘homestay’ option for holiday homes. Airbnb has been the leader in promoting this type of accommodation, but having more options is beneficial to both hosts and guests. Although the different platforms require some unique knowledge and strategies, using them together gives hosts access to a greater market of guests, and increased revenue on a single property.
Frank Porter’s bespoke property management in Dubai takes advantage of the best of all holiday homes booking platforms to provide their clients with maximised revenue. Whether a property is available occasionally or full-time, more and more guests are looking at these options when travelling to Dubai. Take advantage of this opportunity to create higher revenue from your Dubai properties.