Airbnb is a website/app which aims to provide users with cheap accommodation for trips away from home. The properties on the platform vary from spare rooms in people’s homes in the city to bespoke lodges in prime tourist spots. In other words, there really is something for everyone on Airbnb.
It goes without saying that Airbnb isn’t the only website/app out there that offers this service, given the fact that travel is always popular (with the exception of the recent coronavirus pandemic). If you have scoured through Airbnb and can’t find your ideal accommodation then you don’t give up, there are others out there.
In this article, we are going to look at the best apps out there which offer a service that rivals that of Airbnb’s. Let’s get started.
Apps like Airbnb – the best alternatives
Booking.com is a website and hotel booking app that is very similar to Airbnb in the sense that it offers holidays makers and travellers a wide array of options when it comes to accommodation. While the app also looks at flights and hire cars, for the interests of this article, we are going to focus solely on the accommodation side of things.
Finding your holiday accommodation couldn’t be easier via the Booking.com app. All a user has to do is load the app up and select ‘stays’ from the top menu bar. From here, you need to enter in the area that you are looking for accommodation, the dates you are looking at, and how many people you require a bed for.
Once searched, you are then able to filter your options in a whole host of different ways, including:
- by your budget,
- by district,
- by star rating,
- by property type,
- by distance to the city centre,
- whether it has free cancellation or not,
- And a whole lot more!
If that wasn’t enough, you are then able to sort the order of your results in a few different ways, including distance from city centre, best reviewed, star rating, price, and genius properties first. What are ‘genius’ properties I hear you ask?
Genius is a unique feature to Booking.com which ensures users return to the website/app to make more bookings in the future. The more bookings you make, the higher your genius rating will go, which then makes you eligible for larger discounts at properties that have signed up to the genius scheme. Essentially, the more times you book accommodation with Booking.com the more money you will save in the long run.
Despite what the name suggests, Hotels.com does more than just advertise hotels for budding travellers, and offers every accommodation type you think of to its customers. As a result, it is a perfectly good alternative to Airbnb.
In terms of specific searches, the app works in much the same way as Booking.com in the sense that you simply just tap in where you’re looking for accommodation and the dates you’re travelling and then once the search is complete you can go through and filter your results in any way you see fit.
The differences between the two apps lie in the unique features that they offer. While we spoke earlier about Booking.com’s Genius feature, Hotels.com offers a stamp card rewards feature which is arguably better than Genius. To be eligible for a stamp card you need to have a registered account on Hotels.com, and then each time you book accommodation via the app, you will receive a stamp. Once you’ve received ten stamps, you get a night free of charge on behalf of Hotels.com. Pretty good, eh?
Another cool feature on Hotels.com revolves around nearby hotels. If you are just looking for a night or two away from home nearby then there is a feature on the Hotels.com homepage which is perfect for you. Simply allow the app to access your location, tap the ‘find deals near me’ button and the app will bring up the best deals for that night right to you.
Secret escapes is a slightly different app when compared to the aforementioned ones we’ve already discussed in the sense that it focuses on luxury stays rather than absolutely everything. That doesn’t mean to say that you’ll be paying extortionate prices by using Secret Escapes as their selling point is the fact that they can provide customers with discounted prices at high-end places.
Like all the apps we’ve spoken about today, Secret Escapes works best when you have an account due to the fact you can keep track of your bookings better this way and some features will become more personalised to you depending on your browsing and booking history.
As mentioned previously, Secret Escapes focuses on getting customers luxury stays for non-luxury cost, therefore everything you see on the app comes at a ‘discounted’ price. The app is also geared towards those who don’t have a specific destination in mind but rather a holiday ‘type’ such as a beach holiday or a city break.
To get started on a search, select ‘find’ on the bottom menu bar and then select your holiday type and ‘hotel only’ (this is clumsy wording on their part, as they do offer more than just hotels). If you have any dates in mind then you can enter these too but it isn’t essential to complete a search. You will then see a list of accommodation deals available to you that fit your search criteria.
You can then filter/sort the results based on discount-related activity such as when the deal expires or where you’ll get the biggest saving.
Another way to search if you are open to different locations is to select ‘stays only’ on the home page under the ‘browse all our holiday deals’ subheading. From here you can then select what type of accommodation you’re after and the app will then provide you with your best options.
To summarise, there are plenty of other apps out there if Airbnb isn’t doing it for you anymore. Another worthy mention is ‘couchsurfing’ which basically operates at the opposite end of the spectrum to Secret Escapes in the sense that it offers users cheap spare rooms/couches for those of you who aren’t looking for plush hotels.