How Accommodation Sites Charge Hosts and Guests

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Large vacation rental sites like HomeAway, Airbnb, and have a strong hold on the vacation rental market nowadays. Even though there are no exact numbers, it’s safe to say that bookings through these sites make up by far the biggest piece of the pie.

So now the question is, how do they pay for that massive online presence? By charging fees. From the point of view of the vacation rental sites, every transaction involves two parties: A buyer (the guest) and a seller (the host). Here’s how big ones charge people and how a new entrant ( has come into the market to take some of this market share.


However, as a host, you can easily end up paying more than 3%. The percentage hosts pay may go up to 5% depending on their cancellation policy.

When you look at the guest side, fees are higher. Airbnb’s fees used to be in the range of 6-12% for the guest fee, depending on the total booking price. (The higher the total, the lower the percentage.) Recently, however, the range has gone up to 20%, according to Airbnb’s website.


The service fee starts on a sliding scale of 4%-9% but currently can reach 12% or more.  Guests are charged a fee of between 6% -12% by HomeAway.


Listing on FlipKey, which is owned by TripAdvisor, will cost hosts a flat 3% commission per booking, regardless of the total booking price or origin of the guest. And to make up for their low host fee, guest end up paying some hefty fees: Guests pay from 8-16% of the total booking price, which makes TripAdvisor the most expensive vacation rental site to book a property on out of the 4 we’re looking at.

the simplest one of all: There are no fees for travelers and a flat commission for hosts. In the US, this commission is 15%, with the option of paying up to 20% for “Preferred Partner” status and higher ranking in search results.


From the guest side, there isn’t that much of a difference between Airbnb, HomeAway, and TripAdvisor. They all charge somewhere in between 5-15% of the total booking price. On the other hand, is free for travelers, but this advantage is often times nullified by a higher listing price to offset the high commission for the host.

For hosts, Airbnb and TripAdvisor are clearly more interesting than HomeAway and A flat 3% fee is more preferable over the complex host fees of HomeAway – and multiple times cheaper than what charges their hosts.

A New Entrant:

AirRentalz is a newcomer to the market and seeks to offer an alternative platform for both hosts and guests. For hosts, AirRentalz only charges a flat 1%. For guests, their fee ranges from 3% - 8%. One point of difference for AirRentalz is affordability for both host and guests. AirRentalz also allows hosts to use video and social media within their listing profile.

AirRentalz also allows hosts to swap their place or space which provides greater flexibility and can allow hosts to acquire points by renting their property which is what they do anyway. These points can then be used to obtain free accommodation between hosts. Listing your place or space on is free.

AirRentalz also offers “Eventful Memories”. Eventful Memories are delivered by people who love what they do. They are passionate and will deliver you activities that will inspire, amaze and astound you. They go beyond the ordinary. AirRentalz is also working with different groups to also introduce cafés, casual and fine dining restaurants collaborations and talking to various brands to have hosts promote their product. Host’s receive product for free while the brands have direct in-home advertising opportunities.

Get started today and list your place or space with AirRentalz. It's free to get started.

Other articles: How to use video to promote your property. How hosts can partner with local businesses. Using social media to promote your place and space.

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