8 Obvious Reasons You Should Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

Airbnbs can offer unique experiences that many travelers really enjoy, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best — or cheapest — option for your next trip.
Last updated Jan. 17, 2023 | By Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore | Edited By Rachel Siegel
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There are plenty of benefits to staying at Airbnbs when traveling. Paying to stay in someone else’s home may make it easier to “live like a local” while you’re visiting a new place, you can get much more space, and if traveling with a group, it’s a great way to keep everyone together. However, the idea that Airbnb is always the cheaper option (or the better option in general), is not necessarily true. If you’re looking for ways to manage money stress during a weekend away, going the Airbnb route is not always the wisest financial choice.

There are several other areas where Airbnbs fail to live up to what’s offered at your standard hotel, too. Here are 8 obvious reasons to book hotels over Airbnbs.

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You don’t want to do chores

Rawpixel.com/Adobe African American couple setting around white bed sheets on a bed

A major benefit of staying at a hotel is that a daily cleaning is built into the price of your room for the night — and many of us welcome the chance to abandon our typical chores while on vacation. Airbnb offers no such luxury. In fact, many hosts will ask customers to clean up after themselves and then still tack on an additional cleaning fee.

Hotel guests can get fresh towels, a beautifully made bed to climb into at the end of each day, and even leave their dishes for staff to come pick up. Airbnbs do, however, often offer guests access to a kitchen, while hotel guests may end up spending a pretty penny eating out for each meal.

You’re planning a short stay

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If you’re planning a stay of just a night or two, it simply may not be worth it to go through the trouble of renting an Airbnb. Firstly, the check-in/check-out processes can be more complicated than at a hotel because you are renting from an actual person. Airbnbs also tend to tack on “cleaning fees” even if you stay for just one night, which, if you crunch the numbers, may make your Airbnb stay much more expensive than if you sprung for a hotel.

Hotels have easier check-in

Kalim/Adobe receptionist giving key card to client

Speaking of check-in, part of the beauty of a hotel stay is that you can pop into the lobby any time night or day (for the most part) and find someone at the front desk to talk to. Some hotels may have special rules regarding when you can check-in, and check-in times may be later in the day (like 4 p.m.), but staff are typically around to help with this. Many hotels also allow customers to check-in early if their room (or another room) happens to be ready.

With Airbnb, customers typically are only given their host’s address a few days before the stay and then must be in communication with them about how to find and access the property. This can be a hassle for travelers who just stepped off a flight or have embarked on a long car trip.

Amenities

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe People running on treadmill

Many hotels offer standard amenities that frequent travelers come to expect on vacation — like toiletries, gyms, pools, on-site restaurants, and sometimes, even continental breakfast. The amenities vary largely depending on the property (and how much you’re willing to spend), but in most cases, it’s easy enough to get a solid idea of what a hotel offers while you book.

Airbnb customers can also search for homes that have specific amenities — like a pool — or even use the company’s “Airbnb Luxe” feature, which lets customers search for homes/experiences that come with high-end amenities. But the process seems to be much simpler with hotels.

The prices may be nearly the same

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When Airbnb first came onto the market as a disruptor to the hospitality industry, many people assumed you could book a much cheaper stay using the company’s resources. But that’s not always the case — in fact, it’s often not the case. Once you tack on additional fees — like a guest service fee and a cleaning fee — you may be paying just as much, or more, to stay at an Airbnb than you would a hotel.

Hotels offer rewards points

Zoran Zeremski/Adobe happy family taking key card from a receptionist

Because many hotels are chains, frequent travelers can rack up rewards points to use for free or discounted stays around the world. Hotel reward systems may make it easier for travelers booking on a budget. In some cases, these points can also be used for upgrading rooms and access to special amenities.

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Room service, concierge, and more

Kzenon/Adobe happy asian man doing service in a hotel room

You may not think much about basic hotel amenities while you’re on vacation, but you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Even if you very rarely order room service, the option to have food delivered, or even call the front desk to ask for more towels, is a convenience typically lost in Airbnbs.

Also, hotel concierges can provide a whole host of services. If you arrive a few hours before your room is ready for example, the concierge can often hold your bags until your room is ready. If you arrive early to an Airbnb, you better hope the host can accommodate you — otherwise, you’re on your own.

Hotels are less likely to cancel last minute

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At the end of the day, Airbnb hosts are just regular people. They may have something come up in their personal lives or with their home and be forced to cancel. Even though Airbnb does fine hosts who cancel at the last minute, it does happen. And that’s not going to help you if you travel across the world and your accommodations are suddenly unavailable.

While Airbnb hosts canceling is rare, booking with a hotel can provide a peace of mind and sense of security for your stay.

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Bottom line

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Whether traveling for business or pleasure, travelers want assurance that they are getting the best possible accommodations for the price they’re willing to shell out. Despite Airbnb’s many benefits — like unique lodgings or more space for guests — it is simply not always the best, or most financially-savvy, choice for many vacations.

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.