Why Airbnb is your friend


3 min. read
Published 10 Apr. 2019

The kids have flown the nest. That ensuite spare room is staring you down. And you're after a modest second-rental income. Any of this sound familiar?

The good news is that our simple booking system can help.

'But why do I need a booking system?' I hear you say. 'Surely I can just use Airbnb? You know – that San Francisco company with the cool app and the unforgettable logo?'

Hang on, hear me out. Please.

Society is grateful to Airbnb. Their existence has made the world a better place. Londoners are now legally allowed to rent their homes to tourists, and listing your property on the site is a great way to get in front of a huge audience.

Interestingly Airbnb won't describe themselves as an Online Travel Agent (OTA). But they do have a lot in common with OTAs such as Booking.com or Expedia when it comes to their business model.

None of the three want you to take direct bookings on your website.

Airbnb differs slightly from Booking.com in that it charges the guest a booking fee. Booking.com, on the other hand, lumbers you with the hefty commission (often the majority of your margin.)

Inn Style is different. We want to empower you to sell directly. Sure, we don’t help guests find you in the first place – but that’s where sites like Airbnb and Booking.com come in.

You should use Airbnb and Booking.com as travel search engines.

If your website has a great guest booking process that allows guests to book direct, then they'll generally cut out the middle man. But only if your booking engine is blissfully simple and mobile optimised (just like Inn Style.)

So by all means sign up to Airbnb to generate awareness. But let those guests know that they can book direct through your website if they return. Over time, you'll up your direct bookings – saving both you and your guests some money in the process.

Airbnb is your friend – and rightly so – but there's no reason to get married. Try to avoid becoming dependent on the OTAs. Use them to build your audience, but make sure it's you that maintains the guest relationship over time.

Want to know more about embedding Inn Style's booking calendar on your website? Check out our Developer Guide or get in touch with our support team.

If you're completely new to online booking, arrange a demo and we'll run you through our system!