This is a guest contribution by Glenn Carter, founder of The Casual Capitalist. Glenn always advises hosts to use Airbnb alternatives and not be dependent on just one platform.
I love Airbnb. It's where I got my start in the sharing economy, and it's where thousands of Casual Capitalist community members earn serious side income. Airbnb has welcomed over 60 million guests since its founding, and is now available in some 34,000 cities worldwide. I didn't even know that many cities existed globally.
In all, Airbnb has over 2 million listings available through its sharing economy platform. To put this into perspective, Starwood-Marriot, the largest hotel chain in the world, has 1.1 million hotel rooms.
Certainly, Airbnb has taken the world by storm. But, as Airbnb hosts and entrepreneurs we would be remiss if we only kept one tool in our money-making tool belt. A builder has more than just a hammer in their toolbox, and Batman has more than just his batmobile.
So what alternatives to Airbnb are out there for you? A lot! We've all heard of Homeaway, VRBO, Flipkey, and other vacation rental sites. But today I am going to outline three lesser-known, yet equally awesome Airbnb alternatives. By the end of this article, you will be able to add new tools to your toolbox, in turn helping you fill vacancies and increase your cash flow.
Airbnb Alternative Tool #1: Roomorama
Roomorama has a number of features that might be of interest to you, including rate estimators, white papers with hosting data, calendar synchronization, and what they call “shoutouts” where renters can broadcast their lodging needs to owners.
As protection, Roomorama offers a unique payment system where renters are given a six-digit code upon booking. This code is given by the renter to the property owner on check in. The property owner then uses this code to get paid through the Roomorama website and ensures only guests are checked in and had no problems with the property before owners are paid.
Airbnb Alternative Tool #2: Tansler
Tansler is an anagram of “rentals” and is a new home-sharing platform, with a twist. Because of its reverse-auction format, Tansler has been described as the “Priceline meets Airbnb” of home-sharing, according to Fast Company.
According to Travel Weekly, Tansler currently has over 500,000 listings worldwide and is growing rapidly.
Once you sign up, renters can browse your property and make an “offer” on it. That is, renters on Tansler choose at least two properties they are interested in. Renters name the price they want to pay, and these offers are then sent to the hosts. This creates a time-sensitive auction. The first host to accept the offer wins the stay, which ends the auction. After 24 hours if no host accepts the offer, the auction expires. Simple as that.
Don't like the fact that renters choose the price? Then don't accept it if it's too low. At least you had the opportunity to fill a vacancy.
Also, any host who lists with Tansler gets a $75 travel credit, or if you refer someone you both are given a $25 travel credit. Or, if your referral lists their property on Tansler, you both get a $75 travel credit.
Airbnb Alternative Tool #3: Wimdu
Although headquartered in Berlin, Wimdu is now available globally and has clocked over 10 million nights booked on its platform. Wimdu claims to have over 300,000 properties on its platform in 150 countries. Not bad!
Once you sign up, Wimdu operates very similarly to Airbnb. For instance, Wimdu offers photography options for your property. An interesting feature of Windu, however, is their translation services. Given that Wimdu's backyard is Europe, Wimdu provides free translation services for its hosts so they can expand their customer base as widely as possible.
Wimdu hosts earn an average of 900€ a month, or $1,000 USD.
As an Airbnb host, I am always on the lookout for new tools. When I come across a new service like Roomorama, Tansler, or Wimdu, my thought is always, “why not try it?” As the owner I will always have the final say in who stays at my property. The above services simply serve to expand my potential client base at no additional cost to me.
So, if Airbnb is your batmobile, then Roomorama can be your grapple gun, or Tansler can be your explosive gel, or Wimdu your Batarang. You get the point. There are many tools we can use as home-sharers to increase our income streams, don't limit yourself to just a hammer.
*Update: Tansler is no longer in business, so you'll have to use one of the other Airbnb alternatives. We'll keep this list updated when new platforms enter the market place.