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Booking.com grabs UK market share from Airbnb


Booking.com is growing in the UK at the expense of Airbnb

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that my Airbnb bookings had dropped while my Booking.com reservations had risen markedly (writes HCH Founder, James Varley).


After quizzing our community across social media, it appeared I wasn’t the only one (particularly in relation to Airbnb reservations being on the slide).


And now, we have data to back this up.


Key Data – the global leader in market intelligence for the STR industry – has revealed that Booking.com has grabbed market share from Airbnb in its UK Short-Term Rental Quarterly Report.


During Q4 2023, Booking.com grew as a booking source by two percentage points compared to the same period a year earlier. This increased its overall market share to 40%, while Airbnb’s reduced from 45% to 43%. Meanwhile, the number of direct bookings in the UK remained flat at 16%, as did the number of people booking through Vrbo, with the Expedia-owned platform accounting for 1% of reservations.


Occupancy has softened

Many hosts and property managers will not be surprised to hear that occupancy levels in January 2024 were down 2% overall. This is despite the number of guest nights booked increasing by 12% year-on-year – but this increase can be explained by the fact supply went up by 11%.


The report suggests occupancy until April is pacing closely with 2023, with March ahead of last year and April behind.


Little change in rates

Daily rates for January, meanwhile, were £121 – a nominal £1 higher than 2023. Rates from February-April are pacing much higher than 2023 – but these are likely to decrease as we move through the booking window, with early reservations tending to be for larger units at higher prices.


Top tips

Key Data has a bunch of top tips to navigate what could be a tricky year in the short-term rentals space:


  1. Monitor real-time data to keep up with the latest trends

  2. Monitor shortening booking windows and stay lengths

  3. Continue to place the utmost importance on homeowner communication


But...hosts remain unconvinced about Booking.com

Booking.com might be grabbing market share from Airbnb in the UK – but judging by our research, the platform is failing to deliver an adequate user experience for many hosts.

Across our online community, hosts and property managers were strongly critical of the following:


  • Customer service 

  • Host portal is difficult to navigate 

  • The number of guest cancellations

  • Low quality of guests 

  • Payments take too long

  • Hosts are unable to leave reviews about guests 

  • Automated description of properties 

  • High commission 

  • Often on the side of guests in any dispute 

  • Pulse mobile app is poor quality 


And, of course, there were many comments about the lack of payments, with some hosts saying they are still waiting for funds to clear in relation to stays completed 11 months ago.

Booking.com were contacted about these comments and we will be happy to publish their response (if we get one!).


What is your hosting experience with Booking.com? Let us know in the comments or contact us via the website. We will be taking a deeper dive into this topic in the near future.

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