Airbnb vs hotels

Majority of Brits believe hotels trump Airbnbs for value, cleanliness and experience

You’ve booked the flights and rented the car, but where are you going to stay? Accommodation can make or break any holiday and since Airbnb arrived on the scene, the choice has vastly increased. Airbnbs have surged in popularity, but are they better than hotels? To get to the bottom of this, we investigated whether British holidaymakers find the standards in Airbnbs are as good as those in hotels, or better, for important aspects such as cleanliness, value for money and authentic local experiences.

How do Brits rate different aspects of Airbnbs and hotels?

Despite Airbnb’s growing popularity, our research found that 7 out of 10 holidaymakers (71%) who stayed in hotels and Airbnbs believe Airbnbs don’t provide better value for money than hotels.

In addition, British travellers expect Airbnbs to be less clean than hotels. Less than a quarter (23%) think Airbnbs match the cleanliness of hotels, despite all properties listed on Airbnb having to abide by global hospitality standards.

A quarter (24%) of British travellers would rely on Airbnb to give them a genuine experience of a city or country, with the rest believing you could get a better or the same experience at a hotel.

Furthermore, only 9% believe that Airbnbs are in better locations compared to 62% who think hotels are better situated. However, when asked which type of accommodation they would prefer for a rural holiday, 41% would choose an Airbnb or a B&B.

Normally the cleanest Normally the better value option Normally the better location Normally the least hassle to organise and check-in Normally the most exciting and special option to stay in Normally has the better customer service Normally gives you the most authentic experience of a place Normally the most social experience
Hotels 74.26% 46.61% 61.87% 70.56% 60.71% 73.07% 49.16% 54.58%
Same 22.60% 24.70% 28.85% 21.69% 25.96% 21.31% 26.57% 28.52%
Airbnb 3.14% 28.69% 9.28% 7.75% 13.34% 5.61% 24.28% 16.90%

Generational differences

Our research also explored generational opinions on the differences in standards of Airbnbs and hotels for a variety of aspects such as value for money, most special place to stay, customer service and more. Only 28% of the silent generation thought Airbnbs offered the same value for money as hotels, which is significantly lower than the 46% of generation Z who thought they provided similar value. The silent generation agreed that staying in a hotel makes a trip more special, whereas only 49% of generation Z thought this.

Generation Hotels Same Airbnb
Silent (Born 1928-1945) 80.28% 16.90% 2.82%
Boomers (Born 1946-1964) 77.15% 20.53% 2.32%
Generation X (Born 1965-1980) 72.65% 24.51% 2.84%
Millennials (Born 1981-1996) 71.19% 24.63% 4.18%
Generation Z (Born after 1996) 74.68% 20.25% 5.06%

What type of accommodation do Brits prefer to stay in?

Although Brits rate hotels more highly for value for money, cleanliness, location and experience, the type of trip can influence what type of accommodation they choose. Hotels top the list for business trips, whereas Airbnbs were best for group holidays. Hostels came out on top for solo vacations and B&Bs were most popular for rural getaways.

Accommodation Most popular for Least popular for
Hotel Business trips Rural getaways
Airbnb Trips for four or more people Business trips
Hostel Solo holidays Romantic breaks
B&B Rural getaways Ski holidays
City holiday Beach holiday Ski holiday Rural holiday Romantic holiday Business trip Solo trip Trip with one other person Trip with more than four people
Hotel 80.07% 80.24% 76.30% 54.12% 83.19% 71.19% 71.19% 76.50% 66.11%
Airbnb 12.48% 10.06% 12.59% 18.32% 9.15% 9.14% 9.14% 11.63% 21.94%
Hostel 2.72% 2.89% 7.14% 4.83% 2.44% 10.38% 10.38% 3.46% 6.15%
Bnb 4.73% 6.81% 3.97% 22.73% 5.22% 9.30% 9.30% 8.41% 5.80%

Does where you live affect your accommodation preference?

Our regional investigation found that, across the board, hotels are the most popular type of accommodation. However, different types of accommodation are more popular in certain regions. Airbnbs are most popular in London, where 15% of residents said they prefer staying in Airbnbs compared with just 7% of those from the West Midlands, the region where Airbnbs are least popular.

In general, hostels were the least popular in all regions, although residents in London were most open to staying in them as 7% said this was their favourite type of accommodation.

East Anglia East Midlands London North East North West Northern Ireland Scotland South East South West Wales West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber
Hotel 77.89% 77.61% 71.20% 77.30% 73.90% 70.80% 73.69% 74.77% 74.16% 78.08% 79.18% 73.24%
Airbnb 11.07% 11.55% 14.93% 10.95% 13.36% 13.95% 14.36% 13.41% 12.23% 11.30% 7.17% 10.98%
Hostel 3.32% 3.53% 6.76% 5.50% 4.85% 6.18% 4.59% 3.74% 5.24% 4.45% 4.60% 4.71%
Bnb 7.72% 7.31% 7.11% 6.25% 7.88% 9.08% 7.36% 8.09% 8.37% 6.16% 9.04% 11.07%

Does age affect your accommodation preference?

Across all generations, we found that hotels are the most popular type of accommodation, although different types of accommodation are popular with certain generations.

Airbnbs are most popular with millennials, with 20% saying this was their preferred type of accommodation, in comparison with just 6% of the silent generation who favoured Airbnbs. For all generations hostels were the least popular; apart from millennials who disliked B&Bs more.
Silent (Born 1928-1945) Boomers (Born 1946-1964) Generation X (Born 1965-1980) Millennials (Born 1981-1996) Generation Z (Born after 1996)
Hotel 85.29% 83.12% 75.89% 65.72% 61.40%
Airbnb 5.98% 6.17% 10.61% 20.72% 19.43%
Hostel 1.79% 2.23% 4.71% 7.31% 8.93%
Bnb 6.94% 8.48% 8.80% 6.25% 10.24%

Methodology commissioned Onepoll to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
M: +44 747 921 7816
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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