Last updated: 01:23 PM ET, Fri October 14 2016

How Does Airbnb Stack Up Against Hotels?

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | October 13, 2016

How Does Airbnb Stack Up Against Hotels?

PHOTO: An Airbnb office. (Photo via Flickr/Open Grid Scheduler) 

While the hotel industry has made its grievances with Airbnb very clear in recent years, new data from STR reveals several insights into the current state of Airbnb and hotels in key markets around the globe.

There's no doubt that Airbnb's growth and typically cheaper rates have provided travelers with an appealing alternative to hotels. However, not every Airbnb listing is available to rent and not every listing can compare to the average hotel room.

"Comparing hotels and Airbnb listings will always be a case of 'apples–to-oranges' because these two accommodation types are so different," writes STR senior research analyst Jessica Haywood.

Interestingly, STR found that only about 43 percent of Airbnb listings across seven major U.S. markets are likely to compete against hotel rooms. That figure includes private rooms listed on Airbnb that may require a guest to share a bathroom or kitchen with their host.

Applying that figure globally, STR determined that approximately 981,000 Airbnb listings are likely competitive with hotels. Based on that number, Airbnb beats out a handful of major hotel companies including Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Wyndham Worldwide. Nonetheless, it still falls short of the 1.1 million available rooms Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide boast following last month's merger.


When it comes to occupancy, hotels beat out Airbnb across all 13 analyzed markets, which isn't surprising.

READ MORE: Will Airbnb Enter the Hotel Industry?

The more interesting finding is that the markets with the highest hotel occupancy were also the markets with the highest Airbnb occupancy. Haywood believes a possible interpretation is that Airbnb is accommodating excess demand in these markets, which include Los Angeles, Tokyo and Airbnb's hometown of San Francisco.


Data from STR shows that hotels experienced higher rates and higher rate growth than Airbnb across six of the seven analyzed U.S. markets. New Orleans was the only exception.

READ MORE: Are Millennials Propelling Airbnb's Revenue?

With Airbnb's average daily rate performance actually dipping in five of the seven markets, Haywood says it could potentially be a victim of its own supply growth.

Compression Nights

Compression nights, defined as periods of high demand when occupancy reaches or exceeds 95 percent, are key to hotels because it allows them to charge more for rooms, STR senior research analyst Jessica Haywood points out. And while there's concern within the industry that Airbnb is threatening to significantly reduce those nights, STR data shows that so far that hasn't been the case.

Compression nights for the seven U.S. markets STR analyzed are down from 2015, dropping from 76 to 71, but remain up significantly from 2013 (61). Haywood notes that Airbnb's emergence has coincided with an increase in hotel supply, meaning the sharing economy isn't the only factor impacting hotel compression nights.


STR plans to release a more detailed report later in 2016. For now, you can click here for a complete breakdown of STR data.


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