Hotel vs Vacation Rental: Which Is The Better Option For Travel?

  • February 2, 2022
Reading Time: 15 minutes
  • February 2, 2022
Reading Time: 15 minutes

Vacation rentals’ demand is intensifying, so is the desire of people for better-quality travel. However, is staying in a vacation rental worth the hype?

Years ago, vacation rentals and peer-to-peer lodging were thought to be unfeasible and unsustainable business concepts. Tourists and travelers were hesitant to try it, while owners had reservations about allowing random strangers to stay in their homes.

Today, things have taken a disparate turn. The vacation rental business has grown at a breakneck pace over the last decade, posing a serious threat to the traditional hotel industry. Let’s find out why!

Interesting Facts between Hotel and Vacation Rental

  • According to Goldman Sachs, those who use home-sharing prefer it over hotels: 79 percent prefer traditional hotels, but after staying in a rental, that number drops to 40 percent only.
  • 60% from those who use both hotels and Vacation Rental Service preferred the latter
  • Home-sharing siphons off 39% of hotels’ target market.
  • 77% of travelers surveyed believed that affordability, authenticity, and household amenities motivate the majority of vacation rental users.
  • Market data shows that vacation rentals weathered the storm better than hotels during the lowest point, wherein, occupancy of short-term rentals with 2 or more bedrooms declined by 46.2% only while Hotels suffered a decline of 77.3%.

Related: How To Travel Hack For Less Than What You Pay For Rent

Comparison of Hotel and Vacation Rental Features

As travelers, we used to have a limited range of lodging options, and majority of us often adhere to our first choice – hotels.

However, vacation rentals snatched the limelight when they arrived on the scene.

There are no longer limitations on where travelers can stay. Rentals have provided a fantastic chance for locals to earn money from their property and engage in the hospitality industry, while providing a vast range of options for diverse kinds of travelers. This lead to a cut-throat competition between hotels and vacation rentals. So how do you decide now when it comes to where to stay?

Let’s take a look at the book!

Hotels Vs Vacation Rental | Hustle Pads

1. Cheaper Rate

We all want a comfy bed and relaxing ambiance whenever we choose where we want to stay when we travel, of course. But, would you really prefer paying extra bucks for this at luxury hotels when you got a cheaper option that can offer you the same advantage?

Nope, we don’t mean Budget Hotels, but yes, they do exist. However, don’t expect to get a stylish accommodation and luxurious amenities with a comprehensive selection for your budget. A budget hotel will surely give you just exactly what you need — the basic.

When you book a hotel, there’s only a little-to-no chance that you can choose the view from your room, request for a spacious one, receive and use all the amenities, unless you pay extra for it.

Otherwise, you may be a loyal member of the property to be treated as VIP, on the other hand, with vacation rentals, you can have the ideal getaway by selecting a home that has everything you want in a location that suits your taste. And oh! Did I mention that you can even book a whole private vacation rental house for the price of one hotel room? 😉

2. Optimum Privacy

“I’d want to relax by the pool.” Oh, it’s crowded!…

“I’d like to eat in the restaurant. Oh, it’s so loud!”

These are just a few of the annoyances we all hope to avoid when on vacation, but what assurance do we have?

Why again you’re taking time off? — vacation. And vacation is about unwinding, not stressing!

Hotels often limit where you can relax, and most of the time, you can never have it privately. A vacation rental is, without a doubt, the ideal alternative for peace and tranquility.

Imagine waking up to a stunning view of the ocean and then relaxing in the afternoon next to a clean and safe pool – all in the privacy like of your own home.

3. Free Amenities & Facilities

Sure they are all given free as one of the perks of being a guest, but the real question is: will you get the same types of amenities and facilities in the premises?

Say you book a suite in a luxury hotel —your amenities surely include the best room category, preferred location and view, and the range and quality of services that make your stay a special experience. But, would you trade that for a one flat rate vacation rental house with an unblocked view, a private pool, indoor Jacuzzi, soothing hot tub, and personal working area? Not to mention the fireplace, washer and dryers, dishwasher, and more!

Vacation rentals offer amenities that hotels simply can’t match. Or maybe they can, they can even offer more, but the rate for having it all? — we doubt that. Still, your choice.

4. Spacious Room

A cramped quarter. When you check-in into a hotel suite where the average dimension is around 500 square feet, with two queen sized bed that can accommodate up to four people, can you tell that you have a luxury of space? You can connect rooms with interior connecting doors, but hey! Don’t forget the extra pay which is equivalent to paying two or more rooms.

On the other hand, at a similar price point to a hotel suite, a vacation rental can offer you two or more separate bedrooms. Needless to say, paying a royal suite at the hotel is as good as paying an entire mansion with a bunch of rooms should you travel with buddies.

5. Room Capacity Restrictions

Let’s begin with the common and standard size of hotel rooms and the beds set-up within.

Room TypeBed Size and QuantityStandard Occupancy
Standard Room2 Single BedsUp to 2 People + Extra Pax
Deluxe Room2 Double BedsUp to 4 People + Extra Pax
Junior Suite1 Queen Size BedUp to 2 People + Extra Pax
Presidential Suite2 Double Beds and 1 King Size BedUp to 4 People + Extra Pax

The room classification and types of bed set-up in a hotel room are always at the discretion of the hotel administration, but the overall aspect is that every hotel has a maximum room occupancy that is often determined by the bed configuration. If you want to add a guest to your reservation, you can do so, but each additional person will incur an additional price.

Vacation rentals, like hotels, have unit capacity restrictions, however they are not due to bed configuration. Instead, it’s about compliance to the rules of the government and ensuring the safety of guests. The restriction is sometimes imposed by the town’s ordinances or code in the area where the property is located, or by the host’s preference.

Both have the same rules, but for different reasons. So keep your options open and see which one brings you favorable advantage.

6. On-site Restaurant

The range and quality of services that make your stay a special experience without the need to upgrade are what really set great hotels apart, and one of these is having an exclusive restaurant on the premises where you don’t have to go anywhere and waste some time on the road.

Vacation rentals, like hotels, vary in type and facilities too — from tents, tree huts to mansions and villas — but an exclusive restaurant is not part of the property. Instead, most hosts invest a greater emphasis on the kitchen, which gives limitless opportunities to make guests feel at home.

However, one benefit of being in a vacation rental is the chance to immerse with locals that contributes a huge part to build your life experiences through their culture. However, if you insist of opting to a restaurant, pretty-sure they are not hard to find nearby.

7. Cooking Area

One of the most essential features of a vacation rental is a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare their favorite dishes. And a stunning kitchen is what distinguishes it from a luxurious hotel guestroom. Aside from feeling at home, you can also save a lot especially if you’ll stay in the property for a long period.

While the kitchen is one of the most important features of a vacation rental, a hotel room with a kitchenette is uncommon. It may include a microwave and a heater, but gas stoves are generally not permitted inside. The majority of hotels have a restaurant or room service that caters to the guests’ food and beverage needs.

One of the reasons the hotel does not have a kitchen is due to the space crunch. Most hotels do not want to give up kitchen space in exchange for the construction of additional room, this may result in a revenue loss. However, in some hotels, higher-category rooms such as suites, may include kitchenettes for some reasons.

8. Parking Lot

Amazingly, both hotel and vacation rentals see the importance of having a parking area within the premises, which is why both platforms have parking regulations.

It’s beneficial for the guests who travels with their own vehicles. If a hotel or rental property doesn’t have one, they will be forced to look for nearby place where they can leave their car, or otherwise, pay extra for some private parking spaces. In some hotels, though, valet service is commonly available.

9. 24/7 On-site Customer Service

One of the most crucial distinguishing factors in favor of hotels is guest service and concierge. You can have someone personally assist you whenever you require assistance, making you feel more secure and less tired during your stay. Every hotel guest is expected to get the majority of their satisfaction from the excellent service they receive.

The management of service quality has a substantial impact on customer satisfaction. However, this doesn’t mean that vacation rental is out of the game.

Although vacation rentals may not have on-site customer service representatives available 24 hours a day, yet you can get more customized service from a booking agency or the property management. Should any problem arise during your stay, you can contact the company’s support team at any time. As a result, you are never alone. Just know the drill and your concern will be addressed right away.

10. Pet-Friendly

Generally speaking, bringing a pet with you to the hotel limits your accommodation options, and may become increasingly expensive. Even if you find a reasonably priced hotel that accepts pets, your pet won’t have much room to move around. While some vacation rentals offer private outdoor spaces, most hotels do not have any pet-friendly outdoor areas.

There are number of reasons why hotels don’t allow pets, including (but not limited to) the odor a pet can leave behind, the damage a pet can do, and other guests’ susceptibility.

So if you need to bring a pet along on your trip, a vacation rental is generally the best option. But don’t forget that there are vacation rental property hosts who are against pets too, it’s just a matter of checking the house rules.

11. Cleaning Standard

Cleanliness is one of the most important factors for guests. According to a survey commissioned by cleaning products brand CLR and conducted by TNS, 86% reporting cleanliness as one of the top criteria they look for when reading online hotel or vacation rental reviews.

Moreover due to covid-19 global pandemic, safety is on top of mind of every traveler — even hospitality companies and hosts. Hospitality providers continue to look to leading authorities for guidance on how to maintain rigorous protocols best and ensure the highest level of cleanliness and safety at each property.

Both large hotel chains and vacation rentals have implemented big changes to their cleaning policies as part of adhering to strict CDC guidelines when it comes to the health and safety of employees and guests.

However, the bottom line, experts agreed that one lodging option is safer than the other lodging option as a general rule, because the main risk in coronavirus transmission is directly from person to person. While there is no question hotels are working diligently to keep their hotels clean and sanitized, vacation rentals have a huge advantage given that the renter is generally the only one occupying the property.

12. Cancellation Flexibility

Both hotels and vacation rentals have their distinct cancellation policies, but cancellation with flexible terms can help to alleviate your concern as a traveler incase something came up when you book trip. Let’s see which one offers you something beneficial!

Hotels Cancellation Policy Prior Covid-19

Previously, hotels required a 48-72-hour cancellation notice prior to your arrival date, or a fee would be incurred. Different cancellation policies apply depending on the hotel brand and occasionally branch, as well as the categorization of the property, such as whether it is a hotel or a resort.

For example, Hyatt Hotel reservations must be canceled at least two calendar days prior to the scheduled arrival date or a one-night penalty would be imposed. While at the Ritz-Carlton, cancellations must be made seven days in advance, as last-minute cancellations for a long weekend or week are more difficult to replace. After the grace period, customers will typically be charged a fee equal to a two-night stay at the resort.

Hotels Cancellation Policy Due to Covid-19

The majority of hotels now provide flexible booking options, including free charge for any changes and cancellations. They allow guests to amend or cancel reservations up to 24 hours before their scheduled arrival date, through this, hotels may reassure guests and provide a booking incentive by establishing a flexible cancellation policy.

Each hotel’s cancellation policy, however, is different, and rules are always updating to keep up with the ever-changing global Covid-19 circumstances. and Expedia, for example, implemented a “force majeure policy” and they have been updating it on a regular basis since then.

Even said, as more people return to travel around July 2021, some hotels are beginning to require guests for early notice if they want to change a reservation. A according to Bjorn Hanson of the NYU School of Professional Studies JMT Center for Hospitality and Tourism, “Many brands will reintroduce general cancellation policies very similar to those in 2019, but will allow managers of individual hotels authority to alter the policy for specific local market conditions.”

Now, let’s check out how the rentals are dealing with this.

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Vacation Rentals Cancellation Policy Prior to Covid-19

In the same way that hotels offer partial refunds, rentals also offer partial refunds up to a certain amount of time before the check-in date. If you have to cancel, you must follow specific standards, and the most frequent cancellation policy for them is to reimburse a percentage of the payment depending on the reason for cancellation.

Conversely, booking with them includes risk, such as the possibility that the property owner may cancel your appointment at any time, but keep in mind that not all property booking services manage cancellations in the same way. Some provide stronger consumer protections and penalties for hosts who cancel guest’s reservations.

Anytime a host cancels an existing reservation, it is being made known to potential guests through a post. They also prevent the host from renting the home to someone else for the same dates, and they deduct up to $100 from the next booking (depending on when they cancel).

Hmm… sounds fair!

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Vacation Rentals Cancellation Policy Due to Covid-19

Many of the rental platforms offered special coronavirus policies like hotels do that aimed to protect both hosts and guests. Mostly have Extenuating Circumstances Policy which includes cancellation flexibility for the guests.

In most cases, you have a few different options for cancellation of reservation. Every website is different, but most provide a choice on a scale ranging from Flexible to Strict. However, experienced hosts do not recommend using the Strict cancellation policy because they understood that guests will look for more flexibility as travel plans might change, and the strict cancellation policy won’t allow guest to get a full refund no matter how long in advance you notify them. Thus, this option is unlikely to help hosts keep their calendar full either.

The verdict? Flexible policies, according to both hotels and rental companies, do not imply losing customers; rather, they assure that you will stay with them since they are sensitive to your needs and concerns. If you’re a guest and you’re given the option of a partial refund or a full refund if things don’t go as planned, it’s obvious which offer you’ll take.

So, to answer what is best between hotel and vacation rental? — It’s all about aligning your trip goals, preference, and budget. But to answer if vacation rental is worth the hype? We say Y-E-S!

The question is, what vacation rental company is reliable and will suit your preference? Well, if you have doubts, don’t take pot luck, always test the water in any way you can.

Here’s a little help for you.

How to Find a Reliable Vacation Rental

There are almost too many options, but deciding which is the best can be tough.

While traditional hotels have long been the preferred lodging option for many leisure and business visitors, vacation rentals have become increasingly popular due to the added privacy, affordability, and other conveniences that are typically offered. Furthermore, a diverse range of properties allows renters a wide range of options.

There’s no denying that 2020 was a tough and unprecedented year. Despite this, the business has shown to be extremely resilient. In fact, 52K more units have been added to the industry’s competitive list of properties, so deciding for the perfect platform to rent can be daunting. To help keep you on track, we suggest you focus on two things:

1. Determine your travel goal

Begin with the basics: determine what is important to you and why you decided to travel. Is this a leisure trip? Are you by yourself or with your family? Are you interested in starting a business or living the life of a digital nomad? This will help you determine the next question, how long you should travel, where you should go, and what you should bring with you.

Assuming you prefer to stay in a rental unit during your trip, consider who you are as a traveler before going in depth about your destination and budget. Why? Because it is imperative to know who you are renting from before you can decide where to go and book your accommodations.

2. Focus on what kind of traveler are you

Vacation rentals are more than just a place to sleep and stay while on vacation. Each unit, ranging from apartment, bungalows, cabins, country houses, houseboat, villas, and more, is also designed to target a specific market. Here’s an example of a fantastic list to help you get started:

  • Airbnb – Per night rate for all types of travelers
  • VRBO – Per night rate for Group/Family Travelers
  • HustlePads – One flat rate for Business Travelers, Hustlers (Digital Nomads) & Adventurers
  • Homestay – Per Night rate for Solo Travelers
  • GoLightly – Per Night rate for Female Only Travelers
  • Misterb&b – Per night rate for LGBTQ Travelers

Do you believe you’re prepared for the trip of a lifetime? Spend the extra time studying, planning, and preparing. The amount of planning you do before boarding the plane will make a significant difference in your experience.

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These products have been reviewed by our editorial team or other users. By using our links it helps to support our Hustle Pads Travel Magazine and we may earn commission.

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