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Best Apartment Rental Websites For business and vacation Travellers

Seryadzhyus Yanina

You’re planning to rent a small property for your vacation? Check out the best apartment rental websites for travellers.

Living in a hotel during a vacation can be an expensive pleasure even for wealthy travellers. Hotels sometimes provide room descriptions exaggerating the reality: some are simply overpriced. A tiny balcony and a small bar can turn a property into a 4–star hotel, even if it doesn’t live up to guests’ expectations.

Luckily, there’s an alternative: you can reserve a place to stay using vacation rental websites. It’s way easier than it seems. You will have an entire apartment at your disposal (as a rule, it often provides more space than a hotel suite) and might live more as a local. Isn’t that great? Let’s find out what are the some of best websites for finding apartments and why travellers are recommended to have a look at them.

What are the apartment rental websites?

In fact, apartment finder websites are pretty much the same thing as traditional reservation websites like booking.com and Expedia, but with one difference: they’re designed specifically to offer apartments for rent. They allow travelers to book a property from its owner serving as a mediator between client and lease provider.

The best rental listing sites have appeared as the answer to the problem of the insufficient supply of hotel rooms. Many of them focus specifically on single properties (apartments, houses, and rooms) only.

How does it work?

How does rental website work?

How does rental website work?

Apartment rental websites are pretty easy to handle for both property owners and their guests. Here’s how it works:

  1. A property owner registers on a website and enters all of the applicable information about the lodging (rates, apartment photos and description, hot deals, and some extras), as well as the contacts. The more useful the data is the better: it will help to attract future guests.
  2. When the property gets listed on rental property websites, visitors can book it online. Interested visitors will book an apartment for a particular date dependent on its accessibility. That’s very convenient for guests! They don’t have to contact a property owner and can do a self-service in a couple of clicks.
  3. Once a guest reserves an apartment via a website, its availability dates are updated over all channels by the property’s channel manager software in a split second. In addition to the fact that this saves you time, it likewise essentially diminishes the danger of overbooking the apartment.
  4. Automatic email messages are sent to both the property owner and the guest. As a rule, they notify the proprietor about the new booking, and guests get the confirmation of their reservation if the booking was successful. A property owner can set the booking platforms to generate an automatic email reminder about the upcoming rental dates: it should welcome guests and show them that the host anticipates meeting them.

Additionally, an apartment rental website can sometimes grant a promo code or special offers for loyal customers. Guests can also leave their reviews about the property: that helps hosts to improve and customers – to make the right choices.

Thus, finding local houses for rent by owner becomes as easy as booking a hotel.

What is the role of the website in it?

Ask yourself “How to find apartments for rent by owner?” Your first idea would be to visit special platforms for rentals. Why? Because it can be safer than working with people directly.

A rental website serves as a mediator between hosts and guests: it guarantees that a property owner will get the payment, and the guest will get the desired accommodation. Rating system helps customers to make the right choice. At the same time, a host can check the guest’s rating and make sure the person can be handled the keys without problems.

For their services, apartment rental websites usually charge users a commission from 3 to 15%.

Why more people start using the best apartment search sites?

First and foremost, because it can be cheaper than dealing with hotels: you enjoy larger space with pretty much the same amenities except for catering and enjoy total freedom. Some services, for example, room cleaning, usually can be ordered from the host for a small additional cost.

However, the list of advantages isn’t restricted by price only. Many travellers, especially young ones, appreciate the chance to live like locals and get emerged into the local culture better. One can’t disagree that living in an apartment in a less touristic area means getting closer to the people who reside there and getting a better feeling of the place. Isn’t it a fantastic experience?

There’s one more thing worth mentioning. Some apartment providers offer guests the possibility to live in their house together with the host. Again, that means there’s someone to make you company and help you get “assimilated”. Afraid of unscrupulous hosts? Make sure to check guests’ feedback on the booking platform, and check the property rating.

Top-5 best apartment websites 2019

Let’s observe some of the best established rental websites that gained a good reputation.

1. Airbnb: The Industry Pioneer

Airbnb: The Industry Pioneer

Airbnb website screenshot

With 6+ mln properties in over 100,000 places in 191+ countries, Airbnb enables visitors to lease lodging straightforwardly from their proprietors. You can find any type of lodging starting from castles to houses on trees! Besides, clients enjoy a rich choice of entire estates: many of these houses for rent are situated on the shorelines of the US and in Western Europe, with good presence in New York City, San Francisco, and Paris.

On Airbnb, lodging can be searched by price, property type, conveniences or different parameters, and when you discover the one you like, you can affirm your reservation either with Visa or PayPal. Usual booking fee of 8 to 12 percent varies according to the location and the cost of the booking.

ProsCons
  • Easy communication. Guests stay in touch with hosts easily using the in-built messenger.
  • Customer service. Airbnb solves different issues: you can contact the assistants via email or phone.
  • Value for money. Airbnb provides a rich choice of various options for different budgets.
  • Booking fees that usually vary between 8 to 15%. Besides, there are occupancy taxes and service fee.
  • Having a host around may restrict your privacy. However, there is an abundance of apartments allowing guests to live alone.
  • No loyalty programs.

2. HomeAway: The Best Alternative Apartment Finder

HomeAway: The Best Alternative Apartment Finder

Homeaway website screenshot

Being founded in 2000, HomeAway has quickly turned into one of the leading solutions. HomeAway focuses on traditional homes that are leased by their proprietors. With more than 2 mln postings over the globe, more than half of the properties are found in European nations like Spain and France, and about a third in the US. In 2006, HomeAway acquired VRBO company, so they joined forces to provide even larger amount of properties.

Travellers can search homes for rent by value, rating, amenities, and different filters, and book by reaching the proprietor directly.

ProsCons
  • Rich choice of houses for rent by private landlords: over 2 mln variants available;
  • 24/7 customer support;
  • Convenient mobile app.
  • Charges 10% fee or owners can pay $349 for a year;
  • Charges extra costs for guests;
  • Relatively few offerings outside Europe and the USA.

3. Couchsurfing: The Cheapest Option

Couchsurfing: The Cheapest Option

Couchsurfing projects

In 2018, the number of members exceeded 15 mln, including 400,000 active hosts. Couchsurfing is probably the most adventurous way of travelling: for a dirt-cheap price, you can rent an apartment, or literally sleep on someone’s couch for free. Today, cheap apartments for rent via Couchsurfing are available in 90,000+ places.

Is it a safe option? Both guests and hosts should verify their identity and the authenticity of locations must be confirmed, too. By the way, on Couchsurfing, hosts decide whether they will live with guests, so you can leave a request for a couch or a meet-up, and hope for the best.

In 2011, Couchsurfing turned into a for-profit organization and received more funds for further development. In 2012, it launched a mobile app, and also added an interesting feature called ‘hangouts’. It allows members to quickly meet each other.

ProsCons
  • The possibility to live with the host and emerge into the culture entirely;
  • Very cheap options starting from homes to couches;
  • Hangouts feature for meeting with locals and other members;
  • Hosts and the accommodation provided are verified.
  • Account verification costs around €50;
  • Sometimes, guest and host cannot find the common language – co-living gets inconvenient;
  • Location of some properties isn’t convenient;

4. Travelmob: Good Option For Travelling To Asia

Travelmob - the part of Homeaway company

Travelmob – the part of “Homeaway” company

There are few websites that offer apartments homes for rent in the USA and EU, but what about other continents and regions? This is where Travelmob comes in handy. Being a part of HomeAway company, it has a decent amount of traffic and is evolving.

TravelMob is a booking site established in Singapore with good presence in the Asia Pacific area, New Zealand and Australia. Explorers can book rooms, condos, estates, and homes. Some activities are also offered by hosts. Presently owned by HomeAway, this site is worth considering if you’re planning to travel to Asian countries.

ProsCons
  • Rich choice of houses in Asia;
  • The listing from TravelMob is also placed on VRBO and HomeAway – it has a decent amount of users and traffic;
  • Fair amount of reviews;
  • Customer service.
  • Almost no coupons and special offers;
  • Charges hosts 10% from booking cost or offers a $349/year subscription.

FlipKey:

Couchsurfing: The Cheapest Option

FlipKey website screenshot

FlipKey is TripAdvisor’s endeavor at breaking into the vacation rental market. With more than 150,000 apartments in 7,000 places around the world, it has many postings in the US, European countries, and South America (Mexico and Brazil), with Florida, Italy and Rio de Janeiro being some of the most mainstream. Customers can search by cost, available deals, property type, and other filters, and their “My Pick” feature enables visitors to make several choices and compare them.

The customer reviews that drive TripAdvisor’s prosperity likewise show up here. FlipKey claims to be “the biggest collection of checked and trusted visitor reviews in the business” and commentators are permitted to send their own photos. When you discover something you like, contact the host for the rental agreement, which spells out all costs and policies, before paying either with Visa, PayPal or other available payment system.

ProsCons
  • Low booking fee of 3%;
  • Listing is placed on both FlipKey and TripAdvisor;
  • Good amount of reviews;
  • Convenient interface;
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • The amount of listings in some places can be bigger;
  • The low booking fee is offset by high service fees, so the apartment might appear to be costly.

When to use apartment sites for renters?

So, why and when travellers can use top apartment rental sites? It’s a good idea for people willing to save on accommodation, especially the ones who can easily do without such amenities as breakfast delivered to the room, daily cleaning, and so on.

Once they book apartments online, many travellers start preferring this option. Why?

  • It’s a great possibility to get acquainted with the locals and their culture.
  • Welcoming hosts who will make you company. Some even prepare breakfast and can take you to show the neighborhood. They possess insider knowledge and can tell you where are the best restaurants, tours, etc.
  • You can save on food since most lodgings feature a kitchen, and supermarkets are likely to be found around the corner.
  • A myriad of apartments is available, especially in large cities. That means you can easily figure out accommodation in a perfect location. It’s easy when you’ve got apartment rental websites at your disposal!

Apartment rental website can be a good option for travellers to consider regardless of destination. They allow having more space at your disposal and can even cost less than a hotel. Besides, it’s a great opportunity to taste the local culture and discover some less touristic areas.

With the list of some of the best apartment reservation websites in mind you can make the right choice to organize the trip of your dream.


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