The success of Airbnb is huge and this is why so many airbnb alternatives popped up out of the blue. It is considerably, a very young internet company and yet it has risen in ranks and is now worth billions. At the same time, it has become an industry disruptor since it has carved out a huge niche which does not seem to show signs of waning as it is estimated that almost a thousand new listings appear in Airbnb daily. And in the internet, we know that every enviable business will be copied. There are so many other websites that have sprung out as clones to Airbnb and many hosts like us would want to take advantage of them. But be warned, these clones might not be as satisfactory as the original. Here are some of these alternative sites like Airbnb.
The thing about talking about Wimdu and many of the other clones of Airbnb is that they are so similar to the original that describing their similarities is almost useless. The website pretty much works the same: host your room or house, stay in private accommodations all over the world, etc. Wimdu is probably the best competitor of Airbnb and it is backed by the same German based businessmen who create clones for various other internet businesses such as Groupon, etc. It has over 235,000 + properties in over 100 countries and 100,000 + registered users. This is of course, still a far second to Airbnb’s numbers.
This is another blatant Airbnb clone, 9Flats was started by another German internet businessman Stephan Uhrenbacher. Even the design, look, and feel, are the same as Airbnb. 9Flats ranks as the third biggest space sharing website, below Airbnb and Wimdu. To date, there are around 50,000 members and 30,000 hosts in 100 countries all over the globe.
Roomorama has slightly different color themes. It functions the same way and has 70,000 registered properties but no info on the number of active guests around the world. It got its funding from PROFounders, Thrive Capital, Lerer Media, and Jose Marin. They also bought one of their competitors Lofty at the start of their roll.
What most hosts say about these competitors?
It may seem unethical to copy business models, but that issue is moot. We can argue over it endlessly. The fact is that so many businesses are created by way of copying an already proven formula. That does not mean that these other companies are not trustworthy. The truth is that as hosts, we probably want to take advantage of all of these platforms so that our vacation rentals could have the most business possible. But the problem is the amount of effort to be put in setting up and maintaining listings in other sites. Is it worth the time and effort? For example, I know many people who have tried the biggest competitor, Wimdu, and their feedback is that it is way inferior to Airbnb in terms of the number of requests they receive. Also, Wimdu tends to push you to accept all bookings, I’ve heard instances of aggressive email replies and threaten hosts who do not want to accept bookings (even from guests they don’t trust). They’ll imply that not accepting and replying to bookings will mean less visibility and even account deactivation. This is most likely because they need to get their community up and running faster.
There are plenty more clones out there, but the consensus is that the original is the best. However, Wimdu has a more German and Euro centric market which means if those are your locales, they might also be good choices. Getting the most of all these free airbnb alternatives is great, just make sure you are your effort’s worth.