Home Sharing Alternatives to Airbnb in South Africa

We are often asked about home sharing alternatives to Airbnb.
So many alternatives exist for BnBs or entire home or apartment rental listings globally, but not many focus on the peer-to-peer, or home sharing community, and of those, not many cater to us South Africans.

Airbnb made the appeal for home sharers to list easy and effortless with an easy on-boarding system. They introduced security checks and a review system where guests and hosts can review each other, and offered multiple payout options where no other platform was doing this before. Their huge boon, which changed everyone’s mind about home sharing, was the insurance policy they extend to all hosts. But the security factor alone is a huge appeal for someone that is sharing their space.

Previous platforms, at the time, didn’t offer security checks, profiles or reviews, nor offered to collect payment upfront, which secures bookings. This meant that often sharers had no-shows for what they thought were confirmed bookings.

More recently however, Airbnb bookings seems to have slowed, and we find the question about alternatives popping up more and more.

We investigated and found a few home sharing listing alternatives that also operate in South Africa.

Here are a few of them.
Most of the interfaces feel very familiar. We think it is as they’ve all taken on the Airbnb feel and a lot of learnings from what works well, including profiles, reviews and payout options.

  1. MisterBandB.com – targeting the LBGT travel niche. Created to be more inclusive of this travel niche and to share unique perspectives of your city with likeminded individuals. They charge 5% booking fee from your listing. However you only receive your payment between 2 – 7 days post check-in.
  2. HomeStay – nice and easy site, very similar to Airbnb. They take 15% booking fee though, and payment options exist for guests. So you get 85% of your fee. Also feature reviews. There are only a couple of hundred listings for South Africa, but compared to the alternatives, this is the most popular alternative to Airbnb locally.
  3. BedyCasa – although a firm favourite in France, Spain and Morocco, it has also hit our South African shores. Definitely not one that many have found, there are not even 20 listed here…yet. The model is similar to HomeStay where they take 15% commission on booking and pay you out 85% (or guest pays on arrival.)
  4. Couch Surfing – an old favourite amongst world backpacking travellers. This is before Airbnb days. The site has come a long way from it’s early days where this was only the backpacking alternative. It still caters to the younger crowd, but the important difference of this platform, is that it’s free. If you want any form of payment, the site suggests that it be in kind, like your guest cooking dinner etc, or expressed on your listing.
  5. HomeStayIn – This site seems to have been discovered locally, but only 30 local listings appear here so far. The model is similar to HomeStay where they take 15% commission on booking and pay you out 85% (or guest pays on arrival.)
  6. Tansler – Tansler works on a different model to Airbnb, where the potential guest pitches how much he is willing to pay per night, and then hosts can bid to accept this offer or not. The site is still in stealth mode and not yet publicly available, but we think it’s one to keep an eye on.
  7. Another one to keep an eye out for is KidandCoe. Although it is not a sharing platform, the concept is quite cool. It’s aimed at families offering their homes to similar families for holidays. So, it’s a home stay, when you’re not there. The benefit is that the house is set-up for a family with kids, so similar families will find it attractive. So far we have 6 properties listed from South Africa on this platform. Once of registration fee of $99, and thereafter 10-12% commission per booking.

We’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these before, and what your experience was.

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