Whimstay vs Airbnb: The 2024 Traveler’s Choice

An exploration of Whimstay, an Airbnb alternative

Instead of comparing VRBO vs Airbnb, aka the “giants” of the available booking platforms for vacation rentals – it’s time to compare Airbnb with a smaller company. In today’s travel blog, we’ll uncover the similarities and differences in the Whimstay vs Airbnb comparison.  Below, you’ll learn how Whimstay, an up-and-coming vacation home booking platform, compares to Airbnb. Hopefully the following highlights will make it more clear whether or not Whimstay, otherwise known as an “Airbnb alternative” is worth it for you!


Whimstay vs Airbnb: 8 Major Differences

You’re on you’re way to becoming a more savvy vacation shopper – below, find the main differences between Airbnb and Whimstay. They’re neither good nor bad, but they will help depending on your personal preferences.

1. When comparing Whimstay vs Airbnb, the most notable aspect is the size of the companies.

If you read VRBO vs Airbnb vs Booking Direct: What is the Difference?, then you likely remember how huge these two booking platform companies are. For reference, Airbnb has more than 6 million listings! And these are spread out over 200 different countries. In contrast, Whimstay has far fewer listings. Additionally, all Whimstay options are located in North America, instead of being spread out all over the world. However, according to PR Newswire, Whimstay increased their listings by 400% in 2023.

2. In contrast to Airbnb, private homeowners can’t list their lake cottage on Whimstay for some extra cash.

This is because Whimstay only works with professional vacation rental management companies. By focusing on professional partnerships, they can ensure that every listing on our platform meets rigorous standards of quality and safety. This refined approach distances guests from the uncertainties that can accompany properties managed by individual homeowners. In other words, it helps ensure a safe, vetted, and well-managed holiday environment—free from the common concerns that sometimes overshadow peer-to-peer rental experiences.

3. Airbnb vs Whimstay and cost: you’ll pay less with Whimstay!

According to Whimstay.com, “Whimstay negotiates exclusive discounts with professional property management companies to secure the best rates on last-minute bookings, ensuring your spontaneous trips are exciting and affordable!” The reason Whimstay is able to offer such low prices is because it partners with property management companies to provide the lowest prices possible. This is because, naturally, prices drop when a property’s calendar is still empty just one or two months ahead.

A Michigan travel blog discussing the differences between Airbnb vs Whimstay
Traveler’s Choice: A Side-by-Side Look at Whimstay and Airbnb

According to Whimstay, guests save, $200 on average per booking.

4. Whimstay vs Airbnb: Airbnb’s cancellation policies are better for guests!

Each property owner or management company sets their own cancellation policies on Airbnb. Whereas Airbnb offer a variety of flexible cancellation policies, this is not an option with Whimstay. Because you’re able to grab such great deals via Whimstay, the catch is that you’re “on the hook” once you’ve made your reservation. In fact, no refunds shall be given between 0-60 days from the start of your trip

5. In contrast to Airbnb’s vast selection of unique lodging options, Whimstay tends to stick to more traditional, high-end homes and villas.

At times, Airbnb offers bizarre lodging options, such as this Flying Saucer! Airbnb also offers rooms within a home, which means less privacy for guests. However, Whimstay’s listings are more traditional, and they do not offer shared dwelling spaces.

6. Unlike Airbnb, Whimstay doesn’t offer fancy “Experience” options for guests.

The Airbnb Experiences feature allows guests to book a location-specific activity along with their home rental. In some locations, Airbnb guests can “walk with the wolves” or engage in “dirt therapy.”

7. Whimstay is better for hosts.

Whimstay charges hosts a 3-5% fee. In contrast, Airbnb’s commission may start at 3%, but it can creep up to 14%. (The 14% is a way to penalize hosts for having super strict cancellation policies.) Another advantage for hosts is that Whimstay provides a solution to last-minute vacancies.

8. Whereas Airbnb strongly encourages guests to message the host only through the app, Whimstay calls for direct communication.

Due to Airbnb’s built-in warning, guests are strongly encouraged to communicated with the host only via the Airbnb app. In other words, all conversing should be written via the app, and outside calls or emails are not encouraged. However, Whimstay guests and hosts contact with each other in whatever way they both see fit – email, text message, or phone calls.


Two Very Different Booking Platforms: Are There Any Similarities?


Although Airbnb has been around much longer, and is a markedly more well-known household name, Whimstay is catching up. The two platforms share a couple of similarities.

1. Travel insurance is available with both booking platforms.

Both offer travel insurance through their platform. Whimstay offers guests the option to purchase one of two different insurance plans. One is called “Cancel for Any Reason,” while the other is called “Standard” travel insurance. However, you might want to read the fine print!

Similarly, Airbnb offers their own version of travel insurance, dubbed “Aircover.”

2. Whimstay vs Airbnb and public reviews: both are a mixed bag.

There will be good experiences, and there will be bad experiences, and each guest has their own perception. Both Whimstay and Airbnb are booking platforms. They help connect the guest to the home, and each home has a myriad of differences. Factors such as the property’s age, climate, location, and much more can affect your perception and experience.

Consider the following reviews, so you can see for yourself:

  • On Reddit, you’ll find people both complaining about and lauding each platform. Here are some reviews for Whimstay. Similarly, here’s some negative views of Airbnb on Reddit.
  • According to Knoji.com, Airbnb scores a 4.4 overall. Whimstay falls behind slightly at 4.0.
  • At TrustPilot.com, Whimstay’s rating is 4.1. In contrast, Airbnb’s rating is only 1.3! (This is likely due to the fact that Airbnb has far more ratings than Whimstay.)


Whimstay vs Airbnb vs Booking Direct: Choose BVW Unsalted Vacations for Your Next Michigan Vacation!


Many hosts, including BVW Unsalted Vacations Property Management, use booking platforms like Whimstay to attract more reservations. Although Airbnb and Whimstay are popular, there are many more booking platforms to consider! For example, many guests use the Marriott Homes & Villas, HomeToGo, or Booking.com to locate vacation rentals in their desired location.

Choosing to book directly with a vacation rental company is a savvy decision. It circumvents the often costly and complicated middleman, making for a more streamlined process. As a guest, direct booking prevents obscured communication, and potentially the most attractive rates. Simplicity, savings, and direct communication – this is the beauty of booking direct!

Beachfront Cottage Rentals
Welcome to The Pioneer! Managed locally by BVW Unsalted Vacations, this picturesque vacation retreat is nestled in the heart of historic Mac Hills on the shores of Lake Michigan. This brand new, 4-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom gem is a three-story haven that combines timeless elegance with modern comfort.


View our ever-growing list of Michigan vacation rentals and make a reservation today! Want to chat with a live representative? Click the blue chat icon on the lower right corner of the screen for assistance, or text the team at 616-383-5253. You can also reach our Escape Artists via email at hello@unsaltedvacations.com.

Enjoy your unsalted vacation – free of stress, free of salt!

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