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Work Travel Published: 26th May 2023

Serviced Apartments vs Airbnb: 10 Key Differences

When it comes to finding accommodation for our travels, there are so many options out there. However, the two most popular choices are serviced apartments vs Airbnb rentals, each with unique advantages and characteristics. Before you decide which is best for you, you need to know the biggest differences and which ones better suit your preferences. 

This article will explore and compare the ten significant serviced apartments and Airbnb differences. So get ready to delve into the details and discover which option suits your style best!


Ownership and management


Serviced apartments are owned by big property management companies that handle a bunch of properties, so you can expect consistent quality and standards no matter where you go. In addition, they have a whole team dedicated to handling everything, from operations and staffing to guest services.

On the flip side, Airbnb rentals are owned by regular people who handle their listings independently. These hosts act as property managers, taking care of reservations, communicating with guests, and keeping the place in check. This means you'll likely get a more personal and local experience.


Length of stay


Serviced apartments are the ideal choice when you need accommodation for more than just a short stay. They specialise in long-term stays, whether for months or years. These accommodations offer all the cosy comforts of home and the flexibility you crave. They're a perfect fit for business travellers, individuals relocating to a new city, or anyone needing a temporary home away from home.

On the other hand, Airbnb rentals provide options for every kind of stay. Whether looking for a quick weekend getaway or planning an extended vacation, they've got you covered. You can book a charming spot for just a few nights, or you have the flexibility to extend your stay for a few weeks. Airbnb rentals are great for those who want to immerse themselves in the local culture or enjoy a relaxed vacation.


Services and amenities


Serviced apartments offer many services and amenities comparable to those in hotels. These include daily housekeeping, a dedicated front desk, concierge assistance, and various on-site facilities such as fitness centres, swimming pools, and dining establishments. 

In contrast, Airbnb rentals present a significant variation in terms of the services and amenities provided, as they rely on the discretion of individual hosts. While some Airbnb accommodations offer essential amenities, others may showcase distinctive features or incorporate local touches. 


Consistency and standards


Serviced apartments are impressive because they adhere to the same high standards professional property management companies set. This means that you can expect a certain quality and service regardless of your chosen location. You can rely on aspects such as cleanliness, amenities, and overall guest satisfaction being top-notch quality.

On the other hand, Airbnb rentals are more unpredictable. The consistency and standards can vary depending on the individual host and property. While some hosts go the extra mile to ensure everything is perfect, others may have a more relaxed approach or inconsistent offerings. So, serviced apartments are your best bet if you're seeking a reliable and predictable experience.


Price structure


Serviced apartments usually have a fixed rate that covers everything like utilities, internet, and more. The rates depend on the size of the apartment, where it's located, and how long you're staying. It's pretty straightforward, which is nice because you know the total cost from the start. 

Now, with Airbnb rentals, it's a bit different. The pricing is more flexible because the hosts get to set their own rates. They consider things like how in-demand the place is, what time of year it is, and where it's located. This flexibility is good because you might find deals or last-minute discounts. But keep in mind; it also means the prices can go up and down, so serviced apartments are more predictable.



Booking process


When booking a serviced apartment, you have a few options. You can check out dedicated booking platforms or contact travel agencies specialising in extended stays. These are the places to go if you want to find some fantastic apartments. 

On the other hand, Airbnb makes booking a breeze. All you need to do is visit their website or use their app, and you're good to go. You can search for places based on your preferred location, the dates you have in mind, and your specific preferences. The whole booking process is smooth and hassle-free.


Regulations and compliance


Serviced apartments have to follow many rules and regulations in many places. These rules ensure everything is safe, legit, and above board since serviced apartments are seen as commercial accommodations. They have to stick to local laws about building codes, fire safety, health regulations, and paying taxes. 

On the other hand, Airbnb has had some run-ins with the regulations in certain areas. Local governments have had some concerns about safety, zoning, taxes, and how it affects housing availability. The rules and requirements for Airbnb rentals can be all over the place, depending on where you are. Some places have their own specific rules and restrictions to address those concerns.




Serviced apartments give you way more freedom to customise compared to Airbnb rentals. You can choose from many different apartment sizes and setups to fit your needs. They've got all sorts of options, like studios, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartments, so that you can pick the perfect space. And that's not all! Serviced apartments might let you customise furniture, decor, and desired amenities.

Airbnb rentals also offer some customisation, but it's less extensive than with serviced apartments. Most Airbnb places are individual homes or properties with their own set layouts and features. So, while you can make some tweaks, you might have more limited choices compared to the flexibility you get with serviced apartments.


Cancellation policies


Serviced apartments usually have cancellation policies similar to those in hotels. These policies give you a specific window of time to cancel or change your reservation without getting hit with hefty penalties. They're all about giving you flexibility and understanding that travel plans sometimes change.

Airbnb hosts have more say in setting their own cancellation policies. Some hosts might have strict guidelines, while others might be more laid-back and flexible. It depends on the host and the type of reservation. That's why checking out the cancellation policy for each Airbnb listing before booking is crucial.


Local experience


When it comes to Airbnb rentals, you're in for a more local experience. You can crash in private homes or apartments in residential neighbourhoods. You can chat with the hosts who know the area's secret spots and hidden gems. They'll hook you up with insider tips for exploring. It's like living and breathing the destination as a true local, getting that authentic feel and a real connection to the community.

Serviced apartments might also be in residential areas, but they often have more of that corporate or hotel-like feel. It's all about being comfy and convenient, but it might not give you that direct connection to the local scene. So, if you're craving that immersive local experience, Airbnb rentals are your best bet.

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