airbnb toronto

Renting an Airbnb in Toronto is now basically as much as a hotel room

Ever since the advent of Airbnb, hundreds of millions of travellers per year have opted to rent out apartments from locals rather than stay in hotels while exploring a new place.

While a short-term rental can provide a more unique, authentic experience of a new city, the main factor in many people's decision to use platforms such as Airbnb is the fact that the options there are usually far cheaper than a hotel in the same area.

But, new data shows that in a number of places, including Toronto, this is hardly the case anymore, if at all.

A recent analysis from hotel data provider STR and vacation rental research firm AirDNA compared prices across both industries in locales worldwide to gauge the impact that the pandemic had on accommodation costs.

The companies found that hotels, which traditionally had have higher occupancy rates overall than short-term vacation rentals, were harder hit by the health crisis, largely thanks to a drop in business-related travel.

And though there was a brief ban on Airbnb listings in cities such as Toronto due to COVID-19, vacation rentals were often roomier and thus more conducive physical distancing, and also lent themselves better to ong-term stays, which were up during lockdown months.

As the industry rebounds, prices have indeed changed: in Toronto, for example, the cost of a studio or one-bedroom Airbnb has now risen to just $33 a night less, on average, than a hotel as of July ($214 vs. $247, per the Globe).

This is, quite notably, a 44 per cent spike in the cost for short-term vacation rentals that are comparable to hotels versus July 2019, pre-pandemic. Meanwhile, hotel prices have only increased 24 per cent in the same time period.

These figures also only take into account the base accommodation rate, before service, cleaning and other fees that Airbnb charges, which could make staying in a hotel even more appealing for individuals or small parties if cost is their top consideration.

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