Booking vs Airbnb: The battle of the vacation rental giants

The former doubled the latter’s turnover, reaching more than $21 billion. The latter made more money due to reduced marketing and personnel expenses

Feb 28, 2024

The return of global tourism and its expected growth has been leveraged by Booking and Airbnb, the two leading U.S. platforms that manage the accommodation for tourists. In the last two weeks, both companies have submitted their 2023 financial results, which reveal an unprecedented soundness, albeit with significant differences between the two firms.

Key takeaways

  • Booking is the online agency with the highest revenue worldwide, with $21.365 billion in 2023, 25% more than in 2022, and more than double that of Airbnb ($9.917 billion);
  • Its catalog comprises more than 28 million listings, of which 6.6 million are holiday homes and apartments. The remaining 21.4 million listings are mainly hotels. Airbnb closed 2023 with 6 million listings of apartments for tourists, bordering on its highest ever figure;
  • The positions in this ranking are inverted in terms of how much money they are actually making. Airbnb’s net profit peaked in 2023 at $4.792 billion, 2.5 times higher than that of 2022, while Booking’s stood at $4.29 billion, up 40% year-on-year;
  • Booking spends practically twice as much as Airbnb. The reason for this difference lies in the heavy spending on marketing, mainly on the positioning of the assets it sells on the leading search engines. In 2023 alone, the cost of this area amounted to $6.8 billion, almost double the sum invested two years previously.

Get the full story at El Pais

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