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Five differences between serviced apartments and Airbnb

Published on April 3, 2018 by Rebecca Hinshelwood

As technology has continued its unstoppable spread into every aspect of modern life, our demand for flexibility has followed suit. We have grown accustomed to being able to control the details of our travel plans to fit specific requirements. In the world of accommodation, this is reflected in Airbnb.

This revolution of online short-term reservations in a home environment has changed the way that many consumers think about accommodation. But how are these properties different to the more established offering of serviced apartments?


With no structured vetting or assessment process, the quality of a property rented through Airbnb can be a lottery. In some situations, this may not matter. Perhaps your requirement is simply for a place to sleep in a very specific or unusual location. However for many London-focused business or vacation trips, it is imperative to have confidence in the quality of your accommodation.

Serviced apartments are managed to a high standard and locations will be visited, assessed and quality assured. This is why the number of properties that you can locate through one source is more limited than Airbnb. It’s a bit like the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant: there will be fewer options than that of a restaurant chain – but the quality of the product is far superior.


Similarly, the management process of serviced apartments involves a smaller pool of people than Airbnb. This means that the consistency of service, comfort and communication is far more regular than that of Airbnb, where contact is with the property owner.

Don’t forget, too, that Airbnb is a global marketplace. This means that regular travellers could be in contact with several different people with correspondence that could be sporadic and unreliable. There is little protection for the customer in terms of cancellation by the property owner. For this reason, the customer becomes the manager of the rental process, making it far more labour-intensive.


It is true that both serviced apartments and Airbnb are managed as income generators. However, where Airbnb originated as a very short-term accommodation solution, serviced apartments have a history of providing medium term rentals. This means that the focus has historically been on providing high service levels and user experience.

This background means that, even for very short-term stays, serviced apartments include the kind of benefits that you would expect from a hotel stay; such as maid, concierge, catering and reception services. Combined with the comfort and additional space of a home environment, a serviced apartment represents the best of all worlds.


As both accommodation types offer a home-from-home environment, does it follow that there is little to compare in terms of comfort? This is not necessarily the case, due to the lack of consistency in properties that can be sourced through Airbnb. Perhaps one trip will result in a well-equipped and spacious apartment, where the next will provide a pokey studio and kitchenette furnished with one spoon and chipped plates.

Serviced apartments provide on average 30% more space than a hotel room. It so follows that the consistency on offer here means that you are likely to achieve more space than many Airbnb locations – especially in central London.


It is certainly true that budget accommodation solutions can be sourced through Airbnb. Indeed, sometimes the no-frills option is all that is required. However, the price tag of a serviced apartment is inclusive of so much more than the property itself. With additional services and management of your visit to consider, you gain experience when staying in a serviced apartment. Additional services for Airbnb bookings, such as cleaning, tend to be charged in addition to the base price. So a budget solution may not be quite what it seems.

It is impossible for us to make blanket rules for properties. They are like travels: each one is different and unique. What is vital when booking your accommodation for travel is to understand what you are buying. In the case of a serviced apartment, you receive a quality experience and we work hard to ensure that it is unforgettable.

If you are coming to London and need a Luxury Serviced Apartment in central London you can contact us for advice on where to stay, whether it’s Mayfair or Marylebone, Kensington or The financial district.

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