The Airbnb Alternative You Should Know About

When I first became an Airbnb host, I started listing on other sites, like Roomorama and Wimdu, thinking more is better (here’s a more complete list of Airbnb alternatives). Obviously, trying to keep several calendars in sync can be stressful, and sometimes 2 services would book a room within an hour of each other — if I weren’t frantically updating the other calendars as the bookings came in, it could mean double-bookings, cancellations, and potential fees or negative ratings.  After a few months of this, I realized it just makes more sense as a host to go deep, rather than wide — especially now that Airbnb has added needed features like multiple listings, co-hosting, and a multi-calendar view.

I’m still exploring, but there is one other home-sharing startup that I like and still list on, and that’s Overnight. It’s a startup that launched last year at South by Southwest, with an emphasis on same-day bookings and spontaneous travel. Hosts have 10 minutes to respond to a request before it expires, so travelers can book quickly – a feature that obviously becomes more critical when you’re trying to book same-day.

For me, if I have a room on Airbnb that still isn’t booked tonight, having it on Overnight is my backup, and opens it up to an entirely different audience of travelers – given Overnight’s target demographic, there’s a better chance of me getting same-day bookings on Overnight than on Airbnb. The service also makes sense for hosts who only want to book out a guest room occasionally, or who may not want to plan that far ahead. If they don’t have a regular listing on Airbnb, they may think “Hey I’m around for the next week so I’m gonna make my guest room available tonight,” or “I’m going away for the weekend so I should list my whole place tonight.”

Another cool thing that distinguishes Overnight is their recent introduction of Smart Groups, which lets hosts offer a special rate to people in your network based on a group affiliation.  You can offer discount pricing to a private group based on subjects like travel, LGBTQ, foodies, wellness, occupation, etc. You can offer a discount or limit booking to specific groups like your school alumni or company, and maybe a more significant discount to your friends.

The guys at Overnight are extremely responsive — I usually get a response in 1-2 hours (compared to Airbnb’s 24-48 hour response time). Overnight can also sync your Airbnb calendar to your Overnight calendar, so your Airbnb bookings automatically blocks those days on Overnight (which removes the calendar sync chaos).

The biggest downsides to Overnight right now are the lack of multiple listings, and the smaller number of travelers compared to Airbnb. But that number is growing and if last-minute bookings would make sense for you, Overnight is worth checking out.

Note: Right now, Overnight is available on iOS only.

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