Airbnb vs Holiday Let vs Serviced Accommodation Management: What’s the difference?

Airbnb vs Holiday Let vs Serviced Accommodation Management: What’s the difference?

Confused about the difference between these terms? This blog tells you everything you need to know.

Airbnb, Holiday Lets, Serviced Accommodation – if you currently invest or are planning to invest in the short-term rental market, then you’ve probably heard these terms crop up. You might’ve even heard them used interchangeably.

Short-term lets have become an increasingly popular way to enhance your property portfolio and add a dependable income stream. But it’s no secret they can also be a lot of work.

Here we look at what each property type entails, and the level of management needed to succeed. Spoiler: they have more in common than you might think!

What is a Holiday Let?

A Holiday Let usually means what it says on the tin – a property used for holiday stays, rented out over a short time period.

More recently this has expanded to include any short-term rental situation (whether that’s for business or leisure), but the bottom line is these properties can be rented for anywhere from a few days to 3 weeks.

Many investors turned to Holiday Lets after a noticeable increase in ‘staycations’ in the UK, driving up returns, especially during peak holiday season.

That’s not to mention the many tax benefits that come along with Holiday Rentals that landlords can’t get on a traditional Buy to Let.


What is an Airbnb?

One of the fastest growing online booking platforms in the world, Airbnb built its reputation on providing short-term holiday lets. But we’re seeing this trend change over time.

There’s been a surge in demand from guests moving for new work placements, students needing a place to stay for a term or two, or those simply wanting a change of scene for a few months. 

Running an Airbnb is appealing to property investors because it greatly simplifies the rental process, with Airbnb hosts being much less constrained by regulations than traditional landlords. 

Hosts of course still need to commit time to keeping their properties safe, clean, and comfortable for guests – but we’ll get onto that soon.


What is Serviced Accommodation?

Serviced Accommodation (SA) is a fully furnished rental designed to work like a home away from home. They’re similar to a hotel, but also include amenities you’d find in a house like a kitchen, living area, at least one bathroom, Wi-Fi, TV and more.

Like Airbnb's, SA properties can provide short and long-term stay options, and appeal to a wide range of guests from tourists to workers. They’re particularly popular with businesses however, who block book accommodation to be used by staff working away from their usual base - be it corporate or contractor accommodation.

Many landlords invest in Serviced Accommodation because they work in most locations, and are an attractive option to guests because they’re less expensive than a hotel, but have a more homely feel.

Airbnb vs Holiday Let vs Serviced Accommodation Management

Whichever property type you choose, they all come with their own unique benefits. One thing they all have in common though, is the need for constant management.

Because guest turnover is so frequent with short-term rentals, this means more time needs to be spent keeping your property in excellent condition and your guests happy. Only then are you guaranteed to keep making bookings again and again.

Here are just some of the areas that need frequent attention:

  • Listing optimisation and management
  • Marketing
  • Review and feedback management
  • Booking management
  • Inspections
  • Housekeeping
  • Maintenance
  • Utility and bill management


While some choose to go it alone – if you’re new to property management or simply don’t have the spare time needed to do it effectively, working with a management company is a popular alternative.

Working with a management company

Whether you own an Airbnb, Holiday Let or Serviced Accommodation, a management company’s job is to help you manage your rental or fully manage it on your behalf.

The level of support offered really depends on your property and the company you choose to work with – but the idea is to make your life easier.


Other benefits include:

  • Better returns: managing a short-term rental on your own leaves you open to costly mistakes. Many management companies also have relationships with direct bookers, so you pay less commission to booking sites.
  • More experience: these companies tend to have more knowledge of the local area, types of guests who will be booking with you, and what works and what doesn’t.
  • Getting time back: Unlike other property types, short-term rentals require constant management, as guests are usually there for a shorter stay. Working with a management company alleviates this pressure.


To summarise

There might be small differences between Airbnb vs Holiday Let vs Serviced Accommodation properties, but they all need a certain level of management to comfortably bring guests back to stay with you again and again.

You can choose to do it alone, or hire in a bit of extra help to really take the weight off.

If you’re ready to start making great returns on your short-term rental, but aren’t sure where to start, why not download our ebook: How to Find a Serviced Accommodation Management Company.