Rental lodging

Peer-to-Peer Rental Lodging Metasearch Fails

Search Engine - Magnifying GlassI wrote a comparison of peer-to-peer lodging sites recently, proclaiming that I didn’t see a reason NOT to use them. Why limit yourself to just one site when you could simultaneously search across more listings?

Well I put this theory to the test recently for my trip to Colombia. I did a search on AirBnb for places to stay in Cartegena. I picked specific dates and an upper limit on price. I got back 61 listings.

I then did the same search on a few of the rental lodging metasearch sites to see how they compared. I focused on the ones that include AirBnb since I knew there were a lot of listings in Cartegena on that site.

AirBnb apartment in Mexico city

AirBnb apartment in Mexico city

Using AllTheRooms I matched my search specifications and even left the geographical specification at up to 15 miles from the city center (definitely further than my AirBnb search was going). I got back 54 listings when I told the search to eliminate hotels and hostels. This still included a few hotels, along with results from a variety of peer-to-peer rental sites. So they are definitely missing a bunch of AirBnb listings.

I did the same search on Zilyo and also got 54 places for the same dates and same price point. But these results included hostels, as I could not find an option to remove those. In fact it looked like a large number of the listings were for hostels or were outside of the price range I set (I put an upper limit of $40 yet I saw listings for $70 and more, possibly an error in their data pull from hostels which tend to list the price per person rather than total price). This site was also missing a lot of results I could find searching directly on AirBnb.

I also tested HundredRooms, the only other metasearch site I know of that includes AirBnb listings. For this same search they returned only 6 listings. These were all from AirBnb, no other sites they include appear to have listings in Cartegena. I have no idea what happened to the other 57 matches they should have found from AirBnb.

Finally, I did some searching on Tripping while looking for a place to stay in Medellín, mainly because I this website name is very memorable to me. This one turned up lots of reasonably priced rooms on a site I’d never used before: But when I clicked through the listings they didn’t exist on the site. In fact nothing even close to the price range I had searched on showed up on, rendering the Tripping search a waste of time for sending me on a wild goose chase.

On the positive side, the results from AllTheRooms actually returned some listings from sites like VRBO and HomeAway that met my requirements and were good alternatives to places I found on AirBnb. This was my goal for using a metasearch site. If they could just pull in all the listings from the sites they claim to include, this really would be a great way to comparison shop for lodging. As it is I’m now left thinking I need to individually search on a bunch of different peer-to-peer rental lodging sites to find the best options.

My conclusion: peer to peer lodging metasearch sites still have a lot of work to do before they are a good substitute for the rental lodging sites themselves.

p.s., there’s another new player in the metasearch lodging arena: Vacaleo. They claim to pull in search results from 100 partners, including HomeAway, but not AirBnb. This same Cartegena lodging search returned only 3 results on Vacaleo.  I could not find any information indicating the total number of listings this site aggregates.



  • I’m cofounder of AllTheRooms and very proud to be included in your research. If you check again you’ll see that we have worked hard to achieve Airbnb completeness and sometimes our search shows more results on Airbnb than their own search engine, because their results cut off after a few thousand in a given area.

    The only other site that might have Airbnb results that you didn’t check is Hipmunk, but they only show a handful. We are still the only place on the planet where you can find All the rooms!

    • That’s great news Bill, I’ll definitely give the site another shot next time I’m searching for rental lodging. Thanks for the update!

  • Hi there. I’m the lead developer at I know this post is a little old. Just wanted to let you know we’ve managed to include all airbnb listings in our search results for every city; for instance, you can try Medellín Colombia again – Forgot to mention this is my hometown? 🙂