Whimstay vs. Airbnb: Which Is Best?

Whimstay vs Airbnb. Which rental platform should you choose?

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Have you heard of Whimstay and wondered how it compares to Airbnb?

Many are familiar with Airbnb as it’s been around a while, but Whimstay is gaining popularity, leaving many to wonder if it’s a good platform to book a vacation on.

I’ve used Airbnb many times and even have my own vacation home listed there, but it wasn’t until recently that I booked a vacation on Whimstay.

Before booking, I did a lot of research on how Whimstay compares to Airbnb. I’ll share my research and the pros and cons of both booking platforms.

Then, I’ll share my own experience booking a vacation with Whimstay.

What Is Whimstay:

Whimstay is a vacation rental platform similar to Airbnb and VRBO, but Whimstay claims to have the best deals on last-minute vacation rentals. They also claim to offer great deals for luxury rentals.

One key difference between Whimstay and Airbnb is that Whimstay only works with professional property management companies. They do this to ensure the renter has an exceptional experience.

Property management companies they work with include Vacasa, Wyndham Destinations, and RedAwning—the latter being the company I booked my rental with.

Airbnb: The Well-Established Competitor

You’ve probably used Airbnb. If not, what rock have you been hiding under? 😅 It’s been around for a while.

Anyone can list a property on Airbnb, whether you’re a private homeowner or a professional property manager.

And you can find pretty much any type of property on Airbnb, from a tent in someone’s backyard to a million-dollar home at the beach.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Whimstay vs. Airbnb

Number of Rental Choices:

Airbnb takes the lead in terms of sheer volume, thanks to its longer presence in the market. And the fact that anyone can be a host on Airbnb and list almost any type of property.

Have you always dreamed of staying in a giant potato in Idaho? Airbnb’s got you covered.

Airbnb that looks like a giant potato in Idaho
You’ll be surprised how lovely the interior is inside this giant potato in Idaho. I know I was. Photo-cred: Airbnb.

Airbnb has homes worldwide, whereas Whimstay only has homes in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

And since Whimstay only partners with professional management companies, they have a curated selection of rentals. This approach may limit their inventory, but it guarantees quality.

A quick look at the Whimstay site shows their properties are upscale, often showcasing professional decor and photography.

Upscale vacation rental on Whimstay
I’ve had my eye on this upscale vacation rental in Gatlinburg, TN. You’ll find this and many beautiful properties listed on Whimstay. Photo-cred: Whimstay

I’d suggest checking both platforms when booking a home. You’ll increase the number of homes you have to choose from as many homes are not listed on both sites.

The lovely rental I found in Charlotte, NC, was not listed on Airbnb.

Types Of Property Choices:

Whimstay is more particular about the properties it lists. You won’t find things like trailers or a room in someone’s house, which you’d find on Airbnb.

So, if you’re looking for something high-end, you should include Whimstay in your search. But you’ll want to use Airbnb if you’re into more unique stays, like treehouses or yurts.

Here are some of the unique property types you’ll find on Airbnb (they have over 60 unique categories to choose from):

  • Castles
  • Windmills
  • Caves (yes, really!)
  • Islands
  • Treehouses
  • Ryokans (a Japanese style inn)
  • Shepherd’s Hut

Airbnb has more rental choices than Whimstay - windmills

Above are windmills that you can stay in. Available on Airbnb. Photo-cred: Airbnb.

Last-Minute Rates:

Whimstay claims to have better last-minute rates than other booking platforms. I’ve found this to be true sometimes, but not always.

I would suggest checking both Airbnb and Whimstay when planning your vacation. With the number of rentals Airbnb offers, you may have a better chance of finding the best deal on their site.

Where I think Whimstay really shines is its homepage, which has several deals in many different categories.

Whimstays deals on their homepage include:

  • Last minute deals
  • Deals on luxury vacation rentals
  • Deals on vacation rentals for groups
  • Deals on vacation rentals with pools
  • Deals on pet-friendly vacation rentals
  • Recommended deals for you
  • And deals for popular destinations

As I browsed through these deals listed on Whimstay’s homepage, I found several homes that looked better than similar properties on Airbnb. Since their deals are based on certain dates, you’ll have to make sure you can travel then.

It’s similar to the Explore feature on Google Flights and Kayak, where you can leave the city and date empty and search for deals over the next several months.

You can find great deals on flights this way, and you can find excellent deals on Whimstay this way as well.

Cancellation Policies:

Whimstay simplifies things with a uniform cancellation policy across all their rentals, which you can review here.

In contrast, Airbnb allows each property owner to set their own cancellation terms, meaning the policies can differ from one listing to another.

Both platforms provide an option to purchase travel insurance in case you need to cancel your trip.

I tend to get this insurance when booking far out, as it’s fairly cheap. For last-minute reservations, however, I’ll skip the insurance policy.

Online Reviews

Whimstay Reviews:

Whimstay reviews are generally positive.

Users praise the quality of accommodations and the value for money. However, some negative reviews highlight issues with customer service and arriving at a home that was already booked.

Airbnb Reviews:

Many Airbnb reviewers rave about the unique stays Airbnb offers and exceptional host hospitality.

Others complain about poor customer service and property misrepresentations.

Trustpilot gives Airbnb 1.3 stars out of 5 with over 12,000 reviews.
Trustpilot gives Whimstay 4.3 stars out of 5 with over 80 reviews.

Trustpilot reviews of Whimstay are 4.3 stars out of 5 stars.
Photo-cred: Trustpilot
Trustpilot reviews of Airbnb are 1.3 stars out of 5 stars.
Photo-cred: Trustpilot

Airbnb’s lower rating on Trustpilot might be partly because it’s been around longer, and people are likelier to leave a review when unhappy.

Regardless, Whimstay seems to have the upper hand regarding reviews.

It all comes back to the homeowner

It’s important to realize that Airbnb and Whimstay are just platforms bridging the gap between the renter and the owner. It’s up to the individual homeowners to set up the property well and ensure it’s managed well.

If you have a problem with your vacation rental, consider if the problem lies with the rental platform or the homeowner.

A Personal Whimstay Win: Charlotte, NC

I’ve only booked with Whimstay once, but my experience was positive.

On a whim, I booked a romantic trip for my husband and I to Charlotte, NC. I found a fantastic deal on a condo in Noda, Charlotte’s artsy, hip district.

The booking process was easy, and the rate was lower than anything available on Airbnb with similar accommodations.

The condo was exactly as described, comfortable and decorated well. My husband and I had a lovely stay and would choose that rental again.

Whimstay condo in Charlotte, NC vs Airbnb
Lovely condo my husband and I stayed at in Charlotte, NC. We booked it through Whimstay.

Below is a video of the condo I booked.

Personal Experiences With Airbnb & VRBO

I’ve booked several stays through Airbnb and VRBO. Most of my bookings have been fantastic, with a few being slightly underwhelming.

Probably my family’s all-time favorite stay was this home in Costa Rica that sat on 260 acres of private jungle and overlooked the ocean.

Airbnb in Costa Rica that my family loved.
One of my family’s favorite vacation rentals was this home in Costa Rica. Photo-cred: VRBO

I haven’t had any terrible stays on Airbnb or VRBO, but one property in Utah had a noisy public pool right behind the home that wasn’t mentioned in the listing.

Final Thoughts on Airbnb & Whimstay

Which one is best, Whimstay or Airbnb?

Both platforms offer fantastic options for booking a vacation. It all depends on what type of rental you’re looking for.

If you want a one-of-a-kind accommodation, such as a tower, Airbnb is your go-to. But if you want a luxury vacation without breaking the bank, check out Whimstay.

Or pick a location and check out both platforms. You’ll find endless possibilities.

Have you booked a vacation rental with Whimstay or Airbnb? Let me know your experience in the comments.

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Whimstay vs Airbnb pinterest image.

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