Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals vs. Airbnbs: How Do You Choose the Right One for Your Stay?

Nov 1, 2019


Posted In: Lodging

Springdale, Utah could certainly be considered a small town. In fact, just over 600 people call the city home year-round. But that doesn’t stop it from being a tourist mecca for visitors eager to explore Zion National Park and the surrounding area.

With plenty of hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, stores, and more, the town has everything you need to relax, eat, and prepare for your outdoor adventures. In fact, with so many options out there, it can be a bit tough to choose the right ones for your stay. One big decision you’ll need to make ahead of your trip is whether to stay in a hotel, vacation rental, or maybe even an Airbnb. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to make the right choice.

Hotels and Resorts

While Springdale’s year-round population might be small, it’s nightly population is far from it. Over a dozen hotels are situated in and around the town, many of which could house the entire population of the city all on their own. From classic roadside motels to luxurious resorts, you have several styles to choose from. Plus, many of Springdale’s hotels are located on the Springdale Shuttle loop, making it easier to get to the park without even having to move your car or worrying about finding parking.

Hotels are perhaps the most common way to stay while you’re on the go. They come with amenities that today’s travelers have come to expect, like daily room cleaning, linens, and even a pool to chill out in or breakfast in the morning. But hotels also have a few drawbacks, at least compared to other options like vacation rentals.

Pros of choosing a hotel:

  • Resorts offer a variety of amenities that most vacation rentals and AirBnbs are unlikely to have. From pools and hot tubs to spas, on-site restaurants, and more, your resort can be a destination all its own.
  • Most resorts offer daily room service so you never have to come back to a dirty room. For traveling families with children, this can be a welcome relief.
  • Thanks to the popularity of online review sites, you’ll have no trouble finding reviews by real people who have stayed at the resort. Often, you can also check out photos that other travelers took during their stay. This means fewer surprises when you arrive.

Cons of choosing a hotel:

  • If you’re traveling in a group or with your large family, you’ll likely need to book several rooms. Standard hotel rooms rarely sleep more than four, and those four will likely be sleeping in two beds that are side by side. In some cases, you may be able to book a suite that sleeps more people, or that separates the beds into a couple of rooms.
  • There’s usually less room for hanging out at the end of a long day. There’s also less storage space if you’re planning a longer stay.
  • Unless you book an efficiency room or a suite with a kitchen, you won’t have the ability to cook during your stay. If your hotel does have a small kitchen, it may not be enough to prepare full meals for your family.

Vacation Rentals

As families have become more accessible for larger families and longer vacations have become the norm, a new breed of overnight rentals has arisen. Vacation rentals are now nearly as popular as hotels, and just as easy to find and book. With more space and the features of a home, these are ideal for longer stays or large groups. Though if you’re looking for a spa, on-site restaurant, or other amenities you might expect of a hotel, you may have trouble finding them.

Pros of choosing a vacation rental:

  • Vacation rentals offer all of the comforts of home while you’re away. From larger bathrooms to full kitchens, and often laundry facilities, you’ll have everything you need for an extended stay.
  • You can book vacation rentals to match the size of your group. So if you’re traveling with several couples or a large family, everyone can stay in one unit and still have their own space come bedtime.
  • A full-size kitchen makes it possible for you to cook meals for your family. If you have little ones, breakfast in can make mornings go smoother. For larger groups, home-cooked meals are a cost-friendly way to stay on budget during your vacation.

Cons of choosing a vacation rental:

  • Vacation rentals may not have amenities like a hotel, spa, or restaurant on-site, which are all convenient for spending a day relaxing during your vacation rental.
  • Many rentals won’t have daily room cleaning. For the busy mom or dad, the prospect of cleaning up during your vacation might be a big con. Of course, many vacation rentals do offer room service, if not each day of your stay, at least a day or two through the week for longer stays.
  • Because you are getting extra space and features like kitchens or multiple bathrooms and bedrooms, vacation rentals usually cost more than hotels and resorts. They may also require a minimum stay, which won’t work for quick vacations or weekend trips.

AirBnbs and Other Home-Sharing Options

The latest trend in travel is the Airbnb and other similar services like Vrbo and HomeAway. These home-sharing websites allow you to book a home, room, cottage, campsite, RV, or another type of property directly from the owner. This can mean cost-savings or the chance to stay at a unique location, but it does come with a few risks and cons.

Pros of choosing an Airbnb:

  • If you don’t mind staying with strangers, the option to book a room or guest suite in someone’s home can be a great way for single travelers or couples to save money. Plus, you’ll get the chance to ask a local for suggestions about where to go and what to see.
  • Like a vacation rental, booking a whole home on Airbnb is a great way to get more space than a hotel room, as well as features like a kitchen, multiple bedrooms, or more than one bathroom.
  • There are tons of fun, unique AirBnbs out there. From glamping in an RV to treehouses, tiny homes, and other unique finds, you can start your adventure from the moment you arrive at your base camp.

Cons of choosing an Airbnb:

  • Newer AirBnbs may not have many reviews, so you’ll be booking without really knowing what a property will be like. You can avoid this problem by booking an Airbnb with plenty of good reviews.
  • If an Airbnb doesn’t have a lockbox for entry, you may need to arrive at a certain time and check-in with the owner in order to get to your room. 
  • Without a staff or management on the property to deal with, all complaints or issues will have to go directly to the owner. If you have problems during your stay, it may take time to get ahold of someone from Airbnb who can help you.

Choosing Your Perfect Vacation Base Camp

Where you stay during your vacation is just as important as how you choose to spend your time. With a little research and careful thought, a hotel, vacation rental, or Airbnb will likely stand out as the obvious choice for your vacay.

To start planning your trip to Zion, check out these tips on where to eat, stay, and play on the edge of the park.

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