Airbnb vs Hostinger: Physical vs Digital Hosting

Airbnb vs Hostinger: Physical vs Digital Hosting

How did this story find its way to your screen? Well, it all began with a Google Meets conversation on a busy July afternoon, with the word hosting repeated numerous times. As we wouldn’t expect in a Hostinger meeting, one of our colleagues proclaimed that the kind of hosting he cares about during this tremendously hot summer in Lithuania is the one found on Airbnb!

As the laughter and giggles died down, we all paused, realizing that there was much more to this joke than just laughs. Two companies, two different industries, but the same keyword behind it and homogeneous working principles – the main ingredients behind great successful cases.

At first, if it may seem that vacation rentals and web hosting providers have nothing in common, yet, we at Hostinger take Airbnb as an inspiring example. It sets high standards for the industry and moves ahead of the curve. Thus, here we are, sharing the primary takeaways of this comparison, including what leads both companies to continuous growth and explaining the key actions to succeed that we are constantly learning from Airbnb. 

Reimagining the Hosting Industry

Founded in 2008, Airbnb began its crusade of reimagining the meaning and essence of the word hosting. Its context came in more literal, physical terms as Airbnb’s journey is related to the hospitality and vacation rentals industry.

Airbnb had to go against ideas and notions that had been ingrained in the fabric of our society. Hotels and apartments were not only a monopoly but an institution – the only reasonable way of vacationing or visiting other places. Hosting in that context was an idea that seemed to be locked, sealed, and clinched for decades.

What did Airbnb decide to do? Change the paradigm and introduce an entirely new way of doing things. According to Airbnb, hosting should be easy, fast, affordable, and accessible to everyone. In particular, 95% of guests choose Airbnb because of its ease and security of payment.

Four years earlier, in 2004, Hostinger started a journey that to this day has a straightforward goal: make website hosting accessible and easy-to-use for everyone. The company aims to change the narrative around creating a website – you don’t have to be a coding expert, nor should you have prior experience in web development and design. By giving the right tools for online success, Hostingerians act as backstage heroes supporting customers in their journey 24/7.

Hostinger had to go against an already existing and established industry standard and, most importantly, convince people that creating their website was easy, fast, and affordable. The word hosting makes up 7/9 of Hostinger for a reason: reimagining what hosting is was and will always remain the core purpose and principle of the company.

So, what similar actions have both companies taken to succeed as they grow?

Appeal to the Right Audience

Do all people who come to Hostinger for a web hosting plan have the Airbnb app on their phones? Maybe. Do people that host their apartments and offer them to travelers through Airbnb need a website? Perhaps. What’s the audience of each company?

Airbnb has over 150 million worldwide users and 4 million hosts with listings from over 100,000 cities. With an average of 6 guests checking into an Airbnb listing every second, you can get a sense of the power and momentum the company has acquired over the years. People between the ages of 25 and 44 comprise 59% of all Airbnb users. However, the fastest-growing age group among Airbnb hosts is seniors.

Our clients could be grouped in a vast number of different personas, including make-it-yourself-solo-entrepreneurs, SMEs, developers, and web and design agencies. However, all of these could be grouped into two major categories: web professionals and web beginners.

In business terms, the overlap between Hostinger and Airbnb audiences does not have an obvious connection but don’t let first impressions fool you. If we were to dig a little deeper and examine the psychology, personality, and consumer buying behavior of the two audiences, we would be able to quickly identify similarities as well.

People who want to open their house or apartment and host people from all over the world are the ones who embrace the magnitude and diversity of this spinning blue ball we all call home. Likewise, people who want to amplify their ideas, thoughts, and business on the digital ether share the same characteristics – they want to engage with other people no matter where they are on the planet.

We tend to think that people who want to visit different places and experience them in a more homely and personal way share similar behaviors with people who aim to build their success online and give it a splash of their personality. There’s something about hotels and off-the-shelf websites that reeks of standardization and monotony.

What Do Numbers Say

Customers’ growing inclination towards online purchasing tends to accelerate both markets mentioned above. However, it is still not the only bold similarity between physical and digital hosting. The table below gives you a quick overview of the critical numbers of each industry: 

Vacation rentals industryWeb hosting industry
Market size value in 202087,61 billion USD62,6 billion USD 
Revenue forecast in 2027113,9 billion USD171,4 billion USD
Growth rateCAGR of 3,4% from 2020 to 2027CAGR of 15,5% from 2020 to 2027
Major customersMillennialsOrganizations, SMEs, individuals
Reasons for market growthRising expenditure on travel, vacations, and accommodation among this generationGrowing number of startups, increasing internet penetration and web-traffic worldwide

Airbnb represents the vacation rentals market, which is expected to grow 3,4% annually by 2027. An Airbnb report identified millennials and younger generations as their main audience, reaching 75% of all consumers and travelers.

The attractive price-quality ratio, decent comfort, low cost, additional privacy, kid and pet-friendly accommodation are the pivotal elements of the rising interest in vacation rental property over hotels. Also, Airbnb users tend to save up to 6-17% for booking. Thus, as far as the hotel industry goes, it loses approximately $450 million in direct revenue to Airbnb each year.

Additionally, the online booking mode is estimated to grow by 4,3%/year before 2027. This boost is explained by the convenience, detailed access to accommodation, and value for money, which are also advantages of Airbnb.

Europe remained the dominant destination for vacation rental market travelers in 2019, with a share of 35,9%. However, there is an increasing probability of the Asia Pacific region overcoming Europe by 2027. Chinese travelers (approx. 40% in 2019) are considered significant contributors to such regional market growth, yet, researchers highlight the rising expenditure of travelers from other developing countries such as India, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

On the other hand, Hostinger is a part of the global web hosting services market, estimated to rise 15,5% yearly by 2027. In general, web hosting providers allow enterprises and individuals to boost their online presence by publishing personalized and business-related content on the internet. The rapid increase in the total number of companies around the globe leads to the anticipated growth of this market.

Unlike travel activities, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased internet usage both for enterprises and individuals. Businesses experienced the need to start their business operations online, while individuals were encouraged to spend more time writing blogs, making videos, creating their personal brand presence, and sharing it all on the internet.

Shared hosting (37,64% revenue share) remained the dominant segment of the web hosting market in 2019. It was also the preferred choice among the SMEs, which represented more than 90% of total businesses.

North America’s domains (35,28% revenue share) prevailed in the web hosting market in 2019. However, Europe is expected to surpass it with a 16% annual growth rate by 2027. The growing government investments in developing IT infrastructure, expanding digitalization, and demands for online delivery websites are the key elements for continuous growth in this region.

Set an Inspiring Goal

Customer obsession is what drives both companies. Their entire raison d’etre is centered around the customer, their pain points, and how these businesses can create seamless and memorable customer experiences.

For Hostinger, it’s all about helping customers live their online dream and encouraging them to understand nothing is stopping them from starting an online business or a blog. Each and every day, Hostinger employees are working to refine their offerings. Whether it’s affordable plans, faster responses in the customer chats, or more security features to protect a website, the customer is always the reason and the beneficiary of everything we do.

Similarly, Airbnb seeks to “create a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” So, whether it’s adding more filters to personalize and simplify your search or working on expanding the cities listed and building extraordinary products, the Airbnb team is thinking of the customer every step of the way.

Their mission statement says it all: “Airbnb is built around the idea that everyone should be able to take the perfect trip, including where they stay, what they do, and who they meet. To that end, we empower millions of people around the world to use their spaces, passions, and talents to become entrepreneurs.”

Build a Successful Team

“I think bringing in your first engineer is like bringing in a DNA chip to the company,” said Brian Checky, Airbnb’s CEO at Stanford in 2014. As prioritizing the right people over the wish to scale business was Airbnb’s principle from the very beginning, it took four grueling months for the three founders to hire the first employee. The company’s culture stands as an exceptional, long-term commitment to focus on principles instead of short-term growth.

Airbnb highlights the benefits of developing a diverse team to face the exciting challenges ahead. Whether these are new regions, technologies, or businesses, employees are encouraged to meet them creatively, with the global community’s support and guided by the company’s core values.

At Hostinger, employees are motivated to overcome challenges by working smartly, taking risks, and learning quickly. Global experience, personal growth, ambition-driven teams, and tangible impact are what inspire us the most. Hostinger principles are not something new or magically invented, but they are a guiding line and serve as common sense within the company.

The Customer Success team corresponds to 50% of Hostinger’s employees, and usually, this position works as a rocket for their careers. Even our CTO, Balys Krikščiūnas, started his career path in Hostinger as a Customer Success specialist. There is no better person to build the product than the one who truly knows Hostinger’s customer journeys from top to bottom.

As venture capitalist and investor John Doerr says, “Ideas are easy, execution is everything.” Both Airbnb and Hostinger employees value openness and curiosity. By transforming ambitions into reality and continuously setting a higher bar, both teams strive for the highest standards with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Empower People to Break the Norm

Before the arrival of Hostinger and Airbnb, creating websites was directly related to website developers and property rentals with real estate developers. Fifteen years ago, if anyone had told the general public that they could have their own website and rent their own property for profit in the span of a few hours without engaging with a website or real estate developer, they would have laughed.

Both enterprises have managed to democratize the hosting space and give people the power to use their platform as an extra revenue stream. People don’t need to own multiple properties to be in the property rental business, nor do they need to pay exorbitant amounts of cash to set up an online business.

Hostinger and Airbnb helped people understand that hosting a website or hosting people in your house can be the gateway to a better life. They managed to turn people from customers into entrepreneurs, which is a milestone for both industries.

The stories of people turning around their lives using the two platforms are awe-inspiring, to say the least. Whether it’s the story of the Latinx couple who built and hosts a minimalist haven in Miami or the case of the Filipino host who earned over P24 million since the start of the pandemic, Airbnb is seeing its platform propel people into greatness.

At Hostinger, the story of the customer who ordered pizzas for the Hostinger Customer Success team to show their gratitude for the stellar service they received is a tale that will live on for years to come.

Website or Vacation, Hosting Has a Bright Future Ahead 

It’s funny how companies, like people, might live parallel lives – inspired by similar missions and serving their audiences without ever crossing paths. Airbnb and Hostinger are two companies that bring smiles to people’s faces and help them realize their dreams. One is carving its path digitally, and the other is doing it in the physical world, but both are doing it with class, passion, and joy.

Whether you’re contemplating if your idea is ready to have its own online home or what your next holiday destination is, Hostinger and Airbnb are here to make it happen. And if you think that the two hosting worlds would never meet, just check out one of the newest initiatives by Airbnb, “Host an online experience.”

The future of hosting is bright, and we couldn’t be happier to play the part of the fork in the road.


The author

Antonis K.

Copywriter @ Hostinger. Writing content that engages the mind and captures the imagination.