Plum Guide vs Airbnb: Discover the Key Differences

Find out what sets Plum Guide apart


A Plum Guide Home Critic walking up the stairs of a home

Of all the travel platforms, Airbnb is without doubt the largest and most well-known… with good reason. Airbnb is excellent, with an incredibly large inventory of homes for travellers to choose from. Hats off to them. Here at Plum Guide, however, we’re doing things differently. When we launched back in 2016, we had one clear vision that still holds true – to give our guests the ability to book a holiday with confidence. Quality and guest satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do. Plum Guide vets every home available to rent in each location, selecting only the top 3% of homes at three price points. To put it simply? We don’t list a lot of homes, just the right ones. Read on to learn how we compare to Airbnb as a travel platform, and enjoy this friendly ‘Plum Guide vs Airbnb’ debate.

Plum Guide


Types of rentals

Provides quality vacation rentals for the discerning traveller

Provides a wide range of accommodation for anybody who needs it

Quality Guarantee

Multiple rounds of quality checks performed by a vetting team of experts

Quality checks are carried out


Carefully selected, high-quality Plum Guide hosts

Open to accepting a large number of hosts

Listing pages

Plum Guide listing pages are created and verified by impartial experts, and photos are professionally taken

Hosts create listing pages themselves on Airbnb

Instant Book

Instant Book on Plum Guide is available on 58% of homes

Instant Book on Airbnb is available on selected homes


Key features of Plum Guide homes and amenities are highlighted for guests

Airbnb listing pages feature a list of the amenities in each home

Home Truths

Snippets of honest information are shared, even if they’re not positive

Listing pages include useful information about a home

Cancellation policy

Plum Guide has 7 tiers of flexibility

Airbnb has 6 tiers of flexibility

Host cancellations

Plum Guide hosts are penalised and our team will help guests find a new home

Airbnb hosts are penalised


Plum Guide's average score is 4.4 stars out of 5

Airbnb’s average score is 1.3 out of 5

The Overview

Types of rentals

  • Plum Guide exclusively offers private vacation rentals, which must be considered one of the very best in its location.

  • Airbnb advertises a large range of accommodation, including shared rooms and hotels.

A luxurious stay must have privacy, which is a fixture of every Plum Guide rental. At Airbnb however, it is possible to book shared rooms.

Target audience

  • Plum Guide specifically targets mature, discerning travellers. Standards and expectations are incredibly high.

  • Airbnb targets a wider audience.

At Plum Guide, we have a very clear idea of the exact audience we want to engage with. They are the ‘discerning travellers’ and they expect absolute quality without exception, which also means they are likely to be ideal guests for our hosts.

Quality checks

  • Plum Guide homes are put through 3 rounds of thorough quality control checks.

  • Airbnb homes are also checked for quality, and can be taken off the site if a breach is made.

To be accepted to join the Plum Guide platform, homes must go through multiple vigorous rounds of quality checks. This lets a customer know that no stone has been left unturned. As Airbnb has ended its Plus Program, find out how Plum Guide continues to excel with our quality guarantees.

A home critic hard at work during a Plum Test

A home critic hard at work during a Plum Test


Joining Plum Guide is an honour reserved for a small, exceptional pool of hosts.

  • Plum Guide has fewer hosts, with high credibility.

  • Airbnb accepts a large number of hosts.

At Plum Guide, hosts must be approved before they are able to list a home, so our guests’ high standards are always met. If a host doesn’t demonstrate a genuine passion for hosting to exceptional standards, they simply won’t make the cut.

Listing pages

Our high standards are reflected in our listing pages.

  • Plum Guide listing pages are verified and created by experts, with high-quality photographs accompanying unbiased, accurate information.

  • Airbnb listing pages are created by the hosts themselves.

The listing pages is where all information is stowed, so honesty is crucial. Ours are created by experts who follows a defined process to include every essential part of information. In addition, the images used are almost always taken by professional photographers, exuding a luxurious feel. This also means we can guarantee an accurate representation of the space.

The Features

Plum Guide and Airbnb share many features across their sites, such as Instant Book, but let us highlight here the subtle differences between the two platforms.


One feature that certainly isn’t misleading however, is Plum Guide’s inclusion of a home’s ‘highlights’.

  • Plum Guide selects key features of each home to highlight in a dedicated section on its listing page, reflecting a property’s individual appeal.

In highlighting a handful of major perks about each home, guests are given a clearer picture of what to expect when they arrive, in regards to specific amenities, nearby attractions, and recommended pastimes.

An example of the 'Highlights' section on Plum Guide's listing pages

An example of the 'Highlights' section on Plum Guide's listing pages

Home Truths

At Plum Guide, we also refuse to hide anything from our guests, preventing any unwanted surprises.

  • Plum Guide offers honest snippets of information that the guest will benefit from knowing - our home truths.

  • Airbnb listing pages offers key information that a guest will need to know.

An unwanted surprise is a surefire way to lose a guest’s trust, so we here at Plum Guide go above and beyond to ensure we share everything with complete transparency, even if it may be deemed damaging to the home’s reputation.

An example of Plum Guide's 'Home Truths' feature on a listing page

An example of Plum Guide's 'Home Truths' feature on a listing page

Cancellation policies

As you explore, you’ll also find subtle differences in other aspects of the platforms, including the respective cancellation policies.

  • Plum Guide offers 7 different tiers of cancellation flexibility, from Relaxed to SuperFirm60.

  • Airbnb offers 6 different tiers of cancellation flexibility, from Flexible to Strict.

At Plum Guide the most relaxed policy allows for a full refund up to 24 hours in advance of their stay.

We are also diligent in our cleaning standards. Covid-based cancellations may not be so common now (thankfully), but the security is still there.

An explanation of Plum Guide's Relaxed cancellation policy

An explanation of Plum Guide's Relaxed cancellation policy

Host cancellation penalties

We are also proud of the assurances we give our guests in the (rare) circumstance of host cancellations, as we penalise any host who breaches their Plum Guide agreement.

  • Plum Guide hosts who cancel bookings are charged a 20% fee. This should deter hosts from cancelling. We also have a member of our Care team help you to secure a new, upgraded stay.

  • Airbnb hosts are penalised if they cancel bookings. Penalties include a small charge, or a review of their Superhost status.

The Opinions

A white cut-out of a speech bubble against a grey background

The Plum Guide vs Airbnb debate would seem slightly one-sided if we didn’t include the opinions of people with no prior connection to us as a company, which is where Trustpilot becomes a highly useful indicator of quality.

  • Plum Guide's 'Excellent' score is 81%

  • While Plum Guide proudly boasts an average of 4.4 stars out of 5 on the renowned review site, the average rating of various competitors across the industry is roughly 1.8 out of 5 (at the time of writing), highlighting the extraordinary customer satisfaction of guests on our platform.

Comments from guests

This quality is also emphasised by guest comments:

“Very trustworthy organisation! The apartment was perfect and exactly as the pictures showed. The customer service of Plum Guide is very responsive, friendly and cooperative! That was a big plus for us and reason to use Plum Guide again in the future!”


“Booking process was super easy, info on location and travel perfect and house itself could not have been better.”


“Plum Guide helped us find the most amazing flat that was far less expensive than hotels in the area... They were able to sort out a few minor issues... and it seemed obvious they wanted us to have a really positive stay.”


“Nothing but praise for the whole experience in an apartment very befitting of everything that The Plum Guide promises.”


“Wonderful stay, amazing property, and so many to choose from. Everything was as described. Really cannot find any fault at all.”

Comments from journalists

It isn’t just guests who are impressed with Plum Guide either, with numerous journalists also singing our praises:

“It’s more exclusive – not for its customers, but for the rentals that feature on its site. Think of it like a Michelin star for rentals.”


“Plum Guide blends the best of both accommodation styles, by ensuring spacious vacation homes live up to traveler standards. Combined with the ease of booking a property (without spending hours combing through reviews), the Plum Guide experience sold me on booking through their site next time I need a vacation rental.”


“Staying with The Plum Guide felt like being in the sort of chic home you wished you owned and far from standard, impersonal holiday rentals. Airbnb should watch its back.”


“While a smaller selection may seem like a bad thing, it’s actually a huge time-saver. The people at Plum Guide have done the searching for you and only showcase the very best of the best.”

Plum Guide. No time for average stays.

Rated "EXCELLENT" for a reason

We don’t just list homes, we scrutinise them. Thousands are rejected that don't meet our standards. When you book with Plum, you are guaranteed the best homes for your budget and peace of mind.

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