Booking.com vs Expedia

This article examines Booking.com vs Expedia by concentrating on the main features that an Online Travel Agency (OTA) should offer. The data has been collected from Booking.com’s and Expedia’s websites and help articles.

Booking.com vs Expedia

Owner and Guest Fees

Owner fees:

Booking.com doesn’t charge any credit card fees. 

According to Booking.com, property hosts pay between 10% and 25% commission, with an average rate of 15%.

The hotel base fee is 15%, which can rise to 18% if the host uses Booking.com’s member service.

Guest fees:

Booking.com doesn’t charge any commissions to guests. They allow property managers to charge extra fees for cleaning. However, they charge between 10% to 25% commissions to hosts for add-ons and cleaning fees.


You need to check No to the question “Is this already part of the room/apartment rate?” if you want to get fees added to the price and shown separately in the invoice.


Tax rules depend on local regulations and differ from city to city.

Owner fees:

Expedia’s commission rate typically ranges from 10% to 30% of the booking price, and it can vary depending on the location of the property, the type of property, and the season.

Hosts pay the commission to Expedia on a pay-per-book basis. This means that hosts don’t get charged any fees until they actually have guests staying in their rental.

Each month, hosts can expect an invoice from Expedia with the amount owed in fees from bookings. There are no signup or subscription fees.

Here are some of the factors that Expedia takes into account when setting the host fee:

  • Location of Property: The location of the property is a major factor in determining the host fee. Properties in popular tourist destinations typically have higher commission rates than properties in less popular destinations.
  • Type of Property: The type of property also affects the owner fee. For example, hotels typically have lower commission rates than vacation rentals.
  • Season: The season can also affect this fee. Properties that are in high demand during peak season typically have higher commission rates.
  • Use of Expedia Marketing Tools: Hosts who use Expedia’s marketing tools typically have higher commission rates.

Host & Guest Protection

Partner Liability Insurance

Zurich Insurance and its global partners underwrite this insurance. The coverage is up to €1,000,000 for European countries, £1,000,000 for the United Kingdom, and US$1,000,000 for the US and other countries. In the event of an incident involving more than 20 guests, the coverage is capped at €20,000,000.

To be clear, this is not a protection against property damage. 

Partner Liability Insurance covers only:

  • Bodily injury (e.g. if your guest breaks their arm slipping in the shower and holds you responsible).
  • Third-party property damage (e.g. if your guest accidentally leaves a tap running and causes water damage to your neighbour’s apartment below).

What is Not covered:

  • Damage and/or harm caused by pets (e.g. your guest’s dog injures a neighbour).
  • Your own personal injury (e.g. you break your arm tripping over a step at the property).
  • Damage or injury from something done intentionally (not an accident).
  • Your own personal property (e.g. a guest breaks your TV or table)

It is your responsibility to ensure that your property is adequately insured in case of damage, as Booking.com does not offer separate insurance protection for its property owners.

Booking’s liability insurance does not extend to hotels. 

Damage Deposit

A damage deposit is a predetermined sum paid by a guest that will be refunded if the property is not damaged.

Booking.com doesn’t collect security deposit payments for property damage on your behalf. Rather, you should make direct arrangements with guests and charge them either before or on arrival by cash or bank transfer. You need to share your damage deposit details on your house rules and also in the “additional fees & charges” section.

Booking.com can only ensure that your guests agree to your house rules before finalising the reservation. You can also report a guest’s misbehaviour, and Booking.com will consider blocking the guest from booking again with you. 

Pre-Payment Deposit

In the case of partially refundable or non-refundable reservations, guests can pay either a portion or the total amount. So, you won’t lose revenue if they cancel after reserving and paying since they won’t receive their pre-payment back.

You’ll be able to impose a pre-payment on the guest’s card through Booking.com if you accept credit cards. Otherwise, you’ll need to get in touch with your guest and set up a payment.

Credit Card Pre-Authorisation

You can choose to pre-authorise and hold a certain amount of a guest’s card for non-refundable or partially refundable bookings. You can hold this amount as a guarantee if the guest doesn’t show up.

In case the guests’ cards can’t be pre-authorised or charged for deposit/pre-payment, you can mark them as invalid. Depending on when reservations have been made, the guest will have a limited time to introduce another valid credit card. If they fail to do so, you can cancel the booking so you will not be charged commissions. 

You can also opt for no deposit, pre-payment, or pre-authorisation, but this is risky.

Expedia Travel Insurance

Expedia travel insurance is a standalone plan that can be purchased through Expedia. It covers a wide range of circumstances, including trip cancellations, delays, medical expenses, baggage losses, and 24-hour emergency travel assistance.

Package Protection Plan

Expedia Package Protection Plan is a travel insurance plan that is bundled with your Expedia booking. It covers a narrower range of circumstances than travel insurance, but it is generally less expensive.

Smart Pricing

Booking.com allows you to automatically set rates for rooms with multiple occupancy options by using the derived pricing feature.

You only need to create a standard rate for each room according to its base occupancy or maximum occupancy. When occupancy increases or decreases, the system automatically adjusts the price by adding or deducting a percentage per person.

Expedia offers MarketMaker™, which delivers detailed market data. It helps property managers set competitive vacation rental rates based on current supply and demand.

In addition to providing insights into market conditions, MarketMaker analyses real-time marketing data about your property, nearby properties, and traveller search behaviour.

MarketMaker analyses:

  • Real-time supply and demand data.
  • Competitive rates of booked vs unbooked properties.
  • Local events affecting area travel.
  • Forecasted occupancy data.
  • Average rates of similar properties.
  • Booking lead times.
  • Search data from this year and last.
  • Historical listing performance.

Cancellation Policy

Guest cancellation policy

On Booking.com, property owners can offer three types of cancellation policies:

Fully flexible: Your guests will only pay while staying at your rental and can cancel free of charge within your specified time frame.

Customisable: With this policy, you can determine how much guests will be charged if they cancel after a specific date.

Non-refundable: If you choose this policy, guests who cancel, change, or don’t show up will be charged the full price. 

Host cancellation policy

If you have to cancel a guest on Booking.com for any reason, you can:

  1. Explain to the guest that you cannot honour the reservation, and show them how to cancel without penalty.
  2. Call Booking.com and explain that you need to cancel a booking – which costs you extra charges.

You won’t receive any automatic note in your reviews saying “this host cancelled” and you won’t lose your preferred status.

Guest cancellation policy

Expedia touts a free 24-hour cancellation policy for users on all of its websites. During this window, guests may modify or cancel their reservations free of charge. Expedia typically does not charge a cancellation fee after the first 24 hours, but hosts are free to establish their rules wherein guests may be fined for cancelling their reservations.

There are five levels of cancellation policies a host can apply: No Refund, Strict, Firm, Moderate, and Relaxed.

Host cancellation policy

A host can cancel an instant booking on Expedia, but only under certain circumstances. The host can cancel if:

  • The guest does not meet the host’s house rules.
  • The host has a legitimate reason for cancelling, such as a family emergency or property damage.

If a host needs to cancel an instant booking, they should contact Expedia’s customer support as soon as possible to explain the situation and request a cancellation. Expedia will work with the host and traveller to find a suitable resolution, which may include rebooking the guest at a similar property or providing a refund.

It’s worth mentioning that cancelling an instant booking without a valid reason or repeatedly cancelling bookings can have consequences for the host. This can include penalties, loss of eligibility for certain programmes, or account suspension.

Listing Rules

  1. You need to prepare:
  • The list of your facilities and amenities.
  • The layout of your property, including sleeping arrangements.
  • Correct and complete address.
  • At least one high-quality photo.
  1. Your property name can’t include any of the following:
  • Punctuation marks like quotation marks (”), asterisks (*), and “at” signs (@).
  • Capitalisation of whole words (except acronyms).
  • Inappropriate words.
  1. House rules can be set for guests in these five categories: children, pets, smoking, parties or events, and quiet hours.
  1. The property must have the proper permits and licences, and it must be located in a zoning area that allows short-term rentals.
  2. The property must be clean and well-maintained and meet all safety standards.
  1. The listing must accurately describe the property, including its size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, and location.
  2. Hosts must respond to guest enquiries and requests in a timely manner.
  3. Hosts must follow the cancellation policy that they set when they list their property on Expedia.
  4. Hosts must provide accurate and up-to-date information about their properties. This includes information about the property’s availability, rates, and amenities.
  5. Hosts must not discriminate against guests based on race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
  6. Hosts must not engage in any illegal or unethical activities. This includes activities, such as charging excessive fees.

Review System

Booking.com doesn’t offer reviews for guests that should be rated by hosts.

After guests check out, they have 90 days to review their stay. Guests rate their stay at your vacation home on a scale of 1 to 10. 

They are also asked to rate the property in six categories: cleanliness, comfort, value for money, facilities, location, and staff. This part is optional, and your Guest Review Score is not affected by any of these ratings.

In addition, guests can provide optional ratings regarding different topics, such as WiFi and breakfast, which doesn’t count towards your Guest Review Score.

Expedia post-stay reviews tool automates the guest review process by:

  • Encouraging guests to share their feedback, including ratings for cleanliness, service, and amenities.
  • Informing you promptly when reviews are posted, allowing for quick responses.
  • Reviewing and translating reviews and responses to ensure they align with Expedia community guidelines.
  • Allowing you to display reviews on your own website.
  • Offering Review insights that analyse your reviews over a 12-month period, highlighting trends and identifying areas for improvement that may require attention.

Reviews are moderated by Expedia staff to ensure that they are accurate and helpful. Reviews that are not constructive or that violate Expedia’s terms of service may be removed.

Expedia allows guests to submit reviews in real time. Hosts can also leave reviews for guests.

Payment Process

Due to the lack of a centralised payment system, Booking.com does not collect money from guests. So, the host is responsible for collecting payments, whether it is by credit card, bank transfer, or cash. For this reason, property managers usually charge deposits or pre-authorise payments to ensure credit card details are entered accurately so they can receive payouts.

You will need a payment processor in order to accept credit card payments.

When a guest makes a reservation, Expedia will charge the guest’s credit card for the full amount of the booking. Expedia will then deduct its commission from the booking amount. They will then transfer the remaining amount to the host’s bank account within 30 days of the guest’s check-out date.

Special Features & Services

Instant Bookings

Booking.com hosts can receive instant bookings or review guest requests before accepting or rejecting them. To skip Booking.com’s instant booking, hosts need to choose “All guests will need to request to book” in their account settings.

Preferred Partner Programme

This Programme provides greater visibility to the top 30% of Booking.com partners in return for a small increase in commission. These vacation rentals are picked based on their performance score, review score, and external prices.


Visibility Booster

Booking.com offers a Visibility Booster tool that helps your listing rank higher, wherever and whenever you choose to.

In exchange for an extra amount you pay, you can give your property a competitive edge in times of low sales or high cancellations.


Booking.com Promotions

By using promotions, you’ll be able to offer discounts tailored to your business needs. Booking.com allows you to create different types of promotions, such as the Free Nights Deal, Last-Minute Deal, Early Booker Deal, Basic Deal, Secret Deal, Black Friday Deal, and Early 2022 Deal.

Instant Bookings

Expedia allows you to turn on or off Instant Booking on your listings. Listings with instant booking are generally ranked higher than listings that require guest approval.


TravelAds is a pay-per-click sponsored listing that appears in a premium placement alongside search results. With TravelAds you can:

  • Highlight your property using personalised advertising text and images.
  • Tailor the audience and timing of the ads to reach the desired target market.
  • Establish a daily spending limit and pay only for clicks received. 
  • Monitor performance and make real-time adjustments to the budget and targeting.

Accelerator Tool

Accelerator is a tool that helps boost your placement in traveller search results without discounting rates

This tool enables you to:

  • Enhance your position in search results without lowering your rates.
  • Incorporate payment as part of your overall compensation rate. 
  • Specify your preferred dates and terms.
  • Opt out of the Accelerator feature whenever you choose. 
  • Preview the effect on your sorting position and modify your potential placement before confirming.
  • Only make payments when you receive actual reservations.


Campaigns and Promotions

  • Tailor your marketing efforts to attract your desired audience and achieve your objectives. 
  • Select from ready-to-use promotions or design your own. 
  • Provide discounts on room rates or create value-added promotions.
  • Take part in localised or regional multi-channel campaigns that incorporate brand advertising.


VIP Access

VIP Access is a privileged programme available only to select properties that consistently provide excellent service to their guests.

To qualify for VIP Access, participants must maintain high star ratings, receive positive post-stay reviews, and achieve favourable Content Scores, all of which demonstrate their consistent delivery of exceptional service.

Joining VIP Access incurs no fees, and there is no expectation to lower your rates or increase compensation. However, your commitment lies in offering VIP and Premium VIP guests special acknowledgements during check-in, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an exclusive property benefit, such as a complimentary breakfast, waived parking fees, or spa credits.

The main benefit of listing your property on Expedia is getting listed on multiple other Expedia travel brands worldwide, including Hotels.com, Orbitz, Wotif, Ebookers and more.

Booking.com vs Expedia: Which One to Choose?

Booking.com has a vast global reach, allowing you to reach a larger pool of potential guests and receive more reservations. It has a user-friendly interface, extensive marketing campaigns, and a large customer base. Moreover, Booking.com allows hosts to set flexible cancellation policies and provides them with more control over their bookings. 

Expedia offers a structured booking process and various communication channels to facilitate interactions between hosts and guests. Expedia’s wide network of partner sites can extend the exposure of your listing. In addition, guests can book and bundle up all parts of their trip on Expedia. Expedia is widely known for offering attractive vacation packages, which are more economical than booking separately.

All in all, remember that both platforms are not good at handling security deposits. So, you still need a Property Management System (PMS) for seamless rental operations, especially managing security deposits.

We are committed to ensuring that all our comparison articles are factually entirely correct and accurate. If you have spotted anything that you feel is wrong or misleading in this article, we’d appreciate hearing from you.

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