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Lighthouse & AirDNA alternatives: which vacation rental data solution?

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There are a few vacation rental data platforms out there and choosing one can be overwhelming.

We want to make it as easy as possible to understand the differences between Lighthouse and AirDNA alternatives and pick the best platform for you, even if it’s not us. Here are a couple of handy feature-by-feature comparisons to help you compare Lighthouse, AirDNA and in-platform data tool alternatives.

Vacation rental data and revenue management tool comparison

LighthouseAirDNAAirbnb Performance Dashboard Booking Analytics Dashboard Vrbo MarketMaker
Multi-platform supply detail / insights Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com & TripAdvisorAirbnb, VRBOAirbnbBooking.com Vrbo
Forward looking rate shopping and availability trends Listing Level AggregatedAggregatedAggregatedAggregated
Detailed historic performance estimates (ADR, Occupancy and Revenue) Airbnb based Airbnb + VRBO based Platform based Platform based Platform based
Change in availability updates (Demand + Pacing) Pickup + Pacing Booking lead time + Pacing Booking lead time Booking lead time + Pacing None
Property Manager mapping, tracking, and ranking YesNoNoNoNo
Market filtering and segmentation to narrowly define competitive sets High granularity Mid granularity Low granularity Low granularity Low granularity
Custom comparison groups User created System created NoNoSystem created
Access to rental estimator worldwide YesYesNoNoNo
Booked vs. blocked reservation data AlgorithmicAlgorithmicActual conversion Actual conversion Actual conversion
Flexible pricing packages NoYesIncludedIncludedIncluded

How Lighthouse measures up as an AirDNA alternative

Firstly, the success of your market-based revenue management strategy will largely depend on the granularity of your competitive sets. Indeed, this is what Lighthouse intrinsically understands about the now and the ever-presenting future of the vacation rental industry. 

When it comes to any potential flux in rates or occupancy, Lighthouse’s tools allow you to pivot most strategically.

These necessary rate and demand mechanics amongst revenue management tools becomes elevated within Lighthouse when you factor in the many layers of filtering along with the inclusion of Booking.com data, a global OTA force. Moreover, the advantage of listing-level data allows you not only to shop specific rates, but hand-pick listings to make up your comp sets, which stands apart from the typical, rigid filtering systems that tend to glaze over the details of what constitutes truly actualized competition. 

Gone are the days of flat or even automized rates for all 2 bedrooms with a pool in a certain zip code for instance. The professionally rising expert knows that their eclectic 2 king bed with state-of-the-art amenities and polished interior design on a particular street require more apt competition to target and profit against. Beyond that, from setting cleaning fees to length of stay discounts, there is the impact of specific and ever-changing demand on strategy where different market segments are concerned, which is more important now than ever.

Crucially, Lighthouse will allow you to unlock a behind-the-scenes perspective and develop masterful insight on the more unpredictable hows and whys your specified market subset thrives. This way, you will retain high-level autonomous decision-making over your strategy, and moreover, you’ll probably want to tap into who is keen on these strategies as well.  

When to choose AirDNA or in-platform analytics

It indeed rings true that Lighthouse is not for every person at every stage of their business. On the one hand, the individual platform revenue management tools (built into Airbnb / VRBO / Booking for their respective hosts) lend particularly strong insight into that individual channel. Additionally, you can update your rates directly, making them a sort of one-stop shop if you know your business depends solely on that one channel’s booking characteristics. 

In terms of interpreting reservation data on these Lighthouse and AirDNA alternatives, you may find comfort in definitively knowing where guest bookings are occurring versus an algorithmic inference that can occasionally be conflated with an owner block. The resulting recommended rates from this internalized analysis will be based on prototypical features of the subsets in your inventory, and this will also go for the comparative historical data available for analysis. In the end, these alternatives are often simplified and partisan, but if you are angling a smaller business to be competitive on one particular channel, this route may suit you. 

Then there is AirDNA, which offers interesting and accessible data analytics retrieved from two OTAs, shedding just enough light on where to go next in terms of your business strategy. But where they shine the brightest may be in how they can financially fit your current business constraints by offering price scaffolding packages based on your priorities and size. Also, while not as comprehensive as the data Lighthouse ultimately reports, their data stretches further back, thus building more of a historical narrative for the market in question. Simply put, the tool is affordable and the data sufficient for certain PMs, and despite its standardization of Airbnb and VRBO in terms of relevance, it should fulfill the core revenue management insights to fill primary objectives.

The Bottom Line – Lighthouse and AirDNA alternatives

In conclusion, the name of the game is finding the right tool for your needs. Lighthouse gears itself towards the evolving advantage of a highly granular analysis (explore here). It’s the winning tool for the professional property or revenue manager who wants to be growing and on top of their game; strategically shaping market trends rather than simply abiding by them.

The AirDNA alternative, while attractive, omits an entire sector of undeniably useful data from Booking.com. Moreover, you will be blind to the specific listing level trends within each PM’s inventory or compset cluster, which oftentimes reveals a new, more concentrated compset. On the platform host side, these internal tools are ultimately limited to just one point of view instead of containing features to smartly aggregate and segment strategy in real time.

COVID-19 and the need for AirDNA alternatives

Recently we learned how fickle the vacation rental industry can be in the face of the paradigm-shifting pandemic COVID-19. Moreover, its fallout essentially invalidated relied upon practices for predicting market activity based on historical data. Therefore the advantage of reliable, forward-looking insight based strategy and forecasting is stronger than ever. Above all, success is becoming increasingly dependent on responding to the active pulse; the forward-facing, proactive, competitive plays, and above all the rehearsed ability to pivot in an ever-evolving system of nuances.

Lighthouse will refine the way top professionals view their approach to revenue management strategy, and can be the missing piece for the ambitious players who seek to comprehend the bigger picture by digesting the seemingly small yet contextually powerful details.

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