Coliving vs. Airbnb - What is the difference?

Coliving vs. Airbnb - What is the difference?

7 min read

Airbnb is a platform that allows hosts to rent rooms within their homes to guests seeking temporary lodging. Coliving, on the other hand, is a business where companies rent rooms within a cohesive space to both temporary or long-term residents seeking a flexible lease within a thriving community. 

And Coliving is similar to Airbnb’s online marketplace in that they both offer a convenient platform for interested parties to scroll through verified available options.

In short, Airbnb is akin to a private property rental service and coliving companies offer an alternative to traditional rental schemes complete with advantageous amenities and networking opportunities.

Where Airbnb is more like a hotel in a private residence, coliving spaces are part hotel, part apartment, part coworking space, and part networking hub all wrapped up in one lifestyle movement. and allow people to view properties and availability, compare and contrast amenities, and contact hosts to book a stay.

In this post, we’ll deeply dive into the similarities and differences between Airbnb and coliving communities and zoom in on a real-life side-by-side comparison of Airbnb’s and’s platforms.

Coliving vs. Airbnb: A comparison of amenities

Basic Airbnb and coliving space perks are similar to the ones that hotels offer. These include furnished rooms, clean linens, toilet paper, towels, WiFi access, and several charging stations. 

In both scenarios, individual companies and hosts may go the extra mile to elevate the experience by providing more benefits. These additional extras include fully stocked kitchens, free coffee and tea, a hairdryer, shampoo and conditioner, free access to streaming services, and more.  

From here, coliving spaces go above and beyond to heighten both the physical environment and the group experience. Coliving companies offer a full suite of bonuses included in the rental fee. For example, coliving homes have professionals clean their spaces at least once a week whereas Airbnb hosts often charge for this service.

Let’s look at each benefit that general coliving spaces offer compared to Airbnb.

Coliving spaces vs. Airbnb amenities

Fully stocked kitchenVaries by unitIncluded
Regular cleaningAdditional cost or DIYIncluded
Community hosted eventsNot includedIncluded
Networking opportunitiesNot includedIncluded
Avenues to making local connectionsNot includedIncluded
WiFiIncluded but reliability and speed variesIncluded with guaranteed reliability and fast speeds
Access to perishables (coffee, tea, salt, honey, etc.)Often includedOften included
Streaming servicesOften additional costOften included
Laundry servicesOften additional cost or DIY using in-unit machineOften included
WorkspaceRarely includedOften included
GymAdditional costVaries by unit, but often included if available
PoolVaries by unit, but often included if availableVaries by unit, but often included if available vs. Airbnb: A real-life comparison 

The best way to compare these two platforms is by looking at a side-by-side, real-life example. To do this effectively, we’ve set the room type to “private” and chosen and spaces near the Mission District in San Francisco.


Source: vs. Airbnb Real-Life Comparison

Airbnb (Jeff’s home)Coliving (Outpost)
Starting Price$89/night or $2,670/month$42/night or $1,250/month
Minimum stay2 nights1 month
RoommatesJeff the homeowner (2-bed apartment)Driven entrepreneurs, young professionals, remote works and students (4 room house)
Fully stocked kitchenIncludedIncluded
Regular cleaning$40 total cleaning fee charged by the host (does not specify how often cleaning takes place)$0 Fee (professional cleaning included in private rooms and common areas)
Service feeApprox $18/night or $540/month$0 service fee charged to guests
Occupancy taxes and fees (in San Francisco)Approx $16.5/night or $495$0 occupancy fee charged to guests
WiFiIncludedIncluded (high-speed internet)
Amenity essentials (toilet paper, towels, bed sheets, soap, coffee machine)IncludedIncluded + shampoo and body wash
Access to perishables (coffee, tea, salt, honey, etc.)Not includedIncluded (coffee grounds, salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil)
Laundry servicesDIY on-site free or  coin-operated machinesDIY on-site for free
Individual workspacesOne table or desk with space for a laptop and a chair that’s comfortable to work inMost rooms have comfortable desks and chairs for people to work at 
ParkingFree street parking or paid off-premises Free street parking 
SecurityNot includedIncluded (24/7)
Chill out areasAccess to living roomSeveral throughout the house
Amenities in chill-out areasTV (potential access to free streaming services)TV + free streaming services
BathroomOne shared Three shared throughout the house
Community hosted eventsNot includedIncluded (hosted dinners, activities and events)
Networking opportunitiesNot includedIncluded and arranged via the coliving community
Avenues to making local connectionsNot includedThe coliving community will host events with locals in the community 
Entertainment optionsJeff is happy to provide local recommendations for things to do by yourself around the cityThe coliving home will provide tons of local entertainment recommendations and activities to do alone or with the community
Coworking spaceNot includedIncluded (with complimentary access to a printer)
GymNot includedNot included
PoolNot includedNot included
Final Price$143.5/night or $3,745/month$42/night or $1,250/month

As you can see, Airbnb locations tack on cleaning fees, service fees, and occupancy taxes and fees that significantly hike up the bill. 

On the other hand, coliving spaces include everything in their fixed monthly fee and never add hidden surprises to that price. 

Plus, with coliving spaces, you gain an influential community, networking opportunities, and profound friendships. That’s a lot of extras included in one fixed fee.

Coliving is a lifestyle choice.

Coliving is about so much more than simply a nice place to stay. People who choose to live in coliving spaces often do so to gain access to a vibrant community comprised of motivated individuals. 

Dynamic communities

The example we just looked at focuses on building a community full of entrepreneurs, remote workers, freelancers, and students. Therefore, their events, activities, and meetups will likely have chances to co-mingle with those same types of people. This allows the residents to share experiences and learn from each other to augment their journeys.

As noted in the above example, it also includes a coworking space inside the unit to elicit productivity and focus. Many coliving companies that build spaces with remote workers in mind will also host networking events comprised of local investors or successful startup founders to give residents the opportunity to build valuable business relationships.

And yet, many other coliving spaces welcome a myriad of people regardless of professions or aspirations. These communities focus less on career development and more on community advancement. Their main goals are to provide a comfortable, social and vibrant atmosphere for people from all walks of life to form meaningful connections.

Instant friends and a lifelong family

Moving to a new place can take time to make new companions and friends, which may bring about feelings of loneliness or boredom.

Coliving communities completely squash this problem. From the moment you move in, they welcome you into their home with open arms. You’ll immediately meet your community host and roommates and begin forming friendships.

Shortly thereafter, you’ll have a chance to attend your first community-sponsored event where you’ll get to know your housemates better and start to form deeper bonds.

By the time you leave, you’ll have formed close bonds with the people you lived, adventured, and (if you’re a remote worker/entrepreneur) worked with. 

Locations around the world

Many coliving companies have homes all over the world. 

Outsite, for example, has several coliving spaces throughout North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Indonesia. They welcome every type of person to join their community and enhance each location with “the right amenities and design to make each stay as productive, restorative, social, or fun as you desire.”

This makes it incredibly easy, comfortable, and reliable to move from one Outsite location to another. Because their standards are the same no matter which site you stay in, you’ll know exactly what to expect and what types of people you’ll meet when you arrive.

And the winner is…

There’s no winner because these companies represent intrinsically different ideas. They may look similar on the surface, but they quickly bisect.

Airbnb is a platform that promotes short-term travel stays. is a platform that supports both short- and long-term coliving experiences within shared accommodations.

People choose to stay in Airbnb because they are often cheaper than hotels and provide a homier feel for extended stays. And people choose to remain in coliving spaces because they’re often more affordable and accessible than renting and furnishing an apartment. They provide access to an eccentric community with invaluable networking opportunities.

Airbnb and are gateways for people to explore verified places to stay. But the places on offer exist to fulfill different purposes. That’s the true divide.

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