Hotel for biz, airbnb or equivalent for vaca, but there has been inflation in prices on airbnb, making VRBO more attractive depending on locations
Like hotels for business travel and AirBnB or similar for vacation travel.
I think it depends where I am going, what type of trip I am going on (business vs leisure), how many people I'm going with (large group of friends or just 2-3 people), with friends or family (my parents are more traditional and prefer hotels). I think Airbnb and vacation rentals are great for large groups, and is definitely more affordable especially in resort-type locations. In locations where I don't speak the language or more remote areas, it might be a little tricky with Airbnb and vacation rentals, and I prefer hotels.
My wife found some VRBO's on some Caribbean islands that are steps from the beaches with maid service that even does your laundry cheaper than any hotel. They are small, intimate, relaxing, spacious.
Hotels- mainly because they offer a resort setting with pools etc. whereas an apartment/house rental cannot compete. Plus loyalty programs with upgraded rooms at SPG properties are the way to go.
I totally agree that a house or apartment feels more relaxing and "homier". I also find apartments/houses to seem more private than a hotel since they necessitate less interaction with people outside of my vacation group. Hotels have a large number of staff and other guests.
I've used VRBO and Homeaway (as well as realtors who handle vacation rentals) for vacation rentals for years. Never used Airbnb since they don't have the property footprint, still, that VRBO/Homeaway do. I prefer the Airbnb UI, but the property selection just isn't there yet in most places I want to vacation.
I find that number of nights stayed dictates a pricing tradeoff - for 1-3 nights a hotel will probably be cheaper, but for 3+ nights a vacation rental is often more affordable and enjoyable.
I prefer hotels because I like privacy and quiet places not only when I am traveling, but in any situation. I don't have the right to ask for a change of behaviour regarded to my host, so I prefer avoid this type of friction.
My wife and I travel a lot with our 19 month old daughter. AirBNB works much better for us. We look for places with cribs (so we don't need to bring one with us) and places with at least two rooms (so after our daughter is asleep we're not held hostage in a dark hotel room). Additionally, a kitchen is a must so we can store food and feed her on our schedule. We've had great experiences all over the world. Plus we save money. It's a win win.
I think the poll is set up wrong - it's not an either/or case for many folks. I like staying in both AirBnB and hotels, it totally depends on the circumstances.
My husband and I are a bit of an edge case - we have been long-term traveling and living in Air BnB for 2+ years now (minus a couple months living with an elderly relative and a couple months finishing out a friend's lease).
Hotels can't compete on price, space and (often) uniqueness for long term stays.
The hardest problem to solve is that life still requires permanent addresses for taxes, voting, etc.
Biggest difference for me would be limited service vs full service. Prefer airbnb to limited service hotels for many of the reasons that others mentioned (city immersion and unique feel), but it's hard to beat a full service hotel with airbnb, vrbo, etc, if that's the experience you desire.
My wife and I have enjoyed VRBO on vacations a little more than the hotels for longer stays. I prefer hotels when I travel for business.
If you are a frequent traveler and have status at a good hotel chain and with only 2 people, that is the best option. I am a Marriott Gold Elite and find that I can get good rates, with room upgrades and executive lounge access. This saves a lot of money on food, space and flexibility of booking. Can never underestimate the value of a good buffet breakfast and water bottles whenever you want! However, when traveling in larger groups of 4 or more, Airbnb makes much more sense. Typically family holidays are more planned in advance so you can think of all other factors to account for to make the stay better
I prefer the Airbnb because it's usually more casual and offers more intimacy.
I enjoy AirBnB for longer stays in the U.S. and for visits to new countries. Like others here, I've found interesting homes and apartments thru these services that make my visits much more interesting and memorable. For business travel I like the reliability and comforts of boutique hotels.
I would live in a hotel. When I travel I want to be taken care of. Laundry. Meals. Housekeeping. The idea of staying in a stranger's home is not appealing to me.
Thanks to AirBnB we have enjoyed staying in places like a boathouse in London and a tree house in St Thomas. We use it all the time now and love it.
Business or leisure.
Short duration (1-2 nights) versus longer duration.
Business + Short duration: hotel wins every time.
Leisure + Long duration: Airbnb or similar is the choice.
The other combos then this is the grey area.
Apartment gives you much more space for the same price. Hotel breakfasts are hit and miss - with Airbnb you get a kitchen. And as mentioned in other comments - an invaluable insight into the local life.
I tend to prefer the design touches and service levels of boutique hotels.
Airbnb every time Fred. Not only is it a fraction of the cost, but it gets you into neighbourhoods you would never venture into when you stay at hotels. You meet the people who live there. You get tips for the best local restaurants / cafes, you get a real city experience and over time I have become a much more courageous traveller. I've been doing airbnb for 3 years now from Singapore to San Fran and (apart from the usual russian roulette with figuring out the showers) would never go back.
I feel a hotel offers far greater anonymity and privacy but for local unbiased knowledge and sincerity