Airbnb will stop letting hosts take advantage of guests
The Future. Airbnb has long faced criticism for allowing hosts to inflate stay prices with hidden fees and stick guests with unreasonable checkout tasks. In response, the app has decided to present users with the total stay price upfront — making exorbitant “cleaning fees” impossible to hide — as well as crackdown on checkout tasks. The move is likely to increase user satisfaction, but only if the higher upfront numbers don’t repel them.
The whole package
Starting this December, Airbnb will allow users to view listings according to the total stay cost instead of the nightly rate.
- The main target of this new initiative is the cleaning fee, which hosts can set arbitrarily high and sometimes costs more than the actual stay. Now that fee will be factored into the total stay price, which is the first thing users will see (if they choose to search for total stay price).
- The second focus is checkout tasks, which can range from the reasonable — like turning off the lights and locking the door before you leave — to the outlandish, such as vacuuming, laundering all the bedding, and dusting every surface. Airbnb’s getting rid of these last three.
- Users who’d prefer to stick to the old model, prioritizing nightly rates, can still do that if they want.
Villains, show yourselves
“Junk fees” like Airbnb’s cleaning fee have gotten so bad that the Biden administration ranted about them in a recent initiative, so there was really no way for Airbnb to hold out any longer.
But Airbnb had a reason for waiting. The last time they tested out presenting total stay cost to users up front, it didn’t go so well. Besides the addition of a cleaning fee, total stay prices are (naturally) so much higher than individual nightly rates that the higher number often repels users.
Users probably won’t be angry with Airbnb anymore, but if they’re driven away by high stay prices, it won’t really make a difference. (Then no one would have to vacuum…)