Airbnb (ABNB) users have been complaining for a long time about hidden fees that pop up and surprise them when they check out, expensive cleaning fees and tedious chores that cut into their holiday time, said Jamie Lane, chief economist at AirDNA, the top provider of short-term rental data and analytics. “In different places, there may be extra charges for things like sheets, towels, and pool heating. Nobody wants to be surprised.”
Airbnb added a “total display price” button in December to make prices more affordable and clear. This way, users don’t have to get excited about a property that seems to be a good deal only to find out later that fees make it too expensive for them. This summer is the first time travellers can take advantage of this extra clarity.
“It’s a big improvement that you can now find out the total price at the start of the search,” said Lane. Airbnb also made it easier to see how to check out and what to do. “They are pushing hosts to keep requests reasonable,” Lane said.
A spokesperson for Airbnb, Samuel Randall, said, “We spent the last six months reading millions of customer service tickets, thousands of social media posts, and talking to hundreds of thousands of guests and hosts to make the most comprehensive set of changes to Airbnb ever.” These changes are in response to the most important feedback from our community. “This is now our long-term plan to ensure that every Airbnb policy and process is simple, clear, and easy for customers to understand.”
That doesn’t mean that travel won’t be expensive this summer. A new study from Forbes Advisor shows that people who stay at an Airbnb this summer will pay an average of 36% more than the nightly rate in extra fees. That means a beach house costing $250 per night plus 36% extra fees would cost $340 per night. If you stay for a week, you could spend almost $2,400.
“It’s still going to be cheaper than staying in a hotel,” said Lane, “especially for longer-term stays.” During the pandemic, demand for longer-term stays went up, and it’s still increasing.
“International travel and guests taking advantage of off-season travel to get better rates and avoid crowds are two things that will be good for the short-term rental industry,” she said, “pushing revenue up to $71 billion in 2023, from $39 billion in 2019.”