Airbnb Is Finally Getting More Transparent About Rental Prices and Fees

Money; Getty Images; Shutterstock
Money; Getty Images; Shutterstock

Airbnb guests can say farewell to hidden fees that pop up late in the rental booking process and potentially send the final price far higher they expected.

The company said in a recent blog post that come December, it would roll out the option to display the total price for rentals on its rental platform — including all fees before taxes.

Some users have decried Airbnb’s display prices as misleading, saying the full cost breakdown for rentals only appears at the end of the booking process. While rentals may appear in search results with an affordable list price per night, service fees and additional charges for cleaning can increase the total cost significantly. These fees are set at a host’s discretion and vary widely, but it’s fairly common to find one-week rentals with cleaning fees of $200 to $450 and service fees that are even more costly.

Airbnb’s new push for pricing transparency is also setting new guidelines to make hosts’ checkout instructions more reasonable. Guests will no longer be required to handle chores like doing the laundry or stripping the beds in their rentals.

“I’ve heard you loud and clear — you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted Monday.

New Airbnb policies on pricing and checkouts

Guests will now be able to view the total price of Airbnb rentals in search results, the platform’s map, and its filter and listing page.

The platform will also prioritize total price over the price per night in its search ranking algorithm. That means similar listings with the best quality will appear higher in users’ search results and show their total price rather than just the per-night price.

Airbnb is also updating its checkout guidelines. Some customers have criticized Airbnb for not exercising more oversight as to what hosts can require from guests during checkout.

Before the changes, guests could be charged additional fees for not completing a host’s required checkout tasks. Airbnb said it’s providing guidance to ensure checkout requests are “reasonable” and displayed to guests before they book.

Airbnb hosts will no longer be able to require guests to perform tasks like stripping beds, vacuuming and doing laundry before leaving a rental. That said, guests will still be expected to practice common courtesy and not leave the place a mess.

“We think it’s reasonable to ask guests to turn off the lights, throw food in the trash, and lock the doors — just like they would when leaving their own home,” the company said.

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