What Airbnb is doing about cleaning fees

  • During its latest earnings call, Airbnb detailed the impact of transparency features that were rolled out in late 2022.
  • Since making the change, the accommodation platform says 40 percent of active listings no longer charge cleaning fees.
  • Cleaning fees in particular have proved a divisive element for those wanting to make bookings via Airbnb.

This week Airbnb released its Q4 2023 financial results, with the accommodation booking platform fulfilling 99 million bookings during the quarter, which represents a 12 percent year-on-year growth.

A potential contributor to that success could be the step that Airbnb has taken in regards to being more transparent when it comes to additional fees. The platform announced a toggle function that allowed users to see precisely what fees a listing comprised of, with the feature rolling out in the early part of 2023.

Over the course of the year, roughly 300 000 listings removed or significantly reduced cleaning fees, which remains a divisive element on the platform. As TechCrunch points out, often those viewing affordable listings are surprised at checkout with exorbitantly expensive add-ons, with cleaning fees being one of them.

The move to decrease the frequency of cleaning fees for listings, or at least unnecessarily expensive ones, has been part of a greater push for affordability on the platform.

“Throughout 2023, we introduced several features to help provide more affordable options for guests, from new pricing tools for Hosts to increased price transparency for guests. We’re encouraged by the results,” a summary of the Q4 2023 report explained.

“Since launching these features, 1.4 million Hosts have used Similar Listings, a feature that lets Hosts compare their listing to others in the area. Additionally, since launching Total Price Display in early 2023, we’ve seen nearly 300,000 listings remove or lower their cleaning fees. By the end of the year, nearly 40% of our active listings charged no cleaning fee at all,” it confirmed.

While cleaning fees have been impacted by Airbnb’s Total Price Display features rolled out last year, they will still be a part of the platform as the company looks to strike a balance that will leave both listers and renters happy.

“Guests should not have to do unreasonable checkout tasks such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming when leaving their Airbnb. But 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,” it noted at the time.

With Airbnb seeing a rise in quarterly revenue by 17 percent to $2.2 billion, affordability and transparency should remain priorities moving forward.

[Image – Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash]


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