Airbnb to include cleaning fees in total display prices

Worldwide: From next month, Airbnb will refine its search results and enhance transparency in the booking process to include cleaning fees in the total display prices.

CEO Brian Chesky took to Twitter to reassure Airbnb users that they would soon be able to see the total prices they pay upfront. When a new toggle is turned on, guests will see the total price before taxes in search results, as well as on the map, price filter and listing page, while a full price breakdown with Airbnb’s service fee, discounts and taxes will be visible too.

Airbnb will now prioritise the total price, instead of the nightly price, in its search ranking algorithm, meaning that the highest quality homes with the best total prices will rank higher in search results than similar listings for the area.

To set more competitive prices, Airbnb is also launching new pricing and discount tools, based on feedback from hosts who said that they wanted more help to understand the final prices that guests pay and what rates they should be charging to stay competitive.

Airbnb’s latest announcement appears to be a response to a rise in customer complaints about cleaning fees and other hidden charges. The backlash from the Airbnb community follows a May 2021 blog post written by Catherine Powell, global head of hosting at Airbnb, stating that the company displays transparent, fee-inclusive prices on its listings but that it would form a team to lead a comprehensive review of fee displays on the platform.

In a statement, Chesky emphasised the need to help hosts provide great value to guests, adding that “affordability is especially important today during this difficult economic time”.

However, instead of enforcing specific rules around affordable cleaning fees, Airbnb only currently offers “tips” for setting up and displaying fees on listings. Some hosts have become increasingly irate about the lack of clarity and are requesting guests to do deeper cleaning tasks [including stripping the bed, doing laundry, recycling and vacuuming], leading users to voice their frustrations at their growing workload when preparing to check out.

Further announcements may yet be on the horizon, but Chesky reiterated that guests “shouldn’t have to do so much” and hosts should only give out “reasonable” checkout requests.