Airbnb shifts to host-only fee structure in Europe

Europe: Airbnb has announced a change to its fee structure in Europe, meaning that it will now only impose a 15 per cent charge on its third party connected software hosts, rather than guests, across the continent.

Previously the company used a split-fee structure, where guests would pay a 15 per cent service charge with some professional hosts paying an added three per cent charge.

The new fee structure is in line with other short-term rental companies and OTAs, notably Booking.com, which solely charge host fees in the region. Initial reports claimed that it was also hoping to attract more onboarding demand from hotels, which do not charge guest fees.

Airbnb claims the decision was made to give hosts greater flexibility in pricing, and to improve transparency for guests.

It said in a statement: “Pilot experiences in countries across Europe where we implemented this change showed a significant increase in reservations. By removing the service charge from guests, hosts can manage the final price that potential guests pay.”

The company initially launched the new structure in June 2019 for new hosts while allowing existing hosts to use the initial shared structure. As of 7 December, however, all accounts will be updated to reflect the new structure.

Many hosts have noted that they plan to raise prices in response to this shift, in order to retain their original margins.

Airbnb’s statement continued: “The hosts always set their prices per night. Some hosts choose to increase their prices to reflect the rate change to maintain the same earnings.

“These hosts are less likely to see reservations increase. Other hosts find it easier to keep their prices competitive and experience increases in bookings,” it added.

The dual fee structure has been a source of major legal consequences in the Netherlands, where an Amsterdam city court rules it illegal to charge both parties. In response, the company has petitioned the Dutch High Court to set a precedent on both the fee structure and its liability regarding potential refunds.