With the summer vacation season fast approaching, Airbnb has adopted a number of changes under the banner of "Airbnb Rooms," including steps to improve rate transparency, says a report from ConsumerAffairs.com
As per the report, anyone who has ever shopped for a rental has seen what may seem like a low rate on the Airbnb map, only to see the actual price is significantly higher, once they click on it and all the fees are included. "One trick hosts have used is to advertise a low nightly rate on the map and then charge a 'cleaning fee' of US$100 or more. Under Airbnb's new 'total price display' policy, that goes away."
"Guests can view the total price with fees, before taxes, across the entire app including in search results, price filter, maps, and listing pages," the company says in a release.
In addition to the nightly rate, guests pay the cleaning fee, as well as a service fee to Airbnb and local taxes. Recently, Forbes Advisor conducted a coast-to-coast survey of host-initiated fees and found that guests were facing an average of 36% in added fees on top of the nightly rates, the report says.
"In other words, if someone agreed to spend US$180-a-night for a beach house, another 36% in added fees would push the one-day total to nearly US$245 and over US$1,200 for a five-day stay. Under the new policy, guests will see that total in a clear and conspicuous manner."
On average, cleaning fees accounted for 11% of the subtotal, services fees another 15% and taxes were 10%, the report says, adding, "While beach destinations in Florida had the highest cleaning-fee percentages in the US, Atlanta and Phoenix stays were running close to 50% in added charges."
The company also introduced Airbnb Rooms, an all-new take on the original Airbnb. "We are also launching over 50 new features and upgrades that address top feedback from our guests and Hosts across the end-to-end Airbnb experience," it says.
"With Airbnb Rooms, we are getting back to the idea that started it all - back to our founding ethos of sharing," said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO). "Airbnb Rooms are often more affordable than hotels, and they are the most authentic way to experience a city. This is the soul of Airbnb."
Every Airbnb Room will feature a host passport, which will help guests get to know their host before booking their stay. Airbnb has also created a rooms category with over 1mn (million) listings across the globe, redesigned filters and added new privacy features to enhance the overall guest experience.
"Currently, on Airbnb, there are private rooms in more than 60,000 cities and towns around the world," the company says.
Meanwhile, in a release, Airbnb says, nights stayed in private room listings in India grew by over 80% in 2022 compared to 2021 and private room 'hosts' in the country earned over Rs1bn (billion) (or Rs100 crore) through hosting on the platform. Globally last year, more than 80% of private room stays were under US$100 a night (about under Rs8,200 a night), with the average rate of a private room in India as Rs2,572 per night.