For a long time, Airbnb was successful, and became more so, because it was significantly cheaper than most hotels. However, as the company’s success has increased, so have the prices associated with staying at an Airbnb.
The following was posted on Twitter not long ago, and shows how the fees associated with staying at an Airbnb were more than the cost of the actual stay:
we gotta stop airbnb pic.twitter.com/RUVq3Gwv9i
— alexa (@mariokartdwi) May 17, 2021
I can’t say much for “service fees” (Airbnb sets those) or “occupancy taxes” (those are set at a city, county, state or country level) but that cleaning fee is indeed pretty high. I’ve heard several people say that when Airbnb made their “Enhanced Clean” protocols mandatory instead of voluntary, in October 2020, cleaning fees also went up. That would make sense to an extent, but for the cleaning fee to be $114 on a space that costs $99/night?
Anyway, @mariokartdwi’s tweet got 1.4k replies, was liked over 200k times, and was retweeted nearly 24k times. In fact, it got enough attention that Airbnb corporate took notice. They addressed it on their web page the next day.
The title of the piece was Fee Transparency on Airbnb, and it was their way to, as they said, “share how fees work, some background facts on the affordability, and what we’re doing to address guests directly in the coming months.”
They first explained how Airbnb hosts set their prices for their spaces. It makes sense that the size, location, guest capacity, amenities and other factors all play a role in how much is charged for the rental.
They explained that the hosts set cleaning fees, and included a link that showed how Airbnb has tips to help keep cleaning fees reasonable. They also mention that 45% of their hosts don’t charge a cleaning fee. According to the company, of those who do charge a fee for cleaning, the average cost is less than 15% of the total reservation (unless, apparently, you’re @mariokartdwi).
They mention that they “believe that Hosts having autonomy over their own pricing helps empower them to achieve success on our platform,” which is just corporate BS, but they also remind potential renters that they’re shown what the cleaning fee will be before they commit to renting. So there is that (read: don’t complain about something if you’re aware of, and agree to it).
In their “Moving Forward” section of the post, Airbnb says although they take pride in their transparency about fees, there’s always room for improvement from feedback. From the post:
Catherine Powell, Airbnb’s Global Head of Hosting, today assigned a team under her purview to focus on conducting a comprehensive review of our fees and making recommendations where appropriate — with the objective of making pricing even more transparent and easy for Hosts and guests to navigate. This process will include consultation with members of our community, including our Host Advisory Board.
They say their goal for the review and recommendations will be in place by December 15th.
Will this make any changes to the fees associated with Airbnb stays? My guess is probably not.
Hosts have no control over tax and occupancy fees, and only Airbnb has control over service fees. That leaves the cleaning fees. If someone is using a professional cleaning service to clean their place, that will cost more than doing it yourself, and that’ll be reflected in the cleaning fee. If a host such as @mariokartdwi’s thinks their own, personal cleaning is worth $114, they have the right to charge that much. But since a renter knows how much that fee is going to be before committing, it’s on them if they decide to rent a space or not. I suspect that’s the type of explanation Airbnb will offer, come December 15th.
Feature Photo (cropped): www.lakeland-furniture.co.uk
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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I have a lot of experience with professional cleaning services and I actually think a lot of the cleaning fee prices make sense. My cleaning company costs about $45/hour and a two bedroom 2.5 bath takes about 1.5 hours with two cleaners (3 hours). You have to also consider some Airbnb’s aren’t close to each other so a cleaning company may be sacrificing other work to drive out to some remote area. It’s not like a cleaning crew in a hotel going room to room. they’re also cleaning the same things no matter if the guest stays 1 night or 7.
Obviously some people are gaming the system but a $100 fee for two nights seems like they’re passing the cost on. Completely agree with the sticker shock though, It can really blow up the cost of a room.
I rent out my AirBnB, a very large property 20 minutes drive from the nearest town. It costs me around $500 per full clean – more if the guests leave a horrible mess (quite frequent on AirBnB) but never less than $400, our agreed minimum with the cleaners. I charge only $300 but insist on a 3 night minimum, so the cleaning fee is never more than 10% of the rental. I already charge more for AirBnB than VRBO as AirBnB has extremely unfriendly business practices for owners. If AirBnB decides to stop me charging for cleaning, then my pricing will go up considerably and I suspect that I will be off AirBnB, which accounts for less and less of my rental business.
I just wish their software would incorporate the cleaning fee in the price shown on the search results page. I want to see the total proce upfront. I have entered all pertinent info and there is no reason they can’t show a total price at that time. It wastes my time when the price appears to he in the range I am looking for then doubles in the next screen.
I can’t quite agree with you guys about the length of stay determines the cost of cleaning . In this airbnb situation . If you can’t afford to pay for it then it’s not for you. It’s that simple .You would think that ppl would have waken up after covid but you guys go back to being same old way of thinking . Considering how untidy and inconsiderate human beings can be .It’s important that cleaners are well compensated for the mess some of you leave . It makes sense to critic after checking in about the tidyness.
In some areas, it is very difficult to find good, competent and RELIABLE cleaning services. I have to pay top.dollar for them, as I want my home cleaned to my level of satisfaction.
First, what hasn’t been mentioned is Airbnb’s algorithm for listings rankings. SuperHost comes first, but there is a reason some owners have upped their cleaning fees, it because the next level of ranking is nightly price! Low prices display first. For the longest while, I didn’t have a separate cleaning fee, until I realized what was going on. I then had to split those costs out. This is a little trickier, as I provide my cleaning products, not my service company
Second, the cleaning fee needs to compensate for a lightly messy house, to one that would take longer than the agreed amount of time.
Third, I think youve given this topic little thought. The cleaning service needs to make money too. They are contracted for an ‘as needed’ type of schedule, not say like a house cleaning where there is usually a set day/time. Most times they’re cleaning on Sunday checkouts, but not always. It’s an ‘as needed’ type of service, which can be more costly.
Was in PHX recently and a Hilton hotel was on par with the prices of the cheapest AIRBNB in the entire city. Air BNB still has good value in places like Asia and Eastern Europe.