AirBnb Says It Will Improve Its Price Transparency to Help Users Avoid Hidden Fees
AirBnb has turned into a bit of a hassle, given all its vague booking fees. It is not always easy to tell how much you'll pay for your vacation rental because sometimes the cleaning fee or security deposit may not appear until after you click on a listing.
However, Airbnb has acknowledged the problem and, in response, will become more transparent about its pricing.
CEO Brian Chesky announced on Twitter that starting in December, the rental accommodation platform will offer the option to see the full price of a stay in search results and on the map, price filter, and listings pages.
Users will still be able to see a breakdown of the full price, including Airbnb's service fee and discounts. Chesky also said Airbnb will prioritize total price instead of nightly price in its ranking algorithm. "The highest quality homes with the best total prices will rank higher in search results," Chesky added.
This is a step in a positive direction since the per-night prices initially shown in search results didn't tell the whole story. However, hosts may charge various cleaning fees or even fees for extra guests that aren't immediately evident.
Showing nearly the full price upfront will help make it easier for users to compare listings.
However, there is one downside, the price that you see in search results and on the map will still not include taxes. It would be a perk if it did, especially since many hotel booking sites show the full price with taxes included in search results.
"Our thinking was that since prices in the US are typically displayed pre-tax, we should go with this convention," Chesky continued.
Chesky said that Airbnb has decided to offer hosts more pricing and discount tools, noting that hosts want also want a clearer understanding of the full price users pay and what they should charge so that they can stay competitive.
Chesky acknowledged that users shouldn't have to undertake "unreasonable" checkout tasks like vacuuming or stripping the bedding. And that simple actions like turning off lights, throwing food in the trash, and locking doors are reasonable, and those hosts should communicate those kinds of checkout requests before a booking is made.
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