Airbnb cleaning fees to be displayed on app following user complaints: What to know

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Airbnb is making updates to its booking app to make total price displays and checkout requests available for users before they reserve accommodations.

Fees and requests will be transparently displayed on the short-term rental platform starting in December, according to a recent Airbnb news release.

The update will include cleaning fees and pre-checkout cleaning requirements, if applicable.

AIRBNB SAYS IT'S MAKING PRICES MORE TRANSPARENT 

Cleaning fees and pre-checkout cleaning requests have long been a source of contention among Airbnb users, according to various social media posts that mentioned the topic. 

Some Airbnb hosts charge cleaning fees but also ask guests to tidy up before they check out. Traditional hotels typically have cleaning staff who refresh rooms. (iStock / iStock)

On Monday, Nov. 28, a Twitter user wrote, "[I don’t know] why Airbnb’s make u literally do all the laundry and clean the house then have the audacity to charge a $200 cleaning fee. FOR WHAT." 

"This is why Airbnb is going to die. $73 a night but a $94 cleaning fee," another critic recently tweeted with a screenshot of their checkout window. "Might as well go to a nicer hotel for that price." 

Other customers have expressed that they appreciate that Airbnb will disclose cleaning fees and requests.

"@Airbnb glad [your] company is looking into new standards for hosting," one Twitter user wrote on Saturday, Nov. 26. "It’s very off-putting to be charged $150-200 cleaning fee, then be asked to clean dishes."

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With Airbnb’s new total price display feature, fees that are attached to an Airbnb listing will be shown to users when they activate the "display total price" toggle when browsing accommodations on the app.

The company demonstrated how the toggle will look in an example video posted on its news website.

"Total price will include all fees before taxes and be shown in search results, as well as on the map, filter, and listing page," Airbnb wrote in its news release. "Before confirming their booking, guests can still view a full price breakdown that shows Airbnb’s service fee, discounts, and taxes."

Not all Airbnb hosts charge guests a cleaning fee, according to NerdWallet, a personal finance company.

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Cleaning fees are usually a part of the "guest service fee" that’s included on Airbnb bookings, the travel and experience company notes. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
ABNBAIRBNB INC.95.55+0.25+0.26%

Nightly rates and potential additional guest charges are reportedly included in Airbnb service fees as well.

Most guest service fees are under 14.2% of a booking subtotal, according to Airbnb’s current service fee guide.

A different "host-only fee" structure exists for traditional hospitality listings (such as hotels and serviced apartments) and software-connected hosts, and the fees are typically between 14% and 16%, according to Airbnb.

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Airbnb, Inc. is a short-term rental and experience tech company that connects travelers to accommodation hosts and tourist attractions. (Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Airbnb’s upcoming update will aim to improve guest checkout experiences by encouraging hosts to disclose the pre-checkout requests they’d like guests to follow before they leave accommodations.

"Guests should not have to do unreasonable checkout tasks such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming when leaving their Airbnb," the company wrote in its news release. "But we think it’s reasonable to ask guests to turn off the lights, throw food in the trash, and lock the doors—just like they would when leaving their own home."

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky acknowledged customer complaints about unexpected fees on Twitter earlier this month.

"I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain," Chesky wrote on Nov. 7. "That’s why we’re making 4 changes."

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The other two changes Airbnb is making in the coming months include prioritizing total prices over nightly rates in search ranking and providing hosts with new pricing and discounting tools, so they can learn how to set competitive prices.

Cleaning fees are allowed on Airbnb, so hosts can cover the cleaning costs that occur when they prepare rooms for new guests. (Airbnb / Fox News)

Airbnb maintains that cleaning fees help hosts upkeep a "clean and tidy space" and they’re a one-time charge that’s meant to cover the costs hosts incur when prepping accommodations for new guests.

"Hosts set their cleaning fee and nightly rate based on a number of relevant factors including the home’s size, location, guest capacity, amenities and more," Airbnb wrote in a fee transparency news release from May 2021. 

"There is a big difference between cleaning a small studio apartment as opposed to cleaning a five-bedroom house," Airbnb noted. "Additionally, some Hosts choose to clean listings themselves to reduce costs, whereas others hire professional cleaners."

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The short-term rental platform has also warned hosts that exorbitant cleaning fees and unreasonable checkout requests can backfire and scare away travelers who are looking for a place to stay.

NerdWallet reports that cleaning fees can appear steep because independent hosts can’t take advantage of the economies of scale or commercial-sized cleaning appliances the same way traditional hotels can.

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