Airbnb to make prices clearer after user complaints of hidden fees
(CNN) — Airbnb on Monday said it plans to make the total cost of rental properties, including all fees, clearer to customers as they search for places to stay, addressing what is arguably one of the biggest pet peeves about the platform.
The company said it will introduce an option next month to display the total cost of properties before taxes, including cleaning and other service fees, in search results, rather than just displaying the nightly rate before fees. Some users have previously complained the fees were only visible near the end of the booking process.
Airbnb also plans to prioritize total price over the nightly price when ranking search results, according to a company blog post.
“I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent,” CEO Brain Chesky tweeted Monday. Airbnb announced a review of its fee system in May 2021 in response to customer criticism on social media.
The updates come as Airbnb has seen travel demand rebound from its pandemic lows. But it is still confronting a more uncertain economic environment, including high inflation and recession fears, that could weigh on its customers’ purchasing decisions.
“We started as an affordable alternative to hotels, and affordability is especially important today,” Chesky wrote on Twitter. “During this difficult economic time, we need to help our Hosts provide great value to you.”
Airbnb plans to introduce new pricing and discount tools to “enable Hosts to set more competitive prices,” according to Chesky. “Hosts told us they’d like our help to better understand the final price guests pay and what price to charge to stay competitive.”
Airbnb is also addressing another annoyance for many renters: chores. Customers have faced additional fees for not completing lists of asks assigned by hosts at the end of their stays. Now the company is planning to provide “guidance” to hosts on appropriate requests.
In his tweets, Chesky acknowledged that users feel “checkout tasks are a pain.”
“You shouldn’t have to do unreasonable checkout tasks, such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming,” he said. “But we think it’s reasonable to turn off the lights, throw food in the trash, and lock the doors—just as you would when leaving your own home.”
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