Airbnb hidden fees are about to check out – for good

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Airbnb will finally begin showing the total price of a rental listing in an effort to be more transparent.

The travel service update comes on the cusp of the holiday travel season as the company aims to make it easier to shop for more budget-friendly deals. Thanksgiving travelers, unfortunately, will be missing out as the update won’t roll out until next month. To better explain the new feature, Company CEO Brian Chesky took to Twitter and broke it all down.

Total price display

Users will soon see the total price of a location in the search results, map, price filters, and listing page. It won’t, however, show the taxes that you’ll have to pay. To see the taxes, the official announcement states, customers will have to go to the final step before booking to see “a full price breakdown,” which includes any discounts and service fees. The feature won’t be set by default as you will have to toggle “Display Total Price” to see the full price.

When asked why Airbnb didn’t make this a default setting, a company representative told us they want to ease in people who were used to the old way and give them a choice between the two. 

A Twitter user also asked Chesky why aren’t the taxes included in the price from the get-go, to which he replied that it’s because of “convention.” He stated prices in the United States are typically shown before taxes are applied. Chesky then asked users if the price should include the tax. Various people in the thread said they would like to see that, so a post-tax update could come later down the line.

Back in 2021, the company acknowledged its platform has a pricing problem after years of customers complaining about hidden fees. Back in June, Nerdwallet analyzed 1,000 Airbnb listings and found that more than a third had a cleaning fee that made up between 20 to 29 percent of the location’s price. Eight percent have fees that made up 40 percent or more of the original price. Add that on top of taxes or extra fees, and suddenly that quick weekend getaway has become a financial sink. 

Airbnb is hoping these changes can help people find lodging better suited to their budgets.

Educating Hosts

In addition to the total price display, Airbnb will be making three other changes, two of which are meant to educate Hosts. The company will be adjusting its search engine algorithm to prioritize a listing’s total price rather than the nightly price. High-quality locations with the best price “will rank higher in search results,” according to the company.

Starting early next year, Hosts will get new “pricing and discounting tools” to teach them how to set more competitive prices. Airbnb states it wants to “help them understand the final price guests pay”. There will also be new guidance for Hosts who have checkout requests. The company wants to make sure these requests are “reasonable and displayed to guests” before they book. Not much is known beyond this announcement, but Airbnb did say it’ll share more information at a later date.

If you are traveling this holiday season and hope to capture all the magic moments, maybe even a shot or two of your adorable Airbnb, you’ll need a good camera and might want to check out the OM System OM-5 camera. We think it has the potential to be one of the best travel cameras out there. 

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