Fee transparency on Airbnb

In recent days, we’ve heard from guests about fees on Airbnb reservations. 

We’d like to share how fees work, some background facts on the affordability, and what we’re doing to address guests directly in the coming months.

Here’s how Hosts set their prices and cleaning fees

We break out the different fees clearly at multiple points during the booking process so that guests fully understand the potential charges prior to making the payment.

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. We believe that Hosts having autonomy over their own pricing helps empower them to achieve success on our platform.

Hosts need to set their own cleaning fees because everyone is in a different position when it comes to cleaning. There is a big difference between cleaning a small studio apartment as opposed to cleaning a five-bedroom house. Additionally, some Hosts choose to clean listings themselves to reduce costs, whereas others hire professional cleaners.

We again want to be clear that guests have visibility into the cleaning fees before committing to a stay and therefore can factor the fee into their decision-making.

Keeping cleaning fees affordable

While Hosts maintain the ability to choose their own cleaning fees, we do offer tips to Hosts on keeping the amount reasonable, and suggest they consider not charging cleaning fees at all. 

To that end, among active Airbnb listings globally, 45 percent do not charge a cleaning fee. For listings that do charge a cleaning fee, the fee on average is less than 10 percent of the total reservation cost.

We’re encouraged by those numbers, especially considering that cleaning has taken on added importance and costs for Hosts since the pandemic was declared in 2020. At that time, we announced our 5-step enhanced cleaning process for Hosts to prioritize health and safety. Many hosts were already going above and beyond on cleaning, but for others this process may have meant increased time and investment into their cleaning protocols. We are grateful for the extraordinary steps the vast majority of Airbnb Hosts take to prioritize the health and safety of their listings. 94% of all Airbnb reviews show that guests are satisfied with cleaning, scoring it a 4 or 5 stars.

Here’s how other fees work

In addition to the nightly price and cleaning fee set by hosts, guests typically pay a service fee as well as occupancy taxes.

Service fees are set by Airbnb. They help us run smoothly and cover the costs of the products and services we provide, like 24/7 customer support. For most stays, guests pay a service fee that is under 14.2% of the booking subtotal. 

Occupancy taxes represent taxes and fees on the accommodation imposed at the city, county, state, or country level. These rates are not set by Airbnb, but rather by the local government. They are generally the same rates that apply to hotels and other hospitality businesses in those areas. In some jurisdictions, Airbnb is authorized to collect that tax on behalf of our Hosts and remit them directly to the local governments. To date, Airbnb’s community has generated $3.4 billion in taxes over the last seven years, including $725 million in 2020.

Similar to cleaning fees, guests have visibility on these fees and taxes before they commit to a booking. 

Moving forward

We take pride in making the price of a stay transparent for guests — including the fees that are in Airbnb’s control as well as the fees that are not in our control. We also understand that there is always room for improvement and to take the feedback we receive from our guests. 

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. 

That team will aim to have this review and recommendations in place by December 15.