Airbnb said on Monday it plans to make the total cost of rental properties, including all fees, clearer to customers when looking for homes, tackling what is arguably one of the biggest pet peeves of the platform.
The company said it will introduce an option next month to show the full cost of properties before taxes, including cleaning and other service charges, in search results, rather than just showing the nightly rate before charges. Some users have already complained that the charges were only visible towards the end of the booking process.
Airbnb also plans to prioritize total price over nightly price when ranking search results, according to a company blog post.
“I heard you loud and clear – you feel like pricing isn’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 still faces a more uncertain economic environment, including high inflation and fears of recession, which could weigh on its customers’ purchasing decisions.
“We started as an affordable alternative to hotels, and affordability is especially important today,” Chesky said. wrote on Twitter. “During these difficult economic times, we need to help our hosts provide you with great value.”
Airbnb plans to introduce new pricing and discount tools to “enable hosts to set more competitive prices,” according to Chesky. “Hosts have told us they’d like our help in better understanding the end price guests pay and the price to charge to stay competitive.”
Airbnb is also tackling another annoyance for many renters: chores. Guests faced additional charges for not completing request lists assigned by hosts at the end of their stay. Now, the company plans to provide “guidance” to hosts on appropriate requests.
In his tweets, Chesky acknowledged that users feel “payment tasks are a pain”.
“You shouldn’t have to do unreasonable checkout chores, like stripping beds, doing laundry or vacuuming,” he said. “But we think it’s reasonable to turn off lights, throw food in the trash and lock doors, just like you would when leaving your own home.”