Airbnb (ABNB) began as a platform for accommodations that were more affordable than a hotel, but as higher fees and nettlesome checkout tasks become more commonplace, it's presenting a risk of deterring guests.
As a result, the home rental platform is addressing those concerns by providing more clarity around pricing and cleaning guidelines.
"You shouldn't have to do cleaning when you get out the door,” Airbnb CEO Chesky told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "So what we're asking hosts is to do reasonable tasks, not ask for anything unreasonable. We're setting new guidelines. And anything a host requests, we want to make sure that's upfront stated, so you know what you're getting into before the booking."
The new guidelines come after scores of travelers booking through the platform made complaints about unreasonable cleaning requests from hosts despite paying hefty cleaning fees.
Now, there may finally be a standard for the types of tasks Airbnb hosts can ask guests to complete before they leave — a positive development for customers who may consider the requirements when deciding to book a hotel stay or a rental property in the first place.
"A reasonable task is like lock the door when you leave, turn off the thermostat, maybe don't leave food out in the kitchen if the host can't come back for a couple of days because animals can get in," Chesky explained. "But an unreasonable task is like strip the bed and do laundry."
I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain. That’s why we’re making 4 changes:
1. Starting next month, you’ll be able to see the total price you're paying up front. pic.twitter.com/58zodrzU3g
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) November 7, 2022
Chesky also committed to making pricing more transparent. As part of its 2022 Winter Release, Airbnb has announced it will display total prices up front.
For the third quarter — Airbnb's most profitable quarter ever — the company reported that the average daily rate was $156.
"We must remain affordable, especially now, as affordability matters more than ever in this economic environment," Chesky stated.
Expedia, which acquired home rental company Vrbo as part of its HomeAway acquisition in 2015, has taken similar steps to show the full cost for customers booking a stay.
“It’s not just about transparency to make it nice for everybody," Expedia CEO Peter Kern told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview. "It is really about customers getting what they expect and getting what they value for money.”
Brad Smith is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @thebradsmith.
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Airbnb is betting that a continued economic downturn will provide a tailwind for the travel company to expand its pool of hosts, looking to earn some extra income.
Among the options that Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is mulling to remedy what he said is a “huge problem,” namely cleaning fees, is giving hosts the ability to levy “variable” cleaning fees. He’d even like to see cleaning fees, which are set by hosts, eliminated as a line item in the total price when guests […]
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