At a recent Host Q&A event in Sydney, Ben, a Superhost from Brisbane, Australia, asked a great question: What happens to the money Airbnb collects from hosts and guests as service fees? We thought it was such a fantastic question, we wanted to share a few behind-the-scenes details with you here.
You probably know that as a host you’re charged a service fee whenever a booking or Experience is confirmed. For home hosts, the fee amount is usually 3%*, and for Experience hosts, it’s 20%. In most cases, guests are also charged a service fee when they book on Airbnb. A full breakdown of the fee model, can be found in our Help Center.
So what exactly happens to the money that’s collected? We redeploy it into three big categories that help support you as a host and an entrepreneur: community support, marketing, and product development. Here’s a closer look at how your fees are deployed to help power Airbnb:
One of our top priorities is making sure we can support you if you have questions or need support. As we mentioned at our last Host Q&A event, we're investing a substantial amount of resources into our Community Support team to ensure we’re there when you need us, and that we can help you with your question or concern smoothly and efficiently. In the past year, for instance:
We will continue to make improvements and invest in our Community Support team. In fact, one improvement that’s happening right now is that we’re splitting the team into areas of expertise. This will help us connect you more quickly with the right person to address your particular concern. We’ll be using an intelligent routing system to direct your question to a Community Support agent who is specially trained to address your question. We’ll be introducing this program globally in the next few months.
What other ideas do you have for improving the Community Support experience? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section, below.
Another topic we know hosts care a lot about is getting enough bookings to meet their individual goals. We help to drive that through significant investments in marketing to guests. Through our marketing teams, we ensure that guests around the world think about Airbnb first when they’re making their vacation plans. We focus mainly on three types of marketing:
Finally, our last significant bucket of spend is around product development. Airbnb employs thousands of engineers, designers, and product leaders who build the tools and infrastructure that power your business. They focus on keeping Airbnb up and running (ensuring our technology platform is strong, fixing issues that arise), and they develop products specifically designed to make it easier for you to host and succeed.
Recent examples include tools to make reviews more fair for hosts and the newly redesigned Guidebooks feature. The latter helps hosts give guests local recommendations and create a more welcoming, memorable experience overall. (It’s also a lot of fun to use!)
Let us know if you have any other questions about fees and how Airbnb spends them in the comments section, below. We love to get your feedback.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. Tbh, the only reason I posted my own situation was in response to another host who asked me about it. I certainly didn't post to seek advice on how to get more bookings on Airbnb - I'm already dealing with all that side of things, but Rome wasn't built in a day! But I do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts (Having had my home thrashed on more than one occasion by Airbnb guests, I sure wouldn't be going the stags/hens route though! 😉)
It's fantastic that you've personally had a largely positive experience with Airbnb, but if you feel that my description of what's going on with the company as a car crash in slow motion is in any way incorrect, please have a good look around the thousands of other posts in the CC - or even on Airbnb's own FB page - that support my claim. You might find it a bit of an eye-opener.
I have been with Air BnB for 3 years now. There are struggles with the system and things that have to be worked out, but having dealt with vacation property managers etc, they are by far the best and most lucrative choice. I find the system easy to navigate , for the most part, and if you pursue problem resolution , there is usually one. There has only been one time when I did not get full resolution. I am happy with the service and happy that they are always progressing.
I can afford to own my properties in Maui and make a bit of money whereas with a property manager on site , I would only be making a small profit or just getting by.
It is a business and they do deserve to make money. They came up with a heck of an idea and it works!
Who Knighted you as a “super host” ??
who created that title and made a way for it to be achieved and once achieve plies said lofty title to your host qualities which in turn inspired many more bookings? Seems your proud of a title you received and use that same title to demand more than was ever promised when you set your sites to that aim. Anyhow there are basic human reasons why air bnb is dominant, number one being humans like it’s personable feel. Don’t lose that in your grievances. Are you losing money? Do you have other sources of income or are you a full time air bnb host? If it’s your only income I the frustration is justified but not without a touch of proof you could make more elsewhere. In America there are many other rental platforms that have great success but also higher fees.
Susan you need a wake up call.
I too am one of those rare Superhosts who have pretty much the same credentials you describe to yourself.
perhaps you should try listing with Booking.com -Expedia et al to get a measure of comparison and you will soon find yourself ‘zipping those lips’ for Airbnb are in a class of their own and deserve every penny they get in commission.
With respect , although the 3% charge to the host seems low, one has to take into consideration the overall cost to the guest( the client) and this is anywhere upto 20% in addition to the price per night that the host sets!
So I have resently due to the hike in charges, have had to lower my price per night so that the overall price to the guest is still competitive. So all charges to guests are very much a concern to me. Basically Airbnb are getting a minimum of 20% on top of my asking price per night. I believe this is way higher than any other booking agent !
I totally agree Carmel11. When we first started with Airbnb in 2012, both the host and the guest paid the flat 3% fee. Not anymore. My guests have started to complain about the high fees so I called Airbnb and asked what they are charging. She could not give me an answer because of the complicated formula used to calculate it! It depends on everything: length of stay, price of room, rating of property, and whatever else they want to charge, up to 20% - a rediculous amount! And now the cities, counties and states are dipping their hands in the till, cranking up the price even more in taxes. Airbnb has become greedy, period.
I totally agree. the booking fees are way too high for the guests. I don't know I think if they charge 3% to guests instead of 20% that would be fair.
20% for any part of it is way too high!
And they clearly state in fine print at the bottom that it is between 3 and 20% for "experienced hosts", whatever that means.
I've been with airbnb since 2017. They have a right to make money since they're a business and one that will eventually be on the stock market. My only true problem with their business model after doing this for nearly a year and half is they want the entire world to do airbnb. They will pay everyone money if they refer somone to guest or host. I have 2 beautiful spaces. The first year I did ok, became a super host, trying to build my business. Then I noticed that everyone was doing airbnb, to the point where my 79.00 a night was considered way too expensive and airbnb kept suggesting that I lower my rates to about 40 a night. I can't do that -- I pay property taxes, I have air conditioning bills etc. I realized it's becoming a bit like Ebay with beds in that the rush to have the whole world do it just drives down prices so that earning a living, albeit a modest one, will soon be impossible. Laura in Tucson, Arizona.
@Denise801 I have been trying to figure out what that “between 3% and 20%” means as well.
Airbnb steadily takes 3% from me, much more from my guests.
I believe we should be told exactly how the fees are determined. It’s another example of Airbnb’s total opacity on matters that concern us.