Improving price transparency for guests

Community Manager
Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Improving price transparency for guests




Today, CEO Brian Chesky announced that we’re updating how prices are displayed to guests in Airbnb search results. Our goal is to maximize price transparency in places like the U.S., where showing nightly prices (before fees) is currently the travel industry standard.


Guests who currently find nightly prices in search results will be able to switch to showing the total prices. The total price includes the price per night, Airbnb service fee, and any Host fees for cleaning, pets, or extra guests. 


We’re making this change, along with a few others, to help you stay competitive and meet guest expectations. Get the details on the Resource Center. 


Displaying total price and simplifying checkout


What’s your strategy: Build your cleaning costs into your nightly price, or charge a separate cleaning fee?



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109 Replies 109

I did not know that Gillian but in my market things went downhill and no one was pushing prices up but some added cleaning fees of 150 dollars . These people were usually marked down for 'value ' . The market in Ballarat had a really tough winter. I think its beginning to bounce back but there are not so many 'new players ' now.  H

I wonder who else doesn’t know about this. I see some comments saying they can’t remove the cleaning fee but you could have a lower rate for a 2 night stay. It’s still a risk of course, but it will keep hosts competitive if they use that system imho  but each to their own! 

Level 10
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

In the EU is it is an obligation to display prices including all costs. So it is already done by Airbnb for a long time.  You will see in the search system the same price for an accommodation as would be calculated for same dates in the booking form, so also including taxes.



Booking form:



Search system for same dates:



I understand that. The point is that in code if they tried to gather all the tax information from every jurisdiction in a particular search result set and then attempt to display it for a large number of listings, it wouldn’t scale. The performance would be degraded considerably. That is different than calculating the total for just one listing.

Ah, here’s a more probable explanation. Some states forbid “Tax Included” pricing.

See here:

Level 10
Huskisson, Australia

@Pat271 after reading the article you posted I understand where and what you are thinking how this will effect you. But I would have thought CEA Brian Chesky an American and jis buisness accountants would have put something in place to work for hosts who live in America. 

@Laurelle3 Not much even Brian Chesky can do if a state law forbids the advertising of the total price including tax.

Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

It seems a bit anti-consumer to forbid the sales tax being displayed. 

@Gillian166  It’s the other way around. Some states forbid the “hiding” of the sales tax in the advertising of the total price.

Level 2
Beatenberg, Switzerland

Yes, it is true that in Europe, price transparency laws have "forced" Airbnb to comply and it is a great thing.  The last thing a guest wants is to see a lower price for an accommodation that fits their budget only to go to a later stage and find all the extras added on.


The most obvious steps that Airbnb has done is to show the nightly rate (Effective Nightly Rate) on the first page in the search along with total price as well as the same effective nightly rate (as a result of total price divided by number of nights) on the map search.  It is also great that Airbnb has changed their algorithm to put more emphasis on total price vs nightly rates.


However, Airbnb could still do better and I will use your screenshot as an example.


In the upper section of your screenshot (once you select an accommodation), it shows the nightly rate of 17 Euros per night (and put in BOLD in large letters) so you cannot miss it.   I will refer to this as the Derived Nightly Rate.  This, of course, corresponds to the below nightly rate without the additional cleaning fees and taxes and Airbnb service fees in the breakdown section. The amount on top in BOLD should show the Effective Nightly Rate of 22 Euros.


As more and more people are making bookings on their telephones, this difference adds both confusion and goes against true pricing transparency.  I say this as on a mobile phone, a guest sees the "correct" nightly rate of 22 Euros when presented with the range of accommodations shown on the first page when searching a destination as well as the map.  However, once a guest then clicks on the accommodation itself, at the bottom of the page is displays the lower derived nightly rate of 17 Euros for the dates chosen and a reserve button in red at the bottom of the screen.  For someone who does not know how Airbnb works, they may "think" that this is a sudden discount on the pricing they had just seen, making them more likely to click the Reserve button.  Only then do they see that this lower derived nightly rate does not include the extras.


One may say, this is just a slight difference and you see on the next page the total price.  However, for a large accommodation that charges say 270 Euros per night plus cleaning fees of 100 Euros plus another 20 Euros for taxes, it is a big difference.  If this accommodation was searched for 3 nights, the nightly rate shown on the first page would be 310 Euro per night (270 * 3 nights +100 + 20) / 3, the effective nightly rate.  However, once you click on the accommodation, it will say CHF 270 as the derived nightly rate for the dates chosen beside the red Reserve button on the bottom of the screen. 


Airbnb is putting this lower nightly rate up for a reason, and that reason is to trick or manipulate a prospective guest to click through the reserve button.  If every host was on the same commission basis, this would be just a simple manipulative trick like all OTA's use to try to get potential guests to continue down the booking process.  However, not every host is on the same commission model.  Every host that uses a channel manger (property managers and hosts with several listings) are forced to use the simplified pricing method where the airbnb service fee, cleaning fees and taxes are included in the rates..


Airbnb is putting these accommodations at a marked disadvantage by using the lower derived nightly rates for all other accommodations using the split fee method. 


To be FAIR and TRANSPARENT, Airbnb needs to consistently show the effective nightly rate based upon the total price divided by number of nights and not show in BOLD typeface in a prominent setting a "lower" or derived "nightly rate" not taking into account the extras.










Level 1
Milton, MA

A couple of years ago I decided that it was going to be better for me just to have one price for my Airbnb rather than add on a cleaning fee or add on extra person fees. It’s worked out really well. I found that people actually leave my guest cottage even cleaner than they did before when they felt like they were paying for the service of having someone clean up after them. 

It works if all your stays are the same length (i.e you do weekly only). With stays in my market varying from 2 to 10 days, it is not possible to include a cleaning fee for 3 story 5 bd house in the rates. 

@Victoria-And-Todd0  What you can do is just take your average stay and adjust the nightly rate using that. For instance, assuming you have a random scattering of stays from 2 to 10 days, you could take the median, which would be 6 days, then divide the cleaning fee by that number of days and add that amount to the rate. You would lose out on the 2-3-4-5 day stays, but come out ahead on the 7-8-9-10 day stays.  It’s not perfect, but after many stays, it might average out to about the same as charging a separate cleaning fee.


I plan do do this soon. My average number of days (which, if you don’t already know, is a metric you can see under Insights in Airbnb) is about 4.5, although it varies a bit from month to month (longer stays during high season, shorter during low season). I’m going to raise my nightly rates by my cleaning fee divided by 4.5.

I could, but I have no intention to do it just to appease Airbnb. 



My goal is to appease guests rather than Airbnb. Apparently, guests have indicated a strong preference, strong enough to catch the ear of the press and Airbnb, for the host to raise the rates to incorporate any cleaning fee, rather than the guest having to witness the horror of having to see one as a line entry in their booking.🙄 That’s why Airbnb is encouraging it.