I wanted to share some information I recently received from Airbnb about their increases in service fees. I decided to find out what the guest was actually paying for my accommodation as this is not immediately apparent on the Host platform. I went in to the Airbnb site with an incognito tab and discovered that Airbnb was adding on a 14 to 15%% service fee. I was a bit surprised as they advertised that they charged between 5% and 12% (sometimes starting at 6%). I then went in and looked at a wide range of scenarios - different guest numbers, different days, and so on. In every case the service fee was well above the advertised maximum of 12%.
I had not received any notification from Airbnb that they had increased their service fees to guests, so I decided to ring them and ask about it. I felt that this was important information to inform my price settings. The customer service representative first re-stated the advertised service fee of 5% to 12%, but when I told them that mine was well above that rate, consistently, they confirmed that Airbnb had put up their service fees in August 2017 and told me they were receiving feedback about the issue and were reviewing the policy. I have been monitoring this forum and have never seen another comment about this. I invite you all to check how much Airbnb is charging from your guests so you can see clearly what is going on. This can only be done via an incognito tab, or to ask the guests directly which I have also started doing.
I have a few points I would like to communicate to Airbnb. Perhaps if any of you are experiencing the same issue we could come together to ask for further clarification.
Why did Airbnb not inform me about this significant increase? Price setting is a fundamental aspect of managing my small business.
Why does Airbnb documentation still state 5% to 12%, when my customers are being charged well over this amount, on every booking?
What proportion of guests are being charged at the low end of the advertised service fee - say 6%? What circumstances trigger a low service fee?
Is Airbnb preparing to float the company, and therefore needs to show a greater level of profit?
Is there a risk that hosts, who own the actual assets, pay for the human resources involved, and all associated costs (aside from marketing) may feel the Airbnb platform no longer represents good value for money? Price elasticity is just as important to hosts as guests.
Is this leaving the market open to another major operator who feels they can offer a similar service for much less? Airbnb has already prepared the market with a huge number of enthusiastic hosts with a great deal of experience, all looking to increase their own profitability. It would seem careless to hand them over to another company willing to offer more for less. Why not take great care to preserve brand loyalty from Hosts?
Does Airbnb recognise that, in the past, the brand has been associated with the "feel-good-factor" with ideas of community and sharing. When that community is faced with behaviours that may be associated with corporate greed, positive perceptions could change in a flash. We know from elections around the world that the global community is fatiguing of actions of corporate greed.
Over to you hosts. In case we don't get an answer from Airbnb, we might have a go at informing each other. What's happening in your world?