Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Austin, TX
Level 2
2,744 Views

Here is my situation.... 

 

 

 

My current guest needs to change his reservation dates. This is a simple task, right? Send over a reservation change request, the price changes a bit, no hassle.

 

The past few days my guest has been requesting price amounts and inquiring about the change fees. To my knowledge (what airbnb chooses to show me.) I'm seeing my guest being charged $790.00 with a service fee (for the airbnb platform) of $23.70. Totaling a payout for myself of $766.30. When in reality my guest has paid $923.83 (Which I was unaware of). To my knowledge I'm charging an additional $204 for a date change for my guest. So when my guest is inquiring what the correct price should be and asking, "if the additional fee is $239.05 on top of the $923.83." I ensured them that it would only be the additional 2 night stay on top of the $790.00 that was charged to them.

 

My guests are left completely confused and myself explaining that there is no way they should be paying over $994.00 with the charges of the additional nights.

 

Now that being said, I called Airbnb. To my surprise Airbnb in reality is not taking $23.70 as a service fee, but $157.53 (with state taxes) Which is fine. I am completely aware that Airbnb must make a profit. I have absolutely no problem with a company making a profit. Although, it is not clear why Airbnb feels the need to leave the host blind to these fees. In reality it makes the host look bad in the eyes of their unhappy guests. Unknowingly giving incorrect statements of pricing.

 

It is now clear, in the past when guests inquire about the fees, why they are upset and confused. Airbnb should not pull a curtain over the hosts eyes and show the hosts false service charges. For what? The guests come to the hosts for questions regarding their stay, NOT Airbnb, only through Airbnb.

 

This is very unsettling. Not a reassuring feeling that Airbnb is an honest company to use for hosts. Why not just show the actual pricing that is being charged to the guest so that we can be aware when a question arises regarding extra nights or discounts. 

15 Replies

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
St Leonards, Australia
Level 10

I agree - it can be very annoying if you are trying to change something but you have no idea what to tell the guest is the final amount. I usually say what my rate is, and tell the guest that I have no idea what Airbnb charge on top and that it is not visible to me.

I also agree that they should be more open in showing their fees. As you say, they are running a business and have to make money somewhere to keep changing the platform. It makes me think that they are embarrassed about the amount they charge for the use of their platform - otherwise they would be more transparent. Other platforms I host with show the amounts charged to everyone so there are no surprises or mis-communications.

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Austin, TX
Level 10

@Erica132 The first fee you’re referring to is the one YOU PAY, the second fee is the one the Guest Pays. And no, you don’t see it and it’s not even a steady known number, but a percentage that changes as abb desires. 

My solution is to tell guests that I’m only shown one portion of their bill so any other questions have to go to abb CS. 

 

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

@Erica132  I agree with @Kelly149 in that you are seeing what aspect of the transaction, i.e., your payout and not the guest aspect of the transaction.  Personally, if a guest has a problem with Air BNB charges, I do not want to be in the middle of it and would refer them back to Air BNB.  I used to get involved because I felt that as the host, I should advocate for the guest.  However, I quickly learned that there are factors of cost related to the country of the guest or the payment method and realized that my "help" was not helpful.

 

I buy into "dishonesty" by Air BNB but I can certainly understand confusion and in my case ignorance.

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Watsonville, CA
Level 10

There is the cost (nightly price plus anything else such as cleaning fee) that the host charges the guest for staying,  fees the site charges the host, fees the site charges the guest and taxes the site collects from the guest (not from the host!) on behalf of local government.  

 

The only numbers the host sees are their charges to the guest and the fee Airbnb charges the host.  That makes sense, because the host pays their income tax on the amount they bill the guest less the cost of the Airbnb service. Of course in our great country we may soon be paying income tax on the cost of the Airbnb service also, but that's another story . . .

 

Fees the guest pays Airbnb and taxes  collected from the guest and remitted by Airbnb to local government  are not part of the hosts income or expense and do not show up on the host's side of the ledger.

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Placencia, Belize
Level 10

After 300 guests I do not have a blessed clue what Airbnb, VRBO, etc charges the guest. Actually, that conversation has never, ever come up with any guests and I certainly never bring it up. I always assumed that if the guest found the price objectionable they would not book through those entities in the first place.

 P.S. Twenty percent (20%) of my guests book direct, I guess those are the guests that do find their fees objectionable.

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
South Korea
Level 10

@Erica132

Honestly...... I'm not sure why guests would ask the host about fees in the first place.

 

But I do agree that when guests change reservation dates, sometimes the amounts go crazy - one of my guests tried to adjust her long-term reservation (push the check-in day by 2 days) but actually ended up with a higher total even though the total no. of nights was reduced. Because I was planning on blocking a couple days before and after her stay anyway, I told the guest that I'd issue a refund of the nights she does not stay as long as they are at the start or end of the reservation and the difference is total less than 4 nights AFTER she actually checks in/checks out  and AFTER I actually get paid.

 

Whenever I do end up talking with guests about the Airbnb platform or site or services and fees, I usually just say that my personal understanding is there is a 12~15% difference between what the guest pays and what I recieve as payout from Airbnb and that I don't know the details. I only know the host service fee that Airbnb charges to hosts for each reservation and the actual payout that comes into my account. None of my guests seemed to have a problem with the fee or me not knowing how much guest service fees Airbnb charges to guests. I actually think having Airbnb handle the payment/payout is a huge relief for both host and guest because if I had to handle all the payment stuff directly with the guest, I probably would not be able to host. Right now, all I need to do is make sure my nightly rates are up-to-date and sufficient to cover my costs and then some 🙂

 

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1857/what-are-airbnb-service-fees

 

Besides, Airbnb was never known for its "transparency" or "honesty" or "fairness" - they are just another business out to make money.

 

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Paris, France
Level 10

I ask my guests the total fee from time to time, as a local rental contract requests me to show the absolute total including all fees. I need that for full 7nit rentals. And some guests need an invoice in a different form than the airbnb invoice. The total never came as a surprise.

when you change an existing booking, it may be that a discount for a certain lenght of time kicks in or is no longer valid. 

I had a guest for over 3 weeks, wanting to stay another week. If we extended the stay, the monthly discount would kick in, but I had to change my travel plans and pay those fees. Beter to make the guest book another stay or add the price of a week to the total nanually. 

If someone takes off two days, he may be under the weekly or monthly price and the stay may become more expensive. I would explain that and say to keep it as it was. No discount. 

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Spain
Level 2

a similar issue: 
 
During the booking process guests were asking for a discount as they found the price steep. This confused me, our nightly price was actually very reasonable. I asked the customer how much they were asked to pay and it turned out that Airbnb charged them 1200,- while we, the hosts, were receiving 700,-. That's a 70% fee which Airbnb was charging, that seems exorbitant, even if I do understand that Airbnb needs to make a profit....... Have others experienced this?



It does make the host look bad, because guests believe that is what we charge. To lower the price would leave us with very little income and would still make it expensive for guest.

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Mette5  No, that's not possible- the guests misunderstood the charges or were lying. Or it was a tech glitch. How many nights were they looking to book and what is your price per night? Ask them to show you a screenshot. 

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Spain
Level 2

Thank you, will ask for a screenshot 
they were looking to book 3 nights, 200 a night + 100 cleaning costs

 

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level 10

@Mette5 

You can exactly see what the guest will be charged for by :

- using the price calculator on the calender,  when managing the listing

- simulate a booking on your own listing.

 

Airbnb is (offcourse) not charging 70%.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1857/airbnb-service-fees

 

Aks the guest to provide a screenshot. Most likely you will see there is a communication error.

 

 

 

 

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

Are they seeing it in a different currency? Glitch maybe? I had that once.

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Spain
Level 2

I will ask them, it's very confusing not seeing it all

Re: Airbnb NOT being honest with what guests are actually being charged.

in
Spain
Level 2

but will investigate further

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