Galashiels, United Kingdom Community Manager
I would love to hear the opinions from seasoned host.
Add cleaning fees or don't add cleaning fees and just increase the price?
Whats your thoughts & why?
@Vince1757 I've reduced my cleaning fee to: $1 for short stays, $20 for "long" stays (that's 3 nights in ABB world). The only reason I have to do the $1 thing is that you can't access the two tiered system without inputting an amount for short stays.
I really appreciate being able to have this option (wish we had the same thing for pets #suggestions) and I still have a low fee anyway. I think you're better off factoring the fee into your price, and if guests leave the place in a bad state, you can take photos and then charge them an extra fee (be it $100 or $200, I reckon they'll pay it). I've done this once (guests left vomit, i charged $120 for the cleanup after a one night stay and they paid it).
The other thing you need to factor in is what your competitors are doing. My advice from wine country Australia might not work for you - know your local market and do what you can to be better in every way than your competition. We have a higher nightly rate but a low/no cleaning fee, and I think/hope this sways people our way as I know guests hate the cleaning fee.
I think a lot has to do with your market.
If your guests typically book for 4+ days, a separate cleaning fee makes sense. It keeps your nightly rate lower, which is appealing to folks looking for multi-day stays.
When my place goes live again in the spring, I won't have a separate cleaning fee. Most of my stays are 1-2 nights. Adding a separate cleaning fee to that would likely piss off a guest.
I have an apartment on my home that I rent. I used to do $65/night + $35 cleaning fee. (I do my own at my leisure and it doesn't take long) Now I do a flat rate of $105. I actually make more and the guest isn't mad about hidden fees adding 50% to their tab.
I own an expensive home in a very popular destination where we are limited to longterm, 30+ day rentals. The property is a large, 4 bedroom home, and I charge a $350 cleaning fee, based upon my cost of $35/hr per cleaning person. It normally takes two people 5 hours to do all of the towels and bedding, plus clean the home thoroughly.
Sometimes, I'll have a very neat guest that leaves the home in better condition, and the cleaning takes a shorter period of time. Most recently, I had guests who left about 40 cardboard boxes in the garage, a myriad of personal items, and they broke a glass table top and closet door. The cleaning crew took 7 hours to clean the house, and it took me 4 hours to break down and dispose of all of their boxes/garbage left in the garage. The point is that I lost on this one, and will likely need to absorb their damages because using AirCover is an arduous process, and the guest can request that their 5 Star review of the property be removed.
My point is that on long-term rentals, it is important to set a cleaning fee that works for you most of the time. You come out ahead on some guests and lose on others. Also, it keeps your rate for the rental competitive against the majority of other hosts who also charge a cleaning fee, rather than inserting it into the rate.
Good luck with your property!
I think of a cleaning fee as.....a cleaning fee and nothing else.
Hosts do tend to have strong feelings about cleaning fees, so I'm not going to suggest there's any right or wrong way of doing things. You'll need to look at your particular market, decide how you want to pitch your rental (budget? luxury?) and take things from there. From what I read on this forum, cleaning fees also vary hugely around the world and if you're in one of the expensive areas, you may have no choice but to charge something to cover all or part of those fees. In short, it's a very individual decision and one that will depend on a mix of factors.
Personally, I've never set a cleaning fee. Working on the basis that I dislike paying cleaning fees myself, I prefer to set a per night fee that works for us and make it all-inclusive. No extras.
If you do that, then do point out to guests that you don't charge a cleaning fee. Use it as a sales argument. Mention it in your property description.
As for hosts who charge a (substantial) cleaning fee and also ask guests to complete chores before check-out, that would be a no-no for me. Does this really happen? If so , I think it gives Airbnb (us!) a bad name - you only need to glance at social media posts to see the negative reactions this stirs up amongst guests (and journalists), many of whom are now proclaiming that hotels are the only way to go. Of course, you rarely hear about the good experiences - the bad experiences always make for more 'juicy' reading!
What I definitely would like to see is the option to charge more (a percentage add-on) for a one-night stay. To me, but perhaps not to others, that would make sense, and I don't understand why Airbnb can't offer hosts this option. I would do one-night stays if that were available. For the time being, I have a two-night minimum.
Good luck with your hosting!
@Jenny349: Actually, you do have the option to charge more for one-night stays. Not in form of a % add-on, but a % long-stay discount, where you can choose when the discount kicks in. You can add it already from the 2nd night.
I think this option might be fairly new, I just noticed it a few weeks ago, and am using it now. I was looking for something like this before I took a break from hosting (Aug 2021 - Oct 2022), but could only find weekly- and monthly discounts. Which were not relevant for me, as I have a max of 7 nights (I prefer shorter stays). I was playing with a cleaning for a while, trying to find settings that would give me the desired effect, but it is not perfect what I want to accomplish.
Now I have set a price per night and a long-stay discount from 2 nights onwards, including cleaning (no cleaning fee) that:
- gives me a price I am happy with for stays of 2-7 nights
- gives me a higher price for one-night stays, so that if someone is willing to pay this, I am willing to clean 🙂
Thank you @Trude0, I appreciate your helpful explanation. As you say, it's not perfect for what we want to accomplish. Besides being complicated, it will probably put you at a disadvantage in terms of initial rate shown to guests when looking for a property? Logically, it will be higher until (if) they drill down to find the discount which would apply to a stay beyond 1 night?
All I need is a simple tick option to apply a surcharge for a one-night stay.
Clearly this could be provided. Options for extra fees currently include: pet fee, linens fee, resort fee, management fee, community fee (what is that?), extra guest fee and, of course, cleaning fee.
@Jenny349 I was afraid it would put me at a disadvantage, but I don’t think it does - see screenshots below, for searches for 1 and 2 nights’ stays. The price/night in the 2 night search is lower by the discount, already in the search result. Same thing in the map.
I see what you mean @Trude0 - and thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. Looks like you've found a good workaround - clever lady! 😀👍
@Vince1757if your property and location are suitable for 1-night stays and you are targeting them then don't charge a cleaning fee because it will make a 1-night stay significantly more expensive.
If you target stays of 3+ nights then set a cleaning fee. Higher fee brings longer stays because it splits on more days.
Think about it like a discount for longer stays
@Vince1757 a hot topic indeed.
In our cleaning fee we effectively only charge for laundry. If we put this charge into the nightly rate we would penalise longer stays which is the opposite of what we want to achieve.
In Europe the full price of the listing including cleaning fees must be shown anyway so gaming by hiding a large fee is not possible.
@Mike-And-Jane0 but couldn't you counter that with a long term discount? If the cleaning costs are incorporated into the nightly price, then the discount would apply to them as well.
I wasn't thinking about some kind of complicated calculation, just discounting to a level where the nightly price, with cleaning included, is something that you are happy with for longer stays.