Airbnb will finally start showing the full price of a rental listing in an effort to be more transparent.
The update to the travel service comes at the height of the holiday travel season, as the company aims to make it easier to find cheaper deals. Thanksgiving travelers, unfortunately, will be missing out as the update won’t roll out until next month. To better explain the new feature, The company’s CEO, Brian Chesky, took to Twitter (opens in a new tab) and broke everything.
Total price display
Users will soon see the total price for a location in search results, the map, price filters, and the listing page. However, it will not show the taxes that you will have to pay. To see the taxes, the official announcement (opens in a new tab) states, customers will need to go to the final step before booking to see “a full price breakdown,” including discounts and service fees. The feature will not be set by default as you will need to toggle “Show total price” (opens in a new tab) to see the full price.
When asked why Airbnb didn’t make this a default setting, a company representative told us that they wanted to reassure people who were used to the old way and give them a choice between the two.
A Twitter user also asked Chesky why taxes are not included. (opens in a new tab) in the price from the first moment, to which he replied that it is by “convention”. He said prices in the United States are generally shown before taxes are applied. Chesky then asked users if the price should include tax. Several people in the thread said they’d like to see that, so a post-tax update could come later.
In 2021, the company acknowledged that its platform has a pricing problem (opens in a new tab) after years of customers complaining about hidden fees. Back in June Nerdwallet analyzed 1000 Airbnb listings (opens in a new tab) and found that more than a third had a cleaning fee that represented between 20 and 29 percent of the price of the place. Eight percent have fees that are 40 percent or more of the original price. Add that to any additional taxes or fees, and suddenly that quick weekend getaway has become a financial drain.
Airbnb hopes these changes can help people find accommodation that better fits their budgets.
Educating the hosts
In addition to the total price display, Airbnb will be making three other changes, two of which are intended to educate Hosts. The company will adjust its search engine algorithm to prioritize the total price of a listing instead of the price per night. High-quality locations with the best price “will rank higher in search results,” according to the company.
Starting early next year, Hosts will get new “pricing and discount tools” to teach them how to set more competitive prices. Airbnb says it wants to “help them understand the final price guests pay.” There will also be a new guide for Hosts with payment requests. The company wants to make sure these requests are “reasonable and shown to guests” before they book. Not much is known beyond this announcement, but Airbnb said it will share more information at a later date.
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