Airbnb service fees

Does everyone else see this across the world?

The timing of announcing the pilot test for 12% commission fees is a bit…timely…(that was recent news)

And funny how Air keeps reducing the amount for the lowest percentage. From six percent, to five percent, and now down to zero. Why zero…will there be an option to pay full commission and no service fee?

Guest service fees
"When a reservation is confirmed, we charge guests a service fee between 0% and 20% of the reservation subtotal. Guests see this fee on the checkout page before they book a reservation.

In areas where we’re required to collect VAT, well combine the service fee and VAT amounts on the checkout page, so the service fee may appear to be greater than 20%.

Guest service fees are calculated using a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the reservation subtotal, the length of the reservation, and characteristics of the listing. In general, higher reservation subtotals have lower guest service fee percentages."

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What I’m seeing is the service fees included in the price when I search my city by map. The tax is no longer listed when previewing a listing.


Yesterday it was displaying nightly cost + cleaning fee + service fee when I navigated the map. I don’t recall the percentage of the service fee. Today it is back to normal.

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@Debthecat @HumptyDumpty this was posted yesterday So yes they can, but are they? My guests are getting charged just under 15% but I’m a low priced place. Deb for your place Rosslyn 5 nights/4 people I’m charged 12%. I don’t know if that’s more or less than before.

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I would think that part of the reason why they are pushing hosts to lower their prices and get them to use smart pricing is so that they can capture the difference. So if they are seeing dates that are under priced, they increase their fee for that booking.


@cabinhost Up to 20% to Air (guest) plus 3% to Air (host) plus looming taxes in my jurisdiction (15%) , well that math shows a max of 38% of my room rate going up in smoke.

I’m not EXACTLY sure why Air+the Government think that my $50 room is going to command $69 in the marketplace. If I could get that, I would CHARGE that now.

A consumer looking for a $50 room wants that fee in total, so I have to roll down my base rate to $36 to deal with what is VERY elastic demand (i.e., price sensitive).

At that price point, for me, STRs are too much work compared to a mid- or long-term roommate.

So …

Time to work HARD to getting bookings direct via my website (just got my first one!) and/or phase out this AirBNB ride, which gets less appealing each year.


The key will be to educate guests that there are other options besides the big sites, and they can save money by booking directly with the owner.

But I’m not holding my breath that the majority of consumers will want to book directly with the owner. Returning guests, or their friends or families that they referred to us? Probably. New guests? Maybe not. The internet is full of scams. How will a person know whether a stand-alone website is real or a scam? Many people will pay for the comfort that they get from dealing with a large company that has a reputation to protect and deep pockets in case something goes wrong.

Hence, diversification is the key to success in the future.

The big hotels can afford to get away from the Expedia’s and’s. They have large advertising budgets, and people have heard of them. So people are comfortable shopping on an OTA to find out the options, and then actually booking on the website of the hotel. We can’t afford that as independent operators, so most of us are at the mercy of AirBnB and HomeAway for the majority of our business.

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You know, it “used” to be this way all over the world. It wasn’t easy to find the places. It wasn’t easy for owners to market their places. Communication was difficult involving international phone calls without translation services. Perhaps we will all go in a full circle… but I think that for the majority of shared home and even entire spaces, the aggregate listing sites will be where potential guests will book.

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@PitonView @smtucker Oh absolutely, there is a trust factor for folks who aren’t returning guests. But there is a decent workaround or two, where potential guests can find your ratings on the listing sites but then book direct.

  • Get a brand going and use the same name everywhere – AirBNB, Booking, Craiglist, personal website. For example, PitonViewCottageBlue, PitonViewCottageUmber, etc.
  • You will find some new internet savvy and sick-of-fees guests who will use your (for example) Craigslist ad describing PitonViewShortStays to find both your personal website (with beaucoup testimonials gathered from Air reviews) and your Air reviews on the Air site (hopefully, exemplary). Or they find you on Air first or even Google Maps, and find the contact form on your website.

Voila. The web-savvy guest finds you one way or another, uses Air just for a reputation check, then books direct.

Because who doesn’t want to save upwards of 35%?

(/ apologies if you have know this already for eons)

It depends on the listing, purpose, price. For a vacation rental where one is saving hundreds on a multi-day stay, booking direct is viable. For my airbnb it’s not.

I have mostly one nighters passing through town, some of whom are booking from on the road from the app.

As a guest I’m willing to pay for the convenience of Airbnb, such as it is. It can be a pain as well which is why I use the Superhost and Instant Book filters. The idea of shopping for a place to stay on Airbnb, then leaving the site to contacting directly, then waiting for my email confirmation to save a few bucks isn’t appealing to me.

@KKC - I’m with you. If the savings is $25-$50, it’s not worth my time or the risk that I’ll “lose” the property and have to start the search all over again.

But the OTA’s are smart - the percentage goes down when the price goes up. So AirBnB and VRBO/HomeAway only charge about 6% to the guest for us. That’s still usually $200-$400 for their week. Most of our guests still prefer to book through the OTA. We get about 10-15% per year booking directly with us.

@TotalAirHead - I agree with you - and we have been doing it for several years now. Our villa has a name, and our website is EXACTLY the same name. I thank everyone for inquiring on our home, “OUR NAME”, and mention our name at least one one more, if not several times, throughout the communications. Very few people get it. The smart guests look through the big sites, then search for our name, and inquire directly.

The ones I won’t help are the ones that ask through the messaging system of HA or AirBnB “I want to book directly with you and save the service fee. How do I do that?”. If I help them after they have inquired, I risk getting penalized or de-listed, and I won’t take that risk.

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