Booking Direct with Repeat Guests

There have been many discussions about this on many threads. To keep it simple, I started a new thread.

  1. Repeat Guests. I understand that many hosts direct-book with repeat guests. The first booking goes through Airbnb, where the contact with that guest originated. After that, the host encourages booking direct, especially if it’s a trusted guest. Is that what you do?
  2. Communication. Hosts generally seem to use texting (off the Airbnb platform) for booking direct. Is that what you do?
  3. Payment. I assume that means those hosts can process a credit card (such as through Square), or they accept checks or cash. All good. We have a Square. What do you do?
  4. Pricing. I’m curious about the pricing hosts use for direct booking. Let’s say the room/house/apartment rate is $100/night through Airbnb. Then Air gets their fee from the guest and fee from the host. Just for round numbers, let’s say the Airbnb transaction is something like this: $100 for space, $20 for guest fee (I don’t know the actual percentage), $3 for host fee. So the guest would pay $120, and the host would actually receive $97 in this example. What would you charge the guest for direct booking?
  5. Taxes. I assume the host would collect any required taxes. We have no taxes to collect, so I’ve left that out of my equation, but others might be interested. What do you do about taxes?
  6. Anything else I should know about direct booking?

Thanks. I hope this turns into a direct booking primer.





One of our first Airbnb guests became a direct booking after their first stay. We’re remote hosts, so we don’t get to meet our guests in person, but this one made an effort to come see my band play when we were in his town. We hit it off, so I had no qualms about direct booking he and his GF. They come about once a month.

He pays through PayPal, but we have a square and could take payment that way as well.

We communicate through text.

I charge him my nightly fee + cleaning + taxes. I essentially make the same amount, but he saves in Airbnb fees. Making the same amount is fine by me because it’s a stress free booking.

  1. I have business cards in the unit that have my email and phone # on them guests can take. Indicates contact to book direct. \
  2. phone or email
  3. paypal, venmo, or zelle
  4. price without fee’s or taxes, maybe lower if friends or family
  5. off books
  6. need to remember to keep your calendar up to date,

Just do what works for you @RebeccaF


Thanks for your input, @JohnF.

@TamiS, thanks for the info. I totally forgot about the cleaning fee!

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@Brandt, thanks for responding. Good point about the calendar and biz cards.

  1. Yes.
  2. Text or email. I don’t convert anyone who messages me about a direct booking on airbnb. We would do that booking on Airbnb then discuss possible other future bookings as direct payment.
  3. Cash or Paypal so far. If they pay via credit card on PayPal then 3% fee is paid by the guest.
  4. Price depends on a few factors. The dentist who was here most of last fall got a discount because he didn’t need much cleaning, was gone long hours, and was totally flexible in working around my travel out of town schedule. Generally my guideline would be to split the savings with the guest.
  5. I plead the 5th.
  6. Depending on the kind of rental I had I might require deposits or increase my insurance coverage. With a single room and I’m right here I don’t. One direct book guest’s dog caused quite bit of damage but he also left cash and checked out several days early. I was able to rebook some of those days and he got no refund.

Thanks much, @KKC. Much good info.

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I think for us there are three reasons we won’t do direct:

  1. If they dont pay cash I dont care to maintain some other method of payment processing.
  2. We only charge $45-52 a night on Airbnb. We really can’t come down anymore.
  3. You actually hit on a really big topic I had forgotten about. In our state Airbnb collects all federal, state and local taxes and pays them directly. In addition, they collect all required special taxes. I have zero interest in collecting and paying them myself and Im in enough enough different things that I can’t afford to get audited over an Airbnb.

Thats my perspective.



Thats some good info, thanks.

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Yes, they get a business card, and a thank you email with the link for direct booking.

No, for archiving and traceability the main communication is done by email.
All reservations get a confirmation and invoice by email.

We avoid credit cards, we only take bank transfers and cash. If a guest insists on using cc we charge 3% extra.

Our AirBnB guest do not pay fees. We use the host fee where we pay 14%.
When a guest books direct they get 10% discount on the AirBnB rate.
(So we make 4% more)

No difference. We have to collect taxes with AirBnB too.

Direct booking is the best.
Full control, early payment and no absurd cancelation policies.


That’s also my price range. As I said on the other thread, these narrow margins make every penny in my pocket, not Airbnb’s, even more inportant.

And if you have that little pricing power then maybe just a few less snacks and amenities would increase the bottom line.

Respectfully, I’m getting mixed messages from you. In this thread you say you can’t lower your price but in the other thread you make it sound like you aren’t even doing airbnb for the money at all, it’s a community service.

To clarify for anyone else reading this thread booking direct isn’t about lowering your price. Quite the contrary, it’s about making 15% MORE because you are cutting out Airbnb. You could actually raise your “price” and the guest would still feel like they are saving because they are the ones with the fees listed on their side of the ledger.

As for Airbnb collecting all taxes, including special taxes (whatever that is) that’s really interesting information. Multiple others have complained that Airbnb won’t collect local taxes only state taxes and there is some debate about how to get Airbnb to do this for everyone.


I was confused because I’m only paying Airbnb 3%, but I think I understand what you’re saying now for the first time:

“To clarify for anyone else reading this thread booking direct isn’t about lowering your price. Quite the contrary, it’s about making 15% MORE because you are cutting out Airbnb. You could actually raise your “price” and the guest would still feel like they are saving because they are the ones with the fees listed on their side of the ledger.”

So you’re saying you’re increasing your revenue by charging the guest more directly (on your side) but it still comes out cheaper for them because of the lack of fees on their side?

In regard to taxes. I know 100% for sure that Airbnb is collecting and paying taxes on my behalf. When I started and Airbnb here the local govenment wouldn’t provide a business licenses because Airbnb doesn’t fit any of the zoning laws. I worked with the state and my local communities government and showed them that they’re already collecting sales tax from Airbnb, as well as the required state fees.

No one has yet mentioned requiring a rental agreement. In my situation (entire apartment rental, I’m not on site), I would never rent without one.


Would rent 1000 times over to a good repeat guest compared to a rental contract with an unknown. Take a trip through the small claims court process and you will rethink your assessment.


All my repeat business is just that - repeat. Meaning I’ve previously rented to the person via Airbnb/Vrbo. These people aren’t “unknown.”

Also, I get ID and security deposit with direct bookings, an additional level of security.

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Good point.

I’ve been looking for a standard short-term rental agreement for just this situation. So far, the only ones I’ve found are wildly complex and 6 to 10 pages long. I was hoping for something simpler and perhaps shorter. I’ll keep looking.

My intention is that I would direct-book only to someone we already know as a great Airbnb guest. And I would use a short-term rental agreement.