Guest service fee? What is this?

What is the guest service fee that Airbnb is charging now on top of taxes and the host service fee?

Airbnb has always charged a guest service fee, that’s their major source of revenue. How long have you been hosting?


This is not new. Guest always paid the bulk of the fees, 10% and up (it’s gone up over the years) and host pays the 3%.

This seems to be another example of hosts don’t read.


@TheDees And the occupancy fee is not an Airbnb charge, it is what they are required to submit to your local tax dept. on your behalf, based on the law in your jurisdiction.


I have seen my guests pay as high as 20% on a booking at mine, and then I get pinged on the value rating…


Definitely not new. Almost exactly 15% based on that screen cap, which is about average. Airbnb says the average is 14.2% but they are not very transparent about the range.

You can find info online indicating the guest service fee ranges anywhere from 8% up to 20% depending on region and the total price of the reservation. The guest service fee is where Airbnb actually makes their revenue. The 3% host service fee is barely enough to cover the transaction service charges for guest payments and host payouts.

@TheDees, the guests have always paid a service fee. However, Airbnb has only recently started showing it in the breakdown in the reservations details, where your screenshots are from, so that is why you may not have been aware. It was previously available in the “price breakdown” from the calendar but you would have had to click a little extra to get there. Personally, I think it is sometimes good to keep up with what the guests are paying so you can see how your pricing effects the total, e.g. $399 is a nice round number, unless you have a strict standard price.

You can see, prior to a reservation, what the guest will pay (and what your payout will be) by selecting dates and then putting your cursor in the price box and clicking on “show details”. You can also change the number of guests there too, if you have extra guest fees - I charge for each guest after the first one, so it helps me see the total for 1- 4 guests.

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This happened with one of my bookings for a supremely happy guest. When I asked her (in writing) why, she stated “The fees are really high, I don’t give a 5 for that.” When I explained that we don’t see the fees, it all goes to Air and we have no say, she apologized profusely.

Then when they get an issue, they end up here.

What a sterling resource this forum is.

Maybe we should suggest the young Master Chesky outsources the help to here :rofl:



My guests don’t pay a host service fee. All charges are to me now :frowning: all 15%.

But it’s not quite accurate to say that all the fees go to Air.

The guest fee the Host charges goes to the Host.

Airbnb independently charges a guest fee, which all goes to Air.

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??? What guest fee the host charges? You mean an extra guest fee? That’s not what @casailinglady meant. All service fees go to Airbnb.
Obviously anything the host charges extra for goes to the host.

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Yes, that is what I meant. It is confusing because both have the words ‘Guest’ and “Fee” in them. The Hosts do keep the ‘Extra guest fee.’ My point.

I see what you are saying. The key words are ‘service fee.’ Airbnb keeps all the ‘service fees’. Your point.

Still, I think the average guest is going to lump together the Extra Service Fee that the Host keeps with the Guest service fee together under the rubric of 'Fees.’ They both have ‘fee’ in their names.

So if we say to a guest that all the fees go to Airbnb, that’s not quite accurate. I suppose we could say that all service fees go to Airbnb, That would be technically accurate but wouldn’t it be misleading? Because the Extra guest fee, though not called a service fee, is a fee. Plausibly it could be interpreted by a guest to relate to the ‘service’ of providing hospitality. And, of course, the Host gets the cleaning fee.

The guest doesn’t care about labels, whether it’s a ‘service fee’ or an ‘extra guest fee’ or a cleaning fee.’ They’re fees. All they know is that the daily rate is $X but when all is said and done – after the fees and taxes are paid – they owe much more than $X per night.

In my example, above, the Host IS getting most of those fees.

So I wouldn’t myself feel comfortable saying that all the “fees” go to Airbnb. Or splitting hairs to say all service fees go to Airbnb.

Instead, I would compare the value of what I provide to what a hotel [or other alternative] would provide. So I would take the all-in cost – in my example $ 357 a night [a little high because this reservation spreads the cleaning fee over just three nights]. Can a hotel provide a three bedroom suite with large living and dining areas, and a private yard, along with the feel and amenities of a home, for $357 a night? Not to mention a fully stocked and equipped kitchen. [FYI: A recent low-season five day rental translated to $235/night.]

Isn’t the real comparison the all-in cost of your place vs the alternative, with a corresponding comparison of benefits that each offers. So, for example, the hotel will likely not have any cancellation fee. And it will likely have a gym, probably a restaurant or cafe. But on a whole-house rental you get the whole house – MUCH MORE SPACE – and a private yard (and we’ve seen some beauties here),

I would rather live or die by that cost-value comparison than by pointing my fingers at Airbnb because in the end I don’t see why the guest should care who keeps which fees. They’re paying that all-in cost and I’d like to focus them on the value of what we’re providing.

In some situations the cost-value comparison might benefit the hotel or a different STR; in others, our place. The guest might be momentarily distracted by the claim that Airbnb keeps the fees or our plea of what we don’t control but eventually the guest will or should focus on the all-in cost-value comparison.

I might ask a guest who questioned the value of our STR why they selected it. Their recitation will reveal what they valued when they made the reservation. Do they still value those things? Airbnb shows the all-in cost [before occupancy taxes] before they make the reservation. Why is the guest suddenly talking about fees? These were all known upfront.

So the guest should stop their whining, which is actually one of our House rules, a violation of which is – get ready for it – a $25 fee. But I’d discount it to $20 if I could then use the Home Alone line: “Keep the change ya filthy animal.”

The extra guest “fee” would more accurately be called the nightly rate for extra guests.
Service fees are administrative fees.

And I think it is important for guests to understand what goes to the host and what goes to Airbnb. Sure, the bottom line is what the guest pays in total, but guests who understand that hosts do not see a penny of that service fee are more likely to give higher value ratings.

Because if they understand that the host didn’t pocket that service fee they can better understand why the host charges what they do for the nightly rate.

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Well, if I were a guess I would estimate value by looking at the total costs regardless of who is getting what. Bu that’s me.

What perhaps you and @casailinglady are saying is that in real life this distinction that all service fees goes to Airbnb does make a difference to the typical guest, resulting in a higher value score. So, though anecdotal, that’s valuable information.

I’ll keep that in mind if I find myself engaged in a discussion of ‘value’ with a guest. But I think it will be my fallback if I don’t make progress in a cost-value discussion.

Thank you.

We’ve changed the commission model to “host pays all”. So, we’re charged 15% and the guest pays nothing. We subsequently raised prices 20% to account for this, and nobody has flinched. Fully booked. All good.


Sadly, my market won’t support that price hike. I tried when you could switch back and had crickets during a busy time.

I haven’t studied this, but I wonder if the Host paid the Host service fee and didn’t mark it up wouldn’t the cost to the guest be the same?

Since Airbnb shows the all-in cost before occupancy costs wold’t those costs be the same?

The difference would be that the daily rate would show as higher if the Host pays the Host service fee, But if the guest looked below to compare all-in costs, the all-in cost would be the same as when the Host did not pay the Guest service fee.

Is this correct?

If so, I guess there’s no advantage in doing so. The potential disadvantage is your higher daily rate and then having to explain – if you get the chance to explain – that the all-in cost is the same as a lower daily rate where the guest pays Airbnb’s guest service fee.

It’s actually only a 5% increase.

With the traditional plan, the host pays 3%, and the guest pays 15%. That’s 18%.

So, we went to the full commission model, where we pay 15% and the guest pays zero. That’s a 3% discount to us, yet we can add 15% to the price without adding a penny to what the guest would otherwise pay. Our 20% increase actually nets us 8% more while only adding 5% to the price.


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