A recent inquiry said:
Is it possible to avail some discounts for this place, this is just a bit expensive?
I said no. She then said
Then in that case is it possible we book it outside airbnb? The charges by airbnb adds up much more.
I said no - violation of Terms of Service. She then said
How about this: I book for a day and then pay rest of the amount in cash to you? I mean for the next two days…
I haven’t replied to this, because I’m not sure what to say.
The inquirer is Indian (apparently a grad student), and doesn’t seem like a lunatic. She has a certain amount of net presence, but nothing substantial. A slightly odd blog - I’m not sure what it’s about. She has one review, which is positive. Incidentally, she also asked about cooking, though my listing clearly says no cooking. So she either chose to ignore it, or is not as good at reading as a grad student should be.
And this is for a booking in December, 9th Dec to 12th Dec.
I’m got mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, there’s nothing actually wrong with what she proposes. And I certainly have no burning desire to send more cash Airbnb-wards. I actually tried to book for those three days myself (Airbnb allows one to form a request to ones own site, though I don’t know if they would allow you to complete it), and was surprised how much the guest pays in fees. The amount I account for is:
7491 (2497 x 3) (daily rate for 2 guests for 3 nights) + 468 (cleaning fee) = 7959
The portion Airbnb account for is
1003 (service fee) + 669 (occupancy taxes) = 1672
As a percentage of the original amount, it works out to be:
12.6% + 8.4% = 21%
Not peanuts. I think the occupancy tax supposedly is an Indian tax, but who knows what actually happens to the money. Is anyone keeping track?
On the other hand, depending on strangers to hand over cash on arrival is intrinsically risky. Airbnb takes the risk out of it. Plus of course I don’t get Airbnb’s “protections”, which, however, I am coming to think are largely imaginary.
I guess if I had my own website and booking system (which I don’t), I could tell them to book the two remaining days on my site, but then they’d have to trust me not to shaft them.
This booking one day and pay in cash thing is actually something I would expect to come up more frequently than it does. In my case, it hasn’t come up before, though I did have some Indians back in May/June who wanted to pay in cash on a return trip. At the time I said no. I am now sufficiently jaded (and my trust in Airbnb has sunk sufficiently) that it no longer seems like an unreasonable idea.