The Brian Speaks -- On Cleaning Fees

Notice the comment on ranking effect. Is this new? Is it true?

I don’t know but I have a cleaning fee equivalent to a one night stay and keep two and a half apartments full year round.

The half is a neighbour I co-host for who uses the apartment himself for months on end.


What does he mean by “Airbnb is prioritizing hosts with upfront pricing

Is he simply referring to hosts with a $0 cleaning fee, or is there some kind of toggle hosts can click to change the way their price is displayed?

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We can afford to charge $0 cleaning because we do not rely on (or allow) people staying less than a week – but if we needed people staying less than a week then in order to make it worthwhile without charging a cleaning fee we would price ourselves out of the local market in order to make the cleaning work worthwhile.

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He’s looking out for the hosts as usual. Just means hosts rates will go up. Otherwise, how could someone with a 3-4 bedroom house that takes 4-5 hours to clean be able to cope.

Brian must think the world is his oyster and he can do whatever he wants as there are an unlimited amount of rentals.

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““We also want hosts to try to pay their cleaners a fair living wage.”

“Try to”, says the billionnaire who wants hosts to eliminate a cleaning fee.

"Now, the goal is to train guests to toggle on upfront pricing, which is programmed to maintain its setting, he said.

“When enough American travelers and customers are trained…"

Wow, he talks about humans as if they were AI. If he wants to “train” guests, how about training them to read everything in the listing description and house rules and training them to accept the terms of the cancellation polucy they booked under?

The guy gets more cringeworthy every time he puts out another statement.


I don’t think it’s true as I have been trying it. He might be spreading a rumor to get more hosts to do that.

I’m no fan of Chesky and I frequently pursue strategies that benefit me but are not in the broader benefit of the Airbnb platform, but in this case, I agree with most of what he has said.

Some guests (not all) don’t want to pay a cleaning fee… those who think that way are naive and stupid, and as hosts, we need to take advantage of their stupidity. They think our places magically clean themselves like in Harry Potter. We need to train them to think they are not paying a cleaning fee. It should be hidden in the nightly rate. That’s what I do… it is possible using Airbnb rulesets.

What Airbnb should have done is never show the cleaning fee to guests… show total price only (similar to hotel prices on Expedia).

Chesky and his team has blown this cleaning fee issue… but perhaps all they want is publicity out of this.

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Wonder if they’ve ever considered training CS representatives?
Now that would be a novel approach.


I think it’s more that they think “hotels don’t charge a cleaning fee”, which of course they do- it’s just not listed as a separate line item. I guess they think the hotel owner pays the cleaning staff out of their own pocket.

I don’t understand why they don’t just default to the total and make people toggle to show nightly rates, and then have a pop-up for those that toggle to the nightly rate that says “The total nightly rate can vary greatly from the base nightly rate due to fees. Are you sure you want to show just the base nightly rate?”


Seems to make a lot more sense to have all listings show total price by default, with a toggle next to the total price that guests could use to see the breakdown if they chose. If guests only see total price, many assume all that $ is going into the host’s pocket, when 20% of it could be taxes charged by the govt.


Huh - that article linked to another Skift article about Chesky’s comments: Airbnb’s CEO Posts Updates on Cleaning Fees

I found two comments there very interesting (my comments in italics):

  1. “You told us it can be hard to find homes when you search for popular dates. Now, we’ll automatically show you great homes available for similar dates,” Chesky wrote. " [Great - AI that will tell me I should travel other dates than I asked for]
  2. Responding to the popular opinion that Airbnbs are as expensive as hotel accommodations, "This fall, we’re releasing updates to help make Airbnb even more affordable,” [How do they expect to do that? I’m pretty sure they aren’t reducing their service fee]

My guess is they’ll increase your ranking position if you move to the Simplified Pricing and hide their fee.


then they wouldn’t have any improvements to show… they are just spinning these efforts to get more publicity on how they are watching out for guests due to unacceptable practices from evil hosts.

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Airbnb uses search ranking as a manipulation technique to try to force hosts to do whatever they want us to.

This is why hosts get dire warnings when they go to turn off IB, about how it will cut down on their bookings, and up the search ranking of listings which offer flexible cancellation, simplified pricing, last minute bookings, accept children and pets, etc., etc.


What are “similar dates”? How can dates be similar? Is that like “alternative facts”?

Or “Hey, a 6 is just like a 9 except upside down”, or “The 12th and 21st are similar. It’s the same 2 numbers, right?”.


My listings vanished for 2 weeks after I turned IB off

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“Yeah, sorry, 4th of July weekend in [search town] has no availability for your search parameters. how about the following week? Just look at those views.”


I just noticed something that is incredibly stupid (surprise!). I searched using flexible dates for a week and turned on the total prices. The stupid-a$$ algorithm showed the total - but it didn’t adjust for those properties with less than a week available. So even if your rate and fees are the same as a competitor, your property will look almost twice as expensive as the competitor if you have a week available and the competitor only has four days… :roll_eyes: