Do hosts consider the booking fee their guests are paying (to Airbnb, HomeAway etc) when setting nightly price? Sometimes Airbnb charges guests upto 22%.


thaxter lanethaxter lane
last year

The service fee directly impacts an owner's independence in setting his/her rental rates. The fee is a new factor which must be taken into account when setting seasonal/annual rates - it's a market factor which did not exist previously. While the guest may be directly paying the fee, not the owner, the owner is losing $$ which would have previously been available to incorporate into a rental increase and is thus also "paying" the online booking site.

2 years ago

This question has been on the lips of many hosts/managers/owners and guests for months.

Lets split these up a bit:

Hosts is the new word for managers/owners etc embedded by Airbnb. They are, in the real VR world, mostly Airbnb owners (e.g. SuperHosts). They have not worried about this fee as it was part of the original model and was outside the more rural/seasonal destination and traditonal business.

They setup business in this context and for those hosts who looked more closely at fees may have considered the 3-5% and poor cash flow acceptable. What they all miss is oversupply, increased fees, unacceptable development of cancellation policies, so push back is occurring. From the OTA perspective partial yearly letting is no good, so they head off to managers.

This all matches with the "new" guests who have not considered or actually even noticed this fee. Value for money explanations will show through eventually and perhaps the rate management advisory attempts by Airbnb at crazy prices are in place to avoid this. The problem is that many of these prices are below owners costs and simply not worth the effort.

Now take the more firmly embedded traditonal VR owners and managers (its been going on since the 1600's). Their guests are generally more savvy and familiar with the systems and for sure are seeking better prices direct as they spot the fees and complain they were not there previously.

However those that don't spot it, become acutely aware of it after the event, especially in systems such as Homeaway where the "service fee" is taken separately and then explanations are needed. I imagine there have been thousands of conversations and emails daily telling guests they have been "hoodwinked" and thye could have saved a lot of money.

The stresses that have been created so quickly have led to the "Guests are dumb" attitude, let them pay it. But this is very short term thinking. Why are meta search engines successful in the hotel world, simply because they are price based. Its only a small step to the lowest/best price direct.

It does matter, if only because the hosts and managers feel guilty that their guest's holiday could be so much better if they spent that extra $100 on a night out or a few extra rides at Disney. How to ensure they understand this is important going forward.

It does matter to one of our guests who had no idea she was paying a traveller service fee!

2 years ago
  1. Does it really matter you as a host?
  2. Will a higher booking fee effect your booking ratio?

Yes to both (closed questions?)

  • is the next question is "why"?
2 years ago

Thanks. Waiting for other hosts' opinion.

2 years ago

CuddlyNest offers hosts more freedom to split the booking fee as they find appropriate to their needs and satisfaction. This is a great chance for hosts to earn more freedom and control over the fees, and there are no last minute check-out surprises for the guests.

It is better for the host to set up things in advance and let them acknowledged, so guests know where they will spend the extra $100.

2 years ago

In my opinion an overwhelming yes, it must certainly does matter. Perhaps more on HomeAway & VRBO because guests tend to be more confused, sometimes thinking they are paying the deposit - which comes with backlash.

2 years ago

I'm not sure about 22% charges to guests! Can you provide an example?

I don't raise or lower my prices based on the service fee. The service fee is not included in the nightly rate on search results so guests only see the fee whilst confirming a quote. Guests have to decide what listing site they prefer & whether they are willing to pay the corresponding fees...

2 years ago

Once I was telling my friend that Airbnb charges guests between 6%-12% (once I read in the past) of the booking. But he told me that he had paid 22% and 18% booking fee on two different bookings (after he started noticing booking fee, he was not sure about the previous bookings).

2 years ago

Need to add another comment:

Will it affect my bookings? Yes it will, if you use the OTA and you don't adopt all their rules, you will get de-ranked for not accepting enough bookings, cancelling bookings, not using payments, not enough reviews (runs parallel to booking volume) etc.

It's a marketing power play and they have tanks, they also have an oversupply of inventory, so no desperation.

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