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Airbnb is addressing two huge complaints: Hidden fees and chores

Nov. 7, 2022 Updated Mon., Nov. 7, 2022 at 5:56 p.m.

 (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg)
(Gabby Jones/Bloomberg)
By Hannah Sampson Washington Post

One of Airbnb’s most-derided features – fees that can cause rental prices on the platform to balloon from the figures initially shown in search results – will be hidden no more, the company said Monday.

Starting in December, Airbnb said, it will begin offering users the option to show the total price of a listing up front, including cleaning fees and service fees, but not taxes. The total will also be shown on the map, filter and listing page. The company said it will make the move in countries that don’t already have price display requirements.

The company also said it is telling hosts that any requests for visitors who are checking out should be reasonable and clear to guests before they book. Many users have taken to social media to complain of a laundry list of tasks they have to complete before leaving, likening the experience to being assigned chores. Comedians have also been poking fun at the practice.

“I’ve heard you loud and clear – you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain,” CEO Brian Chesky said on Twitter Monday morning.

Airbnb will prioritize the total price – instead of nightly price – in its algorithm that determines search ranking. That means homes with the highest quality and best total prices will rank higher if there are similar options in the same area.

“We started as an affordable alternative to hotels, and affordability is especially important today,” Chesky wrote on Twitter.

“Guests should not have to do unreasonable checkout tasks such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming when leaving their Airbnb,” the company said in its news release. “But we think it’s reasonable to ask guests to turn off the lights, throw food in the trash, and lock the doors – just like they would when leaving their own home.”

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