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Airbnb Rolling out Host-Only Fees, L.A. Cracking Down, San Diego House Parties Shut Down

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Happy Labor Day Weekend! We just pushed out a number of highly requested updates Wednesday, so be sure to read the Product Update.

Is Airbnb moving in the direction of a host-only fee (ie. no guest fee)?  Looks like it.  We got a small piece of news this week that, starting November 1st, API-connected hosts with listings in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand will be converted to use “simplified pricing” which basically means that the guest fee is dropped and the host pays more (15% to be exact). If you’re a host that already uses the simplified pricing, then you will have a 14% service fee until January 1st. After that, the service fee will increase to 15%. But again - only for listings in those countries, not everywhere.

Is this good or bad for hosts? Obviously, 15% is a lot more than you’re paying now, but that means you can increase your prices and the guest only sees your rate, not an additional platform service fee when booking.

For that matter, is this better or worse for guests?  No service fee, sure, but hosts are going to jack their rates to cover it, so who knows.

The real question is - why is Airbnb doing this? To slow the #BookDirect movement? 🤔

In more Airbnb news, Airbnb is sharing data with the city of Los Angeles to find and remove listings that aren’t legal.  Recently an estimate by the LA government showed that nearly 6,000 listings on Airbnb were out of compliance. Officials say when they tested the tool last week, it helped eliminate 1,350 listings for noncompliance.

Get ready - it’s only a matter of time before Airbnb has a data-sharing dashboard that any local town or county can use to check who is listed against their own records.  If you’re not running a legal STR, your time is running out.

A couple weeks ago we talked about how Airbnb will begin cracking down on house parties. Now we see the results of that with Airbnb suspending 17 San Diego listings for house party violations. This crack down all started earlier this month, when a guest held an unauthorized party at a Sacramento County home. This ended up with three people being shot and injured at the party. Good to see that Airbnb is sticking to their word.

2 Comments (add yours)

Chris L
Sep 14, 2020 2:00 PM
Joined May, 2017 206 posts

I would be completely and utterly ambivalent about whether the host or the guest pays the fee IF Airbnb's website calculated the total all-inclusive cost when displaying the average nightly rate to guests on the search results screen.

Otherwise, if I mark my rates up 15% to cover the host fee, then I'm at a disadvantage on the search results screen when I show a $115/night rate against someone else who shows a $100/night rate, even though the total price after all taxes/fees is identical for our two units.

Interestingly, lately it seems the Airbnb guest service fee is hovering around 14.1% (it seems to vary, but I just tested it on several different dates on several properties and it's right at 14.1%--it's been lower in the past, more like 10.5%, IME), so Airbnb charging the host a flat 15% (which is really equivalent to a 12% guest fee, since 3% of the host fee already exists and goes towards CC processing), they're actually cutting their revenue slightly. On the plus side, that means if I mark my rates up 12%, I'll still come in lower than hosts who show regular rates plus a 14.1% guest fee...hmm...maybe I should turn this on!

Paul W
Oct 9, 2020 2:58 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 829 posts

"maybe I should turn this on"

Do you have listings in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea or Thailand? It's currently only available in those markets and will be forced on everyone there.

However, they've announced that they're expanding this in the past few days, so we expect it to move to many other markets soon.