Prices on Airbnb are set to get more transparent following a planned update to the platform’s search function.
Guests will soon be able to filter their search results by the total cost of the stay before taxes, which will include additional compulsory charges such as cleaning fees. The appearance of these fees separate from nightly rates has long been criticized for deceptively making accommodations appear more affordable. Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky shared the announcement on Twitter along with a video demonstrating how the planned “display total price” switch can be enabled to display the total cost of nightly rates and fees, with that price displaying on search results, map, price filter, and individual listing pages.
A full price breakdown of Airbnb’s service fees, discounts, and taxes will also be made available, and the total price of accommodation will be prioritized over nightly rates in the Airbnb search algorithm. “The highest quality homes with the best total prices will rank higher in search results,” says Chesky. “We started as an affordable alternative to hotels, and affordability is especially important today. During this difficult economic time, we need to help our Hosts provide great value to you.”
Airbnb itself addressed the issue of cleaning fee transparency back in May 2021 and promised to conduct a “comprehensive review” of fees by December 15th, 2021. The Wall Street Journal reports that the almost year-long delay for fee transparency was caused by feedback from hosts and guests that evolved into a general review of pricing and additional tests to resolve user confusion over charges.
The transparent pricing toggle is set to roll out sometime in December, alongside new pricing and discount tools for hosts to allow for more competitive rates.