Airbnb will finally start showing the total price of a rental ad in an effort to be more transparent.
The travel service update comes on the eve of the holiday season as the company strives to make it easier to shop for more budget-friendly deals. Thanksgiving travelers will be sadly missing out as the update doesn’t roll out until next month. To better explain the new feature, Company CEO Brian Chesky took to Twitter (opens in new tab) and broke everything down.
Total price display
Users will soon see the total price of a location in the search results, the map, the price filters and the listing page. However, it does not show the taxes you have to pay. To see the taxes, the official announcement (opens in new tab) states, customers will need to go to the last step before booking to see a “full price list,” including any discounts and service charges. The feature is not set by default, because you need to toggle “Show total price” (opens in new tab) to see the full price.
When asked why Airbnb didn’t set this as the default, a company representative told us they wanted to enlighten people who were used to the old way and give them a choice between the two.
A Twitter user also asked Chesky why the taxes aren’t included (opens in new tab) in the price from the start, to which he replied that it is because of “convention”. He stated that prices in the United States are typically displayed before taxes are imposed. Chesky then asked users if the price should include tax. Several people in the thread said they’d love to see that, so an after-tax update could come later.
In 2021, the company acknowledged that its platform has a pricing problem (opens in new tab) after years of customers complaining about hidden charges. Back in June, Nerdwallet analyzed 1,000 Airbnb listings (opens in new tab) and found that more than a third had cleaning costs that made up between 20 and 29 percent of the price of the location. Eight percent have fees that are 40 percent or more of the original price. Add that on top of taxes or extra fees, and suddenly that short weekend getaway has become a financial sink.
Airbnb hopes these changes can help people find accommodation that better suits their budget.
In addition to displaying the total price, Airbnb is making three other changes, two of which are intended to inform hosts. The company will adjust its search engine algorithm to prioritize the total price of a listing rather than the nightly price. Top-rated locations with the best price “will rank higher in search results,” according to the company.
Early next year, hosts will be getting new “pricing and discounting tools” to teach them how to set more competitive prices. Airbnb states that it “wants to help them understand the final price guests pay”. There will also be new guidelines for hosts who have payment requests. The company wants to make sure these requests are “reasonable and shown to guests” before booking. Not much is known after this announcement, but Airbnb did say it will share more information at a later date.
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