Airbnb Issues Guidelines For Fees As It Tilts Toward Biggest Hosts

Smaller property managers are concerned the change could hurt them if they can't raise prices enough to cover the increased host fee

Airbnb Issues Guidelines For Fees As It Tilts Toward Biggest Hosts

About 10 per cent of Airbnb's hosts are professional managers, accounting for 28 per cent of bookings.

Airbnb will now require most professional hosts outside North America to include all service fees in the rate shown to guests, a measure that reflects how rival platforms operate.

Airbnb will require hosts who use third-party software to manage bookings to eliminate the “service fee” paid by guests that is traditionally tacked on to the listing price. Instead hosts will pay a standard fee of 15 per cent, up from the typical 3 per cent they are assessed now.

Hosts interviewed by Reuters said they expect most will raise their listed prices to account for the larger host fee, making the change cost-neutral for most guests and for Airbnb. But hosts with fewer properties expressed concerns.

The new fee structure comes as the San Francisco-based home rental platform prepares to sell shares in its initial public offering (IPO) this week. Airbnb said early tests show the simplified pricing helped drive 17 per cent more bookings.

“Following feedback from hosts we recently introduced a simplified host-only fee structure for professional hosts who connect to our API in certain countries,” said Airbnb spokesperson Christopher Nulty. “Our fee structure for individual hosts remains unchanged.”

But Airbnb declined to comment on some of the negative feedback from hosts about the change, citing a quiet period before its IPO.

The fee change has been communicated to professional hosts but not reported widely.

Airbnb began with hosts renting air mattresses in their homes. A former Airbnb host acquisition specialist said “individual hosts are good for PR.”