Airbnb to List Actual Prices, Stop Letting Hosts Make Guests Do Laundry• https://www.vice.com, By Maxwell Strachan
In response to a growing chorus of complaints, Airbnb plans to start prioritizing the total price of stays rather than the nightly rate and clamp down on "unreasonable" checkout tasks like vacuuming or doing the laundry, the company announced Monday.
As part of the effort, the company will, starting in December, give customers the option to view the total price of a stay before taxes "up front" when they search for homes, rather than only the nightly rate, which had excluded fees for things like cleaning. The total price will also be prioritized in the company's search algorithm moving forward.
Additionally, the company will make sure guests can review all proposed checkout tasks before they book their stay, so they aren't surprised at the end of their trip. To reduce the prevalence of unreasonable requests, the company additionally plans to update guidelines for hosts on what is a suitable checkout request.
The company said certain tasks, like turning off the lights and locking the doors are "reasonable," but "doing laundry, and vacuuming" are not.
The topic of so-called "junk" fees has been a growing concern, including to the Biden administration, which last month said "hidden" or "surprise" fees are "not just an irritant" but also "make it hard to comparison shop and can burden" financially vulnerable households.
Airbnb in particular had faced a growing amount of criticism for what many customers saw as increasingly "ridiculous" cleaning fees and checkout tasks, including requests like washing bedding and dusting all surfaces. In response, Airbnb announced in May 2021 that the company would undertake a "comprehensive review" of its fees.