Hawaii visitors hate all extra fees, especially hidden ones that aren’t reflected in the price offered at first glance. This was acknowledged recently by Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, who called it a “huge problem.” And we concur it is. Part of the problem appears to be improving, while another part is not.
On checking more than 100 rentals in Hawaii today, it appeared to us that cleaning fees on Airbnb Hawaii condos may have dropped somewhat in the past few months. There’s a wide range charged, but we found them ranging from zero to as much as $100 or more per night. And it depends, of course, on whether you’re talking about a one-bedroom condo or a massive Hawaii vacation home rental.
BOH editor Rob said that on looking for a Honolulu vacation rental recently on Airbnb, the nightly rates became nearly irrelevant. The reason is that there was so much variability in ancillary fees, especially for cleaning. In the end, Rob ended up abandoning the Airbnb search and instead found and booked one of the (perhaps rare) hotels that had no added fees. This is just what Airbnb seems to be concerned about, and is undoubtedly reflected in their ratio of bookings to website visits.
Airbnb Hawaii cleaning fees seem to be correcting.
Brian Chesky said, “Actually, I’d like a customer to never see a cleaning fee. So we do want hosts to be able to say I need to add this fixed cost, but when you go to Airbnb in the future, I’d like you to see taxes and ideally nothing else, and that’s where we want to get to.”
Let us say, Chesky; you still have a long way to go.
Mystery Airbnb service charges in Hawaii still sting.
Airbnb plans to wrap every charge into one total price that guests can see on the map of available properties. That’s good. We found today that “service fees” can amount to 15% or more of the nightly rate. Airbnb says of that fee, “This helps us run our platform and offer services like 24/7 support on your trip.” Ouch.
Airbnb: owners can pay for cleaning, but we’ll keep charging our service fees.
Maybe it’s just us, but the whole fee ecosystem of Airbnb seems faulty. When you stay at a hotel, you pay the price. They may have their ridiculous fees, namely resort fees. But those, too, are fast falling out of favor. See Hawaii Hotel Picks | Up to 50% Hidden Fees and Taxes. Guests expect to pay only for the rental and the exorbitant taxes. Nothing more.
Airbnb is moving in that direction by allowing guests to see the total price.
That we like. Airbnb suggests that most rentals don’t even charge a cleaning fee now, although what we find in Hawaii is the exact opposite. Most do charge a cleaning fee; it’s just that those fees have recently plummeted.
Airbnb fees make the nightly rate somewhat irrelevant.
We have been switched off by Airbnb because, for all but long stays, the cleaning fees and ridiculous service fees make the nightly rate almost irrelevant. Airbnb says they know this to be the case, and others, like us, can quickly drop off the site without completing bookings for this very reason.
Chesky said that we should expect big changes to pricing coming up. But in that, he may have only meant cleaning fees. Honestly, guests don’t care what you call them or who gets them. They are tired of all fees.