How to navigate Airbnb’s changes to avoid confusion

Family walks in airport terminal with suitcases

If you’re looking to rent a home or condo for spring travel, you might notice some changes on Airbnb, as well as some other home rental websites.

They are designed to help travelers and hosts by making booking simpler and reducing surprise fees.

Caitlin Ignatowski, who rents out a small suite in the back of her home, says she’s thrilled that Airbnb has made booking more transparent. The website now shows all fees upfront and not on the final page.

“People get to see what they are getting for their money, and they also probably also feel the value,” she said.

Cleaning and other fees will be more obvious

Travel expert Sally French of Nerdwallet says cleaning fees have been a sticking point for guests and hosts.

“I talked to one host who said he doesn’t get any complaints about the property except one, and it’s the cleaning fees,” French said.

The new upfront pricing tool allows users to see the total price of an Airbnb right away including service and cleaning fees, which can add over $100 a night in some cases.

Vrbo, its main competitor, has also started displaying the total price including fees, before tax.

Marriott announced a similar move in 2021 for resort fees at its hotels.

“I think we are seeing this trend of travel brands wanting to be more consumer-friendly,” French said, “in the sense of being more upfront about what those prices are.”

No more requests to strip the bed

There are other changes, too.

Airbnb announced that checkout requests should be reasonable, such as turning off the lights or throwing food in the trash.

Stripping the beds, washing sheets or vacuuming should not be part of check-out, according to the site’s newest guidelines.

Besides making the booking process simpler and more transparent, Airbnb’s other big change this year is making it easier for people who want to become hosts.

A new program called Airbnb Setup hooks up potential hosts with established “superhosts,” like Ignatowski, who walk you through the setup process.

“It is a way to make a little extra money, and engage with people in a neat way,” she said.

The changes are all designed to make your next Airbnb experience better, whether you’re a guest or want to host.

As always, don’t waste your money.

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

More to explore