Airbnb said Monday it will start to include cleaning fees as it calculates prices for listings that are displayed in search results — a change that’s in response to user complaints of sticker shock at checkout, its CEO said.

“I’ve heard you loud and clear,” Airbnb co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky tweeted. “You feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain.”

Currently, customers are given the total cost of a stay, including the cleaning fee and local taxes, only as they are checking out and ready to pay for their reservation. The fee can add as much as $200 to the cost of an Airbnb stay, according to Airtasker.com.

But beginning next month, customers will be able to to set their search filters so they display the ‘total cost of the stay,’ factoring in the cleaning fee when displaying listings on maps, wish lists and itineraries when searching by price range Chesky said.

“We are prioritizing total price (instead of nightly price) in our search ranking algorithm,” Chesky tweeted.

Brian Chesky.
Brian Chesky says Airbnb’s pricing will be more transparent.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some Airbnb customers tweeted at Chesky that the total cost should also include taxes.

“Dumb question – why not include taxes in the total price number shown in search? You could fully remove the sticker shock if you can included *everything*” tweeted one customer.

Chesky responded, “Our thinking was that since prices in the US are typically displayed pre-tax, that we should go with this convention. Do you think it should be after tax?”

Another customer suggested on twitter,” Don’t go with convention. Set your own standards. The fact that prices in US/Canada have been historically displayed pre-tax is the most annoying thing ever.”

For the past 18 months, Airbnb had been testing this new search function, adding the cleaning fee in certain markets to the total cost during the search phase.

Other changes related to cleaning will start next year, Chesky said.

Predeparture cleaning requirements will also be made clearer on the site, so customers can “evaluate them before they book,” Chesky told The Wall Street Journal.

And hosts will be advised by the company on what is a reasonable task, he said.

Some requirements, such as turning off lights and locking doors are reasonable, he tweeted, but “stripping the beds, doing laundry and vacuuming” are “unreasonable” requirements, he said.

One host’s unusual requirements for how guests should clean up the bathroom, including specific instructions on how to use the toilet brush, went viral a few years ago.


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