Airbnb users heard ‘loud and clear’ as this dreaded feature gets the boot

Airbnb once offered what many hotels couldn’t – pocket-friendly CBD locations, quirky ‘Instagrammable’ abodes and the option to ‘live like a local’ on holiday, all while saving a buck.  

But lately, excessive checkout fees and a laundry list of ‘chores’ for guests has left many Airbnb users lamenting over unnecessary costs and lengthy task lists; reminiscing about their bygone hotel days of returning to fresh sheets and turndown service. 

Well, the holiday rental company has finally listened. 

Last week Airbnb’s chief executive Brian Chesky took to Twitter to announce major changes to some of the company’s most criticised policies. The most noteworthy included a shift from the dreaded list of cleaning tasks left for guests at checkout to more “reasonable” requests from hosts.

He began with a lengthy Twitter thread, which has since received hundreds of retweets and replies, writing “I’ve heard you loud and clear”.

“You feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain,” Mr Chesky wrote.

Airbnb users often find themselves having to confront lofty fees and unreasonable checkout demands, with many guests likening hosts’ expectations to household chores, something Mr Chesky said he had recognised.

“You shouldn’t have to do unreasonable checkout tasks, such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming.

“But we think it’s reasonable to turn off the lights, throw food in the trash, and lock the doors – just as you would when leaving your own home,” he tweeted.

In the event that hosts did have checkout requests, they should be transparent and “reasonable”, Mr Chesky said.

The changes were welcomed by Airbnb users online, but some required more details.

“Stripping beds, taking out the trash, cleaning stovetops, we’ve done it all. When will there be rules saying what’s ‘reasonable’ and what’s not?” one Twitter user wrote.

Some even went the extra mile, adding suggestions and requesting further transparency.

“In New Zealand I’ve seen many Airbnbs where you need to bring your own bedding and towels! Including pillows lol. Could you look into how to filter these out?” another user tweeted.

The remaining changes

Airbnb’s foray into transparency also includes changes to its price display and search-ranking algorithm.

From December, the company will include the option to display the total price of accommodation in countries that don’t have an existing price display requirement.

“Before confirming their booking, guests can still view a full price breakdown that shows Airbnb’s service fee, discounts and taxes,” it said. 

This feature is already available in Australia but is a handy tip for your next Airbnb stay overseas. 

The search ranking algorithm will prioritise total price over nightly price.

This means that locations with the highest quality and best total price will rank higher in search results.

And finally, early next year, Airbnb will provide hosts with pricing and discount tools “to help them understand the final price guests pay and how to set competitive prices”.

In a statement, Airbnb said it would continue to share more as the updates rolled out.

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