Airbnb is at last bringing more—though not complete—transparency to how rental prices are displayed.
In December, the company will begin rolling out a feature that lets users of the platform see a rental's total price, including cleaning fees and all other pre-tax charges, in search results, on maps, in filtered searches based on price range, and elsewhere, Airbnb announced yesterday.
Up to now—and to many an Airbnb user's chagrin—the app has shown a property's lower nightly rate early in a search rather than displaying the total cost of a stay, springing the often exorbitant cleaning fees and other charges on renters later in the booking process.
But with the company's new "total price display," you can see the nightly rate along with all the fees right from the get-go—provided you click a toggle switch labeled "Display total price" under the search bar.
That leaves the misleading nightly-rate-only display as the default. Which is annoying. But at least now you have the option to see the full price earlier on.
“We want everyone to see it," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told the Wall Street Journal. "We want people to turn it on.”
The folks at Airbnb want so badly to show you how much you're getting gouged on cleaning fees, in fact, that . . . the company will continue showing you the incomplete cost unless you remember to opt in for the full price display?
Well, if the new policy isn't completely transparent at least it's translucent.
For what it's worth, Chesky says that the total price display feature will remain on as long as a user is logged in, so you don't have to click the toggle every time you conduct an Airbnb search.
In its announcement of the new price display feature, Airbnb also addressed another long-standing source of customer frustration: hosts who expect guests to complete a long list of household chores before checkout.
The company says it is updating guidance to hosts to let them know that checkout requests "should be reasonable and displayed to guests before they book."
Turning off lights, taking the trash out, and locking the doors before leaving qualify as reasonable tasks, according to Airbnb. But stripping the beds, doing laundry, or vacuuming? That's too much.
After all, what are those exorbitant cleaning fees for?