Is Airbnb finally listening to customer feedback? It seems so! Well to some extent at least.
The rental marketplace has addressed some of the feedback provided, implementing 50 new measures to make the overall experience better for both guests and hosts. Here are a few of the major changes.
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Transparency and penalty for checkout instructions
Having to put out the garbage is fine, but more and more Airbnb hosts have started dumping a laundry list of chores for departing guests to do. Makes you wonder what those cleaning fees are really for. From a transparency side of things, hosts will now be required to detail their checkout instructions on their online listing.
Airbnb shoppers can now decide whether or not a booking is worthwhile depending on how much work they have to put in before leaving their rental. If guests are required to do things not described on the listing, they can then leave feedback on the process. If rentals get consistently low scores in this department, their rental could be removed from the marketplace.
While this change does not directly force hosts to reconsider their checkout task list, it might be enough to encourage them to reduce any unnecessary items in the long run. As each rental is unique, it would be hard to limit what should and should not be done, but at least the guest will know upfront what to expect should they decide to accept the host’s checkout list.
Easier booking process for long term rentals
If you’re looking to book on a longer term basis, Airbnb will reduce its service fee starting from the fourth month. So if you’re booking for one year, eight of those months will have discounted service fees. This should come as a further incentive as many long term rentals tend to carry discounted rates for bookings over longer time periods.
Guests will also have the option to search by months instead of days, and those with U.S.-based bank accounts can pay directly via bank transfer if they are booking a stay 28 days or longer.
On the topic of payments, those living in the US or Canada will also have the option to split the total into four interest-free payments on bookings over US $500.
Total price displayed in all searches
One of the most challenging things with many hotel and marketplace booking sites is trying to budget for the total stay. Previously, you’d see the price per night, but the total would still come as a surprise as a result of other items like service charges and cleaning fees.
Now it’s very easy to get a snapshot of your total and the breakdown without having to go to the checkout page of each listing.
More filters and highlights
If you prefer to have your own en suite bathroom, there’s now a filter for that. There are also highlights for kid and/or infant friendly rentals, as well as highlights for rentals that accept long term stays.
What should have been added?
Reduced cleaning fees or remove them all together – On top of a list of clean up instructions, there’s that pesky cleaning fee, which range from at least $50 to the plus hundreds per night depending on where you stay. Is it really costing $50 to do 3 hours of cleaning or is it just another avenue for a cash grab? Why not just consolidate the cleaning fees into the nightly rate like regular hotels?
Pressure to reduce Airbnb rental rates – When Airbnb first came to the market, it was set up as a marketplace to match guests and hosts on the basis that travelers could find cheaper rates compared to traditional hotels, but many Airbnb rental prices have skyrocketed over the years. More and more travelers actually book hotels instead to avoid the high prices and drama behind Airbnb.
Crack down on deceptive listings – Another common complaint is deceptive advertising. Some hosts have either photoshopped their images, or included more items that are not actually at the rental to make their listing seem appealing. There was even one viral story about a listing that turned out to be abandoned (even though I partially blame the guest for not doing her due diligence).
Nonetheless, the changes are a step in the right direction, and we all hope they continue to implement more changes based on client feedback (from both hosts and guests).
[Featured Photo: Airbnb]