In response to a growing stream of complaints, Airbnb plans to start listing the total cost of the stay rather than the nightly rate, and limit “unreasonable” check-out tasks such as vacuuming or laundry.
Starting in December, the company will give customers the option to view the total cost of their stay before taxes “upfront” when they’re looking for a place to stay. The overall price will also be prioritized in the search algorithm.
In addition, the company makes sure that guests can familiarize themselves with all proposed check-out tasks before they book their stay, so that they are not surprised at the end of the trip. This should reduce the number of unreasonable demands from landlords, and the company additionally plans to update guidelines for them on what is an appropriate request from guests at the time of check-out.
Airbnb said certain tasks such as turning off lights and locking doors are “smart,” but “doing laundry and vacuuming” is not.
The company acknowledged that the lack of price transparency and the increasing prevalence of oddball assignments had led to frustration and stress among many of its customers. Announcing the changes, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said he hoped they would address issues and improve trust in the platform.
“I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent and check-out tasks are a pain,” wrote Chesky on Twitter.
The company has tested what happens when it automatically switches customers to the full price instead of the nightly rate, but Chesky said in an interview to Wall Street Journal that the higher prices caught people off guard.
“The prices do look more expensive. They don’t know why they’re more expensive and certainly that’s not helpful to business,” he said.