Why does Airbnb charge guests extra fees?

Travel Tips

Picture this:

You found the perfect Airbnb for your vacation, bachelorette party, family reunion, or other special event. The estimated cost is in your price range — and it’s available for your selected dates!

You begin the checkout process and notice your total cost is significantly higher that when you initially looked at the property’s profile. A closer look reveals a vague service fee that’s been added to your cost.

From here you may continue the checkout process and accept the fact that you will be paying more money than you initially thought. Or, you could go back to the search results and look for a property with a lower nightly rate.

If you’ve ever experienced this situation while booking an Airbnb you’re not alone.

Budget is often the biggest factor to consider when booking a short-term rental. And when companies like Airbnb add nearly $100 to the total cost of a property, people are bound to scratch their heads.

But why does it cost more money to stay in the exact same property that you book on Airbnb versus booking directly?

Breaking down Airbnb service fees

Breaking down Airbnb’s service fees

We list SoDak Stays properties on both our website and Airbnb. Guests who book their SoDak Stays property on Airbnb will always pay more than if they booked directly on our website.

That’s because Airbnb charges additional fees just for using their platform. To show how this works for guests, we compared a two-night stay at the Atomic Ranch on Airbnb versus booking directly on our website.

Two-Night Stay at the Atomic Ranch (Booking Direct)

  • $164 per night x two nights ($328)
  • Cleaning fee: $120
  • Taxes: $48
  • Total cost: $491

Two-Night Stay at the Atomic Ranch (Airbnb)

  • $159 per night x two nights ($318)
  • Cleaning fee: $120
  • Airbnb service fee: $62
  • Taxes: $43
  • Total cost: $542

In this example, guests will pay an extra $51 for the exact same property, amenities, and overall experience.

Airbnb charges guests around 14% of the booking subtotal (nightly rate + cleaning fee) before taxes in order to support Airbnb operating costs. Local hosts (like us!) are not charging guests this extra service fee on Airbnb and other hosting sites just because we feel like it.

Additionally, most hosts pay a 3% fee to Airbnb for each booking that takes place on their platform.

TLDR: Guests pay more while local hosts earn less.

Book direct to save money and support local hosts!

While there are more booking options on sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, etc., if you want to save money while supporting local hosts, booking direct is always the way to go.

At SoDak Stays, we genuinely squeal with excitement every time we see a direct booking come through on our website. Whether these bookings come from word-of-mouth referrals, social media, or our email community, we are happy that you trust us to make your stay enjoyable!

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