Airbnb has become one of the most popular vacation rental platforms in recent years. And for good reason – it’s an easy way to find a place to stay when you’re traveling, and it’s usually cheaper than a hotel.
Guests have come to love Airbnb for its convenience and affordability. And hosts have come to love Airbnb for the extra income it provides.
But if you’re a host or thinking about becoming a host on Airbnb, then you’re probably wondering how much the company takes from your earnings.
Hosts can expect to pay a 3% fee of the booking subtotal. The booking subtotal includes the nightly rate, cleaning fee, and additional guest fees. So, if the nightly rate is $150, the cleaning fee is $25, and the additional guest fee is $25, the booking subtotal would be $200. Hosts will then be charged 3% of that booking subtotal ($200) and pay $6 in fees to Airbnb.
However, Airbnb also offers an alternate fee structure called the host-only fee structure, where hosts are charged 14 to 16% instead of 3%. Hosts who want to provide a more transparent pricing structure for guests might choose to remove the guest fee and opt for paying it themselves through the host-only fee structure.
In this article, we’ll break down how all these Airbnb fees work and how much hosts can expect to be charged. We’ll also compare Airbnb’s fees to those of other popular vacation rental platforms and explain how hosts can decide which fee structure is best for them.
How much does Airbnb charge hosts?
Airbnb hosts have many expenses to consider, from the cost of their property to the taxes they’ll pay. And of course, they also have to think about how much Airbnb will take from their earnings.
Services fees are how Airbnb make their money. They charge both guests and hosts a service fee in order to use the platform.
The amount that Airbnb charges hosts depends on the payment structure. For split-fee, the host is charged 3% of the booking amount. And the guest is charged around 14.2%, which is calculated as a percentage of the booking subtotal.
For the host-only structure, owners can expect to pay around 14-16% of the booking amount. With the host-only structure, the guest doesn’t see the service fee because it’s absorbed by the host.
I’ll break down how Airbnb’s different service fee structures work, how fees are calculated, and what hosts can expect to pay in fees.
Under the split-fee structure, Airbnb splits the service fee between both the host and the guest.
This is the most common fee structure and results in the lowest fees for hosts, while the guest is charged a higher percentage.
The amount that Airbnb charges hosts under the split-fee structure is typically around 3% of the booking subtotal (nightly rate + cleaning fee + additional guest fee, if applicable). However, Airbnb Plus hosts, hosts with listings in Italy, and hosts with Super Strict cancellation policies will pay more.
Meanwhile, under the split-fee structure, guests are typically charged a service fee of around 14%.
Let’s say the nightly rate is $100, the cleaning fee is $20, and the additional guest fee is $30. The booking subtotal would be $150. The guest would be charged a 14% service fee of around $21. And the host would be charged a 3% service fee of around $4.50.
Under the host-only fee structure, only the host is charged a service fee, while the guest isn’t charged any service fees.
This results in guests seeing a more straightforward price for the listing, while the host pays a higher percentage in fees.
The amount that Airbnb charges hosts under the host-only fee structure is typically around 14-16% of the booking subtotal (nightly rate + cleaning fee + additional guest fee, if applicable).
For listings in mainland China, the service fee is only 10%. Airbnb Plus hosts and hosts with Super Strict cancellation policies will pay more in fees.
This host-only fee structure is required for traditional hospitality listings, like hotels and serviced apartments. It’s also mandatory for software-connected hosts (excluding hosts with listings in the USA, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, Argentina, Taiwan, or Uruguay).
Let’s say the nightly rate is $100, the cleaning fee is $20, and the additional guest fee is $30. The booking subtotal would be $150. The host would be charged a 14-16% service fee of around $22-$24. And the guest would not be charged any fees from Airbnb.
As you can see, under the host-only fee structure, hosts pay a higher percentage in fees. But this might be worth it if it results in more bookings because guests see a more straightforward price that doesn’t include any mysterious fees.
Why does Airbnb charge fees?
Airbnb charges fees in order to make money and keep the platform running.
The company has employees all around the world working on improving the site and making sure it’s running smoothly. They also need to pay for things like advertising, customer support, and payment processing fees.
The Airbnb platform works as follows:
- Guests search for a listing and contact the host to book
- The host accepts or declines the booking request
- If the booking is accepted, the guest pays Airbnb
- Once the guest checks in, Airbnb releases the payment to the host
- After the stay, both the guest and host leave a review
- Airbnb uses the reviews to help improve the quality of listings on the site
As you can see, there are a lot of steps involved and it takes a lot of work to keep the platform running, which is why Airbnb charges fees.
How does Airbnb calculate fees?
The amount of money you pay in fees is determined by multiplying the reservation total and the service fee percentage. That amount of money is then automatically subtracted from your payout. Guests also pay a service fee which is charged to them as an additional charge to the cost of your listing.
Hosts’ payouts are calculated by taking the total amount of the reservation (nightly rate + cleaning fee + extra guests fee, if applicable) and subtracting the host service fee.
How can you see fees on Airbnb?
On all confirmed reservations there is a price breakdown in your Host reservation details and in the booking confirmation email you receive. You’ll be able to see all applicable fees, including:
- Fees and taxes collected by Airbnb
- Fees you collect (like cleaning fees)
- The total price your guests will pay
- The total payout you’ll receive
To see a full breakdown of service fees for bookings:
- Go to Reservations
- Select the reservation details
- Under Host payout, find the Host service fee
How do I avoid Airbnb fees?
There is no way to avoid service fees on Airbnb. The fees collected by Airbnb are how the company makes money and are used to pay for things like customer service, marketing, insurance, etc.
However, the best way for hosts to avoid paying Airbnb service fees is by getting direct bookings. This means that guests will book your listing on your own website or through a third-party platform, instead of on Airbnb. The benefits of getting direct bookings are that you don’t have to pay any service fees and you have more control over how you operate your rental.
The downside of trying to get direct bookings is that it can be harder to get guests to book on your own platform, and you might not have the same visibility or reach as you would on Airbnb. You also might not have the same level of protection if something goes wrong
If you’re interested in getting more direct bookings, I recommend using a vacation rental channel manager. A vacation rental channel manager is a platform that helps you list and manage your rental on multiple booking sites. They also allow you to easily set up your own rental website and start accepting direct bookings. This way, you can get the best of both worlds by being listed on Airbnb and other booking sites, as well as getting direct bookings on your own website.
What alternatives are there to Airbnb?
There are a few other popular vacation rental platforms, such as Vrbo and Booking.com. These platforms work in a similar way to Airbnb and also charge hosts a service fee. The amount of the service fee varies depending on the platform. Here’s a breakdown of how the service fees compare:
- Airbnb – Hosts are charged a service fee of 3%
- Vrbo– Hosts are charged a service fee of 5% and a payment processing fee of 3%
- Booking.com – Hosts are charged a service fee of 15%
- TripAdvisor – Hosts are charged a processing fee of 3%
Airbnb keeps growing in popularity and is becoming the go-to platform for vacation rental bookings. This is great for hosts who are looking for an easy way to list and manage their rental. However, it’s important to be aware of the fees that Airbnb charges hosts and to understand how it will affect your business.
Typically, Airbnb charges hosts a service fee of around 3% of the total booking amount under the split-fee structure. For the host-only method, Airbnb charges a service fee of around 14-16% of the total booking amount. While there is no way to avoid Airbnb service fees, the best way for hosts to save money is by getting direct bookings. This can be done by setting up your own rental website or using a vacation rental channel manager. Overall, Airbnb is a great platform for vacation rental hosts, but it’s fees can add up so it’s important to factor them into your overall rental business strategy.