Airbnb Host Fees: How Much Is Airbnb Charging You? An Up-To-Date Guide
Airbnb is the world’s largest online marketplace for vacation rentals. Millions of travelers use it to search for and book accommodation worldwide. So, if you’re thinking about turning your second home into a short-term rental, Airbnb will likely be the first channel you list your property on.
However, it’s crucial to know how much it costs to list on Airbnb. Get familiar with the host fees that Airbnb charges for each booking so you can factor them into your Airbnb pricing.
You should also compare Airbnb’s commissions with those of other channels. This will help you decide whether you should get listed on other booking sites like Booking.com and Vrbo.
Furthermore, once you know the amount you’ll be spending on Airbnb host fees, you may want to consider finding ways to get bookings without commissions. And the best way to do that is by building your own vacation rental website where you can accept direct bookings and take payments.
In this blog post, we’ll go through everything you need to know about Airbnb host fees: how much they are and how they’re calculated. We’ll also give you tips on how to become less dependent on Airbnb by getting listed on other channels and building a direct booking website.Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar, messaging and more for short term rental hosts. Start your free trial today!
Practical hosting tips in your inbox. Every week.
What are Airbnb host fees?
The Airbnb hosts fee is the amount that Airbnb charges hosts when a booking is confirmed. It’s automatically taken from the payout you receive from Airbnb after the guest has checked out. The purpose of Airbnb host fees is to cover the cost of the services that Airbnb provides, for example, 24/7 customer support.
How much are Airbnb host fees?
Airbnb has two different fee structures that most hosts currently have the option to choose from (however, this is changing - we’ll get into it later).
The split fee structure involves both hosts and guests paying a service fee, while the host-only fee structure requires a service fee only from the host.
We wrote a guide on how to make sure your Airbnb is profitable. Everything you need to know from calculating your income to predicting your costs and saving time with automation.
1. Split-fee structure: host service fee + guest service fee
This is the fee structure that most Airbnb hosts currently use. It used to be the only option on Airbnb and reflected the business model that Airbnb was originally going for.
If you select this fee structure, both you and your guest will be paying a service fee. Airbnb will deduct the host service fee from your payout, and charge the guest service fee to the guest.
Host service fee: Most Airbnb hosts pay a 3% service fee. However, this percentage can be higher for Airbnb Plus hosts, hosts with rentals in specific markets like Italy, and hosts who choose to apply a Super Strict Cancellation Policy. The fee is calculated from the booking subtotal, which includes the nightly rate plus optional extra charges (like the cleaning fee and the additional guest fee) but excludes Airbnb fees and taxes. For example, if your total monthly revenue is $1,000, you’ll pay $30 in Airbnb host fees.
Guest service fee: Most guests pay a service fee of under 14.2%. This too is calculated from the booking subtotal. The amount varies depending on various booking factors. Guests can see the guest service fee in the price breakdown on the listing page and during check-out before they make a reservation.
2. Host-only fee structure
The host-only fee is Airbnb’s new simplified pricing structure that the company has been gradually rolling out. It means that Airbnb deducts the entire service fee from your payout, and charges no service fee to the guest. Host-only fees range between 14%-16% of the booking subtotal. So, if your total monthly revenue is $1,000, you’ll pay between $140-$160 in Airbnb host fees.
Currently, the host-only fee structure is optional for most hosts but mandatory for hotels and software-connected hosts (i.e. hosts using a channel manager or other software to connect to Airbnb).
Software-connected hosts who have most of their listings in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, Argentina, Taiwan, or Uruguay are currently exempt from this rule, meaning that they still have the option to choose between the split fee structure and the host-only fee structure.
There are a few things you should know about the host-only fee structure and its potential advantages and disadvantages.
Firstly, Airbnb claims that choosing to cover the service fee for the guest helps you get more bookings. This is because guests prefer transparent pricing with no “surprise” charges. So even though you’re paying more in service fees, you’ll make up for the loss with the increase in bookings. And if you’d rather not take a bet, you can always increase your base rate to cover the increased commission.
What’s more, if you switch over to the host-only fee structure, Airbnb will reward you with a special tag on your listing page to let guests know that you’re covering the service fee for them.
Secondly, this is the pricing model that other online travel agencies like Booking.com and Expedia use. So, choosing the host-only fee structure allows you to have more control over your pricing (the price you set will be the exact price that guests see) and display the same rates for your rental across channels.
This way, you can make sure that your Airbnb pricing remains competitive at all times. And, your listings will be more attractive to guests who are used to no service fees on platforms like Booking.com.
On the other hand, increasing the service fee from 3% to 14%-16% is a dramatic change. That’s probably why Airbnb hasn’t universally rolled out the host-only fee structure. However, it’s possible that as Airbnb transitions to a new business model, it will make the host-only fee mandatory for all hosts across the board.
Are there other Airbnb fees hosts need to pay?
The host service fee is the only fee that Airbnb charges hosts. Note that host service fees are different from the general 3%-5% for Airbnb Luxe properties and Airbnb Experiences (where the host service fee is 20%).
Airbnb fees for hosts: how to become less dependent on Airbnb
As you can see from the above, Airbnb reserves the right to change its commission fees. Of course, they always warn hosts well before the changes come into effect. However, significant changes to Airbnb host fees can affect your bottom line. So, it’s important to prepare for them: whether that means increasing your base rate or diversifying your distribution strategy to include a variety of channels.
Similarly, Airbnb is free to alter its algorithms. Depending on the changes they make, this can result in your listing dropping down in Airbnb search results. And, if your properties aren’t visible to travelers, you lose bookings. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Having more than a single source of bookings is vital to building a sustainable vacation rental business.
Let’s look at three proven ways to become less dependent on Airbnb and diversify your channel distribution to get more bookings.
1. Get listed on other channels
The easiest way to avoid becoming too dependent on Airbnb is to get listed on other channels.
There are many different booking sites out there that can give you visibility to a large audience of guests. For example, you could list your properties on Vrbo, Booking.com, Expedia, Tripadvisor, or Agoda – just to name a few.
However, it’s not enough to just create an account on each of these websites and upload your property listings. You need to make sure that your different accounts and calendars are connected. Otherwise, your availability will be out of sync, and guests searching on one channel will see that your rental is available while it may have already been booked by another guest on a different channel.
We’ll explain how to avoid this in the next step.
2. Use a channel manager to prevent double bookings
Channel managers are essential tools for any property manager advertising their listings on multiple websites. They sync your listings, calendars, and availability across all the channels you advertise on so you can keep them up-to-date.
Channel managers allow you to:
Prevent double bookings: avoid two guests booking your rental for the same time period on two different booking sites. Sorting out double bookings is expensive and a real hassle to deal with.
Save time on managing your listings, calendars, and availability.
Simplify your guest communication via a unified inbox.
The Host Tools channel manager has direct API connections with Airbnb and Vrbo. This allows you to:
Manage your listings on both channels from one place, and
Sync your calendars and availability in real time.
This is a much more secure way of syncing your calendars than exporting your Airbnb calendar and importing it to Vrbo, and vice versa.
If you advertise on more booking sites other than Airbnb and Vrbo, you can import your calendars into Host Tools through iCal, and synchronize them too. This way, all your calendars will be in sync and you won’t be at risk of getting double bookings. Whenever you get a booking on one channel or block a date in Host Tools, all your calendars will be updated automatically.
Moreover, Host Tools has a multi-calendar where you can see all your bookings from different channels at a glance. And, it has a unified inbox that lets you manage all your guest communication, no matter which booking site your messages come from.
The Host Tools Airbnb channel manager also allows you to add your direct booking website’s calendar via iCal – which we’ll cover next.
3. Build a direct booking website
An important step in becoming less dependent on platforms like Airbnb is building your own website where you can accept direct bookings.
The best thing about direct bookings is that they’re commission-free, which means more money in your pockets. They also give you more control over your marketing efforts, since they allow you to collect email addresses and retarget guests to encourage repeat bookings.
Want to list on another channel, like Vrbo or Booking.com? Host Tools can unify your calendars so you’ll never get double bookings. Try it for free today: