If you’re thinking about starting your first Airbnb, you’re probably wondering how to make your business as profitable as possible. (And if you weren’t wondering that, now you are. 😉)
You probably already know that, while you can earn a lot of revenue from your Airbnb, the cost to run your Airbnb can be a lot, too.
And, one of the most important (but often overlooked!) expenses to account for are Airbnb host fees.
So, just how much does Airbnb charge hosts to use its platform? Are these fees worth it? How can you avoid paying Airbnb host fees? I’m sharing the answers to all this and more, below.
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What are Airbnb host fees?
Airbnb host fees are what Airbnb charges hosts in order to use its platform.
These fees cover the cost of 24/7 customer support, insurance coverage for hosts (AirCover), and educational resources.
How much are Airbnb host fees?
Airbnb hosts can choose one of two fee structures:
- Option 1: Hosts and guests split the fee (most popular option)
- Hosts pay 3% of the booking subtotal (your nightly rate + any additional fees you charge), which is automatically subtracted from your host payout (source).
- Guests pay 14% of the booking subtotal, which is added on top of the nightly rate and any fees you charge.
- For example, assume your nightly rate is $100, your cleaning fee is $50, and there are no other fees or taxes. For a one-night stay, you’d earn $146 ($150 minus 3%) and your guest would pay $171 ($150 plus 14%).
- Option #2: Hosts pay the entire fee
- With this option, hosts pay for the entire service fee themselves, usually 14-16% of revenue from a given stay.
- While I’ve never personally seen a listing with this fee structure, some hosts are required to use it. Learn more here.
(Check the Airbnb website for the most up-to-date information.)
The good news?
Airbnb is transparent about its fees. The platform clearly states how much guests pay for the nightly rate, cleaning fee, service fee, taxes, etc. (which both hosts and guests can see).
Additionally, hosts can see exactly what they’ll earn from each booking. Plus, Airbnb automatically deducts these fees, so you don’t have to worry about paying them.
Pro tip: One of the best things you can do to increase your profitability is optimize your listing.
What if a guest cancels? Do you still have to pay service fees?
If a guest cancels their booking while it’s still fully refundable, then the guest service fee will be refunded (in addition to the nightly rate and cleaning fee) and you as a host won’t pay the host fee.
If a guest cancels their booking and does NOT receive a full refund, then both the guest and host will be charged the standard service fees on the remaining booking amount (in my experience).
What else do hosts need to pay for?
Airbnb host fees are just one of many expenses you’ll have as an Airbnb host.
In this post, I’m laying out the real cost of starting an Airbnb (everything from furniture to mortgage payments). Make sure to check it before you start an Airbnb, so you can become profitable as quickly as possible!
Are Airbnb host fees the same as Vrbo host fees?
Nope. Just like with Airbnb, you do have two options to choose from, but the more common Vrbo host fee structure (pay-per-booking) charges a meaningfully higher fee than Airbnb:
- Option #1: Pay-per-booking
- Hosts pay an 8% “partner fee”, which includes a 5% commission fee and a 3% payment processing fee. Vrbo applies the commission and payment processing fees differently to different pieces of the booking amount. To keep things simple, I won’t cover that in this post, but you can read more about it here.
- Guests pay a fee as well, but Vrbo doesn’t say how much (source).
- For example, assume your nightly rate is $100, your cleaning fee is $50, and there are no other fees or taxes. For a one-night stay, you’d earn $138 ($150 minus 8%). Since Vrbo doesn’t tell you beforehand how much they charge guests, I don’t know how much guests would pay in this scenario.
- Option #2: Flat annual fee
- According to Vrbo, you may be able to reduce the “partner fee” if you pay a flat annual fee. If you’re interested in this option, I’d recommend calling Vrbo customer service to see if it’s available to you.
How can you avoid paying Airbnb host fees?
Airbnb host fees are required to use the Airbnb platform, so, unfortunately, there’s no way around them.
Are Airbnb host fees worth it?
In my opinion – yes! The cost of using the Airbnb platform is absolutely worth the benefit.
And, if you compare Airbnb’s host fees to other platforms like Vrbo, you’d most likely be charged less on Airbnb.
Furthermore, hosts get a lot of benefits by using the Airbnb platform like damage protection and 24/7 customer support.
Lastly, the Airbnb platform has SO many users (over 4 million!) that this alone makes the service fees worthwhile. Can you imagine trying to get that many potential guests to your own website? Probably not going to happen anytime soon.
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What do you think about Airbnb host fees? Are they worth it? Let me know in the comments.
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