Hosting your property on Airbnb can be profitable, but you need to know about Airbnb host fees before listing your rental on this site. Depending on where your property is, your profit margins, and your property type, Airbnb host fees can significantly eat into your bottom line and make your rental enterprise less profitable than you anticipate.
Airbnb Host Fees Explained
Airbnb charges host fees to every host on its platform. Most hosts pay fees to Airbnb according to the Split-Fee or Simplified Pricing structures, which cost hosts 3% to 16% or more of a booking’s total value. Let’s take a closer look at Airbnb host fees, including:
Flat Service Fees (Split-Fee)
The majority of Airbnb hosts pay a flat service fee of 3% of each booking subtotal. This follows the split-fee structure, in which the overall Airbnb service fee is split between hosts and guests.
Hosts pay 3%, while guests pay approximately 14.2% of the booking subtotal. The booking subtotal for both estimates includes the nightly rate, built-in cleaning fee, and any additional guest fees if applicable. It excludes any Airbnb fees and taxes.
The flat service fee is beneficial for hosts, but can lead to some confusion for guests. In essence, guests may think that they have to pay a certain amount of money, but end up paying more than they originally anticipated when the 14.2% Airbnb fee gets added on top.
If you host your property and have to pay a flat service fee of 3%, you can easily deduct how much Airbnb will take out of your profits or bottom line.
Host-Only Fees (Simplified Pricing)
Some Airbnb hosts choose to pay or are forced to pay higher, host-only fees. Host-only fees are usually 14% to 16%, though they can be higher depending on the type of Airbnb host you are.
Under the Simplified Pricing fee model, guests don’t pay any additional fees beyond what their booking states. In this way, guests benefit and don’t feel like they end up paying more than they originally agreed.
However, hosts have to pay more to cover the additional service expenses associated with listing one’s property on Airbnb. However, guests may be more inclined to book your property instead of another. They pay less overall for the booking (assuming you keep your rate the same price it would have been under the standard or split-fee pricing model) and likely appreciate more transparent pricing.
On the downside, your bottom line becomes smaller unless you decide to increase your booking prices to account for the increased fees you pay. Increasing your prices can make your properties less competitive in your area.
Who Pays the Host-Only Fee?
Some Airbnb hosts are required to pay host-only fees. Simplified Pricing is mandatory for any hosts that have at least one traditional hospitality listing. This includes a hotel, a service department, “aparthotels,” and so on.
Furthermore, Simplified Pricing is mandatory for all Airbnb hosts who are software-connected outside these countries:
- United States
“Software-connected” means a host uses a third-party software platform to integrate with Airbnb. Airbnb uses software connectivity to determine which Airbnb hosts are using the platform as a primary or sole source of income (i.e., running their Airbnb properties as a first or second business).
If the majority of your listings are in one of the countries listed above, you can choose which pricing structure you wish to use, even if you use third-party software to connect to Airbnb.
Additional Airbnb Host Fees
In addition to the basic Airbnb host fee structures broken down above, some Airbnb hosts may face ancillary fees charged by this listing platform. These include:
- Airbnb Plus hosts
- Airbnb hosts with Super Strict cancellation policies
- Airbnb Experience hosts
- Airbnb Luxe hosts
These additional fees are added on top of the standard fees levied against each booking.
Airbnb Plus Host Fees
Airbnb Plus is a listing program designed to reward truly stellar properties. Anyone on Airbnb can sign up for the Plus program, at which time they’ll have to pay a $149 one-time application fee in addition to host-only fees going forward.
Joining Airbnb Plus could be beneficial if you want your listings to stand out and if you want to attract more high-quality guests. For example, having your properties marked as Airbnb Plus properties shows guests that your properties are:
- Well-maintained and very comfortable
- Run by knowledgeable hosts
You’ll have to pay the one-time application fee mentioned above to qualify as an Airbnb Plus host. In addition, your host-only fee will usually be closer to 16% instead of 14%, though it depends on factors like your property’s location and size.
The Airbnb Plus host fee could be well worth it in the long run, especially if you plan on hosting with Airbnb for years to come. The extra attention and guest bookings you could receive from a Plus designation on your rental properties could very well make up for that one-time charge Simplified Pricing fee you have to pay with each booking.
Super Strict Cancellation Policy Fees
If you choose to have a Super Strict cancellation policy, you’ll pay another 2% fee on top of your standard service fee.
It’s “invite only,” meaning that it’s only available to hosts under specific circumstances. Usually, hosts who have been on the Airbnb platform for some time and who have excellent reviews are allowed to take advantage of the Super Strict cancellation policy.
The policy requires guests to cancel at least 30 or 60 days in advance to receive a 50% refund for their stay. If a guest cancels after the 30- or 60-day period, they’re charged for 100% of the booking price regardless.
While there are limited circumstances in which your cancellation could be overturned by Airbnb, these are few and far between. The Super Strict cancellation policy is beneficial if you have to prepare well ahead of time for incoming guests, such as if you are an Airbnb Experience host and have to buy supplies, book reservations, etc.
However, if you are a “normal” Airbnb host and don’t have to prepare much for incoming guests, the Super Strict cancellation policy fee might cost more than it’s worth.
Airbnb Experiences Fees
Airbnb Experiences hosts have to pay 20% of each final booking price. This fee replaces the split-fee or host-only fee policies.
Airbnb Experiences is a high-value program where you provide guests with personal experiences, such as taking them out to eat, showing them the best spots in your local area, or booking reservations for you all to enjoy an event or show. Airbnb Experiences give hosts the opportunity to act as local tour guides or hospitality experts for their guests.
Airbnb Experiences can be offered as single packages or as a part of a traditional Airbnb stay. In any case, they’re usually expensive, so Airbnb charges 20% – the highest possible Airbnb fee overall – to provide logistics support.
Furthermore, Airbnb provides various tools and help resources for Experiences hosts so they can better manage their experiences and events. These include extra scheduling tools, access to unique resources on the Airbnb app, and more.
Airbnb Luxe Fees
Airbnb Luxe hosts pay between 3% and 5% of their total booking prices for service fees.
Airbnb Luxe is another exclusive Airbnb program available to hosts of private, out-of-the-way, and truly unique properties. As a Luxe host, you’re expected to provide your guests with extra levels of accommodation, security, and one-of-a-kind experiences. For example, a remote and luxurious lodge in the middle of the mountains next to a private lake might qualify as an Airbnb Luxe listing.
Because of this, Airbnb requires hosts to pay less in service fees than many others. You’re expected to cover many of the costs of such listings, such as perishable supplies, maintenance, etc. You have to work hard to remain a part of the Airbnb Luxe program.
Airbnb Luxe properties aren’t listed or rented as frequently as other properties. But if your property is popular or if you expect regular bookings, the fee here isn’t too high.
What Do Airbnb Host Fees Cover?
Many hosts wonder why Airbnb charges fees in the first place. Airbnb fees cover a range of operational expenses for the platform and overall company, including:
- Customer support
- Host insurance and other protections for properties and personnel
- Hardware fees and utility fees for corporate offices
- Corporate salaries
- Educational resources for all hosts
In short, Airbnb fees are how the company makes money and continues its operations. The fees are also how Airbnb gets away from charging guests or hosts monthly fees or other money. Instead of having to pay Airbnb to list your property, you simply pay a service fee each time someone books one of your properties. To many property owners, this is more desirable than the alternative.