While Airbnb’s cleaning fees might not be the most riveting dinner conversation topic (unless you lead a particularly adventurous lifestyle), they are indeed significant.
That’s precisely why this article aims to provide you with an all-encompassing understanding of Airbnb’s cleaning fees and practical ways to leverage them effectively.
Understanding the Airbnb Cleaning Fee Mechanism
The cleaning fee on Airbnb is a one-time charge levied by hosts on each booking to manage cleaning expenses. This fee, incorporated into the total booking cost, is borne by the guest(s). It’s important to note that this is not a refundable security deposit.
Irrespective of the number of guests or the length of their stay, the standard cleaning fee remains constant; hosts cannot hike it for additional guests or nights.
The cleaning fee assists hosts in covering the costs associated with preparing their listings for incoming guests. It might include:
- Cleaning supplies
- Washing and drying towels and linen
- Toilet paper
- Toiletries like shampoo, soap, etc.
- Cleaning services charges
In the search results, guests view a nightly rate that factors in the cleaning fee divided by the total number of nights in their stay.
As per Airbnb’s 2023 update, guests can now filter search results based on the total cost of the stay, inclusive of all fees but before taxes. By enabling the “display total price” toggle before initiating a search, guests will see complete prices in search results, as well as on the map, filter, and listing pages.
This ensures that the cleaning fee doesn’t come as an unpleasant surprise to potential guests. Furthermore, prior to confirming their booking, guests can access a detailed price breakdown.
This includes the nightly rate, cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes. Airbnb prides itself on its transparency in this regard.
Understanding the Typical Airbnb Cleaning Fee
While the average cleaning fee for Airbnb falls roughly between $50 and $80, this number can be somewhat deceptive. Given the vast range of listings, from compact rooms in communal houses to grand mansions boasting 10+ rooms, pinpointing an exact average proves challenging.
The most practical approach to identifying a feasible average is by examining the cleaning fees of similar listings in your vicinity and deriving an average from those data points.
Determining Your Cleaning Fee for a House
The cleaning fee you choose to charge is largely contingent on the competitiveness of your listing’s market. To ensure your listing attracts bookings, it’s essential that your cleaning fee, in conjunction with your nightly fee, is competitive.
Here’s how you can calculate an appropriate cleaning fee:
- Identify 10 – 20 listings in your area similar to yours.
- Record their cleaning fees.
- Keep note of their nightly fees too, as the cleaning fees contribute to the overall booking cost.
- Calculate the average cleaning fee of your competitors.
- Price your cleaning fee as competitively as possible while ensuring it covers all of your costs.
- If there’s scope to cover all your costs and still earn a small profit (while maintaining competitiveness), factor this into your fee.
- Reach out to two or three cleaning services in your vicinity.
- Ask each for a quote for a complete changeover, including linen.
- Determine the average of these quotes and set this as your cleaning fee.
Establishing Appropriate House Cleaning Rates
As an Airbnb host, determining a fitting cleaning fee is crucial for your success. It’s important to meticulously consider your pricing, as an exorbitant fee may escalate the cost for short stays and could deter potential bookings.
Therefore, your fee should align with the nature of your property listing. If your property is pitched as luxurious, situated in a high-end locality, and carries a significant nightly rate, guests may be more accepting of a higher cleaning fee.
However, if you’re listing a small studio apartment, charging the same cleaning fee as a host offering a five-bedroom mansion wouldn’t be reasonable. Your fee should always reflect the value of your property and its services.
Understanding What an Airbnb Cleaning Fee Covers
The application of a cleaning fee is solely the host’s decision and is intended to cover expenses related to tidying up the property for incoming guests.
Though optional, this fee is generally used to finance the costs of cleaning supplies, laundering linens, hiring cleaning services, and replenishing amenities.
Is a Cleaning Fee Mandatory?
Whether to charge a cleaning fee is entirely the host’s prerogative, but it’s worth mentioning that levying such a fee is a prevalent practice on Airbnb.
Nevertheless, some hosts opt not to impose a separate cleaning fee, instead incorporating it into their total nightly price.
In my opinion, it is not advisable to skip the cleaning fee as it may leave hosts financially strained, especially in the case of numerous short, 1-2 night stays.
Can Airbnb Cleaning Fees Be Negotiated?
While cleaning fees are automatically included when a guest books a property, it isn’t rare for guests to contact a host prior to booking, seeking special discounts or waiving cleaning fees.
In my personal experience, it’s generally best to steer clear of negotiating cleaning fees with guests on Airbnb, as such guests often turn out to be excessively particular and might prove to be more trouble than it’s worth.
In response to requests for negotiation, I usually reply with something like:
“Hello, Thanks for your inquiry.
Unfortunately, we can’t reduce or eliminate the cleaning fee as it’s already set at the bare minimum to cover necessary costs. As much as I’d like to offer a discount, it’s not feasible.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
*Do note that cleaning fees are not automatically included in Special Offers. If you’re planning to make a special offer, remember to incorporate the cleaning fee in the total cost.
Is the Airbnb Cleaning Fee Refundable?
If a booking is canceled (regardless of the cancellation policy), the cleaning fee is fully refunded to the guest, provided the cancellation occurs before check-in time.
However, if the cancellation takes place during a guest’s stay, the cleaning fee is not refunded (unless otherwise negotiated with the host).
Does Airbnb’s Service Fee Apply to Cleaning Fees?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Airbnb calculates its service fees based on the total payment from guests and the payout to hosts. As cleaning fees form part of this total, they are subject to Airbnb’s service fees.
How Can I Alter My Airbnb Cleaning Fee?
Modifying your cleaning fee is an easy task that can be done via the Airbnb host dashboard.
To adjust your cleaning fee:
- Visit airbnb.com and select ‘Your Listings.’
- At the top of the page, click on ‘Pricing.’
- Next to ‘Cleaning fee,’ click ‘Edit.’
- Enter the desired cleaning fee and click ‘Save.’
Leveraging Cleaning Fee to Deter Short-term Bookings
Elevated cleaning fees can be utilized as a strategy to deter shorter stays while attracting longer-term bookings. For instance:
A one-night stay with a $70 cleaning fee may seem quite high. However, a $70 cleaning fee spread over a week-long booking equates to just $10 per night.
This approach should be used judiciously, as overpricing may risk your market position and lead to reduced bookings.
Maintaining a competitive total price to lure bookings is essential, and with Airbnb’s innovative pricing tools, hosts can now tailor their cleaning fees as per their needs.
An alternative could be to offer lower cleaning fees for shorter, 1-2 night stays, while maintaining your standard cleaning fee for longer bookings.
Experiment and Adapt
Finding the perfect balance for your cleaning fee isn’t likely to happen on the first try.
Don’t hesitate to experiment and observe if altering your cleaning fee impacts your booking rate over time.
The more you fine-tune, the more robust your fee structure will become, subsequently enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of your listing.
Well, that wasn’t too bad, right?
Alright, it might have been slightly challenging, but now you’re equipped with all the necessary knowledge about Airbnb cleaning fees, and how to apply them effectively.
You should now fully comprehend how Airbnb cleaning fees function, how much to levy for your listing, and how to competitively secure more bookings.
In the end, we managed to achieve our goal…
And, who said discussions about cleaning fees couldn’t be enjoyable!
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