As you plan your summer travel, you might be debating whether staying in a hotel or an Airbnb will be more cost-effective. According to a recent Forbes survey, the answer may depend on your destination. It turns out that some cities’ hosts are notorious for adding extra fees.
These fees can often be shocking for guests who aren’t experienced with Airbnb stays. And even longtime Airbnb users are starting to rail against high cleaning fees, saying that it’s not fair that guests have to thoroughly clean their Airbnb before leaving and pay their hosts a cleaning fee on top of it.
So what cities are most likely to shock you with a big bill at the end of your trip?
Forbes found that the top five cities with the highest average Airbnb fees include:
- Atlanta (48% average fees)
- Phoenix (47%)
- Fort Myers Beach, Florida (46%)
- Davenport, Florida (45%)
- Memphis, Tennessee (45%)
In their analysis of more than 32,000 Airbnb listings, Forbes found that Atlanta Airbnb hosts topped the list by adding fees that will add on average 48% to your nightly rate, including a 16% cleaning fee, 16% service fee and 17% in taxes. (You can read the full list at Forbes.)
Last year, Airbnb promised that they were taking guests’ concerns about fees seriously. They added a new feature to their website that allows people to see the total cost of listings, including fees, making the booking process more transparent.
The company also said that its hosts should not be putting undue chores on their guests before leaving.
In a thread of messages on Twitter in November, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that Airbnb hosts need to be reasonable and upfront about any tasks they ask their guests to perform before leaving. The start of the thread shows Airbnb’s new feature that lets guests see the full price of their stay — including fees — immediately as they’re browsing.
I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain. That’s why we’re making 4 changes:
1. Starting next month, you’ll be able to see the total price you're paying up front. pic.twitter.com/58zodrzU3g
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) November 7, 2022
“You shouldn’t have to do unreasonable checkout tasks, such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming,” Chesky wrote in the thread. “If Hosts have checkout requests, they should be reasonable and shown to you before you book.”
But even if you aren’t traveling to a city with high Airbnb fees, be prepared to pay more than you previously did for lodging. Airbnb prices skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, theaverage Airbnb stay cost 35% more in 2021 than in 2020. Yet hotel guests also felt the sting of higher prices: A survey from Hopper earlier this year showed that a hotel room in January 2023 cost 54% more than it did in January 2022.