Airbnb cleaning fees: a topic that stirs emotions on both sides of the booking screen. These additions intended to prep the space for the next guest, often raise eyebrows. But why do travelers grumble about this extra charge, and why do hosts hesitate to add them? Dive into this article to unravel the mystery behind these fees.
Definition of Airbnb Cleaning Fee
A One-Time Service Fee – The Airbnb cleaning fee is a singular charge levied by hosts upon their guests. It’s not a recurring fee but is applied per booking to cover the costs associated with preparing the property post-checkout.
Purpose of the Fee – This fee primarily addresses the expenses related to cleaning the rental property after the departure of guests. It ensures that the next guest enters a clean, hygienic, and welcoming space.
Not Universal – While many hosts opt to charge this fee to offset cleaning expenses, it’s not a universal practice. The decision rests with individual hosts.
Distinct from Nightly Rate – It’s crucial to understand that the cleaning fee is separate from the nightly rate. It’s specifically intended to cover the costs of cleaning and preparing the property for subsequent guests.
Fee Proportions – Cleaning fees might constitute less than 10% of the total reservation cost. However, the fee can be significantly higher in some listings, especially larger properties or luxury accommodations.
Functionality of the Airbnb Cleaning Fee
An Additional Charge – The cleaning fee is added to the total booking fee, ensuring transparency for guests during the booking process.
Distinct from Security Deposit – This fee is not a part of the security deposit. It’s a separate charge, solely intended for cleaning purposes.
Non-Refundable Nature – Once the booking concludes, the cleaning fee is non-refundable. It remains consistent, irrespective of the number of guests or the duration of their stay.
Coverage of the Airbnb Cleaning Fee
Purpose of the Fee – The cleaning fee aids hosts in accounting for the expenses associated with cleaning and preparing the property for the next guest.
Typical Services Covered – The fee generally covers tasks such as tidying up rooms, changing linens, replenishing cleaning supplies, washing dishes, emptying cupboards and refrigerators, and the time invested in cleaning. It ensures the property is in pristine condition for the next guest.
Average Cleaning Fee on Airbnb
Host-Driven Pricing – Individual hosts determine the cleaning fee and can vary widely based on several factors. As an Airbnb host, it’s essential to strike a balance between covering your cleaning costs and offering competitive pricing to attract guests.
Median Fee Insights – We’ve reviewed over 25,000 Airbnb listings as part of our short-term rental city guide survey. Recent data suggests that the median cleaning fee for the 2022/2023 stood at $125 for a 2-bedroom property. However, this can fluctuate based on various factors.
Average Airbnb Cleaning Fee Chart by Property Size
Property Size and Type – Larger properties or those that require professional cleaning services might have fees upwards of $500. The fee can also vary based on the property type, such as a studio apartment versus a 5-bedroom mansion.
Impact of Enhanced Cleaning Protocols – The onset of COVID-19 has necessitated enhanced cleaning protocols, leading to a rise in cleaning costs. As hosts, we’ve had to adapt to these changes, ensuring the safety and comfort of our guests.
Comparative Costs – It’s noteworthy that cleaning costs for Airbnb hosts can sometimes surpass those of hotels. This discrepancy arises due to the lack of economies of scale and the more extensive spaces we often have to clean.
Overcharging Concerns – While setting a high cleaning fee is tempting, Airbnb advises against this practice. Overcharging can lead to unrealistic guest expectations and potential dissatisfaction.
Strategies to Reduce Cleaning Fee Costs
Cost-Effective Measures – Many hosts, including myself, have trained in-house cleaners to maintain quality while keeping costs low. Personal training, seeking recommendations from local community groups, and using platforms like Turno for quotes can be beneficial.
Individual Cleaners vs. Professional Services – Opting for individual cleaners over professional cleaning companies can sometimes lead to cost savings. However, the efficiency and thoroughness of the cleaner play a crucial role.
Clear Communication – Ensuring clear communication and setting expectations between hosts and cleaners can lead to a smoother cleaning process and potential cost savings.
Example Airbnb Cleaning Checklist
Ensuring a pristine and welcoming environment for your Airbnb guests is paramount to creating memorable stays and garnering positive reviews. A meticulous cleaning routine not only enhances the guest experience but also maintains the longevity and appeal of your property.
Inspect for any personal items guests may have left behind.
Ensure all doors lock securely.
Evaluate the property for any damages or wear.
Report any items that appear to be missing.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including light switches and remote controls.
Clean and store all dishes.
Empty, sanitize, and replace trash bags.
Wipe down all surfaces, including counters, tables, and chairs.
Organize and clean the inside of the refrigerator.
Mop the floor and ensure it’s dry.
Refill any soap or detergent dispensers.
Arrange utensils, dishes, and cookware neatly.
Inspect bedsheets and mattresses for any stains or damages.
Replace all used bedsheets and pillowcases.
Clear out trash and replace bin liners.
Check closets and drawers to ensure they’re empty and clean.
Dust all furniture, including nightstands and dressers.
Vacuum or mop the floor as appropriate.
Living Area Attention:
Disconnect and inspect electronic devices, ensuring they’re functional.
Examine cushion covers for cleanliness and replace if needed.
Refresh and rearrange soft furnishings, such as throws and cushions.
Dust off all surfaces, especially around entertainment areas.
Clean the floors, whether it’s vacuuming, sweeping, or mopping.
Thoroughly clean and sanitize the shower, bathtub, and floor.
Polish mirrors to a streak-free shine.
Ensure toilets are spotless and sanitized.
Empty trash and replace with a fresh liner.
Restock essential items like toiletries and ensure spare toilet rolls are visible.
Hang fresh towels and remove used ones.
Deep clean specific furniture or carpets upon request.
Update inventory, especially for items like coffee, tea, or snacks.
Check outdoor areas, such as patios or balconies, for cleanliness.
Ensure all appliances, like the microwave or oven, are clean and functional.
Refresh any informational brochures or guides for guests.
Decision on Charging a Cleaning Fee
No Mandatory Rules – Airbnb doesn’t enforce any strict guidelines when it comes to charging cleaning fees. As hosts, we have the discretion to decide whether or not to impose this fee. Many of us opt to charge it to ensure our properties are maintained to the highest standards, which in turn garners positive reviews.
Competitive Pricing Strategy – While many hosts see the value in charging a cleaning fee, some choose not to, aiming to keep their booking prices competitive. This decision often hinges on factors such as the property’s type and size, competitors’ practices, and the choice of cleaning services.
Potential Booking Deterrents – A significant cleaning fee can sometimes discourage short-term or one-day bookings. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and decide if this is a trade-off you’re willing to make.
Airbnb’s Service Fees – It’s worth noting that the cleaning fee is subject to Airbnb’s service fees. This means that a higher cleaning fee not only affects guests but also impacts the overall earnings of a host.
Guest Perception – High cleaning fees can sometimes deter potential guests. Some hosts have found success by incorporating the cleaning fees into the nightly rate, providing a more transparent pricing structure.
Calculating the Airbnb Cleaning Fee Amount
Striking a Balance – Setting the right cleaning fee is a delicate balance between ensuring reasonable pricing and upholding the standards of the rental. As hosts, we must consider various factors to determine the appropriate amount.
Market Research – One effective strategy is to research competitor cleaning fees. This provides a benchmark and helps gauge what guests might expect to pay in a particular region or for a specific property type.
Seasonal Variations – In seasonal areas, especially popular vacation spots like beach communities, cleaning fees might inflate during peak seasons due to increased demand.
Property Specifics – The size of the property and the intensity of cleaning required can also play a role in determining the fee. Larger properties or those requiring meticulous cleaning naturally command higher fees.
Pets – If your Airbnb is pet-friendly, you will have to factor in additional cleaning considerations. Pet hair and other related messes can be quite a hassle! You might want to consider incorporating a pet fee or including it in your standard cleaning fee to cover this.
Rental Amenities – The amenities you offer as part of your short-term rental can also affect the cleaning costs. If you offer extras such as a hot tub or a barbecue grill, they would also require cleaning, and your cleaning fee needs to encompass these additional services.
Impact of Cleaning Fee on Short Bookings
Booking Length Considerations – A substantial cleaning fee can sometimes discourage guests from making short, one-night bookings. Spreading a higher cleaning fee over multiple nights might seem more acceptable to guests than bearing the entire cost for a single night.
Strategic Pricing – As hosts, we can experiment with our pricing strategy to find the sweet spot that attracts both short-term and long-term bookings without compromising on cleanliness standards.
Refund Policy for Cleaning Fee
If guests cancel their booking before check-in, the cleaning fee is refundable. However, once the booking commences, this fee becomes non-refundable. It’s crucial for hosts to communicate this policy clearly to avoid any misunderstandings.
Presentation and Transparency Issues
Display Discrepancies – One of the challenges Airbnb hosts and guests face is how the platform displays pricing. While the nightly rate is prominently showcased, the total price, which includes cleaning and other fees, can sometimes be overshadowed. This can lead to potential misunderstandings and even deter some guests from finalizing their bookings.
Airbnb’s Initiatives for Transparency – Recognizing the need for clearer pricing, Airbnb introduced a toggle feature allowing users to view the total price, including all fees. By early 2023, this feature will be the default setting, ensuring guests have a transparent view of their total costs. Furthermore, in November 2022, Airbnb adjusted its search algorithm to rank listings based on the total price rather than just the nightly rate. This move was welcomed by many in the host community as it levels the playing field and offers guests a more transparent booking experience.
Hosts’ Perspective on Transparency – From a host’s standpoint, clear communication about all fees, including cleaning charges, is paramount. Some of us believe that integrating cleaning fees into the final price can enhance guest satisfaction. It sets clear expectations and might even encourage guests to be more respectful of the property, knowing the costs involved in maintaining it.
Managing Guest Expectations – However, there’s a flip side to consider. High cleaning fees can sometimes lead to elevated guest expectations. If guests feel they are paying a premium for cleaning, they might expect hotel-like services or even leave the property in a less-than-ideal state, assuming the fee covers extensive cleaning.
Future Plans for Airbnb – Airbnb is continually working on making its fee structure more transparent. The platform is considering requiring hosts to list specific cleaning requirements before guests can book. This move aims to set clear expectations and ensure guests are aware of their responsibilities during their stay.
Impact of Cleaning Fee on Listing Performance
Pricing Strategy – The decision to list the cleaning fee separately or include it in the nightly rate can significantly impact a listing’s performance. While a separate listing might surprise guests with an unexpected price hike at checkout, integrating it into the nightly rate offers more transparency but might elevate the overall rates.
Experimentation is Key – It’s advisable for hosts to experiment with different pricing strategies to determine the most effective approach. Hosts can optimize their pricing for maximum bookings and profitability by analyzing booking trends feedback and comparing with competitors.
Upcoming Changes in Airbnb – Airbnb’s features, such as the toggle for total cost display and the 2023 algorithm modification, are expected to influence listing performance. As hosts, staying updated with these changes and adapting our listings accordingly is crucial for continued success.
Cleaning is an integral aspect of hosting on Airbnb. It ensures that guests have a pleasant experience and that the property remains in top condition. While the decision to charge a cleaning fee and its amount rests with individual hosts, it’s essential to strike a balance. This balance should consider the costs involved, market trends, guest expectations, and the overall guest experience. By being transparent, fair, and adaptive, hosts can ensure that their listings remain competitive and appealing to potential guests.
With over six years of short-term rental hosting experience, Karolyn has helped hundreds of guests have an enjoyable experience. I love writing and am passionate about real estate, hospitality, and photography. Karolyn holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and enjoys sharing her experiences to help others.