What happens to your hosting fees?
At a recent Host Q&A event in Sydney, Ben, a Superhost from Brisbane, Australia, asked a great question: What happens to the money Airbnb collects from hosts and guests as service fees? We thought it was such a fantastic question, we wanted to share a few behind-the-scenes details with you here.
You probably know that as a host you’re charged a service fee whenever a booking or Experience is confirmed. For hosts of homes, the fee amount is usually 3%*, and for Experience hosts, it’s 20%. In most cases, guests are also charged a service fee when they book on Airbnb. A full breakdown of the fee model can be found in our Help Center.
So what exactly happens to the money that’s collected? We redeploy it into three big categories that help support you as a host and an entrepreneur: community support, marketing, and product development. Here’s a closer look at how your fees are deployed to help power Airbnb:
One of our top priorities is making sure we can support you if you have questions or need support. As we mentioned at our last Host Q&A event, we're investing a substantial amount of resources into our Community Support team to ensure we’re there when you need us, and that we can help you with your question or concern smoothly and efficiently. For instance:
- In the last few years, we’ve tripled the size of the Community Support team to help you get answers more quickly, in your preferred language. (And it’s helped: Over our peak holiday season this past year, for instance, 80% of calls were answered in less than one minute; and this year, we’re committed to improving this even more.)
- We built a new process online to make it easier to connect with us—via phone or our online chat system—and help you get to the right person, right away. Now you can find the phone number you need and access the chat system almost immediately.
- And finally, we launched new tools so our agents can easily understand a host's issue and can respond efficiently and consistently.
We will continue to make improvements and invest in our Community Support team. In fact, one improvement that’s happening right now is that we’re splitting the team into areas of expertise. This will help us connect you more quickly with the right person to address your particular concern. We’ll be using an intelligent routing system to direct your question to a Community Support agent who is specially trained to address your question. We’ll be introducing this program globally in the next few months.
Another topic we know hosts care a lot about is getting enough bookings to meet their individual goals. We help to drive that through significant investments in marketing to guests. Through our marketing teams, we ensure that guests around the world think about Airbnb first when they’re making their vacation plans. We focus mainly on three types of marketing:
- Marketing to guests in the "real world," through traditional advertising channels (think TV ads, billboards). These are typically tailored to specific local markets. Already this year, for instance, we’ve had major ad campaigns in Mexico and Brazil, and there are more that will roll out around the world later this year.
- Marketing to guests in the "digital world." We also have close partnerships with Facebook, Google, the iTunes app store, and other digital platforms to ensure that Airbnb has a strong presence in the places where our guests and other travelers are spending time online. It’s crucial that Airbnb—and your listings—show up high in search results when travelers are looking to book trips, and that’s why we spend meaningful money here on your behalf.
- Marketing to guests through Airbnb-specific channels. The Airbnb website and app and email are the other channels we use to help drive guest demand and additional bookings to you. On the website and in the app, we create travel-inspiration articles and collections of listings travelers search for frequently, such as beachfront properties. We also send booking reminder emails when guests have been searching for a place to stay but haven’t booked yet.
Finally, our last significant bucket of spend is around product development. Airbnb employs thousands of engineers, designers, and product leaders who build the tools and infrastructure that power your business. They focus on keeping Airbnb up and running (ensuring our technology platform is strong, fixing issues that arise), and they develop products specifically designed to make it easier for you to host and succeed.
Recent examples include tools to make reviews more fair for hosts and the newly redesigned guidebook feature. The latter helps hosts give guests local recommendations and create a more welcoming, memorable experience overall. (It’s also a lot of fun to use!)
Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.