A few years back, when I first tried to book an Airbnb, I was shocked. I found that for short term stay, Airbnb is expensive than hotels. Moreover, it was charging some ridiculous fees such as “Cleaning Fees.” I stayed at many hotels and never heard of this. A hotel never charges a cleaning fee. So, when I first saw this, I was confused. I wanted to know why Airbnb hosts charges a cleaning fee? So, I talked to several Airbnb hosts for answers.
What is Airbnb Cleaning Fee?
An Airbnb cleaning fee is a fee that the Airbnb host charges to upcoming guests, to clean their Airbnb rentals for the guest before and after their stay.
For a single night or a week, A hotel will always charge a flat fee per night plus taxes. With that price, you get room cleaning every day from the hotel. On the other hand, It does not matter how many days you stay in an Airbnb; it could be one day or one month; Airbnb host always charges a flat one-time cleaning fee. The host does not provide any cleaning service during your stay like hotels. So, you are paying for a cleaning fee, but no one is cleaning your apartment during your Airbnb stay.
According to Airbnb hosts, A hotel has many rooms, and to clean all those rooms, they keep a team of cleaning crews. It is economical for hotels. Hotels have permanent cleaning crews. They clean each room in which a guest stayed or staying. Hotels do not charge separately for cleaning fees, but they spend money to keep cleaning crews. They consider it a cost of business.
But, most of the time, Airbnb hosts do not operate numerous properties. Maybe one or two rentals at a time. Moreover, it’s not practical for them to clean their Airbnb because they have full-time or part-time jobs somewhere. Notably, it is impossible for those who have multiple Airbnb rental, or whose rental property is far from their home. So, hosts hire some cleaning personnel to clean their Airbnb rentals before and after each guest stay. It costs them money. If they don’t charge this cleaning fee, then they have to spend money from their earnings.
Airbnb host also provides some amenities such as shampoo, toiletries, snacks, etc. Hosts use a portion of the cleaning fees to cover the cost of these amenities.
I also found a few hosts who said that they use the cleaning fee to offset their nightly rental price. A few hosts told us that they lower the nightly cost but uses a high cleaning fee. This way, they will rank in the Airbnb search algorithm but will not lose any money if someone books. Some hosts purposely display a super low advertised price to attract potential guests to their property. It’s a searchability tactic.
Another reason for this one-time cleaning fee is, the host doesn’t clean their properties while their guest stays on their properties. They only clean after the guest leaves. If the host merges the cleaning fee with the nightly price, it would be okay for guests who stay a single night. It would not be okay for guests who stay multiple days, but the host only cleans once. That’s why they charge a separate cleaning fee for transparency.
Few hosts use the cleaning fee as an insurance policy. If the guest does some damage to the Airbnb amenities (such as broken glasses or a stained blanket), the host can use a portion of the money to buy new supplies without going to Airbnb.
In Summary, Cleaning fees help hosts account for additional expenses they have getting their listing ready before guests arrive or after guests leave.