A new world of travel with Airbnb. Video / Supplied
Travelers are pushing back on chore lists in rented Airbnbs, especially when they are also being charged service fees for cleaning.
Guests have taken to social media to share lengthy ‘to do’ lists, with some saying hosts have asked them to wash piles of laundry and even mow the lawn during their stay.
A viral TikTok by @Melworeit found a receptive audience after asking what exactly the US$125 ($200) service fee was for, when the rented flat came with a lengthy list of chores which amounted to a deep clean.
The listing asked her to take out the rubbish, change bed linens, clean the dishes, and do a load of laundry.
“$700 for two nights ≠ no chores!” she wrote.
The nearly 5000 comments gained by the video showed that the Airbnb ‘chore list’ is a common gripe.
“If I’m paying $229 a night to stay somewhere plus a $125 cleaning fee, I’m not doing any laundry,” Melworeit says. “I know it’s like one load of laundry and it’ll take me two minutes to do, but it’s the principle that really bothers me.”
$700 for two nights ≠ no chores lol
♬ original sound – Mel | Sustainable Style
Other travelers listed odd tasks that hosts had expected to do as part of their stay.
One asked, is it “normal for a host to tell the guest to mow the lawn themselves?”
The website’s rating system means many travelers feel compelled to complete the tasks or their guest score could suffer.
“Seems like a strange response given the premium being paid for staying here (to me, at least), but if that’s standard then I’ll roll with it,” the user wrote. “I just don’t want to be penalised/charged/poorly reviewed for ‘neglecting’ the lawn if I don’t do it.”
A bad host review for a visitor could permanently damage their ‘five star’ rating, making them less appealing guests for potential hosts. Unlike hotels, Airbnb hosts can choose to decline requests from travelers.
This weekend The Wall Street Journal published a list of lengthy, sometimes absurd, chores guests say they have been asked to do.
“You don’t want to wake up at 6AM to do chores when you’re on vacation,” Christina Marie told the paper, after taking her family of six for a weekend away.
Airbnb says that cleaning fees are set by hosts and are optional. According to a statement to Insider Magazine, the lettings platform said only 55 per cent of properties charge a cleaning or ‘service fee’ on top of the nightly rate.
Airbnb is no longer the budget option
The short term lettings platform was originally started almost fifteen years ago to provide low-cost alternatives for travellers, undercutting hotels.
However with the cost of Airbnb creeping up travelers are now finding that the cost is comparable to most hotels, which won’t ask you to complete chores.
Airbnb is warning hosts to consider carefully how they price their services and that unrewarded housework is likely to be a turn off.
“Would you like guests to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher or strip the bed linen before checkout? If so, consider charging a very minimal cleaning fee – or no fee at all,” reads the host resource page. “With a higher fee, guests may expect to just walk away from your space at checkout as they would a hotel room.”
New Zealand’s mooted Digital Revenues Tax for 2024 could see prices pushed even higher if GST is levied on all listings.
Recently holiday rental agencies have warned that travelers in New Zealand could see summer accommodation costs spike by a quarter.
Bachcare said that with inbound travelers back again for the first time in three years there will be a squeeze on rental rooms pushing up prices.
Analytics website alltherooms.com shows that, after taking a dip in 2020, the average nightly room rate in Queenstown is up by a third ($100 a night) for September compared with pre-pandemic costs.
With visitors being asked to pay an average of $600 a night over Christmas – the difference between a bach-rental and a hotel stay could be minimal. Except your hotel won’t expect you to take out the bins.