Airbnb introduces extra 2pc charge for cross-currency bookings

Guests on Airbnb who opt to pay using a different currency from the host's currency will have to cough up an additional two per cent of the booking total before taxes. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Guests on short-term rental platform Airbnb who opt to pay using a different currency from the host's currency will have to cough up an additional two per cent of the booking total before taxes effective April 1, 2024. 

The newly published policy changes will come into effect for existing users on March 28th, 2024 and users post this date will have to agree to the new terms or delete their Airbnb accounts.

"Starting April 1, 2024, for cross-currency bookings, the guest service fee will include an additional amount of up to 2 percent of the booking total before taxes," read the Airbnb notice in part.

"This will be applied when the currency the guest uses to pay differs from the currency that the Host sets for their listing. See Airbnb Service Fees in the Help Center for further information."

Hosts incur service fees for using the platform to cover the operational costs of the listing site and services such as customer support, secure payment processing, and the development of new features.

Guests are charged cleaning fees, extra guest fees for the number of visitors, security and cancellation fees among others.

"Note that if the country in which your Airbnb Payments contracting entity is located is different than the country of your Payment Method provider, or your selected currency is different than your Payment Method's billing currency, your payment may be processed outside of your country of residence," read the Airbnb terms. 

According to Airbnb, most guest service fees are under 14.2 per cent of the booking subtotal (which includes the nightly price and any additional fees charged by the host but excludes the guest service fee and taxes).

Airbnb is popular among travellers seeking affordable accommodation, convenient location and household amenities.

The service offers spaces to travellers looking for a place to stay. They can rent a space for multiple people to share, private rooms, or the entire property for themselves.

Most of the properties listed on Airbnb are located in middle-class locations within Nairobi, including Kilimani, Parklands, Kileleshwa, Westlands, Lavington, Yaya and Valley Arcade.

The new changes will only apply to guests who choose to pay in a different currency from that of the host. 

The move comes at a time when property owners and landowners are asking for dollar payments following the weakening shilling. 

The local currency has been under pressure over the past two years, suffering from global economic shocks and foreign investor flight. 

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