Airbnb Cleaning Fee: A Comprehensive Guide

Being an Airbnb host can pay off handsomely if you receive the right help and guidance regarding how to set the right nightly price and Airbnb cleaning fee for your vacation rental. Undoubtedly, ensuring a fulfilling stay for your guests is a must, but this can be very rewarding if you know how to charge appropriately for all the services you offer. 

A clean and inviting accommodation is one of the basic amenities that a guest expects, especially when the world prioritizes hygiene even more in the backdrop of this pandemic. Hence, it is crucial that you charge them the right amount to provide this necessity. 

What is an Airbnb cleaning fee?

A cleaning fee is what you charge your guest for cleaning the space they stay in. This is in addition to the nightly rates. This fee helps you as a host to meet the extra expenses you incur to get the space ready for the guest before and after their stay. The Airbnb cleaning fee is a one-time non-refundable fee.  

How Does the Airbnb Cleaning Fee Work?

The Airbnb cleaning fee is an added cost in the total booking fee, and it isn’t a part of the security deposit or Airbnb Service fee. Therefore, it is not supposed to be returned after the stay ends. Also, it remains the same for every booking irrespective of the number of guests or the length of stay. 

Do I have to charge a cleaning fee?

You don’t need to charge a cleaning fee for the listing and it depends entirely on your discretion. However, most hosts choose to include the Airbnb cleaning charge as part of their overall booking fee to cover the expenses of preparing the property for the guest’s arrival. 

You can choose to include it as part of the nightly charges for your listing, but it is not preferable since the cost of cleaning can eat into your bottom line if you commonly get short stays of 1-2 nights. 

What Does the Cleaning Fee Cover?

The Airbnb cleaning fee will cover the costs of cleaning the rental and performing the essential cleaning chores that your guests expect from you as a host.  These charges usually include the cost of the following:

  • Tidying up the room/rooms
  • Changing bed sheets and other linens used
  • Cleaning supplies 
  • Washing dishes
  • Cleaning the cupboards and the fridge
  • Time spent cleaning
  • Restocking general house supplies

What is the Average Cleaning Fee on Airbnb?

The average cleaning fee for hosts who choose to clean on their own could be less than compared to if the host hires professional cleaners to spruce up their vacation rental. 

This average is affected by multiple factors, including the type of listing and the property’s location. For example, the cleaning fee of a small studio apartment will significantly differ from that of a 4-bedroom villa. Also, professional cleaners charge different amounts in different cities around the world. 

Below is a graph showing the average cleaning fee charged by Airbnb hosts of 2 BR listings in 10 major cities worldwide. 

How to set the Airbnb cleaning fee for your property?
Deciding on an Airbnb cleaning fee for your listing can seem intimidating if it is your first time being a host. Scroll down to take a closer look at the key aspects of a listing that should help you determine its cleaning fee:

  1. Type of property and its size

    If your rental is a luxury stay with more rooms and more prominent space, then including a cleaning fee is advisable to help you meet your costs and maintain the advertised living standards. Guests looking for luxury stays won’t resist an extra fee for cleaning. 
    On the other hand, if your listing is just a room in your house or a studio apartment, then including a separate or a considerable cleaning fee is not necessary. However, as a host, you need to be mindful of the real-time costs you incur and if what you are providing will meet the standards you are charging. 

  2. Your Competition

    The best way to determine your ideal course of action is to take a look at what your competitors are doing. You can do that using Market Dashboards by PriceLabs, which allow you to make informed decisions after looking at real-time data derived from Airbnb. For example, if your competitors are charging an additional Airbnb cleaning fee, then you should be able to do so, too, without deterring potential guests. You can set your cleaning charges after looking at standard fees and what fees might risk your listing being overpriced. 

  3. Your Choice of Cleaning Services

    Depending on the location or size of your listing, hiring professional cleaning teams can prove to be a significant expense. You will need to decide if it’s worth hiring professional cleaners or if you are capable of getting the job done on your own. Keep in mind that cleaning your vacation rental will take your time, require cleaning supplies, and take a lot of effort. Make sure you pay yourself for your time!

  4. Your Target Guests

    If you want your listing to be a go-to property for backpackers, then keeping a higher cleaning fee is not the way to go. On the other hand, if your target audience involves guests with more oversized pockets looking for luxury stays, then they’ll be more accepting of higher costs in return for better services. Having a clear vision of your ideal guests is very helpful when deciding on a fee for your listing. 

  5. Will you allow pets on your property

    Renting out your listing to pet owners can drive up the cleaning costs significantly as pets make their own kind of mess which you’d be required to clean after they leave. However, not everyone will come with pets, so you can be open to negotiation in case your guests are not going to bring their furry friends along. 
    You can also choose to add a separate pet fee instead of a higher cleaning fee to better accommodate those guests who don’t bring pets.  

Is the Airbnb Cleaning Fee Refundable?

The Airbnb cleaning fee is not refundable once the duration of the stay is completed. It is only refundable in full if the guest cancels before the check-in time. If the cancellation is made after the booking has already begun, you will not have to refund the cleaning charges. This is standard practice and is not affected by the cancellation policy you choose for your listing. 

Is the Cleaning Fee Subject to Airbnb Service Fees?

The final booking cost of your rental is inclusive of the cleaning fee, so it will affect the Airbnb service fees. The amount of service fee charged will vary according to the location of the rental. 

In some cases, you will only be charged around 3% of your booking cost as a service fee, while guests will pay around 14%. In other cases, hosts pay a host-only fee of approximately 15%, while guests do not pay a service fee. These service fees change frequently, so check with Airbnb for an accurate idea of what to expect for your listings.

Are cleaning fees negotiable on Airbnb?

If the guests promise to clean up after themselves or it is off-season and you are experiencing lower bookings, you can opt to decrease the cleaning fee to encourage more bookings. However, it is advisable to keep the cleaning fee non-negotiable as the guests who bargain even before they have begun tend to be more hassle than they’re worth. 

You decide the negotiability of the cleaning fees as it is completely at your discretion if you’d like to have a separate fee or not, the charges, and if it is negotiable.  Although, mentioning them as negotiable on your listing’s account will attract a lot of bargaining and unnecessary hassle. It is common for guests to reach out to the host to ask for discounts and or removal of the cleaning fee. It is entirely your discretion if you would allow that for your listing. 

How to figure out the Airbnb cleaning fee for your listing? 

Setting a reasonable cleaning fee can prove to be a tedious task if you don’t have access to real-time data revealing the fees charged by other listings in your vicinity. However, you can be unburdened by this task by signing up for PriceLabs. With our Market Dashboards, you will have easy access to all booking trends in your area, including information on cleaning fees. 

You’ll be presented with real-time data of listings of similar properties, what they are charging and how many bookings were made when the cleaning fee was set for specific prices. The comparison data is not just limited to Airbnb cleaning fees but also includes a variety of other policies like weekly discounts and extra person fees. 

You can create comp sets in Market Dashboards to narrow down your search results and make them more relevant to your listing. While making a new comp set, you can choose your filters to provide you with relevant data for longer and shorter stays depending on what kinds of bookings your listing typically receives. You can also make multiple comp sets to see what professional hosts are charging for allowing pets, having more bathrooms, hot tubs, etc., and compare the results. 

Once you are done creating comp sets, head to the Policies and Fees section to review the cleaning fee chart for listings similar to yours. This chart will display all kinds of data that will help you determine the most common cleaning fees offered in your vicinity. The Market Dashboard will reveal the distribution of cleaning fees in the market and the percentage of bookings made for listings that were charging various cleaning fees.

The bar graph above is an example of how you can use the Market Dashboards to analyze how different cleaning fees affect the bookings made for listings with that fee. When the red bar is greater than the blue bar for any given cleaning fee, it implies that listings with that fee received a disproportionately high number of bookings and hence, are in higher demand. If you hover over the bars in the Market Dashboard, you’ll also see the average base price charged by listings with that cleaning fee. 

Pricing Strategies to consider while setting Airbnb cleaning fees

There are a few pricing strategies that hosts can take into account when setting their Airbnb cleaning fee in PriceLabs. 

Strategy 1:

Your cleaning fee should be appropriate for the length of stay your guests typically book. If you typically get 1-2 night bookings, compare your fees to listings with similar stay durations as opposed to 14+ night stays. Longer stays typically require more cleaning, and distribute the fee over more days for a lower average nightly cost. Filtering listings by the average length of stay to see their associated cleaning fees is possible with comp sets in Market Dashboards.

Strategy 2:

Charging a higher cleaning fee can help discourage guests from booking short stays at your property. For a guest booking a one or two-night stay, an extra cleaning fee of $100 might sound like a lot. However, the fee will seem more reasonable to someone booking a week-long stay since it is spread over more nights. Additional fees can make a massive difference in the average nightly cost, which you need to take into account to not scare guests away.

For instance, if you choose to keep your cleaning fee of $100 and your guests decide to book your accommodation for two days, they’ll end up paying $50 a night in addition to the nightly charges. However, for a seven-day booking, they’ll just be paying $14.29 a night for the same service. 

Keeping a higher cleaning fee discourages short stays since they become less affordable for your guests. This way, you don’t have to mandate long stays and can be open to 1-2 day bookings if guests are willing to pay the relatively high nightly fee.Strategy 3:

Strategy 3:

Comparing the final nightly rate which guests will book your listing for with hotel rates is advisable if your listings compete with local hotels. This is because hotels don’t charge separate cleaning fees and their nightly charges are inclusive of housekeeping service. 

Not taking your fees into account puts you at risk of overpricing your listing resulting in your potential guests choosing nearby hotels because of their lower final price. By comparing the final nightly price with hotels, you can ensure competitive prices for your listings that’ll prevent you from losing guests. 

Strategy 4:

Keep in mind that the total payout of any stay includes the nightly rate and any additional fees charged to the guest. This means that by charging a higher cleaning fee, you will have the flexibility to lower your nightly rate while still maintaining the payout you expect from your listings.

This lets you set a more competitive minimum price for your property in the low season, which can also lead to more long-term bookings.

Conclusion

The Airbnb cleaning fee has become an even more relevant topic after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. The introduction of the Enhanced Cleaning Protocol by Airbnb has caused hosts to be even more careful with their cleaning measures and go the extra mile to ensure their guest’s safety. Unfortunately, these new cleaning practices are driving up hosts’ cleaning costs, and in turn, increasing cleaning fees. However, Airbnb does not give a recommendation for the enhanced cleaning fee, so hosts must determine their new fees themselves. 

Being a professional host can seem to be a daunting task if you don’t have any guidance and have to decide everything on your own. However, by referencing the data in PriceLabs, you can be assured of at least one thing, that you aren’t alone and you have help from the best source possible, i.e., real-time data.