A new world of travel with Airbnb. Video / Provided
Travelers are pushing back on chore lists at rented Airbnbs, especially when they also have to pay a service fee for cleaning.
Guests have taken to social media to share long 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 from @Melworeit found a receptive audience after asking what exactly the US$125 ($200) service charge was for, when the rented apartment came with a long list of tasks that amounted to cleaning in depth.
The list asked him to take out the trash, change the sheets, do the dishes and do the laundry.
“$700 for two nights ≠ no chores! ” she wrote.
The nearly 5,000 comments garnered by the video showed that Airbnb’s “chore list” is a common complaint.
“If I’m paying $229 a night to stay somewhere plus $125 cleaning fee, I’m not doing laundry,” Melworeit says. “I know it’s like laundry and it will take me two minutes to do, but it’s the principle that really bothers me.”
Other travelers have listed odd tasks that hosts 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 that many travelers feel pressured to complete the tasks or their guest rating might suffer.
“Seems like an odd response considering the premium paid to stay here (to me, at least), but if it’s standard I’ll continue,” the user wrote. “I just don’t want to be penalized/charged/misjudged for ‘neglecting’ the lawn if I don’t.”
A poor host review for a visitor could permanently damage their “five-star” rating, making them less attractive guests to potential hosts. Unlike hotels, Airbnb hosts can choose to decline guest requests.
This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a long, sometimes absurd list of tasks that guests say they were asked to complete.
“You don’t want to wake up at 6 a.m. to do chores when you’re on vacation,” Christina Marie told the newspaper, after taking her family of six out for a weekend.
Airbnb states that cleaning fees are set by hosts and are optional. According to a statement to Insider Magazine, the rental platform said only 55% of properties charge a cleaning or “service” fee on top of the nightly rate.
Airbnb is no longer the budget option
The short-term rentals platform was launched nearly fifteen years ago to provide low-cost alternatives to travelers, undercutting hotels.
However, with the rising cost of Airbnbs, travelers are now finding that the cost is comparable to most hotels, which won’t require you to do chores.
Airbnb warns hosts to carefully consider the pricing of their services and that unrewarded housework may turn them off.
“Do you want guests to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher or remove bed linen before departure? If so, consider charging a very minimal cleaning fee – or no fee at all” , indicates the host resource page. “With higher fees, customers can expect to walk away from your checkout area like they would from a hotel room.”
New Zealand’s digital revenue tax for 2024 could see prices even higher if GST is levied on all listings.
Recently holiday rental companies have warned that travelers to New Zealand could see summer accommodation costs rise by a quarter.
Bachcare said that with inbound travelers returning for the first time in three years, there will be a squeeze on rental rooms which will drive up prices.
Analytics website alltherooms.com shows that after falling in 2020, the average room rate per night in Queenstown rose by a third ($100 a night) in September compared to pre-pandemic costs .
With visitors being asked to pay an average of $600 per 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 trash.