Vacation and apartment rental service Airbnb this week launched a new way for its customers to cut down the initial cost of expensive bookings for an Airbnb location.
Called "Pay Less Up Front" and available on iOS, Android, and the web, the feature allows guests to choose to pay for part of their trip at the time of booking in the form of a 50 percent deposit "in most cases." When their check-in date draws closer, the app will send the guest a notification and then they'll have to pay for the rest of the trip.
The checkout update is Airbnb's first major overhaul to guest payment options, and prior to the feature Airbnb users had to pay for the entirety of their trip immediately. In testing, the company said that 40 percent of its guests chose Pay Less Up Front and were willing to opt for higher-value bookings due to the payment plan. The update also satisfied hosts, who saw more booking activity on costlier listings and improved lead times to prepare locations for guests.
Pay Less Up Front helps our hosts as well. Given the ability to pay in installments, hosts won’t lose out on bookings from cash flow-sensitive guests who prefer not to pay the entire amount up front. What’s more, we’ve found that Pay Less Up Front encourages bookings further in advance: Compared with ordinary bookings, the Pay Less Up Front payment option led to bookings with nearly double the lead time, helping hosts to secure and manage bookings more easily.
There are two requirements for Pay Less Up Front: the total stay for the listing has to cost $250 or more, and it must be booked at least 14 days ahead of the check-in date. If these requirements are met, guests should start seeing Pay Less Up Front as a checkout option now on Airbnb's iOS and Android apps, as well as on the desktop and mobile web versions of the site.