Airbnb is testing a new payments feature for hosts, letting them get partially paid out at the time of booking.
This feature isn’t rolling out to everyone just yet, as Airbnb says that this is just a preliminary test to gauge interest. Invited hosts simply opt in to payout splitting to check out the feature.
Here’s how it works:
Normally, Airbnb hosts are paid 24 hours after their guest’s scheduled check-in time. With the new payouts test, hosts who have been invited and opt in will receive 50 percent of their cash three days after the guest has booked their stay, and the other half will be received 24 hours after check-in time.
For their trouble, Airbnb is taking a 1 percent fee of the booking subtotal for early payouts.
As per usual, hosts can opt out of early payouts at any time by making the change in their Payout Preferences.
If a booking is cancelled after an early payout has been received, the amount will be deducted from the host’s next booking.
This comes on the heels of Airbnb’s announcement in February to add new tiers and types of lodging to the platform, including boutique hotels and B&Bs. Airbnb classifies hosts with more than six listings on the platform as Professional Hosts, and early payouts are one way that Airbnb can help these hosts grow their business.
However, in certain housing-constrained markets like NYC, professional hosts aren’t necessarily welcome. In May, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report saying that Airbnb’s presence in NYC is driving up the cost of rent for full-time residents. The company and the Comptroller’s office went back and forth over the veracity of the report, but NYC isn’t the only market worried about the folks who make Airbnb their full-time job.
In 2017, the WSJ reported on a study surveying 100 of the largest metro areas in the U.S. that found that a 10 percent increase in Airbnb listings leads to a 0.39 percent increase in rent and a 0.64 percent increase in housing prices. That may sound small, but rental prices typically climbed by 2.2 percent per year without Airbnb, according to one of the survey’s authors. So Airbnb is accelerating the rate at which rental prices rise.
Airbnb says that it works with its communities to stay on the right side of the law, but that professionally managed properties are integral in markets where tourism is a huge part of the economy.
“For decades, vacation rentals and professionally managed properties have been the backbone of the economy in vacation destinations like beach and ski towns and we welcome these types of listings in these types of communities,” said an Airbnb spokesperson. “Trials like these are one way we work to support our community. In some places, usually urban destinations, there can be rules around hosting multiple listings. We always want Airbnb to be a positive force in local communities and we make it clear to hosts that they need to follow these rules.”
The payouts test is geared toward professional hosts, but is being spread via an invite basis to both pro hosts and regular hosts.