Airbnb users no longer have to pay for their entire stay up front.
The home-sharing service announced Tuesday that it will allow users to pay only a deposit at time of booking and complete the full payment closer to the stay. The “Pay Less Up Front” option is available on stays that cost at least $250.
A typical deposit will be about 50% of the entire cost of the stay. The second payment will be due about three days before the stay. Guests must make their booking at least 14 days in advance and if they fail to make their second payment, the reservation will be automatically cancelled.
Other cancellations depend on the type of policy that the Airbnb host has chosen.
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According to Airbnb, the service is useful not only for guests, but for hosts. When travelers are given the ability to spread out payments, they often end up opting for a more expensive option than what they were previously considering. Guests also booked sooner when they could split payments, giving hosts more time to plan for arrivals and departures.
The split-payment on a homeshare is not exactly a novel innovation. Both HomeAway and VRBO currently offer users the ability to pay first with a deposit.
And the payment-split feature could be very useful for guests who want to spring for a memorable vacation. Last year, Airbnb acquired about 4,000 new “luxury retreats,” including Richard Branson’s private island in the Caribbean and Francis Ford Coppola’s Italian villa.
Airbnb’s development is a continuation of their mission to compete with hotels. In November, Airbnb introduced a feature that allows guests to split payments with friends and family when booking a group trip.