Airbnb price change after booking: Can they charge more for fewer days?October 14, 2022
Marcia Murphy expected a price change from Airbnb when she dropped one day from her weekend stay at a rental in Charlotte.
And that’s exactly what she got. Airbnb charged her an extra $22.
Wait, what? Why would you pay more for fewer days?
The answer is: Airbnb math. (Also known as airline math.)
And yes, I’m going to tilt at this windmill, my friends. Because this Airbnb price change is wrong.
Murphy’s case shines a bright light on some of the price games Airbnb and its hosts play with customers. It also underscores the bizarre fact that when you cut your Airbnb experience by even one day, you could actually end up paying more. Mostly, though, it’s a broader warning to anyone traveling in the near future: The travel industry wants to give you less but charge more.
This Airbnb price change doesn’t make sense
Here’s how Murphy discovered Airbnb’s pricing games. She had a long weekend — a Friday, Saturday and Sunday — booked for herself and a few family members in Charlotte.
Two weeks ago, one of her guests couldn’t get off work on Friday. They decided to abbreviate the long weekend to two days.
“I changed the reservation for Saturday and Sunday night,” she says. “Then I got a charge for an extra $22.”
Why would Airbnb charge more for less time?
She contacted the company to find out. A representative told her she was staying at a discounted weekend rate. Once she canceled a day, the rate reset to a more expensive daily rate — and she owed another $22.
“So I went back to the site and the host and asked to get back the Friday, figuring we would at least get that money back,” she says. “But the host said it was no longer available. I went to Airbnb and could see that I could easily book the Friday, so I figured she was not being truthful.”
“There are cockroaches”
Murphy became suspicious of her host. So she began reading the reviews for the rental that had been left since she made the initial booking.
“I found out there is major construction,” she says. “And because of the construction, there are cockroaches.”
Murphy is traveling with her 87-year-old mother. She thought the construction and cockroaches would made for a bad Airbnb experience, so she asked the company for a refund. Airbnb said it was up to the host, and the host said no.
“One of the Airbnb reps I talked to actually told me I needed to speak nicely to the host, so I would get my money back,” she adds. “I wrote as nicely as I could about how I don’t like cockroaches and that she had not…