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One of the world’s most successful "sharing economy" companies is facing the heat after its guests began sharing a little more than expected.
Airbnb trended on Twitter this week when a user posted an assortment of its fees, taxes and charges piling up, saying "we gotta stop airbnb".
The stated cost of two nights for $198 was reportedly more than doubled with adding a $114 cleaning fee, $44.05 service fee, and $57.90 occupancy taxes and fees for a total bill of $413.95.
With more than 208,000 likes and 23,000 retweets, it kicked off a massive pile-on as customers began questioning whether staying in the homes of regular people was still better value than booking hotels.
"The whole point of airbnb was that it was the cheaper option instead of paying loads for hotels etc ... stayed in Paris for 4 days in 2015 in an amazing apartment with views of Eiffel Tower for €300.. they’re getting carried away," wrote @Georgemapston.
User @RyanDudar added: "Places charge $100 dollar cleaning fees and ask you to vacuum, start a load of laundry with towels/sheets, wash all the dishes, etc. Like what are you providing to the airbnb other than taking away a home for someone else."
Equity Research company Cho Research said it would be hard for investors to ignore the high number of rants circulating on social media, with complaints about fees leading into complaints about hosts, conditions of properties, pricing and safety.
Comedian Tim Dillon said sleeping in a van was better than staying in filthy homes and following their rules.
"The problem with #airbnb is that people are terrorists. Their homes are filthy and disgusting. There are 150 rules including “Don’t wake the neighbor. She’s works nights!” Or dumb rec’s “Try Claudias Pancake Hut local fav!” Just buy a van and sleep in that," he said.
Cho Research wrote that negative consumer and investor sentiment combined is a bad sign for a tech company as big as Airbnb.
"Sure, we have yet to dive into the company’s financial results, or whether or not the business is trading near a fair valuation. But, at this point, it looks like the stock is poised to break below $120 given the heightened volume, and negative trending tweets about the consumer experience," they said.
“Many other silicon valley IPOs start out strong and then bust after hyper-extended trading volume and limited insider trading due to share lock-up provisions."
After the company went public in 2020, its listing price tripled to reach a high of $220 in February before falling to around $131. It was at $135.02 on Tuesday.
In a statement, Airbnb said a team was assigned under its global head of hosting, Catherine Powell, to review its fees and marketing to make its pricing more transparent.
"We take pride in making the price of a stay transparent for guests — including the fees that are in Airbnb’s control as well as the fees that are not in our control," the statement said.
"We also understand that there is always room for improvement and to take the feedback we receive from our guests."
The review will return recommendations by 15 December.