Airbnb introduces new feature allowing groups to split payments

Accommodation website enables up to 16 people to pay for one booking

Groups can now pay their own share on the accommdation website, meaning no one person is responsible for the whole fee.

Groups can now pay their own share on the accommdation website, meaning no one person is responsible for the whole fee.

 

When travelling with a group there is always the possibility that someone will not pay their share and the booker gets stuck covering the lot. Airbnb has launched a system where you can book a group holiday and each person is responsible for paying their own share of costs directly to the website.

The new feature means users can split the payment for groups up to 16 people. When a booking is made, the first person pays their share as a deposit, and provides the email addresses of others in the group. They will have three days to complete the booking and pay their portion, otherwise it will be cancelled. Payments can also be made in a variety of currencies.

At the end of 2016, ceo Brian Chesky asked consumers on Twitter, “If Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?” One of the top requests was group payments. “We heard consumers loud and clear, and with the launch of split payments, we’re delivering on that promise,” he says. “We’ve tested this in recent months with over 80,000 groups successfully using the feature from all over the world in nearly 175 countries, using over 44 different currencies.”

Group trips have become popular in recent years with 79 per cent of users having taken multiple group trips in the past five years, according to an Airbnb survey conducted by DKC Analytics of 2,000 American customers.

All has not been plain sailing with group travel though, with some groups reporting being out of pocket. For those that have travelled with a group, two-fifths (38 per cent) have experienced not receiving all the money owed from a group trip. Of these, 43 per cent have lost $1,000 or more in group trip repayments, and a stunning 18 per cent of the most frequent group trip takers report losses of $10,000 or more.

Group trips often times mean one person fronting big costs. Fifty-two percent of group travellers report they’ve fronted $500 or more, and almost a third (31 per cent) have fronted more than $1,000.

When asked about what happens if people do not pay in time, a spokesperson for Airbnb told The Irish Times: “We allow the additional travellers 72 hours to pay for their portion of the booking. If they’re not already Airbnb users, they can sign up and enter their payment credentials to pay for their portion.

“If co-payers do not pay within the ‘awaiting payment’ state, we will encourage the organiser to pay before the window is closed. The final window closes 24 hours after the initial 72 hours. Then, the hold on the host’s calendar is released and the organiser/other travellers who have already paid will be refunded for their portion of the payment.”

New Year’s Eve 2016 was the biggest night yet for group stays, according to the website, and over the course of 2016, 15.5 million groups took trips on Airbnb, with an average stay of 3.5 nights.

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