Airbnb launches new flexible payment feature

Airbnb is letting travelers defer the payment on their bookings. Photo credit: Airbnb

Airbnb is taking a new approach to paying for stays. The home-sharing company is now offering “Pay Less Up Front,” a payment process that defers half of the cost of a stay until the traveler’s check-in date draws closer.

Using Pay Less Up Front, Airbnb guests will be able to put down a deposit for a room, and then pay the rest as their travel plans come together. The company’s release detailing the new payment option says that a 50-percent deposit will be collected in most cases, leaving in the possibility of a more flexible system up to a host’s discretion.

In testing the new feature, Airbnb found that 40 percent of travelers indulged in the option to pay less up front and more later, and that these travelers opted in for higher-value bookings overall.

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The company also said that Pay Less Up Front is helping encourage more advance bookings over Airbnb, nearly doubling lead times on bookings. This helps home-sharing hosts manage bookings on their own, as well.

Pay Less Up Front is available over Airbnb’s iOS, Android, mobile-web and desktop applications right now. To qualify for the new payment option, the total stay booked by a traveler must be worth at least $250 or more, and the stay must be booked at least 14 days from a guest’s check-in date.

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