For anyone who has ever tried to maneuver the headache that is booking group travel, this latest news from Airbnb is going to be a lifesaver. The home rental company just announced the launch of Split Payments, a new way of booking that allows you to divide the bill upfront. So, it's time to book that houseboat in Amsterdam.
It all started on Christmas 2016, when Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky asked his Twitter followers for their opinion on changes the company could make in the new year. One of the top requests (following ideas like turning Airbnb rentals green via solar panels and having guests pay extra for Airbnbs stocked with food) was creating a group payment method.
The way it works is super simple: After specifying how many people are splitting the cost, the reservation is put on hold until all members have paid their share. You can pay your share (or if it’s a gift, pay someone else’s share) and invite your friends by sending them a link or filling in their email addresses. You can also check the payment progress under the “Your Trips” tab.
As for what happens if one person refuses to pay his or her share? There’s no penalty for the rest of the group (although you might want to reconsider your friendship choices). Airbnb will send an email reminder 24 hours before the payment deadline, and if it’s not met, the reservation will be canceled, and everyone who did pay will be reimbursed.
Airbnb is the first accommodation provider to provide this built-in feature—which seems a bit surprising, given that demand has definitely been around for a while. According to a survey conducted by DKC Analytics among 2,000 people, 79 percent of American travelers have been on several group trips in the past five years. And of those who've traveled in groups, 38 percent have been in situations where they haven't received all the money owed from a group trip.
If you’ve ever had to front the cost of a group booking, you know firsthand how annoying it can be to have to follow up with everyone and make sure you get your money back. You’re not alone: Per the same survey, 43 percent of travelers have lost $1,000 or more in group trip repayments.
This new payment method will change that. It’s already been tested—Airbnb has been rolling out trials since June 2017, with over 80,000 groups reporting successful bill splitting—and is applicable in all 191 countries and territories available to Airbnb.
This is great, because it means that booking group New Year’s Eve travel is about to be a cinch. Private island vacation rental, anyone?
See some of the coolest Airbnbs to book now:
10 Retro Airstreams You Can Rent on Airbnb
Seven Insanely Cool Airbnbs You Can Actually Rent
Eight Airbnbs That Give Glamping a New Meaning