Travelers Turn Back To Hotels Over Airbnbs Thanks To Chore Lists, Cleaning Fees

Interior of a vacation rental
Unsplash | Andrea Davis

At one time, travelers were limited in their lodging choices to hotels, motels, or hostels. But the dawn of Airbnb and similar services offered a new world of options: larger places, places with amenities, deep discounts on small spaces, and, in general, far more options than what a typical hotel offers.

But the golden age of Airbnb may be coming to a close, at least if you ask some frustrated travelers who are fed up with strict rules.

Airbnb offers a different experience.

Exterior of a vacation rental in a forest
Unsplash | Karsten Winegeart

While checking into a hotel requires a quick confirmation at the front desk, followed by checking into your room with a keycard, Airbnb is a bit different. Every lodging varies depending on the whims of its owner, and the check-in and check-out processes can be a tad more complicated.

Some Airbnb owners require tenants to do chores.

Person looking at paperwork
Unsplash | Chanhee Lee

While just about any place of lodging will ding its guests if they damage anything, some Airbnb owners are taking things a step further by charging guests if they don't adequately clean the place up when they leave. This is, of course, a marked difference from what you can expect in a typical hotel.

The bad press is reaching a boiling point.

SNL Weekend Update character looking frustrated

No less an authority than The Wall Street Journal discussed the frustration that many travelers feel with Airbnb — in particular, with those chores lists that guests are expected to complete before they check out.

What's on the chores list?

Dishes in a dishwasher
Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

Let's just say it goes a little further than making your bed and returning the towels. According to the WSJ article, some Airbnbs require guests to take all their garbage with them when they leave. Others don't list specific chores at all, leading to a guessing game for confused guests.

Maybe you'll even have to mow a lawn.

A lawnmower on a lawn
Unsplash | Andres Siimon

One incredulous Redditor made a post this past summer about a seemingly ridiculous request at an Airbnb they stayed at: the requirement that any guests staying at the property mow the lawn.

"I'm not wholly opposed to doing the lawn, but is it normal for a host to tell the guest to mow the lawn themselves?" they asked.

"I've got people in the middle of a three week stay and I've mowed the lawn for them twice. I wouldn't expect my guests to do that," one person replied.

Is it normal?

Interior of a vacation rental
Unsplash | Taylor Heery

In the case of the guest who was required to mow the lawn, one mitigating factor might be that they were staying at the place for three months, so they may have been expected to serve a caretaker role.

Airbnb offers a bit of guidance on the issue.

Paper towel roll next to bottle of cleaning solution
Unsplash | Crystal de Passillé-Chabot

Hosts are free to set their own cleaning fees, just as they're free to set accommodation fees.

"Would you like guests to load dirty dishes into the dishwasher or strip the bed linen before checkout? If so, consider charging a very minimal cleaning fee – or no fee at all," Airbnb suggests to prospective hosts. "With a higher fee, guests may expect to just walk away from your space at checkout as they would a hotel room."

It's a tough issue to navigate.

The interior of a swanky apartment with big windows, brown furniture with blue accent cushions
Unsplash | Francesca Tosolini

In the early days of Airbnb, it was possible to find some truly incredible deals, providing better amenities than a hotel at a fraction of the cost. But it seems that the service may be a victim of its own success, with costs and requirements reaching a tipping point for many travelers.

What do you think?

Interior of a vacation rental
Unsplash | Andrea Davis

Do you have any experience with Airbnb or similar services? They can truly be a crapshoot, as everything depends on how conscientious and understanding the owner is. Be sure to share your stories in the comments section!