Airbnb Hosting in Cebu, Philippines: Pricing, Fees, & Cleaning Demystified

One way I deepen my understanding of Airbnb hosting is by sharing recent lessons. For instance, on Reddit, I recently responded to a question that had gone unanswered for five days:

Airbnb Hosting in Cebu, Philippines: Pricing, Fees, & Cleaning Demystified
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I often browse online forums to connect with fellow Airbnb hosts and learn from their experiences. There are many seasoned Airbnb hosts in the Philippines, and as a new host (4 months hosting), everything feels brand new to me. So, what better way to deepen my understanding than by sharing what I've recently learned? That's why I'm actively responding to questions I come across on Reddit and other online platforms. Here's one question that was posted five days ago and has not yet been answered:

Link to the Redditor's questions

Question: Could you possibly give me a sample breakdown of the pricing of your respective units/houses?

My Answer: I can't give a breakdown for houses, just for a 1-bedroom condo unit. I start by looking at the prices of similar units in my building (first thing I did was check the Airbnb listings at Midpoint Residences). I then set my price slightly below the average price. I also check the prices of my fellow hosts and adjust my price accordingly. I charge a cleaning fee equal to what I pay my housekeeper. I also charge an extra guest fee, as required by Airbnb.

I kept my pricing simple and competitive when I first started out. During the first month of hosting, I even halved my cleaning fee to attract more bookings and reviews.

Here is a summary of my pricing:

  • Rate per night: Based on the pricing of similar units
  • Cleaning fee: Equal to the cost of hiring a housekeeper
  • Extra guest fee: As required by Airbnb

Question: I also notice that after you book, there are additional charges such as cleaning fee. If the cleaning fee is 500 pesos, is the whole 500 peso cleaning fee charged to you, or does AirBnB takes a partial of the cleaning fee?

My answer: I've been curious about this, too. After booking, you may notice additional charges like a cleaning fee. When it's 500 pesos, Airbnb does take a portion of this fee. They don't disclose the exact amount but it's approximately 3% of the total host payout.

Here is a simplified explanation:

  • Guests pay Airbnb a guest service fee, a percentage of their booking subtotal (nightly rate + cleaning fee + additional guest fee). See sample computation below with cleaning fee:
This is how it looks to the guests trying to book the space
  • Airbnb also deducts a hosting service fee from the host payout, which includes the cut from the cleaning and extra guest fees. See sample computation below:
Computation that shows how much of the cleaning fee goes to Airbnb

This means that a higher cleaning fee can increase a host's payout. However, I keep in mind that guests may be paying up to 14.2% of the total booking cost in guest service fees. So, I carefully consider all these factors when setting my prices to make my listing appealing to potential guests.

Question: Do you get to clean the rooms daily even if it's occupied most of the time?

My answer: Some hosts charge a higher cleaning fee for longer stays, but I offer free cleaning (mid-stay) to all guests staying more than a week. I think this is a good way to show my guests that I appreciate their business and that I want them to have a comfortable stay. They love complimentary cleaning, which feels like a hotel where you can get new sets of towels, replenishment of toiletries, or a change of sheets.

If I'm not able to inform the guests ahead of their arrival that I offer complimentary cleaning, I do it while checking in on them, during their stay. They were mostly happy to agree to the schedule that works best for them. Here's a sample message I send mid-stay:

I hope you're enjoying your stay at my place!

I wanted to let you know that I offer free cleaning for guests staying more than a week. Rose, our housekeeper, can come by and clean the common areas, change the sheets and towels, and take out the trash.

Would you like me to schedule it for you? She's available on the following dates and times:

Saturday, September 9th, at 1pm - 3pm
Monday, September 12th, 10am-3pm

Please let me know if any of these times work for you. If not, please let me know what time would be better.


Question: Lastly, in terms of revenue and expenses, what are the biggest challenge you face as a host?

My answer: In terms of revenue and expenses, the main challenge I face as a host is managing my costs effectively. The largest expense impacting my revenue is the mortgage, as we're still paying off the property. If you own your property outright, you're likely to see higher revenues, especially with higher occupancy rates and longer guest stays.

Additionally, I have other expenses like utilities, parking fees, internet, home improvements, and maintenance. It's crucial to keep a close eye on where your money is going and diligently record every expense. Here's a breakdown of my actual expenses in the last four months:

Breakdown of expenses for 4 months

I'd be delighted to delve deeper into this topic in future blog posts, time permitting.

I strive to provide insights into the world of Airbnb hosting in the Philippines, specifically in Cebu. I'm committed to learning and documenting my journey. If you're curious about marketing your space, an essential aspect of hosting, I'll explore it in-depth in my next posts. Stay updated by subscribing to this blog!

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