By: Nick Gambino

Airbnb is testing a new feature that will allow hosts to see a portion of the money from a booking earlier than they have up to this point.

The way it has worked in the past is someone books an Airbnb, and once they’ve checked in, the host would see their money a day later. Simple enough, but with a stronger leaning towards Professional Hosts who see renting out their properties as a business, the tech company needed a way to sweeten the pot.

The test is invite-only for now but here’s what we know. With those who opt for an early payout, they’ll see 50% of the money three days after the booking and will see the other half 24 hours after they check in. Or more precisely, 24 hours after the check-in time. So, if they forget to cancel and don’t show up, the host will still see the money.

So what happens if the user cancels the booking after the host received the first half of the money? Well, in that case, the money comes out of the host’s next booking. Let’s say they receive $50 of $100 but then the user cancels. The next time someone books with that host, Airbnb will recoup their $50 from the new booking.

But this doesn’t come without a catch. The use of this early payout feature requires that hosts agree to give up a 1% booking fee to Airbnb. So, they’ll the see the money earlier but will ultimately see less money. This isn’t too dissimilar to faster transfer features in Venmo and PayPal.

While the new payout system is aimed at Professional Hosts, it’s not exclusive to the “elite” bunch. Invites have been sent out to both professionals and regular hosts.

For now, it remains in the testing phase. “We’re always testing new ways to meet the needs of our hosts, many of whom have asked for earlier access to their Airbnb payouts in order to invest back in hosting,” said an Airbnb spokesperson to Engadget. “We’ll initially trial this with a limited number of hosts before deciding whether or not to roll out more widely based on their feedback.”

Now if they can just test a feature that allows for guaranteed privacy for those trying to enjoy naked time in the pool.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.