We’ve all been there: You find that perfect Airbnb with the right price for your travel dates, only to be deterred at the checkout page when you witness the total skyrocket to an incomprehensible amount after the cleaning and mysterious “service” fees.
In a new study called "Cities With the Worst Airbnb Fees In 2023," Forbes Advisor discovered that Dallas travelers pay an average surcharge of 34 percent for an Airbnb in the city. Forbes looked at 32,000 listings across 100 of the most popular markets on Airbnb to find common trends.
The average Airbnb stay in Dallas is $229 a night, with a 13 percent cleaning fee, a 15 percent service fee, and an average 6 percent tax rate. Though that seems high, Dallas is only No. 67 on Forbes’ list.
Nearby visitors to Fort Worth pay just one percent less than their Dallas-destined counterparts, at 33 percent, earning them No. 77 in Forbes' report. The study also designates Fort Worth as the Texas city with the least amount of surcharges: Guests pay four dollars less in nightly rates for an Airbnb in the city, but pay 12 percent in cleaning fees, 15 percent service fees, and 5 percent in taxes.
Houston ranked as the Texas city with the highest fees, and No. 8 overall with their average surcharge at 45 percent. Though their nightly rate is lower than Dallas' at $193, they pay 15 percent in cleaning fees, 15 percent service fees, and another 15 percent in taxes. That’s a good dent in your wallet.
Here’s every Texas city that appeared in the top 100:
- No. 8 – Houston: 45 percent total fees
- No. 33 – Galveston: 39 percent total fees
- No. 47 – San Antonio: 37 percent total fees
- No. 67 – Dallas: 34 percent total fees
- No. 69 – South Padre Island: 34 percent total fees
- No. 71 – Austin: 33 percent total fees
- No. 77 – Fort Worth: 33 percent total fees
Atlanta is the U.S. city with the highest percentage in fees for the average Airbnb stay, totaling an unfathomable 48 percent. Surprisingly, an Airbnb stay in New York City will only come with 23 percent in total fees, making it the lowest percentage out of all the top 100 cities.
In the report, publicist Tracy Lamourie criticized Airbnb hosts and property managers for charging excessive fees, calling it "disingenuous."
“I’m old enough to remember when Airbnb was a more wallet-friendly alternative to hotels. That’s only rarely true these days,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dustin Abney, CEO of vacation-rental management company Portoro, defended Airbnb and praised the company's transparency around its listings with the fee breakdown. He noted that most guests are charged fees without knowing where that money goes.
“Most guests also assume that property managers or hosts are trying to price-gouge them, when this usually is not the case,” Abney said. “In reality, there are many hidden costs that go into running a short-term rental, and these costs fall on property managers to pay.”