Reserving an Airbnb for a large group of people can be quite the financial pain. One person has to put the entire expense on their credit card, and that’s not very fun if your friends are the kind who take a little too long to pay you back once the trip is over.
Fret no more, people who probably need to reconsider their friendships; Airbnb is quietly adding the ability to split payments with up to 16 people beforehand.
More like Fairbnb, amirite? No? Okay, moving on.
The feature is being tested with a small group of homes starting today, but the company is looking to roll it out more widely later this year. It builds on the flexible payment infrastructure Airbnb introduced back in April, which allowed you to book a stay without paying everything upfront.
The idea is to ease the logistical burden on potential travelers, and the primary organizer in particular. According to Tim Rathschmidt, an Airbnb spokesperson:
We’re currently testing a way to split the cost of a trip on the Airbnb platform. This is a small, initial pilot — our goal is to make it even easier to use Airbnb to travel with friends and family.
The feature has many practical benefits. As implied earlier, it means you don’t have to nag people to Venmo you after a trip. It means you don’t have to worry about maxing out your credit card, and then not having the extra money for travel expenses or in case of an emergency.
But it also gives you more choices to work with. After all, it’s hard to arrange a stay for a large group of people if nobody has a high enough credit limit to cover everyone, even if you can all afford your portion individually. With split payments, groups can consider staying at fancier homes, for longer.
Unsurprisingly, this has been one of Airbnb’s most requested features, as it makes going on trips with friends much more viable for people without endless pockets.
— Shawn (@shawnnderson) December 26, 2016
I imagine it’ll also make it easier for hosts with expensive properties to have their listings occupied as well. There’s some risk hosts could jack up their prices a bit in response, but on the whole it looks like a win for everyone involved.