Airbnb Should Offer the Option to Pay in Local Currency

Written by Karen Bryan

I’m going to Malaga in southern Spain for one week in April 2017. I am meeting up with Gary,  one of our sons, who has given up his senior developer job in Scotland to become a remote worker.

I said that I would organise our accommodation.

I had a quick look at hotels in Malaga. It appeared that a twin room with a private bathroom, on a room only basis, would cost around £300 for one week

I then looked at apartments in the city centre with at least one bedroom. We thought that renting an apartment would enable do our own things without disturbing each other. I usually go to bed and get up earlier than Gary, so sharing a hotel room doesn’t work very well for us.

The issue with almost every one bed apartment in Malaga was the bedding configurations. I was looking for twin beds, Either it was one double bed in the bedroom, or a sofa bed in the living room. I have slept on so many uncomfortable sofa beds, and almost did my back in pulling one out in a studio in London, that I wasn’t going for that option.

It looked as though we’d have up the budget to around £400 for the week and go for a two bed apartment.

There weren’t many two bed apartments on offer in central Malaga. The majority either had one decent sized bedroom and one small, and/or bunk beds in one of the bedrooms.

I did find a two bed apartment which fitted the bill on Airbnb. The price was £380 for one week. It had good reviews. I checked with the host that there was a decent WiFi signal, to enable both Gary and I to get online to work. I also asked the host if it was possible to get a discount. My request for a discount was declined.

The £380 price was made up of £304 (£43 a night for 7 nights), a £26 cleaning fee and an Airbnb service fee of £50. At the point of payment, I observed that the exchange rate being used to convert the price from Euro (the currency in Spain) to UK Pounds was around 1.14 Euro to £1. That didn’t sound right to me, as I was sure that I’d seen earlier that day that the exchange rate was around 1.18 Euro to £1.

Then I saw that Airbnb were charging a 3% conversion fee. This really annoyed me. I have a couple of credit cards which don’t charge a conversion fee. If Airbnb had given me the option to pay in Euro, I could have saved the 3% conversion fee.

Airbnb were already charging a £50 service fee, which equates to around 17% on the accommodation charge of £304. I think that is already on the high side, without them pocketing another 3% in a currency conversion fee.