Airbnb is a great resource for travelers — especially for people traveling with friends. Instead of getting multiple expensive hotel rooms, you can go in on a sweet multi-bedroom apartment and get a better space for less money, often with access to your own refrigerator and stove. You can even reserve a whole house, or rent Julia Child's home in Provence and cook in her real French kitchen.
The only downside is that it can be annoying to have to split up the bill afterwards. Now Airbnb has made it a lot easier to split the bill, thanks to a new feature that lets multiple people split the cost of a reservation upfront.
Airbnb's new feature is called Split Pay, and it means that never again will anyone have to pay for the whole bill upfront, then wait for all the rest of the guests to pay their share.
According to Conde Nast Traveler, the bill-splitting feature is a response to a survey Airbnb conducted last year about what features customers wanted to see. A group payment option was by far the most-requested result.
Split Pay is now available in all 191 countries Airbnb serves, and the way the system works is that one person makes a reservation, and Airbnb divides up the price and sends a link to everyone so they can pay their share. The reservation is put on hold until full payment is received, and there's a 72-hour deadline. If your party doesn't pay within 72 hours, the reservation is canceled. You can see your friends' payment status to know who has paid and who has not, and it will also let another user pay someone else's portion, or pay for the remainder all at once.
It sounds like a pretty great system, and it's a much-needed addition to Airbnb. It's especially good because it automates the job of nudging all your friends and reminding them it's time to pay. Nobody wants to have to hound their friends for payment, but it is deeply annoying when one person doesn't follow through. Now Airbnb's system arranges payments and sets up a time limit, so nobody has to deal with that thankless job.
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Have you ever stayed in a group Airbnb? Let us know how it went in the comments.