Airbnb's new payment feature to make group bookings a lot easier

2017-12-06 06:30 - Unathi Njkanjeni
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Cape Town - Online hospitality service, Airbnb has launched a new payment feature that could make your group-vacation stress-free.

Airbnb's new split-pay tool allows a group of 16 people to divide the reservation costs from the get-go. Previously, the trip organizer would have to pay for the entire cost of the stay upfront. 

Payments are automatically split evenly as a default. However, travellers can now choose to pay for more than one person. 

Last year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky asked users on Twitter what feature they'd most like to see in 2017. One of the top requests was the ability to split payments. 

The tool officially launched worldwide on Tuesday, 05 December, with the exception of India and China. The current payment rules and regulations in the two countries would make it difficult to roll out the feature, according to Airbnb. 

"We heard consumers loud and clear, and with the launch of split payments, we’re delivering on that promise," says Airbnb. 

During a test of the feature, the Airbnb says 30% of reservations booked led to one or more new users joining Airbnb.

"We’ve tested this in recent months with over 80,000 groups successfully using the feature from all over the world in nearly 175 countries, using over 44 different currencies," says Airbnb. 

The tool comes after the company announced that it would invest $1m to boost township entrepreneurship across SA and Africa and also distribute approximately 500 shower heads to their top hosts in Western Cape.

SEE: Cape Water Crisis: New initiative to help tourism sector reduce usage

Airbnb also signed the first hospitality collaboration with the City of Cape Town, aimed at promoting the "benefits of people-to-people tourism for Cape Town residents and their communities".

SEE: Airbnb signs Africa's first city agreement with Cape Town

How the new feature works 

The feature allows you to make a reservation and invite your friends. Essentially, one person opens the booking and pays their part and the rest of the group have 72 hours to pay theirs. 
If payment is not made before the deadline the stay is cancelled and everyone who paid will get their money back. 
Although the cost is divided among the group, anyone can pay anyone else’s share. To pay the remaining reservation balance, you’ll need to pay all of the unpaid shares. 

Invite friends to pay 

After you book a place, you’ll invite your friends on the next page.

To invite them to pay, you can add their names and email addresses, or send them a link.

If they don’t have an Airbnb account, they’ll need to create one.

See who’s paid

In your Your Trips, you can see who’s paid, pay someone else’s share, or pay the remaining balance. Airbnb will send an email reminder 24 hours before the payment deadline to you and anyone who hasn’t paid yet. 

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