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WATCH: 'When your Airbnb host charges you for air'

With over 427 000 views, the video managed to ruffle some major feathers. Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels.

With over 427 000 views, the video managed to ruffle some major feathers. Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels.

Published Feb 18, 2022


A TikToker with the username @papiriice shared a video of a gadget they encountered while on vacation at an Airbnb they had booked.

The video text read: “When your Airbnb host charges you for air.” The digital screen with numbers that tick higher and higher the longer the aircon is on is used to hold guests accountable for using the host’s aircon to control the temperature of the rented room.

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With over 427 000 views, the video managed to ruffle some major feathers. “Airbnb used to be cool but now it’s just boomers trying to squeeze every penny out of vacationers,” a commenter with the username @drunktennis said. Another named @ryan chimed in with, “If a host is seriously going to be that stingy, they shouldn’t be renting their house out.”

@papiwhiterice #airbnb #travel #viral #trending #tiktok ♬ Originalton - POV’s

Over the years hotel alternatives have boomed in popularity for being a more affordable option for travellers on a budget. With over 5.6 million active listings worldwide, Airbnb filled a very important gap in the market, offering rentals perfect for flexible, adventurous travellers looking for fuss-free bookings —whether that be in the form of a home, apartment, condo, boat, yurt, shared space or other property.

More room, greater privacy, better facilities, kitted-out kitchens, washing machines, tumble dryers and much more were also available at a reduced price, making the business stand out among the rest.

However, things seem to have shifted slightly since the start of the pandemic. With borders gradually opening up, those wishing to dive head-first into the wonderful world of travel and adventure might still be under the impression that short-term rentals are less expensive than hotels.

Naturally, rates vary depending on the type of hotel or Airbnb you choose. In some cities, the difference between a hotel stay and an Airbnb was only a few dollars per day. The cost of a hotel room varies greatly in various places. According to an article by Business Insider published in 2021, “as travel ramps up, so too have Airbnb prices. Nightly costs averaged at about $160 (R2 389) a day in the first quarter of 2021, a 35% increase compared to the first quarter of 2020.”

The article states that the increase in daily rates, according to executives, is due to inflated bookings in the US and growing interest in larger properties in non-urban locales. However, price changes have affected many other sectors ranging from food to fuel - both surging in price.

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According to Business tech, some of the largest annual price increases (April 2020 versus April 2021) were recorded for the following goods and services in South Africa:

  • Fuel: +21.4%
  • Oils and fats: +16.7%
  • Fish: +8.1%
  • Books, newspapers and stationery: +8.1%
  • Sugar sweets and desserts: +8%
  • Milk, eggs and cheese: +7.8%
  • Meat: +7.1%
  • Electricity and other fuels: +6.4%
  • Vegetables: +6.3%

From a livelihood perspective, it makes perfect sense as some people rent out spaces as Airbnbs as a full-time job or to supplement their income. Therefore, they would want to keep their costs down as much as possible during the pandemic.

On @papiwhiterice’s video, some people seemed to understand that this might be the case. The user @michiganvsmsu said, “Should really be like that everywhere since people end up being like kids and wasting lots of energy.”

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Another by the name @elconstipado suggested that it may be because of the electricity struggle being experienced in Europe. “Electricity in Europe is more expensive than in the US and even more so in Spain due to the crisis there right now.”

According to Bloomberg Green, the crisis in question is because “Europe’s power costs have been pushed through the roof by a supply crunch in natural gas, the risk of military conflict in Ukraine and bottlenecks for renewable energy. Compounding the problem, France’s ageing nuclear reactors - the backbone of the region’s power system - are becoming more unreliable.”

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