Christmas, Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky asked a simple question on
Twitter: If Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?
of the top resounding answers was splitting payments among friends, and it's
easy to see why.
who have traveled as a group know the hassle of putting a large reservation on
the group organizer's card. Then comes the task of chasing friends to pay their
share in a timely manner.
a headache, and one that Airbnb finally solved with the introduction of split
payments. Starting Tuesday, the ability to split the payment between
friends will become available globally.
Chesky's question predicted it would be a success, the company spent the last
year building out how splitting a rental with friends would work. In February
2017, Airbnb acquired peer-to-peer payments startup
Tilt, which was like an early precursor to Venmo or Square Cash. A few
months later, Airbnb started quietly testing how it could use Tilt's
technology to help people traveling as a group. The early results were
promising and more than 80,000 groups used it to make it easier to pay, the
company said in a blog post.
how it works: Whoever is booking the Airbnb will have the option for 72 hours
to split the payment among friends. The reservation will show as booked on a
host's calendar, but the group has three days to make sure friends pay their
the group hasn't paid in full at the end of the deadline, the person who did
the original booking will be encouraged to pay the remainder in full and be
given a final 24 hours to make the payment. Otherwise, the reservation will be
default, it will be set so friends split the reservation equally, but it can be
adjusted by certain increments so a couple, for example, could pay double the
price from one account as needed. Currently, the maximum number of people who
can split the reservation is 16.
says it's already seen that 30% of trips of that used split payments during the
test brought new users to its platform. As Airbnb continues to add more luxury
properties to its platform, the ability to split payment among guests may give
it a small advantage compared to its other homesharing competitors,
like Homeaway or VRBO.