Airbnb launches new split payments feature for group travel

Airbnb has launched a split payment plan for group travel. — AFP pic
Airbnb has launched a split payment plan for group travel. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, Nov 29 — Airbnb has launched a new split payment feature in response to the rise of group travel.

That’s good news for the 38 per cent of travellers in an Airbnb poll who said they’ve been short-changed from a group trip, either from people who’ve never ponied up their part of the vacation, or from forking over more than their share. 

To use, the trip organiser selects the split payment feature when booking their reservation. The organiser can then invite friends to pay their share by sending them the link, or adding their names and email addresses to the reservation. 

The booking is placed on hold for 72 hours, giving time for others in the group to pay their portion of the bill. 

At the end of 2016, Airbnb founder Brian Chesky asked Twitter for feedback on possible new launches for 2017. Group payment options were one of the top requests. 

Likewise, an Airbnb survey conducted among 2,000 online respondents found that 79 percent of US travellers said they’ve been on multiple group trips in the last five years. 

The systemwide launch follows a pilot project in which the feature was tested in 175 countries among 80,000 groups, in more than 44 different currencies. 

Meanwhile, Paris leads Airbnb’s list of both top cities from which travellers are booking split payments and top destinations for which split payments are being used. 

Airbnb’s launch is the latest addition to the alternative payment trend in the travel industry, where bookings are often big-ticket purchases. 

Last month, Etihad Airways launched a “fly now, pay later” program that allows travellers to pay for their flight in installments. Cash-strapped travellers can stretch out their payments between three months to up to five years. 

British Airways and online booking site Expedia offer similar layaway-type payment plans. 

Likewise, Airfordable launched last year to help travellers — particularly credit card-less students — pay for their flight in installments before their travel date. — AFP-Relaxnews

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