Our parents always told us never to mix friendship and money, but how else are you supposed to take group vacations? After all, someone is going to have to foot the bill, and subsequently badger everyone else for their fair share. But no longer will the responsible friends of the group be forced to risk their relationships for the sake of a trip — it’s all thanks to Airbnb’s split payment feature. As the name suggests, guests will now have the option of splitting payments with other travelers, allowing an organizer to divvy up the cost of an Airbnb listing with up to 16 people. Anything beyond that, and you’re on your own again.
Borne of user feedback (when Brian Chesky asked Twitter users what features they were missing, split payments were at the top of the list), this new tool takes leverages the company’s recent acquisition of Tilt. In fact, we’ve long been speculating about the arrival of this new feature, noting back in January that Airbnb’s decision to buy the cost-splitting platform would certainly make for easier payment logistics for vacations.
Demand for the tool is certainly there. Beyond Twitter feedback, Airbnb also noted that 79 percent of American travelers have gone on multiple group trips in the last five years, and 43 percent have lost at least $1,000 in group trip repayments (or lack thereof). And unsurprisingly, more than one in four travelers have fought with a friend over group trip money collections.
Splitting payments upfront may be able to eliminate some of these headaches. When you book a listing that qualifies for split payments, you’ll only pay your share, and then invite your friends to pitch in as well. Your reservation will be placed on hold until everyone has contributed their share, and if the full amount isn’t paid within 72 hours, the reservation is released. This way, you can inject some urgency into the situation, convincing even your most dilatory friends to pay up (or get out). While anyone can pay anyone’s share, the whole point of this feature is to ensure that individuals are accountable for their own portion.
So if you’ve a big trip planned for this holiday season, you can make sure it’s extra merry by not paying for everyone else’s lodgings.