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‘You telling jokes or something? What do you need $400 for’: TikToker shares why ‘we’re going back to hotels’ after seeing $425 ‘host fee’ on listing

‘At a hotel, they’re going to make my bed, they’re going to give me free soap, free lotion. What am I getting here?’


Kahron Spearman


A trending video from the multi-talented Jesse Martin (@jsmartinlive) has brought new material to the debate over the “host fee” on the Vrbo platform.

With a 53-second TikTok video that’s garnered a staggering 491,000 views, Martin humorously calls out the platform—which he mistakenly calls Airbnb—for what he perceives as an exorbitant $425 “host fee.”

An Airbnb representative confirmed with the Daily Dot that the listing is not from its platform, and the Daily Dot has confirmed the receipt is from a Vrbo client. According to Lodgify, “Vrbo collects a commission fee and a processing fee. These fees contribute to the costs of secure transactions, product development, and 24/7 customer service provided by the platform.”

@jsmartinlive #greenscreen Airbnbs are robbing us now, used to be an affordable option #airbnb #broke #fyp #inflation #genz #millennial ♬ original sound – Jesse Martin

Breaking down the costs, he states, “Now we’re going back to hotels. Because of this,” as he shows a green-screened receipt. 

“$172 a night reasonable. Cool, $344 for two nights, that makes sense,” he says. He quickly jumps into the heart of the matter with, “But a $108 service fee? Okay, $425. What are you doing with that fee? Are you telling jokes or something? Like, am I paying you to entertain me?” His jesting tone underscores the genuine confusion and frustration many Vrbo users share.

Since their inception, companies like Airbnb and Vrbo have revolutionized how we think about travel accommodation. But, like any disruptive industry, they are not without their critics. Service fees, intended to cover the platform’s costs, have long been a point of contention among users. While some claim these fees help keep it safe and user-friendly, some, like Martin, question their value.

Martin’s question, “At a hotel, they’re going to make my bed, they’re going to give me free soap, free lotion. What am I getting here?” drives home his point. He wonders whether its worth paying so much to have a Vrbo host monitor your comings and goings, “So you can call and be like, ‘Hey, you got to keep it down because you can’t get too loud for your neighbors’? Or what?”

And his frustration with additional charges is evident when he says, “And then you’re going to charge me even more money for cleaning fees? Going for $172 to $972, it’s crazy.”

Viewers agreed with the creator wholeheartedly.

“Airbnb started off as a cheaper alternative from hotels, too. Now there’s really no point unless you’re staying more than [a] month,” said one commenter, though this appears to be true of Vrbo also, given Martin’s receipt.

Another commenter argued that for that price, they should be getting much more than a place to stay: “I better be having full access to the house, plus you cooking and cleaning for me every day at 9 am sharp.”

Another person joked, “Host fee? Isn’t that what the original price is for?” The poster replied, “Facts; host fee is too much.”

“Hotels ain’t leaving you passive-aggressive notes all around the house and texting you every 5 minutes either,” noted another commenter. Martin joked, “Right, texting me to put away they dishes, hahah.”

The Daily Dot has contacted Jesse Martin (@jsmartinlive) via TikTok comment and Vrbo via email.

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