Immediate Occupancy Only
You only want bookings for guests who will arrive in the next three days. It doesn’t matter how long. One day, two days, three weeks, a month. I’ll take any booking as long as the guest is arriving today, tomorrow or the next day.
Why? Because any booking farther in the future is very likely to be cancelled. They’ll block your calendar for the guest who wants to arrive tomorrow and stay two weeks, and they they’ll cancel the day of arrival. And Airbnb will give them a full refund.
Screen, Screen, Screen
You do not want parties, not even a bunch of nuns reading the Bible together. Airbnb hosts already have a target painted on their backs, you do not want to draw any additional attention.
Easily said, harder to put into practice. Actually, it’s not hard, but there’s a limit to what you can actually accomplish. Nevertheless, make the effort. Here are questions to ask:
- Who will occupy the unit? How many adults, how many children, and who are they?
- Will there be anyone inside the unit other than those people, even briefly, even during they day?
- What is the reason for your trip?
There are some guests who fully intend to hold a raging party and know what lies to tell, but you’d be surprised how many aren’t that perceptive. When you get the six high school seniors who are coming to Florida to celebrate their graduation, remember Nancy Reagan and just say ‘no’.
Raise or Drop Your Prices
These are strange times. If you’re in an urban market like me, you may have to discount quite a bit. For example, my apartments rent for about $1200/month unfurnished, no consumables, no utilities, no internet, and on an annual lease. On Airbnb I’m used to getting double that, but I provide more, too. Still, I was recently pretty happy to get bookings that paid me just under $1200/month. Heads in beds, some revenue is better than none.
If you have a country get-away and there is high demand, charge what the market will bear. If you are booked more than a few weeks in advance, you under-priced it.
Set a Progressive Last-Minute Discount
If you use pricing software like PriceLabs, Wheelhouse, or BeyondPricing, you can set sophisticated discounts. For example, I have a 40% last-minute discount that is phased in over 28 days. If my base price is $100, then tonight costs $60, and each following day costs a little more until you get to 28 days from now when you pay full price ($100) for each night.
My goal is not to charge someone $100/night. My goal is simply to make close-in bookings attractive in price, and bookings farther in the future unattractive. To get bookings longer than a few days you have to combine this with length-of-stay discounts. I’ll discuss the exact mechanics in a future post.