Curious Why Bookings Are Way Down From Last Year

I moved to a rural, mountainous part of Virginia about 2 hours both from Northern Virginia and Richmond just as the pandemic was taking off in March 2020. I had plans to turn a basement studio apartment into and Airbnb upon arrival, but covid put a stop to that.

The following January, as vaccinations were becoming a thing, and as I figured out how to clean and protect myself and my guests, I decided to go live with my listing. Our property is unique in that it has direct access to the George Washington National Forest, and National Geographic considers our specific area to be one of the top three places for mountain biking in the world.

When I went live in January 2021, I thought that I might start getting bookings once the weather broke and biking events began to happen – March was my optimistic hope. I was shocked that my first booking came just hours after going live, and I have had 100% continuous bookings every single weekend ever since in 2021. I had bookings over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Mid-week bookings were frequent during nice weather months, too. Some bookings were made weeks in advance (especially when nearby events were scheduled), but the majority of my bookings were made only a few days in advance.

Things have changed dramatically in 2022.

While I closed down the Airbnb for several days in January because I tested positive for covid, I had no other bookings that month; and in February I’ve only had two bookings. I have a couple bookings upcoming in March because biking events have begun in the area.

Two things have changed, and I was curious to have other hosts’ thoughts:

  1. I raised the price of my listing from $90/night to $99/night; and
  2. Covid restrictions are being lifted.

I’m wondering if I did so well last year because people aren’t as interested in risk-free weekend getaways close to home now that we are feeling safer getting on planes, traveling greater distances, checking into hotels, and being around crowds of people. Or is it because I raised my price $9/night?

Here’s a link to my listing if you are interested:

Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

I’ve often said here that the busier you are, the busier you will be. That’s just based on my own experience, not actual research. But if you closed down awhile that might have slowed things down a bit. On top of that you closed at a slow time. My Airbnb has been steady but my in home dog boarding business was slow in Jan and Feb.

That said, in addition to raising your price have you changed any of your other settings? I see you have a two night minimum, do you have a max stay, days vacant automatically between stays?

No, nothing else has changed. I blocked out days while I had covid, but during the past year I blocked out days from time to time for personal travel, personal friends staying there, etc., and that didn’t seem to slow things down.

I have a maximum stay of 6 nights and a day in between guests for prep. Those haven’t changed. I’ve had requests to stay longer, and I’ve had requests to come at the last minute, too; which I’ve considered based on what was going on in my life at the moment. But no, nothing but
an extra $9/night on my end has changed.

I don’t see any explanation other than it’s just been slow. A 10% price increase shouldn’t matter. If spring break month (March) is still exceptionally slow then I suppose you could try lowering your price again. Prudent folks know there’s still a pandemic ongoing and I for one wouldn’t want to be planning a Europe trip now so just sit tight and demand will pick back up.

If I were going to be in the area I’d stay there in a heartbeat. The dog sold me on on the place. They are gorgeous.

THANK YOU! That is Nyx, The Studio’s mascot. She is front and center in the cover shot so that people who have a problem with dogs know to stay somewhere else. We have had guests tell us that they decided to stay with us because of her. She gets more praise in our reviews than do our stellar views!


How is the competition? Previously Covid closed places now open and running discounts? Have you opened a private page to see where you are in the list?

1 Like

Have you done a search to see what other bookings similar to you are charing and if they are filled. (Hard to tell because you can’t tell what’s blocked and what’s a booking) but when times are slow, I check out my competition to see if they have lowered their price.

It’s been a bit slow for me too this winter but then I live in Boston so this is my slow season. When Omicron hit, I had a lot of cancellations too.

Reason #2 might explain some of the decline. $9 shouldn’t make a difference.

@eileenfeim I don’t know that it has anything to do with your bookings, but if I were you I would do some editing of your listing description. You haven’t used “The Space” section as it was intended. That is where you are meant to describe the studio and its layout- the actual living space, both indoors and out.


Beautiful place! I agree with @KKC, I’d book it just to meet Nyx😂 This is only my 5th year hosting, & my slow season is typically mid Nov. through mid March. I usually have a few stragglers in the off months, but it’s been eerily slow. I blame Omicron. Raising your price 10% probably had nothing to do with the dip in reservations. I found that when I raised rates, occupancy went up. Have faith, warm weather is just around the corner! Double check what your competition is doing. I “sniff around” a couple of times a month, & everybody has been slow around here.


Lots of people were out of work last year and could travel cheaply. This year they are back at the restaurants and offices with less time to squeeze in the getaways. Supply and demand. You will probably book more last minute and fewer midweek.


Thank you for the tip – I will get on to that!

Nyx is stunning! My Bengal cat gets more reviews than I do and I’m told that she’s the reason people pick my place. And like Nyx, she’s also a good filter for the type of guest I don’t want.

I’ve been busy and am booked steadily through early April. I figure that will start filling up soon based on the lead time for my listing. So far, 98% of my guests have been perfect.

Fingers crossed it stays that way.

I’m sure yours will start booking soon, people are traveling.


I cannot explain the difference in bookings. I did a search on Mt Solon VA for 3/15-/3/20. I didn’t see your property show up (maybe it’s booked then). I did see a number of other places, some less expensive, some more expensive. Just glancing on the first picture, many of the places looked more appealing than your front picture. FYI. My guess is that this is the issue: your competition. I wonder whether your restrictions on length of stay is an issue?

Although the following comments are probably irrelevant to your question, I do think you should take a look at your verbiage. I found myself confused. I would have liked to know upfront, without any work on my part, whether Nyx was a dog or cat, frustrated that you just didn’t say. I eventually figured it out from the front picture and reviews, but frustrated you didn’t just make it simpler for me. When you said ‘we’ are .9 miles up the road, I was again confused. You’re right above or .9 miles away? I suggest saying “Your studio is . . .” Make it ‘you’ oriented. The listing touts being on a 20 acre site but then I read “it does not include the outdoor areas. While you are more than welcome to use the yard and trails of our land at 449 Lookout Mountain Lane, you do so at your own risk.” So I didn’t get that. I can use it but it doesn’t include it? Is this a cover-your-ass legal thing or something more substantive? If it were me I wouldn’t bother asking, but move on. Frankly, I don’t think I would click on the listing when I saw so many more appealing pictures among your competition.

Bottom Line: Look at competition, pricing, pictures, stay settings, and descriptions. Maybe it’s changed from last year, maybe not.

Best of luck!

I hope you will not take my comments critically – just remember it 'takes all kinds." LOL. My intention is to be helpful to you.


This is nowhere in your description. It doesn’t seem you’ve invested much energy in the description.

1 Like

A max stay of six days strikes me as a very limiting condition. Also, the day in between also seems costly. Is your competition doing the same? Your listing won’t show up on any l=reservation desired for 7+ days?? Wow. That’s where the money is. My limit is 28 days so I don’t run into tenancy laws, but I would LOVE longer stays.

I understand that eliminating the one-day hiatus is potentially life-limiting but without running numbers, it seems costly to me. Your cleaning fee looks low to me. Maybe you need to hire a cleaner, at least as a back up?

It really depends on the location and the average length of time guests tend to stay. My max is 2 weeks, as it’s a home-share and I don’t want a roommate. If I had a really great guest and they wanted to extend, and I had availability, I would let them, up to a point.

My area is a touristy beach destination. Most people get a week or two of holiday time so I’m not missing out any significant amount of bookings. It isn’t somewhere people come for a month or more, unless they are coming for the winter, i.e. 6 months. And as I mentioned, I don’t want a roommate.

1 Like

Similar but different. My summer max stay is 7 nights. The second sentence of my rental description is “talk to me if you are interested in staying longer than 7 nights”.

I agree we have to figure out what kind of stays we can accommodate.

@eileenfeim How long do guests usually rent in your area? If the cleaning is the challenge there are ways to make it easier on you.

Occasionally when a hosts sees a larger drop-off in bookings, it’s because the listing’s search ranking was lower. Have you searched for your listing using an incognito browser and see where it appears?