Do one night bookings help or hurt occupancy?

Hi all. Debating whether to open up to one night bookings on weekday nights, to boost occupancy. Does anyone have any experience on doing this, whether bookings actually increase overall, other pros / cons?

Some specific considerations for my situation:

  • Im lucky enough to have cleaning help who can handle same-day changeovers & so the ‘fixed cost’ of cleaning per stay is not a consideration
  • its a remote-ish rural area, so unlikely to have the upside of business travel (which seems the most likely boost from a weekday one night booking) - may also be less attractive for some of the seamier potential side of one night bookings (parties, hook-ups, dealing) but you never know.

Thanks for your thoughts & advice.

I mean, your whole market position could quite lucratively revolve around the “seamier” side of things. That could be your niche! Dealing might not be so nice but hookups (ahem, let’s call them “private couple retreats”) can make for good guests. Parties could be a problem, though. Are you near enough to monitor this?

Here’s my experience: short stays can reduce your chance of filling up the calendar with longer stays, and result in fewer nights booked overall. This isn’t just about turnover times. Say someone books Saturday night. You might still end up with someone who wants to stay Friday night. But you miss out on all the people who wanted to stay Wednesday through Sunday.

We used to have 2-night minimums because our property manager when we first launched our listing said it was the best way to get bookings and build a reputation / get reviews. That’s true. But then one night, someone contacted me asking me to approve a one-night booking on the weekend. This was in summer, peak season when our flat went for $250/night. How could I say no to $250? But if she booked for that one night, I’d miss out on any longer bookings that included the weekend. While I was trying to decide, literally 5 minutes after the first request came through, someone else instabooked for 5 nights (thus invalidating the 1-night booking request). So I lost the $250 booking and ended up with over $1000, and less cleaning hassle, too.

After that, I experimented with making my minimum stay 5 nights. I was surprised to find that there was a lot of demand for that, and I never regretted it!

It really depends a lot on your local market. You could always experiment to see what works.

But also, keep in mind you can do a mix of things. You could, for example, open up your calendar for three months in advance with longer minimum stays. Then, 1 month or 2 weeks out, you could open up any unbooked nights for shorter stays. In my limited experience, shorter stays are more likely to be spontaneous weekends away and longer trips tend to be planned well in advance.

And you can customise your calendar and rules around longer bookings. For example, if I have 2 x 5-day bookings with 3 days in between, I can go into the calendar and set special rules for those 3 days to allow someone to book a shorter stay in between the longer booking.


Very helpful thank you. Great point about the ‘close-to-date’ customization option. Ideally would prefer a plug-&-play approach, I’m trying not to spend too much time tinkering with / revisiting availability or pricing settings as this a side hustle beyond family / other pay the bills responsibilities. So I guess I’ll try to balance.


Here’s what I do with one night stays.

During my busy season I have a 2 night minimum.
Slow season I do open it up to 1 night stays - I live near an airport so it’s handy for people who get snowed in.

Then when I’m within a month of the dates for bookings, I look at my calendar and see where the openings are and will probably make some of the weekday nights, one night stays. Also, if a random Saturday night is open but Friday and Sunday have guests, I’ll make that a one night stay too.

So I try for the longer stays initially, but when it’s closer to the date I do adjust the days to 1 nights to fill in the dates.


I switched to 3 night minimum from 1 during pandemic to allow day in between to run the air purifier, and have never looked back. Similar revenue, less hassle & expense (time and supplies).


good point on supplies, especially single-use ones, plus every stay is 4 loads of laundry for me (see separate thread).


We have a five day minimum stay in our high season, otherwise a three day minimum stay.

Like @Lynick4442 and others we relax our minimums for ‘orphan’ dates in between bookings where there’s the potential for a shorter booking but it’s blocked because of our minimum day requirements.

We also now let PriceLabs shorten our minimum stays in these orphan windows per its algorithms.

As an FYI I’ve read/heard short-term rental ‘gurus’ advocate just one-day minimum stays (in conjunction with rules that lessen pricing for longer stays) on the rationale that your listing will show up in more searches. That hasn’t persuaded us, but I keep it in the back of mind.


I have a 4 night minimum, and then I drop the minimum to one for the orphan nights. For example, Let’s say you get bookings for 14 to 18, and 20 to 25. For the nights of the 18th and 19th, I will drop the minimum to 1.

I do this to collect more reviews rather than to make more money. On Airbnb there is always potential for a nasty guest to leave you a bad review. When you have only a few reviews, an outlier bad review can impact you. You become bullet proof with more reviews.


After COVID we took what we viewed as a big risk and set a seven-day minimum, and it worked out really well. Sometimes when we have a shorter “orphan” gap between visits, we put in a rule set allowing shorter stays but we really bump up the rate. Our annual revenue went up 15% - 20%, and we cut back on the labour required for turnovers (which we do ourselves).


yep, and few people come to our wine region for 5 nights. But I have stayed in Manly for 5 nights :slight_smile:

my average stay is 1.6 nights, and that’s boosted thanks to school holiday stays. Generally I get 1-2 night stays, a real pain for cleaning, but I do it. Regularly cleaning a place is not that time consuming at least, as dust barely settles.

yes I absolutely DO NOT supply small items that can be taken home. I have large bottles of everything. (and no toothpaste! :sweat_smile:)

A lot of my competitors have a 2 night minimum, I was just checking next week, which is dead quiet, and when I searched for 1 night stays I’m holding the top positions in a very small field.


I wonder if it’s even possible to calculate how length of stay parameters affect occupancy as there would be so many other variables that come in to play. I have never had a minimum stay but I have always made my longer stay discounts more significant than other locals. Before Covid my bookings were predominantly 7 or 28 day stays. Nowadays I hardly ever get longer bookings for people travelling for work - I assume they’re all doing it remotely. Most of my bookings are one night stays which is fine with me because 15 one nights earns as much as a 28 day booking so I can have 13 days of my house to myself :laughing:


One night stays are my bread and butter, and I have a 4 day max on my private room. On my new ADU listing I set 3 nights simply because it’s a lot more to clean than the private bedroom/bathroom and if I have to turn both in one day, oh boy. I CAN do it, I just prefer NOT to do it too often.

Almost everyone in my area has 3-7 nights. I pick up people that are looking to arrive a day before their weeklong stay elsewhere, looking for a night away from the family vacation rented home with 20 people, and folks who wake up one day and drive to the beach for a quick getaway. As someone stated above, cleanup is usually quick and easy as they’re here such a short time. I have 3 sets of everything so changeout is fairly easy. There’s a lot of money to be made in the one nighters. And with smart pricing, when inventory gets low, the significant increase in my rate makes it well worth it.


I will gladly accept one-nighters. But I only get a few a year because my cleaning fee is equivalent to one night’s stay.

That puts most people off paying double the nightly fee for just one night.

It’s the fact that they are paying double the nightly fee that makes one-night stays a good bet for me. The turnover is usually quicker too because the guests haven’t made much use of anything other than the bathroom and the bed.

However, if I have several consecutive one-nighters in BOTH apartments, I really look forward to a run of five-night stays - it seems like a rest. :slight_smile:

Although several days of one-nighters in both apartments is pleasantly lucrative.

I am in a tourist area which means that very few guests are just passing through. So the decision about whether to accept one-night stays can often be dependent on the location.


We do it! We have one night stays a LOT. We have people coming in to check out colleges in the area, people visiting daughters, people going to concerts, etc. We love our one night guests! We use the money for our own vacations. For us, it’s a drag to clean the room and do laundry all the time, but there are two of us and I’m retired and David is semi-retired. Every other week we have cleaners come in to really clean. And we have one guest who comes to town for one night for business and stays with us often, always on weeknights. So yes, I’m all for it.