For high season, I charge 150/night for a 1 br apt and I just looked at standard downtown hotels in June and the majority are in the $300-330 range. I’d love to raise rates to $200 but it seems so high – with taxes and fees my apt would be $260/night which sounds insane to me. I have 98% 5 star reviews and I suspect much of it is my low pricing. Did your guests get much pickier and leave harsher ratings when they weren’t getting as good of a deal?
What are other similar BNBs around you charging?
I increased my prices, never been busier and better reviews
I noticed my reviews were more critical when people paid more. In my case increasing prices never worked as there are so many listings in my area.
Yes, when I raised my prices I started getting more 4’s for the value star.
I think you are right to be wary. Though @Robert_Dudley makes excellent points, unfortunately I don’t think this is where guest’s minds are at when they write reviews. Could they have paid a third more for 1/3 the space? Yes, but that’s not what they will ask themselves when writing your review. Everyone wants as much as they can get for as little as possible, and that’s all they think of when writing reviews.
Try upping your rate by $25 and see how that goes. If that doesn’t affect your ratings, then up it another $25, and so on.
Don’t compare yourself to local hotels, compare your space to similar AirBnbs and full Bnbs in your immediate area.
In my experience of hosting, the quality of reviews does not depend on price, but on what you are offering. They are rating YOU at a certain moment in time and price has little to do with that moment. We’ve gotten exactly the same reviews at our High Season price of $95 and at our Dog Days of Summer low price of $50. Our reviews appear better than our competition because of the amenities we provide, which they don’t – private not shared space, pool, prepared breakfasts, local activity information, etc.
I think there’s a range of acceptability when it comes to prices. If one raises their rates to the higher end of that band (best judged by surrounding AirBnBs, as has been said here), then I wouldn’t worry about negative reviews. Then, it becomes subjective and in the eye of the beholder. Some people will want Hilton amenities at a Motel 8, some are thrilled to be in a house for the size of a hotel room, and others have expectations somewhere in the middle. Ain’t nothing you can do to change the mentality of people who are stubbornly set in the penny pinching budget category and are bound to be disappointed no matter what. We as hosts can’t exactly predict who these people are going to be and deny them bookings beforehand (some swear they can, but then it becomes discriminatory and based more on an inexact science. And if they reject said people, it’s impossible to know if they were right).
Anecdotally, I’ve gotten dinged in the “value” category by people whose price I look at and think, “but you got such a steal of a price!” These are the reservations that got booked early on, before I hiked my prices to align with market rates (rather than Air’s stupid suggested prices). Those who paid the higher have strangely given me 5s.
I agree with Ken that you shouldn’t compare yourself with a hotel but with other Air listings. Sometimes hotels have amenities you aren’t offering like an airport shuttle, or closer to the L or bar/restaurant onsite, concierge service, room service. And if you raise your price a bit maybe you can offer some amenities that play mind tricks on your guests. I’m amazed at how much a chocolate and a bottle of water pleases the guest. Raise your price $20 a night, then spend $10 per stay on bottled water, bottle of wine, a vase with flowers, etc. A container of biscotti apparently have magic powers. Also don’t just “raise prices.” Look for any events in your area. Raise prices for weekends or in whatever months are busiest there.
Edit: yes lower prices for a great place help your reviews but are you going to lose business because you are at 90% 5 star instead of 98% 5 star?
twenty dollars worth of flowers? LOL. I had a bloom or two from the garden in mind. And the vase is one of the dozens I have on hand already.
As I wandered through my local Costco, I thought of you and looked for biscotti offerings. But I saw individually wrapped Madelines and French Butter cookies that were cheaper per unit (even if I leave out a few) and I grabbed a box. My first guests to receive these in the apt (along with organic coffee, tea, cream, Pellegrino, cokes, beer, bottled water) have been unresponsive, fairly rude guests but I noticed the cookies were gone.
I left out high quality chocolates for a season but I started seeing chocolate on the sheets and so I stopped doing that, but people did like them. Even good chocolate is actually cheaper than these Costco French cookies since it doesn’t look “cheap” to leave just 2 chocolates.
I’ve been thinking of getting a fake orchid – I saw one at a friend’s house and I didn’t know it wasn’t real until I touched it.
Yes, I always make sure to go around to anything remotely life-like so that I can pierce and tear at the thing and marvel that it is indeed real. (Same for all those ripe items in a grocery store.)
I’m lucky to have numerous flowering plumeria trees growing along my street. I pick a few handfuls and put them in the room. I also have mini palm fronds and mini travelers palm leaves and ti leaves that I put into a nice vase. Right now gardenias are blooming so they are nice in a room. All free.
Wow, your guest room must smell heavenly. I love fragrant flowers.
One time the guest pulled up early and saw me gathering the flowers along the street. Oops!
I think you should just base your prices on supply and demand If you are fully booked up, raise your prices. I don’t think it will result in worse reviews. People always justify their decision and they are usually happy. If someone is unhappy, they will be unhappy if the price is low or high.
I agree with the other posters that you have to remain competitive in terms of getting the booking. If you get no more bookings then it might be time to lower the price, if you are fully booked your price could easily go higher.
I worked as a waitress through college and I learned that what people are willing to pay for tips has less to do with the quality of the service than with the culture of the clientele. Thatʻs why wait-staff work to get jobs in higher-end restaurants where the expectation is to tip more generously. Itʻs still the same waitress, but different customer culture.
Weʻve noticed the same thing - when we raised prices after getting good reviews, we got folks who tend to be more responsible and less demanding (and also tend to read the listing!). Appreciated a nice place to stay and saw it as a fair price. When weʻve dropped prices, we get people who want something for nothing, act like theyʻre doing us a favor, and “want to talk to us about a better price”. They also tend to be more nit-picky in the reviews, and didnʻt bother to read the listing or even look at the pictures. It seems as though the folks in the first group come can put themselves in our shoes and appreciate our efforts to anticipate their stay and make them comfortable, whereas the folks in the latter group are more of the “gimme” crowd and prone to writing Yelp-like reviews.
I think this must be more true of vacation rental type places. I generally have travellers instead of tourists and some of my favorite guests are the ones who stayed when I had the lowest prices. My price ranges from good value down to “are you kidding me?” good value. Even at my highest price on music festival weekends my guests gush about how they can’t believe they got such a good place and half the price of a hotel. Some of the “higher culture clientele” just have a snootiness about them. One couple I barely made their cutoff on prices when they search. They just assume that no place under a certain price could meet their standard but they are missing out on some very nice places.
Ahahaha, there’s such a vivid picture in my mind when you mention Yelp reviews. Everyone’s a food critic on there, to ridiculously inflated proportions.
I find it’s also better to price high, because people have a tendency to justify paying a higher price but they’ll second-guess themselves a million times if they book somewhere with a low pricetag. And I’ve also been guilty of this when booking places, too… I absolutely set a minimum price in addition to higher price when I look somewhere. If something is on the lower end, I assume it’s because the neighborhood must not be nice or the host knows something about their place that I don’t. So, to some extent hosts absolutely set expectations–true or not–with a higher price point. Anecdotally, one of my worst reviews came from a business traveler who rattled off a list of things he wanted to be better… and then said, “but the price can’t be beat.” But I dunno, I try not to read too hard into things like clientele, price, and their reviews/expectations–humans are wholly irrational consumers. Behavioral economics 101 right there.
For me, raising the price on my 1 bdrm condo has not affected the reviews but it has definitely reduced the number of inquiries/bookings.
My rates 7 yrs. ago were $90-$110/ni. ($90 being the discount for 14-30 ni.).The max now is 8 ni. and the rate is around $160. There are a gazillion identical condos to mine and the prices are competitive. Most of the private owner listings run the gamut of $100-$150; the ones run by prop. mgmt. cos. are on the higher end: $220/ni. + taxes/fees.
Where I lose out is my max is set at two guests, where 90% of the other units allow 4-6. It’s less likely to find a couple willing to pay my price than it is to find families or a small group traveling together.
I sure wouldn’t pay my price unless it included breakfast and a nightly cocktail reception! But it’s a choice I made to get a better quality of guest and less wear and tear. I get older couples, honeymooners and same-sex partners and a few solo travelers on business or R&R.
I stopped soliciting reviews after about the first 60-70. It didn’t seem necessary anymore and I was tired of doing the handmade thank-you cards (and paying the $1.10 postage!). Besides, there are those who do reviews and those who don’t.
The reviews I receive are still 5-stars so the price point hasn’t affected that aspect but the bookings are down from previous years. Guess I will have to do some price adjusting this year but it’s difficult to back down since I’m used to the higher figure.
When we first started hosting, we were under the impression that our price should be on par with other Air offerings in our neighborhood. As we quickly learned, we were not being compared directly within in the neighborhood but within the Seattle metro area generally. After getting booked far into the summer with our initial low price, for our gaps, we started following the pricing recommendations of a couple of the dynamic pricing sites. We went from charging $119 a night to $153/night at times. FYI, we have an entire place studio. Summer hotel rates here are over $300/night even for budget chains. We, like all of you, offer things that hotels don’t/can’t.
I got tired of doing all that manual price adjustment and we just recently went with BP for our pricing. Looking ahead to this summer’s peak weekends, some Saturdays are priced at over $210/night. Frankly, I don’t care if people want to ding us on value. We enjoy meeting and hosting people, but we’re doing it to make money. I know some of you get repeat customers but I think that’s the exception rather than the rule. I find the value rating to be like the location rating–the guest selected the location and the price they were willing to pay, so they shouldn’t be rated at all. If a guests wants to ding on value, seems like there could be an accuracy and/or expectations issue.
My only 4-star for value came from a family that negotiated me down for a week, then decided they could only come for four nights. I think I got hit on value because I would not match my weekly rate for the four nights. They got a 4000-square foot private villa with a private pool and staff for two-thirds the cost of a similar-quality 800-square-foot hotel room and I still got hit on value. It’s an extremely subjective rating (as, I guess, are all of them).