We just started hosting in November of 2016. Since I wasn’t sure about pricing or whether we’d stick with it, I’ve only been opening our calendar up 3 months in advance. Now that I have a better idea of things and our busy season (June-September) is approaching, I’m wondering if I’m missing out on some nice bookings by not having our calendar open farther out. Do most of you recommend opening the calendar farther in advance? Do you get more cancellations? Are there other things I should worry about? I personally am a planner, so if I was thinking about a summer vacation I’d already be looking at places. We also have a decent cruise ship business here and we are close to where they dock and I’m guessing those folks might plan farther in advance? Any insight appreciated.
If your peak booking season is over the summer, then it definitely makes sense to open your calendar.
For me I have a strict cancellation policy so if they cancel I would still get 50% and the chance of a replacement booking.
I live in a rural out-of-the-way tourist destination (wine country) and rent a whole house in close proximity to my residence. My practice has been to block off Nov to March on my calendar because:
- It’s low/non-existent tourist season and
- During that time there is the very real possibility of snow/freezing rain/ice/sub-zero temps which is not compatible with my drive or walkways.
Otherwise my calendar is always open. YMMV.
Now until then is when the summer vacations are planned.
Personally, I like to open 9 months ahead. Prior to that, we have had people book over a year ahead. I don’t want that in case we want to adjust pricing or want to block time off.
I book 6 months out. I find i’m not completely on top of all the events in my area. This helps me keep track of them better to avoid someone booking a busy time when I haven’t adjusted rates. If you are more coordinated you could book further out.
I do have people contact me and ask about dates further out, so not sure if i’m losing some bookings.
I had 12 months but just changed to 6 as I am thinking of buying a property and moving in 12 months. I’ll know for sure in 6 months and then I can progressively wind down. I have had bookings the last 2 years nearly a year in advance. I have been booked Feb-end of May for about four months now so the longer you open your calendar up will increase your chances of a booking.
As a guest I often book stuff more than 6 months in advance. For example, I have been invited to a wedding in NZ in October and have already selected an Airbnb vs a hotel I am weighing up. I’ll book one of them in the next month. I like the book and pay in advance so then I can save the spending money. It also makes it easier to come to work every day knowing I have a holiday booked.
Airbnb now offers to only charge me half up front and the balance a few days or weeks (not sure if exact time frame) before the booking. I’m sure this is encouraging more advance bookings.
Thanks. We have a strict cancellation policy as well. I’m thinking folks might wait a bit to actually book, but they are at least looking at properties and if they already have dates mine won’t come up of course.
I use Wheelhouse and Beyond Pricing as a guide, can also see what my rates were last year and how much more so far % wise I’m making, so I think I can figure out the prices. We have a few sites where I can look for big events. It’s definitely some work but I just had surgery so have the time to tinker right now.
Yes, this is exactly what I’m thinking. I’m afraid that by not having my calendar open I might end up with more of those last minute people that just drive up for a weekend or whatever, and less folks planning a big vacation or attending a specific event they already know about.
When the guests pay part in advance and then pay the rest later, what happens if their credit card doesn’t go through or something for the second payment?
I used to open my calendar for 12 months. I once got a booking request for 7 days for some people attending a dog show with 3 dogs. I love dogs but 3 is borderline. Also the price was my bottom price. I was prepared to accept it but then checked and it wasn’t listed as available. Also it was not 1 but 2 years in advance. I declined. Now I open it for 6 months. That recently went over Xmas which is summer peak here and I got an IB premium period booking at base price. I told them that the price should have been double, not sure how they would react. But it was still a great price and they agreed to the new price. Now I am more careful.
Good question. Thankfully this hasn’t happened to me but I figure it’s rare given they will lose the 50% they already paid if they can’t pay the balance and they’ve paid far in advance and likely saved for a big trip. I’m in Australia so I rarely get bookings that aren’t foreigners so everyone is coming a long way and wouldn’t want to cancel for nothing.