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Raising Prices to attract best guests

Greeting,
Although new to Airbnb, I’ve done STR ‘s for 30 years. At the urging of my millennial children ( they’re seasoned airbnb guests ), I recently began renting a newly remodeled single family house. My kids insisted I hike the rent up to a point that I’m in the highest 5% of available rentals in our area when I calculate cost per bed per night. With a very large selection to choose from, I thought I’d never get a guest. How wrong I was ! Not only have bookings been coming in, the quality of the guests have been stellar. My kids were right, premium rents bring in premium guests. Ive strived for a spotless house and have been super flexible on check in, checkout times, etc. My reviews coming in seem to verify our approach. Have others experienced similar results ?

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Yes I am in the same situation as you @

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Yes, I had a similar experience. When I first started with Airbnb, I had pretty low prices as per Airbnb’s suggestion. I was charging $125 a night for a whole house rental that slept 8. That is when I had the most issues; broken chairs, broken ice maker, washing machine, etc. The following summer I got rid of two twin beds and increased the price to $175 with a min. of 5 nights. Getting rid of the two twin beds was my daughter’s idea. She said 8 people in the house is a party. I also increase the min. of days from 3 nights to 5 (also my daughter’s idea). The way I had it set up, was conducive to parties. Not only did I make more money but I also had less issues. Since I increased the price I also added more amenities to give guests a better value. So I agree with your kids! Sometimes it takes a fresh point of view from a younger person to make these connections. Most of my guests at that time were in their 20s just like my daughter.

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Yes, in the sense that raising my price doesn’t negatively impact the number of bookings I get. But no, higher paying guests aren’t better and my reviews aren’t better. For me the only justification for higher prices is more money. I actually liked my guests better in the lower price ranges.

Disclosure since rentals vary wildly:

I have a small room attached to my home not a stand alone home.
I have mostly one night stays from people passing through.
Over 600 reviews/800 guests/6 years/98% 5 star. At least half those were at 40% lower price

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Absolutely, definitely, positively. :slight_smile:

I’m in a tourist area with thousands of Airbnb rentals, other STRs, motels, hotels… so there are those who would say ‘keep prices low to beat the competition’. What nonsense.

Our rentals (we have two small apartments) are just a little cheaper per night than the nearest luxury hotel - not by much though. I’m surrounded by plenty of STRs and hotels that are much cheaper but don’t have the business we do.

It might be an over-worked saying but that’s because it’s true - ‘you get what you pay for’. Guests believe that too.

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Count me in with those that say higher price = better quality of guests. I also agree that as a host you have to work a bit harder to make sure the “value” is there and your’e not losing stars in that category.

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No. I list a private room/bath in my home, which I know is different from renting out an entire house, but my room has always been budget-priced and I have had the most lovely guests, not one bad guest ever and all have left 5* reviews.

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Still less than a year since I started my free standing listing and made many mistakes even though I read extensively and thought I was prepared. I started off with lower prices and had mostly good guests but discounted too much and had a long term rental that delayed my premier and superhost status, and because of the additional 15 percent new listing discount I agreed to with airbnb, did not make much profit .Live and learn.
After I achieved those, I quickly raised my prices more than 30 percent and started following the local competition and local hotels. Saw that many of them would charge 250 to 300 a night for a room with 2 queen beds on a summer weekend and raised my weekend prices higher,
but kept them lower than the best hotel.
By then I had Stopped all 1 night listings. They are just not worth it to me. Within a few months I raised my prices another 20 percent , and I went to a 3 night minimum listing, which is where I am now. Mine is a new and very nice str but not a luxury str. I am booking well on the weekends but with the buffer usually do not fill Monday thru Wed. The guests I have had recently, and the guests booked for the next several weeks are 2 to 4 person parties, and happily, the single couples that book are paying my price and do not seem to mind that they really won’t use the second bedroom.
Hopefully new str hosts wont make some of the mistakes I made! I am seeing a possibly rocky road for str in Our state in the coming months.
Because I am concerned that covid is going to flare, During the winter months , I am going to try to do a few longer 3-4 mth rentals off the platform at a decent price to ride thru until covid dangers decrease. No cleaning, less exposure and less risk of an out of towner bringing it in. Hopeful that spring would be a good time to reopen to weekend guests again.

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You did not mention how many reviews you had. Having 100% 5star reviews is incredible. We have gone for maybe 20 bookings with 5star and then we get a 1(obviously unwarranted, but it happens no matter what)

I only have about 45 reviews, although I’ve hosted a few more than that, but not everyone leaves a review. I’m not a new host, I’ve been hosting for over 3 years (currently not due to COVID and a home-share) but bookings where I live, in a destination beach town, are quite seasonal, basically Nov-April, and most of my guests stay on average a week-2 weeks. So no way could I manage to get hundreds of reviews, like hosts who do one or two nighters year-round.

I think home-share guests might tend to review better than entire-home guests. For one thing, they can’t really do much damage (none of my guests have done any), they can’t sneak in extra guests or pets, or throw parties, so getting a revenge review because the host charged for damages, or extra guests isn’t usually something that happens in a home-share.

I also think that when a guest is sharing a home with the host, as long as both parties get along well, it’s a lot harder to write something negative in a review than if all the interaction a guest has had with a host is some messages back and forth, in the case of an entire home listing with self-check-in. Just as a guest in a home-share wouldn’t want the host to follow them around making sure they didn’t do something wrong or keep criticizing how they do things, they are less inclined to be critical of the host or the accommodation.

And in my case, I tend to get seasoned travelers, and non-entitled, self-sufficient guests, who don’t nit-pick little things, and because they’ve done a lot of travelling, my simple offering can almost seem luxurious to them, just because it’s super clean, artistic, quite private (they have a separate entrance to their room and bath) and has everything they need to be comfortable, and they’ve ended up staying in some pretty grotty places on their travels over the years.

I once realized when I got up one morning that the hot water propane tank had run out of gas. When I apologized to my guest, thinking she maybe had gone to shower before I got up, to find there was no hot water, she said not to worry- that she had stayed at a lot of places in Mexico that didn’t even have hot water at all and she’d made do with plenty of cold showers.

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@Vermontbuilder thanks for sharing! It is a very good advise that I may add to my own property. My question is, how do you know that your services are in the 5% top in your destination.
I mean, higher paying customers are by far better to deal than the others, but I’m afraid about the level of services

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The problem I have with this post is that it infers that higher paying = wealthier and thus wealthier means more responsible. For those of us who have been around the block, we may know better and understand that this issue is much more complicated than that. But I worry that new hosts may only take the negative away from this.
In that case, I can’t disagree more.

Overall, I find nit-picky, middle-age, well off, unseasoned travellers the absolute WORST guests and easy-going, young, worldly, well-seasoned backpackers the BEST guests.

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I’m with you on that one, although my middle-aged guests haven’t been nit-picky either. I get quite irritated when I read statements like “low prices attract low-quality guests”. That is so discriminatory and rude. I get seasoned travelers, self-sufficient, lovely folks, who have never given me any strife. Just because someone has simple tastes as far as accommodation goes doesn’t mean they are cheap or behave badly. Nor does it necessarily mean they are poor, just that they have different priorities as to how they spend their money.

Those “low quality” guests have taken me out to dinner, brought a bottle of wine and yummy food home to share with me, cooked awesome meals and invited me to join them, left me handmade thank you cards, and brought me sweet little “hostess gifts”.

And I’ve read plenty of host posts who had expensive places with lawyers and doctors for guests who behaved horribly, had endless demands and complaints, damaged the property and treated the maid and the gardener like dirt.

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Going through the entitled arsehole guest right now. They have pulled the internet wallport off the wall with wires hanging out. Denied doing the damage and are complaining to CS about the lack of internet!

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Ugh. Good luck with that. It’s just astounding to me that there seem to be so many jerks like this out there.

Looks like I’ve caused a bit of class warfare here. The point of my keeping prices high is not to discriminate against lower income guests, it’s to attract older guests who have grown beyond the urge to party. I partied hard when I was younger, now I just want a nice place to quietly hang out. I have never found wealthier guests to be more demanding or needy, they just have higher expectations and I strive to meet them.

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Who said anything about “lower income” guests? Or class? You apparently think that just because a guest chooses a simple private room in a home share, they do that because they can’t afford anything else?

The majority of my guests have been over 40. I’ve hosted a teacher’s union rep, a high school administrator, successful writers, a personal assistant to an art gallery owner, a house designer, self-employed businessmen, etc, etc. I can assure you all these people earn a decent living. They simply prefer to spend their money on travel, buying cool things they find on their travels, and actually like staying in the home of a local and getting a personal experience. They don’t need fancy digs, swimming pools, giant screen TVs, or any of that. A clean, comfortable, quiet space from where they can explore the local area is what they are looking for.

One woman rented a car for her 10 days here, and took daily sailing lessons. You think that’s what “lower income” people do?

Right on but it would be good to know how long you’ve been doing it. I agree with Rigsby, if you do it long enough there will always be some unappreciative person you can’t please. I usually have one a year. I’m mostly a summer rental as I’m outside Yellowstone Park. My only 4 star came this summer from a woman who said we needed to disclose that our dogs are in our house. The title of my listing is “4 happy huskies and your own private suite.” No less than 4 times I state, if you can’t be around dogs, don’t book this place.

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Thanks for sharing. I think you should consider sending your kids some gift vouchers or pay for them to have a nice weekend somewhere. Their advice was spot on and I wish I had received that type of advice three years ago when we started. Our mistake was that we started to price our listing very cheap, much too cheap in hindsight. People who booked us consistently got a place that was in the top ten cheapest in our city. One guest booked us 107 days in advance for a three week stay in August and already then we were the fourth cheapest place. Yikes. Not a good way to run an STR. So our learning curve was very slow but we are finally getting there. In spite of having raised our prices by quite a bit (up to 100%), we are still having the same occupancy rate - even during pandemic. So I very much agree with your approach of pricing high and then, if required, you can always reduce if you realise it’s too high.

As for the different type of guests, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that. People come from all types of background. Some of our highest paying customers left a pretty big mess (wine stains, make up on towels) and some of our lowest paying guests left the place in immaculate condition having vacuum cleaned it etc. Like you I sued to think that there was a correlation but recent experience has taught me otherwise.

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Looks like your post caused a bit of hyperbole as well.

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