It’s slow season in Seattle. I’m on the fence regarding what to set as our minimum price this year.
Last year we fell off the search results and clawed our way back to the top with bookings where guests obviously searched for listings in our specific neighborhood. We also lowered our minimum price to $79/night to be super competitive.
In the summer, we get as much as $220 a night but book very close in time. Others with lower prices are booked further out (not surprisingly). We have over 70 excellent reviews. This year, I’m thinking about making our minimum $99. While we’ll still make money at $79 and keep our listing active with bookings, I can’t help thinking that no one should expect a beautiful and clean space, utilities, wine, snacks, coffee, and other extras, in a great neighborhood/city, for less than $99 a night. I also need a break and would welcome the lower occupancy.
What are some factors you consider when setting your minimum nightly?
The only factor I consider in setting my price is if I would feel resentful of guests receiving what I offer at the price I am charging. I’ve found that guests who pay less are not appreciative of getting a great deal so for me it’s better to have unbooked nights than lower my price.
That’s a good measure and feels truer to me than doing a comparison of our unit to a hotel. You made me realize I could drop down to $89/night without feeling resentment. It’s more than our last year’s minimum so we’ll be getting a raise!
@SuiteInSeattle. And you can reduce the number of snacks [unless you promise that in your listing], omit the wine, and evaluate the other “extras.”
More of a personal preference, how much do you value free time vs income coming in. Do you need to make any major repairs? May be a good time for that.
I won’t go below a certain amount as it creates the impression I’m desperate, the one weekend this summer that wasn’t booked, I reduced significantly, thinking some was better than none. It wasn’t, they tried to bring in extra guests above my max, unpaid, damgaged furniture, smoked and left the place a mess, created more work than the money that was paid.
I could be busy now if I dropped my rates, but I’m getting improvements done. So I can keep at the rate that attracts the guests who respect my home.
At this moment, I’m valuing the free time, and it’s definitely personal preference. Since going to a 7-night max, I’m pleased to say we have no repairs to make. However, we will use the downtime to do some extra deep cleaning like take the area rugs for professional cleaning.
Check the other Airbnb listings and local hotels. You don’t want to be one of the cheapest places. That attracts the worst kind of guests. No matter how low you go, i will still be slower. I, too, will be welcoming the break and catching up on minor improvements and thorough cleaning.
I’m planning on going slightly low for earlyweek, and right up, quite up, for lateweek.
We do this automatically as we use a dynamic pricing service. However, the closer to the date, the lower the price. Savvy guests have caught on and know that with high off-season vacancy rates they can wait until the last minute to book and prices will be at their lowest point.
We won’t be the cheapest, but we’ll be pretty cheap considering what we get in the spring/summer. In the winter, we expect to have business travelers and parents visiting adult kids in the neighborhood, so we’re not too worried about attracting degenerates.
You and I are in a similar market. I rent a a whole house, 1400+ square feet with 2 master suites in a fully remodeled home built in 1911 in a very cool neighborhood. I just started renting at the end of April but have been fully booked through the summer months with rates between $200-250 per night.
I have been about 60% booked through October, November I have two bookings and nothing for December yet but I am sure Christmas will book as it is rare to find a home with two master suites and it attracts two couples traveling together.
I have an apartment in the basement but use my house on the rare night that it isn’t booked. I would rather enjoy my whole home, have guests over for dinner and drinks than reduce the rates to a ridiculously low price. I LOVE my home and don’t want to attract people who may not appreciate how nice it is.
Here is an example. I had a guest cancel 3 days before their arrival. I lowered my price to $175 a night and someone booked the following day for 4 nights. They had unauthorized guests over for an entire day and left my house messier than any other guests in the past 6 months. Pancake batter all over the stove AND the cabinets, dishes all over the counter, etc. One of the guests had purple and pink hair and the pillow case and towels were stained from it. And strangely enough, they took all the ear plugs that I leave in the nightstand drawers.
Perhaps you and I should work out a 3 day weekend swap where you stay in my place and I stay in yours! I belong to the home exchange website but just signed up and haven’t done and exchange yet. Let me know if you may be interested and I will post my property and you can post yours.
Cheers to the rain we have been getting! It is about time!
This of course comes at the cost of reduced choice, and the risk that they might find their preferred choice taken by then (if they’ve browsed beforehand.) And if they’ve taken that risk and put in some effort, maybe that price saving is their reward.
Besides, such guests are also more likely to be demanding in other ways. So this doesn’t bother me much.
That’s why I sometimes go in and raise my rate a bit for late date unbooked nights. I figure I’ll occasionally snag a someone who doesn’t have much choice. Now if the search radius just wouldn’t expand exponentially as the supply decreases I’d be golden.
I have noticed that when I had a lower rate I attracted people that werent respectful of the house and left it in utter shambles. I also have lowered per Air bnbs request/price tips but never low ball (as they recommend) because I rather have my house in good hands than make an extra $120. Our home goes for avarage rate of $160 per night for a big house very centrally located. We have lots of linnens and towels to wash when they leave.
One thing that helps is doing a higher deposit (still get people that can be responsible.) and lower the nightly rate. This has worked for me and Ive had great guests ever since.
I agree the ones looking for cheap rates always seem to be more demanding and picky vs guests that reserve in advance. This has been the case for us.
I agree with you 100% !! Not worth the type of guest that the low price attracts.
I haven’t noticed a difference between guests who reserve in advance and guests who reserve last minute. We’ve had some stinkers who reserve in advance and some delightful guests who reserve last minute.
I have noticed that the guests who pay bargain prices seem to be the ones who use more of the amenities and “suggest” more amenities we could be supplying.
We’ve also done this, usually when vacancy rates are low and we are higher in the search results.
We’ve been fortunate and have not had this experience. We’ve sometimes had younger but respectful guests who perhaps have a smaller budget for lodging, or business travelers with a company without deep pockets.
I am also in the off season. A number of new Airbnb hosts are getting higher rankings. To keep my listings active in a competitive market, I monitor my calendar daily, and change pricing and availability regularly.
Depending on your tolerance, you may also want to consider offering superior pricing to longer term guests. I get doctors, engineers, etc. on rotation, and I give them a substantial break. They are much easier to manage than the 1-2 nighters, but that’s my opinion.