"Smart Pricing" does not account for cleaning fee

“Smart Pricing” is recommending some pretty high prices for my units for August and September. Normally these are the least profitable months for me in Florida. So I decided to investigate a bit. I don’t want to leave money on the table, but I also don’t want to set prices too high and have no bookings.

So, in the true spirit of a high school science experiment, I did the following:

  1. left the cleaning fee at its standard setting of $50 for all my units
  2. turned on “Smart Pricing” for all of my units.
  3. took a screenshot of recommended prices for Sept 1-20
  4. reduced the cleaning fee to $0 on one unit, increased it to $300 on another
  5. turned off “Smart Pricing” on those two units, loaded the multi-calendar, verified that manually set prices were applied
  6. turned “Smart Pricing” back on for those units
  7. compared the new recommended prices to the screenshot

And the observations and are:

  1. I found a couple of minor differences of $1 plus/minus on a couple of dates, so I conclude that Airbnb did recalculate the prices.
  2. I conclude that the cleaning fee isn’t taken into consideration. Changing it from $50 to $0 or $300 should have caused large changes in the recommended prices, and it didn’t.

A cleaning fee, in effect, discounts a longer stay. The smart price doesn’t know in advance how many days someone will book.

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Wait… what? If someone stay longer the cleaning fee is reduced with Smart Pricing?


Smart pricing doesn’t know anything about how long a guest plans to stay so how could it adjust? I think he means AirBnB smart pricing is treating it as if the cleaning fee is being charged every night as it only looks at the “nightly rate + cleaning fee” when doing the comparison with other options.

I appreciate your scientific approach.

Do you have a minimum stay > 1 night? I wonder if your min stay was 2 nights rather than 1 it would take cleaningfee/#MinNights instead?