Smart Pricing, to use or not to use?

I have been playing with the idea of using smart pricing permanently for both my listings.

What I am confused about Is does it take into account cleaning additional costs as well and pricing for peak periods when special events are on ? If it doesn’t why doesn’t it ?

Smart PrIcing doesn’t take into account anything.

Almost no one uses it, especially after it drops your prices over a major holiday or something equally insane!!

Take an extra 20 minutes a couple time a year to manually set your prices – it’s the only way to account for your seasonal highs and lows, your holidays, your major events…


Nope. As far as I can tell, SP relies on general trends in your area. In my experience, the price recommendations are significantly lower than what my guests are willing to pay.

To answer your second question: Smart Pricing is rather…stupid, I guess.

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This is my belief as well. It seems like it’s just looking at inventory availability for similar listings on the specific dates in your area. If there’s a special event in your area, it will raise prices only after inventory declines. So, if your listing is booked early, you might get typical price for the season, but if your listing is booked closer to the event, you might get a much higher price.

I don’t understand what this means. Please explain.

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Ken, I agree with almost everything you say here at the forum - except on the subject of smart pricing. :slight_smile:

@Tictactoe - we’ve had this argument (sorry, discussion) here so many times. Some guests love it. Some hate it. I’ve used it for years. I think it’s excellent.

It doesn’t take into account your local events. When you consider that there are millions of rentals all over the world, Airbnb fees would be through the roof if they needed the technology to know about every event everywhere.

Get on the mailing list of your local tourist people (or similar) and they’ll keep you up to date with events. Then put your prices up manually. (You can still price manually AND override smart pricing for whatever dates you want to).

I also found that it took a few months to ‘train’ the system. Our more expensive season is October to May whereas at first, it thought that July and August would be busier (which they’re not, that’s the rainy season, not the tourist season). However, it twigged after a while.

Set your minimum price and smart pricing will never fall below it. Set your maximum higher than you imagine you’d ever dare to charge. - sometimes smart pricing has shown our rentals at prices I’d never dare to - and it worked. :slight_smile:


That sounds encouraging. What do you mean ‘train the system’ ?

Do you have to keep on changing the pricing so you don’t get booked too cheaply until it learns ?

Also what about cleaning fees, do you just forget adding those and leave it all up to smart pricing ?

The program is designed for millions of hosts to use. And because we’re all different, it needs to be ‘taught’ (by the host) more about the area and the prices you want. For example, you read what I said above about it not realising when our busy season is - that’s because it’s different everywhere in the world so for the first few weeks, possibly even a couple of months, you have to keep an eye on it and adjust the prices yourself.

Then it ‘realises’ (sorry about the lack of technical language!) so in effect, you’ve ‘trained’ it to work specifically for you and your listing.

No, as long as you set the minimum price, it will never go below that. I set ours at $125 and it won’t go below that price.

Just set your cleaning fee as always, and smart pricing does the rest. :slight_smile:

Smart pricing knows to put prices up at times that are applicable to most hosts (such as July 4th and Thanksgiving if you’re in the States) but won’t know about the annual music festival or art fair in your neighbourhood or that Hamilton is showing at your local performing arts centre etc. Which is no problem as you can set prices manually for those days.

I’m not sure that it takes other listings in your area into account (some hosts say it does) but if so, it has little if no effect. We are one of the most expensive in our area and it’s never put prices down - it’s always stayed within the parameters we set.

Note (disclaimer coming up) that some hosts have said that it has shown prices lower than the minimum price set. But in several years this has never happened to me. The host is still in complete control. I suspect that some of the hosts who talk about lower prices are confusing the Price Tips (is that what they’re called?) with Smart Pricing. Smart Pricing has always worked wonderfully for me. I’m sure other hosts will chip in here.

I am a host who uses Smart pricing successfully now. But when I started a little over 3 years ago it would still go below my minimum so I turned it off. Now it sometimes gives me an extra $1 or $2 and have seen as much as $20-$30 more than my minimum. My rates are currently between $37 and $60 with cleaning fees of $20-$50.

I’ve seen mine go as high as $360 a night - and I got bookings at that price. I would have truly never had the nerve to ask that amount :slight_smile:


@jaquo Hopefully you got 5 stars at that price.


I don’t remember unfortunately. I usually do get 5 stars (smugly patting myself on the back here :wink: ) but although I think that our apartments are wonderful, gorgeous and fantastic, and that our guests get treated like royalty, even I don’t think that they are worth $360 a night!


Ok that sounds like it makes sense.

To be honest I thought smart pricing and price tips were one of the same.

I was also a little bit confused about whether to include the cleaning fee as well which I think should be included.

Just a bit nerve racking !

I use smartpricing for all my listings.

But I do not use the suggested min and max from AirBnB.

I set my normal rate as minimum, so Air can only increase the rate, and not lower. So smart pricing can make me a few extra €.

Events and peak Holliday weeks I set my own prices without smart pricing.


Hello @Tictactoe

You add in a separate cleaning fee , when you are setting the pricing for your listing - you can’t add a one off fee into a daily rate :slight_smile: ) (I think someone already mentioned this in an earlier response to you?)

I too use Smart Pricing by putting in the minimum I am happy to accept and then manually increase my pricing for key events. You can also use custom pricing settings for weekends, bank holidays etc.

It sounds like you are new to Airbnb - Airbnb Help Centre is useful for the basics around how Airbnb works such as pricing.

You can also use the search function on this forum as you will find the vast majority of topics around how Airbnb works have been covered at least once.

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Not really, but the good thing is that you can turn smart pricing on and off instantly. So if for any reason you don’t like it, just switch it off. It takes less time to do than it took me to write this. :slight_smile:

That being said, I do think that you have to give it a good go, ‘training’ it as I explained above.

I’m not a big fan of Smart Pricing. I’ve used it several times with a 3 month interval. It automatically marks my rates the highest towards the latter period and I don’t get bookings because I’m $100 more per night than my local competition. The other issue I have is that if you’re searching in general without specific dates, it uses your minimum rate as your default rate, so your smart pricing rate may be $300, but your “advertised” rate is $179 (or the minimum of your scale.)

This has created a number of queries from guests as to why I’m advertising a rate of $179, but the quoted rate for their time period is $300. It always leaves me with a bait and switch feeling and I imagine it seems that way to the potential guest, because I never get that booking.

We are in a weekend resort area, so I keep my nightly rates the same every day, except for special events which I program in on a quarterly basis a year in advance.