Too many one-nighters - the way forward?

OK, so we’re relatively newbies - opened last November - we have a small house in Lancaster, UK, and rent out the spare room using instant booking. So far we’re doing quite well - we’ve had 27 guests and all our reviews except one have been 5*. The problem is that we’re getting an increasing proportion of 1-nighters - now about three-quarters of our bookings (Lancaster is a convenient half-way one-night stop-over point if you’re driving from Scotland to England). This would be OK, except we’re both in our late 60’s and we’re getting increasingly exhausted by the constant house cleaning and changing, washing and ironing of towels , bed linen, etc - this week we’ve had three one-night stays in five days!
So what do we do? - do we limit our guests to those staying two nights or more (and thus lose a lot of customers)? - or do we carry on taking one-nighters but close our doors for a week every month just to get some down-time for ourselves (and thus lose momentum)? - or do we give up the instant booking facility and get a lots more choosy about when we take people in (and thus potentially deter people from booking)?
Seriously this week has left us both knackered, but we don’t want to give up because the extra income has been phenomenally useful.
Fellow-hosts thoughts and views would be very welcome!

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I simply do not do one-nighters. I have always had a two-night minimum, and made it three-nights during our high season. A compromise might be: 1. figure out your average “I am booked” this much before a date, 2. Before that date have a longer minimum to ensure at least some multi-night visitors, 3. On that date, modify the minimum number of nights to one.

So, usually you are booked 80% of October 2017 by August 15th. Until August 15th, your minimum for the month of October is two nights. On August 15th, you change any open dates you still have in October to a single night option.

Does that make sense?

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Do you charge a cleaning fee? This helps takes the burn out of one nighters. But I agree they can be a burnout.


Perhaps you could find a laundry service and add the cost to cleaning fee.


I would base that decision on the location and how much you need the income.

In your case, you’ve noted that you are a natural stopover for people driving from Scotland to England. Disallowing a 1-night stay would greatly diminish your bookings, I would think. I would hire someone locally to help with the changeovers and make sure your cleaning fee is high enough to cover the expense.

When we are on a road trip it is hard to find Airbnb’s that will accept a 1-nighter, so I don’t even bother looking anymore, sorry to say.

You accepting 1-nighters is a benefit to your guests and I’m sure it drives a lot more business your way. I’d find a way of offering it if I were you.


My other suggestion @southendbootboy (hope you not really a boot boy) is to block off a night between stays. This gives you time to re-coop.

Have a look at what other hosts are doing locally - are you charging enough (I have put my prices up by 20% since I started). And do others charge a cleaning fee. In my area most people don’t for shared rooms, but I have a nominal figure of 5 pounds a booking, which makes me feel a bit better. And I have a cleaner some of the time, when I need a deeper clean.


Translate from the British please​:upside_down_face::rofl: Boot Boy?

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It’s shooting yourself in the foot to block off a night between stays when you accept one night stays, especially when you get a lot of them. To block off a night between stays would mean that you only get paid for one night out of three.


We take one nighters, however, we do not use IB so we can decline if a guest is not a good fit. We also require guests to book two days in advance so same and next day bookings are not possible. We do however allow back to back bookings booked in advance. We also raised our rate and have fewer guests but more $ per night. We averaged 88 per night last year and now average 123 year to date with about 70% of the nights booked compared to last year. So we are earning about the same amount overall for much less work. You can download a spreadsheet of your transaction history and with a bit of knowledge of excel or numbers you can input formulas to create your average $ per night, total number of nights booked, and average per stay. We are also in our 60’s! It’s a bed and bath in our NYC home.


Well it depends how much you want to let your place out. I have always done this but 1) my stays range from 1 night to 14 2) I am not dependant on the income.

A boot boy ie Chelsea Boot Boy were part of right wing gangs of football hooligans in the 1970’s to 1990’s who would organise violence on and off the pitch with rival gangs and also beat up people whose race or skin colour they didn’t like ie non white British. The name comes from the boots (normally Dr Martens) they wore to help them beat people up. Unfortunately many clubs had gangs like this attached to them.

These were Boot Boys in action in Southend.


Come through El Paso TX I think there are about 60 of us here


Liking the explanation, not what they were doing.


I have to say - having been there - that the Boot Boy gangs in the late 60’s were a lot less racist and political than they later undoubtedly and sadly became . For example, the skinheads were very much fans of reggae and ska music, and certainly at Southend there were a number of black lads in the gang. It was very, very much a football-related thing.


True, but even in the 1960’s they were associated with violence. By the 1970’s they were also associated with racism on and off the terraces. Not something I would want to celebrate or be associated with.

Despite the rather off putting name (for me) welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

If I were you I would go to either 2 or 3 minimum night booking (I have opted for 3 nights minimum as we have a whole house rental for up to 5 people and it makes sense for us) as this would give you a break and reduce the amount of work. If you factor in all your costs from utilities to laundry and your own labour not to mention burn out factor, I doubt you would be worse off. Good luck with what you decide

Stop Ironing Sheets!!! Or at the very least buy one or two more sets so you’ll always have a set ironed and ready for a changeover.

Look at your bookings. Are they more mid week, or weekenders? Nothing wrong with regularly blocking off one day a week; say Wednesday, or Sunday as a Rest Day. You’d probably “lose” less business than going for a 2-night minimum


I have also a lot and lot of one night stayers. I noticed that if I do a 2 day minimum I get a lot less bookings, I’m guessing the city is just popular for just quick city hops… I was pretty nackered from it until I’ve done these small things:

I buy 4 sets of towels and linnen. This way I can clean them without having to feel the pressure on when to do them. This also allows me to wash more than one set at a time.

I stopped ironing the sheets. It really doesn’t help my reviews and is a huge burden and time consuming. I make sure I hang them when they come straight out of the washing machine. The weight when wet straightens them out and they smell better than stuffing them into the dryer. The extra sets allow for longer time before they are needed!


You are in your late 60’s … do you really need that money of the 1-nighters.
At that age you should enjoy your time, not work yourself to death.

When we started we also had a lot of 1-night stays, after a year we switched to a 2 night minimum. We lost a bit of income during the week, but all weekends are still booked.

We just hired our first employee: a cleaning lady.
We are thinking of allowing 1-night stays again during low season, to create some work and pay for the cleaning lady.

So either stop doing 1-night stays, or increase the price a bit and get someone to help you


One nighters-- Charge more??
I don’t see how this is an option, but its really the best solution to the problem, and the exact reason that I joined this forum. I have been getting lots of one night rentals, which is fine because I have a professional manager to deal with the cleaning, etc. BUT… I’d like to charge a premium. Now, I realize that having the cleaning fee for one night means that you get more/night for single night rentals. The only real benefit would be if I MAKE money of the cleaning fee (example: I charge 35 but it only costs me 25). Not so.

We REALLY need to have an option to charge MORE for single night rentals. Right???