Whole house rental - lock unused bedrooms?

Another way of looking at prices - people tend to gravitate to the middle - too low and they think there is something wrong, too high creates lots of expectations and may be out of the budget, but the middle priced places seem “just right”. Goldilocks syndrome perhaps

A[quote=“smtucker, post:17, topic:19471”]
And (Sorry, don’t know how you all pull specific quotes from others posts).

The reference to UNC and Duke is in answer to question of location approx to where rental is, as my town no one knows. The last group I want to market to is students! Sorry we are too far out for you stay if you were visiting the area, and thankfully we have people who could care less about those miles, and stay here to be out here in the country with their pets.

If the listing says 2 bedrooms / 2 baths I would expect to be able to use both bedrooms or bathrooms, whether I am traveling as a couple - or a single. I rent my whole 2 bedroom / 2 bath house and I have NO expectation that a couple uses only one bed.

If I booked at a whole house rental listed as a two bedroom, but was then was told I could only use one because I am a couple or single, I would cancel. If I arrived to find a locked door I would complain to Airbnb.


It sounds like you are off site? I would not rent separate rooms if you are not around. Sounds like asking for trouble managing how two groups would interact with each other.

$35 cleaning fee is too low, what would it cost you to hire a cleaner in your market?


My Winston Salem NC listing sounds similar to yours. 2BR & 1loft/office BR with a daybed. 2.5 BA. I’m slowly raising my nightly rate as I get more reviews. My current range is $110-$150 a night $10 per night additional person fee over 2. Min 3 day rental. $50 cleaning fee. My goal rates are $125-$165.

When they rent the entire unit, they have full access to it all.

Food for thought, you never know who is going to do what where, so cleaning all bathrooms every rental is probably a good thing. If you ask your quests to strip their beds upon leaving and leave the dirty linens piled on the bed, you will know which were used. (One of my guests neatly made the beds upon leaving with the dirty linens—she wanted to leave it looking nice. Can you see me shaking my head at that one?)

Like you, I’m not actively seeking student rentals. However I love getting parents touring campuses, graduation families & Homecoming returns. Rentals are slow now however a surprising number of my rentals have been for relocations while they seek housing.

BTW—only one booking for December; family Christmas visit. It is my slow season too.

I had a similiar problem with about 80% of couples using the second bed (even a honeymooning couple in transit!) and it was the extra washing load that annoyed me (1hr front loader cycle because those sheets couldn’t be washed with the queen bed whites), the only way I could figure around it with no ability to charge for the bed was changing rate to $10 extra after 1st guest, to my max of 3. Even though previously I was happy for 2 guests to share the queen bed for the base rate, now I just make it up and know if it’s slept in its been paid for.

Is there a better way? I realise most hosts would just add it into their nightly rate, but I still want to have a price that is appealing for a solo traveller as those stays are so easy.

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Being nosy about your market’s pricing compared to mine (70 miles east) I looked at the Chapel Hill & Durham listings. Oh MY!!! Over 300 listings available the 2nd week of January. Over 120 entire homes starting at $64/night to $140/night. It’s definately a competitive market. I can see why you priced yours at $89. I did notice a $125/night listing having many reviews. When it comes to pricing, too low makes people wonder what is wrong with it.

Maybe there is merit in making your “all the time price” $125 and eliminating the charge for additional guests over 2 or reducing it to $10 per additional person per night.

You do whatever is right for you. Plus remember you can always change it.

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I had a couple stay for a week and use all three beds / bedrooms - they ate in the beds and behaved like pigs generally. Once the bed was full of food and stains, they just moved to the next room. I was appalled at the lack of respect for the rooms, the beds, the linens and the general attitude. The worst stain was the bourbon and coke spilt through the entire bed, quilt, and spillage to the floor. A sticky disgusting mess and then complained that I had cockroaches! No wonder the bugs moved in - there was a feast to be had.

[quote=“Annet3176, post:27, topic:19471”]
When it comes to pricing, too low makes people wonder what is wrong with it.

45 Superhosts with an entire place for under $110 a night. Some of those hosts have dozens or even hundreds of reviews.


100% agree. I have rented out two room in my house to different sets of guests and you need to keep a careful eye on things all the time. Impossible to do if you are not on-site. You would end up as one of those ghost places that gets horrible reviews because it’s “like a hostel” but has none of the benefits, eg accessible staff.

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No offense to long time super ho’s here but I think they give away the superho status too early and too often.
I think I am about to finally make Super ho! After how many years on Air? LOL!
I may have to throw a party!!!


We’ll all be there!! Get your glad rags out in anticipation! And if you don’t make it? To hell, we’ll party even harder :slight_smile:


Hmmm, I wonder if you landed on my listing, though I only have a few review. I already change the price to 125 after reading the forum posts today. It is reassuring to hear others experiences and insight to what has worked and what aspects warrant more mindful thought and planning.

I don’t know how to private message you on this forum but I’d be more than happy to refer anybody who is touring up this way and down to WS/Elon to your place!

I agree. I would consider only renting one room or whole house, unless it is separate rooms for group that knows one another, and they needed to pay separately ( but even that is a nightmare). I would not want to stay in a home of strangers without a host there. I boarded at a house in 1991 for an internship and another person rented the other room. It worked out for us, more comfortable with a host being there.

My wife and I travel for months at a time. We use hotels and AirBnB about 50/50. We always filter for the whole house, and we expect to use the whole house, although locked cabinets are acceptable. Obviously we expect to pay more, but we do hunt on the lower side of the average. Off the subject comment: As a retired businessman I am often surprised at the poor marketing of the units. Trying to compete with hotels is a losing proposition, because they have the benefit of marketing a commodity, rooms. AirBnB units needs to be special, and the photos of the units need to show those qualities. Several photos of each bath, bed, and kitchen are essential. A hotel might have a booklet that decribes the basic setup, rate, amenities, and local experiences. AirBnBs need these booklets too, and they should be creative in a way hotels can’t be. Hotels have a set check-in (often 3:00/15:00pm) and a set check-out (often 11:00am). This is an area where AirBnB owners can be especially creative. A Samoan unit’s check-in is 8:00am about a hour after a large plane out of Hawaii lands. Almost all planes arriving in Europe from North America arrive earlier than 8:00am. That check-in time would be quite popular with travelers, especially those with kids in tow. Most of those travelers would expect to pay more for that convenience. Targeting those travelers staying more than two nights could be quite lucrative.


It’s fine to rent a whole house with only one bedroom available, lock the 2nd bedroom and bathroom, and charge accordingly. You could also create two listings: one whole house listing that shows 1 BR, 1 BA, kitchen, living room, etc., and the second whole house listing that shows 2 BR, 2 BA, kitchen, living room, etc. Price them accordingly and make sure the photos look different enough that people understand what they’re getting. Of course, if you do it this way, you wouldn’t rent out that second bedroom when you’ve booked the 1 BR, whole house listing. It would just sit empty, locked, and unmolested. That’s what I’d do in your case.


I agree with you wholeheartedly. However I’ve seen a lot of Airbnb’s with terrible pictures, no picture at all of the bathroom and dozens or hundreds of reviews. Many are hosted by superhosts. So you saying you won’t stay in them isn’t saying that plenty of people won’t.

One would think so. What some hosts report here is that people want to check in early but don’t want to pay. So they book and then ask if they can check in early. The problem is that early check in precludes the “unit” from being rented the night before. The guest doesn’t want to pay for a whole night’s booking when they aren’t going to be in the room until 8 am. The host doesn’t want to lose out an entire night for a few extra bucks to permit early check in. Many of us have had guests arrive whenever they please and then bully their way into the rooms. They say they just want to drop their luggage. And use the bathroom, And “we’ll just sit here and watch you clean.” Some even want to check in while the room is still occupied!

Maybe clever travelers could target the host they want to stay with and offer them a substantial, non insulting fee for permitting early check in.

I had a traveler once who was driving through town in the morning. He wanted to check in at 8 am, sleep “a few hours” and shower then get back on the road. That would keep me from booking the night before and probably the night of the day he left because I wouldn’t be able to get the room turned over by listed check in time of 3pm. I was willing to let him book the room and block the two nights because I’m not always booked every night. So I “pre approved” his request. He then came back and offered me $20!!!. (my rate was $40 for that day) I then changed pre approved to declined and blocked the day so he couldn’t instant book. The next morning I unblocked the room and got a booking for that night at $40. No need to cater to early arrivals.


But aren’t you asking the host to block off the night before? Essentially giving up a night’s rental so they can accommodate you? I’ve arrived in Europe early just like everyone else, and have simply dealt. That’s traveling for you. Sometimes it’s inconvenient.

Hotels have strict check in and out times for a reason. It’s called CLEANING.


Yes, the term of the rental would need to be long enought to accomodate that extra day. Essentially the owner makes $0 dollars on the day before, so they would need to recoop the cost by charging a higher fee per night than those who do not offer this service. But those who specialize in this service would have little competition.

Such as double the rate? because that is what you would lose. And how could you offer it if you DID have a guest in residence? How could you advertise such a thing without blocking off one night between guests to accommodate possible early arrivals from the US.

Sorry, Morris but I wonder if you are a host because you aren’t really showing much understanding about what a money losing proposition it would be to offer what you are suggesting.