One of the hardest decisions for you to make as an Airbnb host to make is what pricing model to use.
Airbnb pricing is important, as it can make or break the profitability of your rental. The key to choosing the best possible pricing model is to assess your different options and strategies. For most hosts, a combination of several options and strategies is ideal for achieving an optimal pricing model.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about how to price your Airbnb. From the different platform pricing options to pricing considerations, we cover all the Airbnb pricing bases.
Keep reading to learn about four potential pricing strategies to use for your Airbnb!
Airbnb Pricing Options
After creating your Airbnb listing, you can’t begin taking bookings until you determine a nightly price.
Airbnb offers its hosts many options for pricing, including both manual and automated pricing models. Which pricing option you choose comes down to how much control you want over your pricing.
Manual pricing inherently gives you more control but adds to your workload, while automated pricing can optimize your listing prices with no additional work.
With this in mind, let’s look at the three main types of Airbnb pricing:
Airbnb Smart Pricing
Airbnb Smart Pricing is easily one of the most popular tools on the Airbnb platform, as it helps hosts to automatically set pricing with minimal intervention.
With Smart Pricing turned on, the nightly prices for your listings are automatically adjusted based on demand for your rental and demand for Airbnb rentals in your local area. The top three factors that impact your rental’s demand (and, thus, increase the nightly price) include:
- The type of rental and its location
- The season and seasonal tourism
- The demand for your rental specifically
Other factors that can increase demand include local events, such as concerts or festivals, as well as daily trends that impact your busyness level on specific days of the week. Weekends tend to bring higher overall demand for Airbnb rentals, so expect Smart Pricing to raise your nightly price during weekends.
Airbnb Manual Pricing
Though Smart Pricing can be an excellent tool for maintaining a more hands-off approach with your Airbnb rental, it is far from the only pricing option on the platform.
For hosts who want to maintain their listing schedule more closely, manual pricing allows hosts to set custom prices. To set and customize your nightly pricing, visit the Listings page from your Airbnb account. Once on the Listings page, click Price and availability and then Pricing.
On the Pricing page, you will find the option Nightly price. Click this, then click Edit to customize your nightly price for a specific listing.
You can also enable some custom pricing features that allow automatic pricing, including:
- Specific-Date Pricing: If there are specific dates throughout the year that you want to increase the nightly price or offer discounts for, you can set custom pricing that applies only to those days. For instance, many hosts use this feature to price listings for holidays.
- Weekend Pricing: If you want to set different nightly prices for weekends, you can do so from the Pricing page. Once on the Pricing page, click Standard fees and charges, and then click Weekend pricing. After arriving at this page, you can click Edit to set your custom pricing.
- Weekly & Monthly Pricing: For weekly and monthly pricing, you can set special discounts to help gain more bookings during the slower times of the week and month. To set a weekly or monthly price discount, go to Pricing and availability and then to Discounts. Here, you will find options for weekly and monthly discounts, as well as other discount features.
Airbnb Automated Pricing
Aside from Airbnb Smart Pricing, you can also automate your pricing through Rule-Sets.
Airbnb Rule-Sets allow you to set rules that determine the pricing of your Airbnb automatically. The rules you can define through this feature include:
- Nightly Price: Set a rule for how the nightly price is affected by the time of year.
- Length of Stay Discounts: Offer special discounts for longer stays.
- Last-Minute Discounts: Offer special discounts for last-minute bookings.
- Early-Bird Discounts: Offer special discounts for early bookings.
- Trip Length Requirements: Set a rule for the minimum trip length required to book your rental.
- Check-In and Checkout Requirements: Select the days that are available for check-ins and checkouts — this gives you the opportunity to automatically block off certain days for cleaning or other maintenance activities.
Rule-Sets work best for hosts with multiple rental listings, as adjusting the pricing and adding in discounts for each listing can be time-consuming.
However, hosts with just one or two listings can also benefit from creating a Rule-Set. With a Rule-Set in place, your listing price automatically adjusts according to the parameters and conditions you have set.
What to Consider When Deciding Your Airbnb Pricing Strategy
When deciding how to price your Airbnb and which Airbnb pricing model you want to use, it is crucial to consider the factors that contribute to your nightly price.
These factors include:
Your nightly rate is the base charge for a night’s stay at your rental.
This is the rate that is most affected by the pricing model you select. With manual pricing, you will set each nightly rate yourself for your listing. Meanwhile, Smart Pricing or one of the other automated pricing options will set your nightly rates for you based on either pre-determined or custom parameters.
When deciding on a fair nightly rate, it can be useful to research competing Airbnb rentals in your area. Look at how they price on weekends, weekdays, and holidays especially.
A cleaning fee is a one-time charge that is added to the total cost of a booking.
This cleaning fee is meant to cover the expenses of cleaning and maintenance for the host after a guest leaves. The fee is set by the host and can be negotiated with the guest through the Airbnb messaging feature after a guest has requested a reservation.
While you do not need to charge a cleaning fee, it is a useful charge to include to protect you against costly clean-ups or maintenance.
To set a cleaning fee, go to Pricing and availability and click Fees. On the Fees page, click Cleaning fee and then Edit.
Security deposits cannot be set by hosts unless they are using API-connected software and off-platform pricing features. You can view more information on collecting fees outside of the Airbnb platform on the official Airbnb webpage.
If a host without a security deposit finds damage in their rental following a guest’s stay, they may request reimbursement from the guest via the Resolution Center.
From the Pricing page for a listing, hosts can select to add a variety of extra charges, including:
- Resort fees: This is a fee charged most often by resorts and hotels that list their rentals through Airbnb. A resort fee is intended to cover the costs of amenities and services provided by the host.
- Linen fees: Linen fees are charged for the use and cleaning of bed linens and towels. Guests will sometimes try to negotiate these fees by offering to bring their own linens and towels.
- Management fees: Management fees are charged to help cover the expenses of management services, such as for hosts that hire property managers for their listings.
- Community fees: Community fees are intended to help pay for various building, community, or homeowner association (HOA) fees that apply to a specific property.
- Extra guest fees: When setting up your listing, you can set a maximum number of guests allowed in the rental at once. You may also set an extra guest fee to charge to parties who wish to bring more than the max number of guests.
As we covered earlier, you can apply a variety of different discounts to your Airbnb listings that can make the listing more appealing during less busy times of the year.
Discounts can come in the form of special offers or custom promotions.
For more information on setting discounts on Airbnb, check out the Pricing page and scroll to the Discounts menu. You can also visit the Host Discount Policy web page for information on legal requirements and platform policies.
4 Airbnb Pricing Strategies
Now that you know what pricing models and pricing factors to consider for your Airbnb listings, it’s time to determine your pricing strategy.
Here are four of the top Airbnb pricing strategies to utilize:
1. Maximum Fill-Rate Strategy
A maximum fill-rate strategy focuses on keeping your Airbnb booked for as many nights as possible.
To accomplish this, you must offer both competitive pricing and competitive amenities. Your Airbnb property needs to be eye-catching, with a booking offer so compelling it outshines competing rentals.
For a maximum fill-rate strategy, key pricing tools to use include:
- Weekly and Monthly Pricing: Setting lower nightly rates for slow times during the week and month is the key to keeping those less busy times of year booked and busy.
- Date-Specific Discounts: Offering discounts for specific dates, such as holidays, can be an excellent way to ensure your rental receives booking requests on important dates.
- Special Offers: Creating a special offer to send directly to guests is one of your best options for filling nights that have had zero booking requests so far.
2. Maximum Rate-per-Night Strategy
A maximum rate-per-night strategy focuses more on maximizing the profit made from each booking, rather than ensuring a rental is booked for every night possible.
With a maximum rate-per-night pricing strategy, Smart Pricing is the primary tool you want to use.
Smart Pricing allows your listing to automatically adjust according to demand. Plus, you can set specific parameters that ensure a listing’s nightly price stays within an acceptable range.
3. Long-Term Rentals Strategy
A long-term rental strategy is one where, rather than relying on nightly bookings, your primary goal is to attract guests who want to stay for longer periods.
For a long-term stay strategy, you must first enable longer stays through the Listings page on your Airbnb account. From this page, click on Availability, then go to Trip details where you can either remove the maximum trip length setting or set it up so that you have to manually review longer stays when guests request this type of reservation.
Long-term stays can be highly advantageous, as you can often charge a higher monthly rate than you would be able to with a residential property. Plus, long-term stays can provide you with more consistent income as well.
4. Balanced Airbnb Management
A balanced Airbnb management strategy combines elements of all three strategies discussed above.
For instance, you could achieve a balanced strategy by turning on Smart Pricing and then going in and setting custom pricing parameters for specific dates throughout the year.
Additionally, you could enable long-term stays for your listing during the slower times of the year while keeping the busiest times of the year reserved for short-term rentals.
Maintaining a balanced Airbnb management strategy can take additional work but can pay off in the long run by achieving optimal profitability for your listing.
Final Thoughts: Choosing the Pricing Model that Works for You
Ultimately, only you can decide which pricing model works best for you.
Luckily, Airbnb is a platform that welcomes experimentation. You can easily adjust your listing price and pricing options to try out different methods and strategies — though it is important to note that you cannot change your pricing model for guests who have already made a reservation.
Smart Pricing is an excellent tool to get started with, as it can help you achieve optimal pricing while you learn more about your local competitors.
Visit the Airbnb Help Center for more information on customizing your pricing.