Airbnb Tips to Prepare for the Slow Season | Practical Advice for Hosts

Airbnb Tips to Prepare for the Slow Season | Practical Advice for Hosts

Generally, when your Airbnb investment property is performing well during peak season, you feel satisfied with your financial situation.

But what happens when bookings slow down?

It is easy to become worried about your Airbnb's profitability when bookings slow down and the vacancy rate increases at one point of the year.

What if we told you that the slow season isn't necessarily a time to slack off?

Understanding what it takes to keep your Airbnb booked year-round will contribute to your financial success. With the right strategy, you can still earn a healthy income during the slow season and stay afloat despite having to put in more effort to attract guests.

To remain profitable during the Airbnb slow season, here are some techniques you can employ.

19 Airbnb Tips to Boost Higher Bookings during Slow Season

There are several techniques you can implement to handle drops in bookings during the slow season - here are the tips we recommend.

1. Change your Pricing Strategy

Airbnb's slow season survival depends largely on pricing. You can strive to earn money with Airbnb during the slow season and the best way to do that is to differentiate yourself from the competition and reduce your rates.

Generally, guests travel for leisure trips so there is an increased demand for weekend stays. Opt to promote weekday stays with special offers and discounts which will boost your Airbnb revenue.

An example according to Sean Rakidzich’s for the slow season, is to offer incentives such as “Get 50% off on your weekend stay when you book 5 nights”

In this case, assume your weekday rate is $100 and your weekend rate is $200, you offer 50% only on weekends, and the weekday rate remains the same. With a clause to stay for 5 days, you are incentivizing your guests to book your Airbnb 5/7 days of the week - increasing your occupancy rate and making a tidy profit.

The same 5 day stay could also be offered at “30% off if booked for 5 days including the weekend”

The amount of money you make will remain more or less the same. In the end, it's all in the way you market your strategy. You can use the Airbnb rule sets to work through whichever promotion you want to activate.

Or

You could offer Book for 2 nights and get 1 night free

__Or __

Run a promotion on social media - Post an image of the property on Instagram or Facebook and offer a 5-10% discount to anyone who shares it when they make their next booking.

Offering such discounts is probably one of the best ways to lure your guests during the slow season, plus due to the promotion and value for money, this might persuade potential guests to book even if it is during weekdays or longer stays.

2. Lower Your Nightly Rate

Consider lowering your usual nightly rental rate right throughout the period of the slow season.

Example:

Day of Week Peak Season Rate Slow Season Rate (Nov-Feb)
Weekdays (Sun-Thur)   |     $100   |    $75    |

| Weekends (Fri-Sat) | $200 | $100 |

Guests enjoy great bargains, so lowering your nightly rate during a particularly dry spell, can attract guests in search of great deals. Keep in mind that you still need to charge enough to cover your costs and make a profit.

Pro Tip: Know what your minimum price should be by understanding your fixed and variable costs. Ensure that you cover your expenses and make a profit when you calculate how much you should charge.

3. Offer Discounts for Long-Term Stays

Discounts for extended stays are a great way to attract long-term guests during the slow season.

  • A 10% for week-long stays (7 days or more)
  • A 20% off on a month long stays basis (28 days or more)

This type of long-term discount is fairly common, but it varies by city / location. Do some extra research and see what other property managers in your area are doing for better insight.

Keep in mind that you will need to take a few things into consideration when doing this. For example, long-term guests might need: a washing machine and Dryer, workspace, Kitchen appliances, etc

You can target Travelling Nurses, (you may also opt to list on Furnished Finder if you like this option), Digital Nomads, Business Travellers and college students who are all similarly looking to rent for longer periods.

Regardless of whether you're offering a discounted long-term stay, ensure you're making a decent profit.

4. Include Pet-friendly and Child-friendly features in your listing

As with optimising your home for business travellers and digital nomads, updating your Airbnb listing to appeal to families with children and pet owners is another way to increase your Airbnb income in the slow season.

Pet Friendly Airbnb

If you allow pets in your short term rental, provide the following:

  • Water and food bowls
  • Upholstery covers that are pet-friendly
  • Towels for wiping off paws (indoor and outdoor
  • Extra cleaning supplies

Child Friendly Airbnb

If your short-term rental is child friendly, provide the following:

  • It is a good idea to have a high chair, a changing table, kid friendly cutlery, milk warmer
  • Children's books and Plush toys
  • Extra pillows and swaddle blankets
  • Keep breakfast cereals, sweets, chocolates, or healthy snacks

It's a great way to increase the likelihood of securing a reservation, especially during a slow spell but this tip will help you at any time of year too. If you do not already accommodate this feature, consider adapting to it. See if it increases bookings from guests of that nature one slow season and let the data speak for itself thereafter.

5. Referral Incentives: Offer Discounts for Friends and Family

If you have already signed up with Hostaway, this will be a straightforward task. In this approach, the process is automated.

In the automation tools, message automation is a key feature, so you can send a message to the guest a few days or a week after check-out informing them that during slow seasons, you offer an extra percentage discount to your guest and any of their friends or family provided they mention the guest by name.

It may be worthwhile to offer the discount

  • only during weekday stays
  • for stays that are at least four-nights long
  • for stays on any day during a particular month

or similar depending on the slow season pertaining to the location of your Airbnb.

__Message Template Example __

Hello (Name of Guest) ! As one of our valued guests, we are honoured and happy to extend our “friends + family discount of 30% off” to you during stays between “November and February”(period of slow months), this year. Do let your family and friends know that you'd love to have them stay with us when they are planning their next trip to “Florida”(City)

6. Remove Extra Person Charges

Remove the extra person charge during your slower months. It will simplify your guest’s booking process if you eliminate the extra person fee. Understand that this decision is only for a stipulated time frame - applicable and activated only during the slow season. With this feature, you can confirm a booking from a potential guest, they are able to bring a friend or an additional family member and you can continue to earn money through a dry spell.

This could be particularly very helpful if you live in a highly seasonal area. Try to make sure they enjoy your place, even with an extra visitor or two. Having an extra visitor doesn't really add much work to your schedule.

Any additional guests you invite should be charged a significant amount if there are too many!

__For example __

if your maximum occupancy is set for 6 guests, factor in between $50- $100 per additional guest - assuming there are sleeping options on site, such as a pull out couch or extra mattresses.

7. Reach out to Previous Guests

After a while as an Airbnb host, you will have access to a solid customer base. Why not reach out to them?

Having a list of satisfied guests who have previously stayed at your property can convert into great Airbnb revenue, so spend some time inviting them back.

  • Provide a promotional offer to previous visitors during the slow season in an email or message.

  • Offer a competitive price and make sure you remember to sound appealing and hard for them to resist - perhaps include some freebies such as dinner vouchers, tickets to a local performance etc.

Be sure to contact all of your former Airbnb guests - they can make a valuable contribution to your business when bookings are slow.

8. Use a Dynamic Pricing Tool

When you hit a slow season, demand for your Airbnb listing will decline. As mentioned previously, it can be difficult to constantly monitor and try to optimize your rates.

A dynamic pricing tool helps tremendously in this area.

A dynamic pricing tool is like Airbnb's Smart Pricing algorithm on steroids!

Using a dynamic pricing tool will greatly improve your Airbnb pricing strategy. To ensure you maximize your revenue, dynamic pricing algorithms can adjust prices based both on demand and supply for each of your properties using AI technology. As the host you can define the requirements for your Airbnb pricing and manually adjust prices if the need arises. Advanced pricing settings can help you determine how aggressive your pricing strategy should be based on your overall business goals.

What you need to understand mostly here is that all the other tips which are mentioned in here are made even better by the use of a dynamic pricing tool, designed to help you manage your Airbnb revenue effectively. There is no doubt that dynamic pricing is a godsend, particularly during slow seasons when you are competing with other hosts.

9. Activate Airbnb Instant Book

Airbnb Instant Book lets guests who meet your requirements book your space automatically.

Airbnb's slow season is the perfect time to activate Instant Book. Take advantage of this feature during the slower months to gain maximum occupancy.

Here’s why,

Turning it on removes another obstacle between you and potential guests.

__Here’s How, __

When you choose to switch on Instant book, your guests don't have to wait for you (the host) to approve the booking, there is no waiting time, it is what it is - instant! Guests can book immediately.

This not only improves the guest experience but also boosts your ranking on the search results. Instant Book is exactly what it sounds like: guests can book immediately without needing approval from the host.

Airbnb states on its website that hosts who use instant booking can get up to double the number of bookings. Plus, you could cancel the booking later if you feel the guest looks sketchy, without any penalty from Airbnb. This should be one of your leading tactics in your slow season strategy

Side Note: Instant Book applies to all available dates in your calendar.

10. Relax the Rules on Minimum Stay

During the slow season, consider reducing your minimum stay requirements to one night. It could be a great time to experiment with a single night minimum, for example, on weekdays during the Airbnb slow season. You may be able to gain business travellers or transit guests who are looking for a quick one-night stay. This does mean there will be more work for your cleaning crew as there will be more quick turnover of guests - but that means more income for them too!

This could improve your Airbnb income and help you fill in some gaps in your booking calendar. Take advantage of this option during the slow months - and remember every dollar matters as long as you're making a profit though.

Airbnb

11. Optimize your Airbnb SEO

There are several benefits to this if you are looking to improve Airbnb SEO. Airbnb's ranking algorithm is influenced by over 100 factors, and you can influence some of them to benefit your property.

Optimize your Listing

The best time to do this would be the Airbnb slow season.

Here’s How.

  1. Create a great listing description.
  2. Make sure your Airbnb title is intriguing - especially now with the Airbnb Summer release 2022 upgrade
  3. Make sure your Airbnb listing photos reflect the slow season. (Refer Tip #16)
  4. Respond promptly to ALL message inquiries.
  5. Provide the BEST possible guest experience when guests stay with you - this paves the path for you to gain great reviews - great reviews mean higher ranking in the Airbnb ranking algorithm

The best way to optimize your Airbnb listing is to use a tool like OptimizeMyBnb. You can use it to improve your Airbnb listing as well as track your ranking over time.

12. Flexible Cancellation Policies

Make your cancellation policy more flexible during the stipulated slow season to get the best results. Relax all restrictions and rules as much as you can. Why? This is because you want to make it as easy as possible for your potential guests to book with you. A strict or moderate Airbnb cancellation policy can be off-putting for guests.

In this way, one of the many objections of potential guests will have been addressed and you are likely to gain many bookings - which is what you want during the slow season.

13. Promote your Airbnb on Social Media Platforms

You should spend a little more time on marketing your property during the slow season - especially via alternative channels, which can be beneficial. The best way to promote your Airbnb listing online is through effective marketing. Your property should also be listed on social media platforms besides Airbnb in order to maximize your marketing reach.

Nowadays, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram are among the most popular social media platforms.

Getting your listing on local tourism websites or letting a blogger promote your property is another great option.

As long as you know how to deliver it well and track your progress, the possibilities are endless.

Airbnb

14. Feature your City's Ccommunal Activities on your Airbnb Marketing

During the slow season, your locality doesn't necessarily grind to a halt.

You will find plenty of interesting events in your city during the slow months. A festival, a conference, or a sporting event, for example. Furthermore, holidays such as Christmas, New Year, and Thanksgiving can generate substantial Airbnb revenue too!

Most Airbnb homes are booked during the " festive " times of the year but don’t neglect the period before and after. Highlight local Christmas fairs that offer great retail therapy. Promote new year events which will be taking place in your vicinity/city/town. Your city may be able to offer an Airbnb experience - which can be a major draw - if you advertise this on your Airbnb listing as well as on all your social media channels. You can even throw in a giveaway for people who share it on their social media to win prizes etc.

Also, explore the options of tying up with local businesses during this time to add more value for guests who book with you specifically during an event in town. For instance, Give your Airbnb guests 30% off dinner vouchers at a restaurant hosting an event during the holidays or any other promotion that could help them save money and have a good time.

15. Adjust Calendar Availability

In this tip the strategy aims to attract guests who are planning to travel ahead 6+ months in advance of the slow season of Airbnb. Despite Airbnb's limitations, this approach allows guests to book through your next year's slow season when optimizing prices is less of an issue than occupancy levels.

For this to work, extend your Airbnb calendar availability to 12 months when the peak season begins for you. After 3 months, adjust your availability to 9 months. Three months later, adjust to six months. After that, repeat the process.

16. Update your Listing Title

Update your listing to include the phrase "Discount" or "20% off". This will make your title more appealing to potential guests. In the slow season, you can use the word "discount" in your Airbnb listing title to increase occupancy. As discussed in Tip #1, adding a discount or promotion to the title amplifies the benefits and increases your chances of potential guests noticing the title while browsing for places to stay.

Airbnb Christmas

17. Embrace the Season with your Photos

Add photos of your guests enjoying your experience year-round. By updating your cover photo according to the season, you'll make a bigger impact on search results.

Match your photos to your seasonal listing description to capture the essence of the season. (Tip #11) You can lift your slow-season Airbnb revenue by including a captivating image that ties in with the season.

To show off your Airbnb home during the winter, take a photo with a snowy backdrop or a fireplace lit up and stockings hung, or your living room lit up with a Christmas tree. Using your Airbnb holiday photos, create a visual narrative that depicts a cozy holiday.

Airbnb pictures with themed lights and a Christmas tree could boost bookings with a festive flair. Take advantage of the season and make the most of it, we say!

18. Diversify by listing on multiple platforms

Consider listing your vacation rental on alternative platforms than just Airbnb alone. In addition to Airbnb, there are a number of other websites you can use to list your short-term rental, such as VRBO, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Agoda etc.

It might also be a good idea to list on niche websites - this could gain you a whole new audience.

19. Make your Airbnb available for Events

Hosting daylight events at your Airbnb property is another way to open up revenue during slow seasons. A business meeting, photo shoot, interview, film, etc., are not overnight events, they take place during the day.

It's true that this strategy is not going to work for everyone, so it's worth giving it a try, especially during the slow season for Airbnb. It depends largely on where your Airbnb home is located and how it looks from the outside and the inside. For maximum benefits boost your curb appeal and invest in the best ROI amenities in your Airbnb.

In Conclusion,

Slow seasons vary from country to country. Winter is a time when most people prefer to stay at home, so fewer bookings are generated which is why it is one of the main reasons for bookings to halt in the winter months.

During slow periods, you can implement these strategies to increase your listing's visibility. You can either follow them or test them on one of your properties to see if they work.

When it comes to earning money with Airbnb during the slow season, you may find it easier than you expect or imagine. Following our tips and putting some effort into them can help you find practical solutions. Don't be afraid to explore and experiment, and let your experience lead you to better ways to adapt.

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