Your minimum night stay policy is an important factor in maximizing your vacation rental revenue. Many hosts lose out on potential income because of the substantial disconnect between their minimum night stay policies and what is profitable.
It is also key in property management and can help deter bad guests like those looking to book a single night to throw a party. In fact, Airbnb itself enforces minimum stay requirements around special days like New Year’s Eve to prevent parties.
A minimum night stay or minimum length of stay requirement is the minimum number of nights you require a guest to book.
There is no one-size-fits-all rule for setting minimum stays.
Some hosts opt for a one-night minimum stay. Others insist on week- or even month-long stays to attract only long-term guests. Many set a two- or three-night policy and forget about it.
The most profitable way is to be proactively dynamic. First, factor in considerations such as:
Then, utilize any number of the strategies below for optimal effect.
Longer minimum stays enable you to capitalize on high demand and avoid lost income from one-night stays and gap days during the peak seasons.
Low minimum stays can help you attract more bookings when demand dips, maintaining your revenue stream.
The weekend is the high season of the week. Don’t lose out on revenue with a 1-night booking that leaves your property empty half that time. Set a two-night or even three-night minimum for revenue optimization.
Extending your minimum stays allows you to leverage the increased demand of big-ticket events like music festivals, sports events and conferences.
According to AirDNA data, Austin short-term rental properties with three-night minimums earned the most in 2023 during the 10-day South by Southwest event, followed closely by those instituting four to six night minimum stays.
Non-seasonal markets experience very little difference between their least and most profitable months in comparison to highly seasonal markets. Tailor your strategy accordingly, incorporating dynamic adjustments if your property is located in a vacation market.
Increase the minimum stay for reservations farther away and decrease it for stays that are closer.
As a general rule of thumb, the more flexibility you allow your Airbnb vacation rental listing, the more risk you are taking on. However, this comes with caveats.
Allowing more one-night stays could mean more bookings and revenue but also attract unreliable and last-minute guests. It also means more turnover and wear and tear.
Use your past data, market trends and common sense to determine the best minimum length of stay for each period that your Airbnb vacation rental is made available for bookings. Don’t forget to consider local regulations that can mandate specific minimum lengths of stay.
Cleaning fees are only charged once per booking and should be factored in.
Consider that if you charge a cleaning fee of $100 for a five-night booking, it is still less than a cleaning fee of $30 each for five bookings of one-night stays. If you clean your property yourself and include this as part of your income, longer stays will see you earn less overall.
If your property is based in a destination where competition with hotels is high, shorter stays will help you stay competitive. But this increases your risk of unauthorized parties.
Longer minimum night stays can lead to gap nights.
For example, if you set a five-night minimum stay and have three days of availability between two stays five nights long, the gap of three days won’t show on Airbnb as available to be booked. Adjust your policies to fill the gaps and optimize occupancy.
Airbnb short-term rentals in urban destinations attract business travelers on weekdays. They tend to book later and expect shorter minimum night requirements. Meanwhile vacationers tend to book longer stays and do so earlier. Adapt your policy to cater to the traveler segments that frequent your property.
To set minimum night booking requirements on your Airbnb listing:
To create custom rules for each day of the week, click Customize by day of the week.
To set minimum nights for a specific date or season, click Add a custom rule for seasons or specific dates.
If you have multiple minimum night requirements that apply to the same day, the more specific requirement will be used.
Let’s say you have a minimum 1-night requirement for all reservations, but you have a minimum 3-night requirement for reservations on the weekend. If a guest requests a Friday reservation, they’ll be required to stay three nights and not just one night.
Optimizing your Airbnb minimum night stay policy isn’t just about setting a number. It’s about strategically adapting to market dynamics, season demands and the specific properties of your Airbnb vacation rental. By considering factors such as revenue optimization, guest management and market competition, you can craft a policy that optimizes occupancy and income for your vacation rental business.