A minimum night stay or minimum length of stay requirement is the minimum number of nights that a guest can book your Airbnb vacation rental. This is completely up to the host to determine and can be adjusted at any time for any period of time.
Your Minimum Night Stay Policy, when utilized intelligently, can be crucial to maximizing your Airbnb vacation rental’s revenue. In fact, according to AirDNA data, many hosts are leaving money on the table because of the substantial disconnect between the minimum night stay policies they enact and what in fact is profitable.
Minimum night stay policies can also be used to keep away bad guests, in addition to guest screening. For example, guests who book a property for the sole purpose of throwing a party (without permission) are unlikely to want to pay for two or more nights just to throw a party on one night. Airbnb itself enforces minimum stay requirements around occasions like New Year’s Eve and Halloween to prevent guests from booking the place for the sole purpose of having a party.
There is no one hard and fast rule on minimum stay policies that can be applied to all Airbnb vacation rentals. Some hosts opt for a 1-night minimum stay. Others insist on week- or even month-long stays to attract only long term guests. Many may set a 2- or 3-night policy and forget about it.
The most profitable way to set a minimum night stay policy for your Airbnb vacation rental however is to be proactively dynamic. Hosts must consider a number of factors:
Accordingly, they may use one or several strategies across the year for best effect.
The off-season is when demand for accommodation is low and hosts must try harder to attract guests and maintain profit. At such a time it makes sense to lower minimum night stay requirements to even 1-night bookings in order to gain occupancy and revenue.
In the midst of the tourist season when demand is high, you are better off imposing a longer minimum night stay policy of at least a 3-night minimum.
Most visitors are much more likely to travel during the weekend when they have time off from work and can enjoy a break before returning to work on Monday. Thus most hosts set higher nightly rates for weekends. You don’t want to get stuck with a 1-night booking leaving you with an unbooked day when you are geared to earn a higher income. Setting a 2-night (or even 3-night depending on the weekend) minimum stay during the weekend will ensure you don’t lose out on greater income.
Music festivals, conferences, sports matches, and other big ticket events are times when hosts should lengthen their minimum night stays to capitalize on the influx of travelers and high demand. According to AirDNA, events like Mardi Gras and South by Southwest warrant at least 3-night minimums. In fact, during South by Southwest which spans two weekends and 10 days, listings with 6-night minimum stays reeled the most revenue.
For destinations that don’t experience a high tourism season at certain periods of the year, most hosts opt for a conservative strategy of 1- or 2-night minimum stays across the year. According to AirDNA, non-seasonal markets only see a 68% difference between their least profitable month and most profitable month. Thus most hosts only set a 3-night minimum stay in their most profitable month.
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 many caveats.
Allowing more 1-night stays could mean more bookings and revenue but also attract unreliable and last minute guests. It also means more effort for turnover services and more wear and tear of your property.
Most hosts increase the minimum stay for reservations farther away and decrease it for stays that are closer.
Use past data from your own Airbnb vacation rental, general market trends in your area from market intelligence tools like Key Data, Transparent, AllTheRooms, and AirDNA as well as common sense to determine the best minimum nights for each period that your Airbnb vacation rental is made available for bookings.
Cleaning fees are only charged once per booking and should be considered when determining your minimum night policy. Even if you charge a high cleaning fee of $100 for a 5-night booking, for example, it is still less than a cleaning fee of $20 for five bookings of 1-night stays. If you are taking care of the cleaning yourself and adding the cleaning fee to your income, you would not want to encourage too long stays as it will reduce your overall booking income.
If your Airbnb vacation rental is based in a city or other destination where competition with hotels is high such as Miami, you will generally want to keep your minimum night stay short – 1 or 2 nights – in order to remain competitive. However, you could run the risk of troublesome guests booking your property for 1 night to hold a party especially if it is a larger property like a three bedroom home. It is less likely that a studio apartment would get booked for a party.
The type of property of your Airbnb vacation rental can also have an impact. If your property is a large home for example, you are likelier to generally attract a large traveler group looking for a longer stay. You can also charge a larger cleaning fee considering the size of the property.
Longer minimum night stays can also create gap nights or orphan nights, i.e. nights between bookings that can’t be booked because they are shorter than the minimum requirement. For example, if you set a 5-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 available to be booked. To enable those days to be booked you will have to allow a shorter minimum stay during the gap.
Airbnb vacation rentals in urban destinations frequently attract business travelers on weekdays. They generally book later and expect shorter minimum night requirements. Meanwhile vacationers are likelier to book longer stays and book earlier. The best strategy would be to set longer minimum night stay requirements in advance while setting shorter requirements closer to the date.
According to AirDNA, non-seasonal markets only experience a difference of 68% between their least and most profitable months while highly seasonal markets witnessed a difference of 1,519% between the same. Thus non-seasonal markets don’t require much dynamism in minimum night stay settings while seasonal markets will require much if they are to capture their full revenue potential.
To set minimum night booking requirements on your 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. For example, 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.