How to boost low season Airbnb property bookings in Australia

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Most Airbnb property owners in Australia face the same challenge during winter – Low occupancy.

Seasonality is a major factor for Airbnb properties (and accommodation) worldwide, and Australia is no different. Fortunately, there are ways to fix this.
If you make a few adjustments to your property in advance, there will be more opportunities to maximise earnings.

Adjust pricing or offer discounts
Winter is low season in majority of Australian cities, so adjusting the price per night appropriately will be important.
You’ll also be facing more competition from other vacant Airbnb listings during winter, so having a flexible price per night will be a decisive factor for guests. This can mean lowering the price per night, cleaning fee or setting a flexible cancellation policy. The aim is to win them over competitors.
Some short-term management companies, like MadeComfy, constantly monitor vacancies and understand when to apply discounts to give property owners the optimal price for rent. This is a similar strategy adopted by hotels in Australia to attract more travellers.

Encourage mid-term bookings
Some guests may stay longer than 14 days. Attracting these types of guests will increase occupancy rates, but you will need to lower the price to make your Airbnb offering more attractive. In the long run, you should see higher returns. For example:
•     $200 x 18 nights (60% monthly occupancy) = $3,600
•    $140 x 31 nights = $4,340
On Airbnb, you can do this by setting Length-of-stay discounts.

Flexible Minimum Nights
Adjusting the minimum bookable nights for your Airbnb (otherwise known as MLOS - minimum length of stay in the hotel industry) will help fill vacant periods between bookings. There could be travellers looking for a short getaway or visitors attending conferences, so allowing shorter stays will open your Airbnb to more booking opportunities.
Airbnb actually advises hosts to “reduce the minimum nights as much as possible, and similarly increase the maximum nights.” This will allow your property to appear more frequently for searches that are appropriate to the dates set by guests.

Prepare for Major Events
Major events in Australia like festivals, concerts and conferences can attract guests and increase demands for Airbnb. There will always be something of interest to visitors, especially in major cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
For instance, Sydney has the popular Vivid Festival running during winter, where popular landmarks light up at night. On the Queen’s Birthday long weekend 2019, an estimated 600,000 people visited Sydney CBD to see Vivid.

Get 5-star Reviews
For most booking platforms, the more 5-star reviews you have, the higher your listing will be in the search results. Looking at positive reviews is one of the last decisive steps most guests check before making a booking. Based on Airdna (a leading provider of short-term rental data), between November 2014 and September 2018, higher star ratings have better average occupancy rates.

If you do receive critical reviews, use this to your advantage and learn from your mistakes, earning more 5 stars reviews will be crucial during low season.

What Type of Short-term rental Property do you have?
Different properties will attract different types of travellers.
If you have a holiday home, there may be more families interested. They’ll be looking for a kitchen, garden or pool, two plus bedrooms and a spacious lounge area.
Apartments on the other hand, attract more business workers, couples or solo travellers, who will place more importance on proximity to major landmarks or the CBD.
Have a look at past guests’ experiences during winter and review their feedback. If you can pinpoint the type of travellers staying at your Airbnb, you can revamp your property to cater to these guests as well.

Increasing the number of bookings for your Airbnb won’t happen overnight, but you will see long term benefits by implementing these changes before winter next year. The key is to take action on the recommended changes before competitors do so you have a better chance of securing bookings.

If you have no time, there are short-term rental property companies like MadeComfy, who understand the Australian market and know how to boost Airbnb bookings during low season.

Disclaimer: while due care is taken, the viewpoints expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Investment Property.

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