As a vacation home owner, there are many things to track to ensure your success. Your occupancy rate is an especially vital key performance indicator. In other words, how many nights you book relative to how many total nights your unit is available. In most cases, the more nights are booked, the more money you’ll make (assuming you’re not charging rock-bottom prices to entice those bookings).
The equation to determine your occupancy rate is simple:
Occupancy Rate = Nights Booked ÷ Total Available Nights
Rarely can a vacation home owner recoup their investment by only booking a few nights here and there, or even for just one season. That’s why maximizing your Airbnb occupancy rate throughout the year is so important.
Want to consistently drive more bookings? Here are expert-backed, actionable tips to increase your Airbnb occupancy rate.
The natural first step: Buy a vacation home in an area with year-round demand—from vacationers or business travelers or both. Now’s the time to push your personal preferences aside. Then, turn to data instead (unless you plan on spending more time vacationing there than renting it out). Every year, we rank the top 25 best places to buy a vacation home based on the rate of return on your investment.
Another important thing to consider is whether your chosen destination has any restrictions for short-term rentals. Local law, whether that’s at the city, county, or state level—or all three—dictates how you’ll own and operate a vacation rental. Or, if you can own one at all. Plus, don’t forget to look into your homeowners’ association rules for renting out your property.
The most common (and costly) mistake Airbnb hosts make? Charging static rates throughout the year or only tweaking prices seasonally. Instead, set your nightly rates based on things like:
These factors can change daily. That’s why Vacasa leverages a ton of data points like these to automatically adjust daily rates to fill your calendar. This is called dynamic pricing. The method ensures you’re earning top dollar on every reservation at any given time.
Who do Airbnb guests trust the most? Previous guests. That’s why guest reviews matter. Having several stellar guest reviews can convince someone to book your home over another. In fact, our research shows that Vacasa homes with 11 or more reviews received 102% more bookings than those without.
Our big tip: Don’t leave reviews up to chance. Or, expect guests to remember to leave a review. To get 5-star reviews, you’ll have to be proactive about creating a 5-star experience from start to finish and asking for a review after check-out. Got a bad review? Here’s how to respond so future guests still want to book.
Another upside to collecting a lot of positive reviews: The more glowing reviews you have, the higher you’ll rank on Airbnb. That ultimately means more visibility and potential for bookings.
Airbnb has six million active listings (and counting). This means there’s plenty of competition out there. One way to stand out on the platform is to become a Superhost. This distinction comes with perks, mainly more visibility and higher earning potential. The best part? Because of the rigorous requirements, potential guests will instantly trust your home is worth staying at.
To qualify, Airbnb requires you to:
After you stock your home with all the vacation rental essentials, invest in extras that will make your home stand out. There are three ways to do this:
1. Cater to who’s likely to book a stay at your home
Do families tend to gravitate to your area? Then, make your vacation home more family-friendly than the rest with items like bunk beds, a baby bathtub, kid-friendly dinnerware, and kid bikes.
2. See what your competition is doing
Do some reconnaissance. Check out similar Airbnb properties and see what they’re offering. Then, go above and beyond.
3. Consider the most sought-after amenities
We dug into which amenities guests look for the most on Vacasa.com. These include a hot tub (these can raise your bookings by 15–20%), a fireplace, and pet-friendliness (homes that allow dogs get 6% more bookings than homes that don’t).
Oftentimes, answering quickly to guests inquiries can mean the difference between getting the booking or losing it to another vacation home—a scenario more likely with last-minute bookings. Guests tend to reach out to two or three Airbnbs they’re interested in. Many times it’s the fastest host who wins the booking. From a guest perspective, a quick response shows that you’re a reliable host who cares about their experience and someone who wouldn’t make them wait if things go awry.
Can’t get back to potential guests fast enough? When you work with Vacasa, we’ll handle this communication on your behalf and address all inquiries quickly.
Airbnb’s Instant Book is a feature that allows guests to book a stay at your vacation home instantly—skipping the requirement to message you first and wait for your confirmation. According to Airbnb, hosts often get double the reservations since guests enjoy the convenience of booking instantly. Plus, Airbnb boosts Instant Book homes in their search rankings, giving you more visibility, and as a result, more bookings.
Another way to show up in more searches—add beds. You can do this by adding a bunk bed or a pullout sofa. Just make sure this makes sense for your home. Don’t simply overstuff your space with beds to fit more guests.
Our data shows that more guests tend to book vacation homes that fit an even number of adults over odd numbers. So, these extra beds can help meet this demand and boost your occupancy rate.
You may find yourself with available single nights in between bookings. Instead of letting your home sit vacant, reach out to the guests staying before (and after) that unbooked night and ask if they’d like to extend their stay. Consider a discounted rate as an incentive to add that night to their current reservation.
Encouraging guests to extend their stay is one of the easiest ways to increase your occupancy and revenue (not to mention save money on housekeeping). When available, Vacasa automatically invites guests to add another night to their booking.
It’s easier (and cheaper) to market to past guests than to attract new ones. A simple way to do this is to send marketing emails every six months or annually inviting them to stay again. One way to set a consistent schedule is to consider sending them a marketing email on the anniversary of their trip.
A picture is worth a thousand bookings. When guests search on Airbnb, 20 homes show up in the search results per page. Your goal: Make your vacation home the most appealing out of the bunch.
Hire a professional photographer, particularly one with experience shooting interior design or architecture. Or, if you work with Vacasa, we’ll prep and stage your vacation home, then conduct a photoshoot of every room—all with the intention to boost your bookings. Rather shoot your own photos? Consider these vacation rental staging and photography tips.
Airbnb has both plenty of opportunity and competition. To consistently achieve a high occupancy rate, you have to compete on all fronts. From building up your visibility to working toward 5-star reviews, these tips will help you keep your Airbnb calendar full. Need help managing it all? Vacasa is here to help.
A high occupancy rate can vary widely depending on your city or market. Not all destinations are equal. For instance, tourism-heavy areas like Hawaii often have higher occupancy rates than smaller markets. Ultimately, a good occupancy rate for your Airbnb is one that allows you to make the most money all year long, while letting you manage as much or as little as you’d like.
Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.
If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.
Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 947-800-5979; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Susan Scanlon, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC, P.O. Box 283, Conway NH 03818, Dave Grant, Broker of Record; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan E. Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacasa Real Estate Corporation, California DRE #02105811, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Joseph Czapkowicz, California DRE #01380722; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Colorado, Daned Kirkham); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Maine, Michael McNaboe, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Road, Suite 600, Lahaina, HI 96761; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.
Data is based on Vacasa.com searches and reservations booked April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, unless otherwise indicated. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.