August 4, 2022 | Amelia Melching
Property managers are consistently seeing an uptick in longer stays. You’ll always have the weekenders, but the industry is seeing more and more one-month, three-month, or even six-month visits as of late.
Is accepting mid-length stays good for business? You might think you’ll miss out on peak-season potential bookings and lose the revenue of consistent (and more expensive) short-term rentals.
But what if we told you these longer bookings were excellent for your business model and key for revenue management and ops? The key is just knowing exactly how to price your mid-length stays.
We’ve reviewed the real-time insights and robust data at Wheelhouse and have learned:
All the above insights tell us one thing: property managers must learn how to price mid-length stays.
And we’ll help you along the way with our dynamic pricing software for short-term rentals.
But first thing’s first:
Mid-length stays for rental properties are generally between 1-3 months or 30-90 days. Though some property managers would consider stays up to 180 days a mid-length stay, they are most commonly 3-4 months long.
Of course, many vacationers like spending more time in one place while traveling. However, mid-length stays often have a wide range of guests and travel purposes.
Mid-term rentals offer property managers stability and efficiency. We’ll get into more “pros” later on, but if you’re a short-term rental owner, you should know that 1-3-month stays mean fewer unit turnarounds, less guest management, less cleaning, and improved occupancy even during off-peak seasons.
Mid-length stays usually imply a discount compared to the ideal 3-day booking. You’ll have stability, but won’t you miss out on peak weekends and extra revenue?
Not if you learn how to optimize your mid-length pricing strategy! Here’s how to do it:
Predictive booking uses historical data to anticipate present booking trends, such as booking window times and booking lengths depending on the time of year.
Reactive booking reacts to booking circumstances. For example, you might switch your pricing strategy to accommodate an uptick in demand.
The two booking models together are an important optimization strategy for mid-length stays.
So you have a few mid-length stays books, but they’re filled with 2-day, 3-day, or even week-long gaps. You don’t need to take a loss on those days just to accommodate a mid-length stay.
Instead, maximize those in-between days by attracting new guests with discounts for the shorter stays.
Your Nashville 2-bedroom will be a hotter commodity on Airbnb during events like Summerslam than colder, off-season times. Similarly, you’ll garner more interest during weekends than days of the week.
Study your booking history (and competitors’ if you can) to find out what time of year rentals perform better. This research will help you maximize revenue by scheduling short-term bookings during peak season.
Our data shows that most people check in on the 1st and 15th of the month — a huge spike, actually. Now, what happens if you’re trying to secure a mid-term stay from the 1st to the end of the month, but nobody’s booked your unit?
If you know that the second-most popular day to check in is the 15th, you’ll have to pivot your strategy to secure a check-in on that day. One way? Make the 15th unbookable on your calendar once you check out lead times for nearby bookings.
Now, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the perfect minimum stay number. AirDNA describes a common partiality for the 3-day minimum, but that doesn’t always mean improved revenue.
In fact, they illuminate how certain minimum stay numbers fluctuate in success depending on the location of the property.
A good rule of thumb is to think about how much time you have to give to your rental properties. If you’re balancing a lot and don’t want the headache of managing short-term stays, a week-long or even month-long minimum can work well.
A booking window (also known as lead time) is the time between a guest’s booking confirmation date and check-in date.
Hospitality business management experts assert that booking windows have steadily increased. But you won’t know the exact increase for your business until you look at the data.
Understanding your booking window will help you know when it’s time to shift pricing strategies.
About 50% of mid-length stays go on to re-book your unit either that following month or again in the future. If you score a mid-length booking, you’ll want to try your absolute best to ensure your guest falls into the 50% that re-books.
You’ll have greater occupancy and stability, you’ll know they’re satisfied with the unit and your service, and it’s one less transition to manage.
Some ways to encourage re-booking include extra amenities, exciting upsells (with discounts), and discounts on the continued stay–especially if they book for longer than their first stay.
So, what’s more profitable and simple? Mid-length stays or short-term stays? Let’s look at some pros and cons of mid-term accommodation.
A mid-term stay might require less turnaround for the next guest, but that doesn’t mean there’s no work at all.
Guests who book mid-length stays are looking for a temporary home — it’s more than a vacation. Extra amenities and communication go a long way.
Here’s how you can ensure your guests have a fabulous mid-length stay:
Even though a guest stays a month or longer, you’re not solely a landlord. You’re a customer service provider, handyman, host, and caretaker all in one.
If a guest comes to you with an issue, they’ll appreciate a prompt response — even if it’s something small.
Communication should be prompt, open, and friendly — enough for guests to enjoy your interactions and trust you enough to book again.
The best way to prepare for mid-length stays is to stock up on the essentials. Whether it’s paper towel rolls, cooking basics, or an extra set of bedsheets, these can help make a satisfied guest and reduce any back-and-forth required to provide these items.
The honeymoon-phase couple might not care about making morning smoothies or washing their clothes for a weekend stay.
But a guest finally settling down for a few weeks might crave a little more. Extra amenities are paramount for a mid-length stay because they add an element of home comfort to a vacation.
Think about your current home — what couldn’t you live without? If coffee, wine glasses, and basic spices are essential, consider adding them to your mid-length rental.
Extra amenities are also a fantastic opportunity to upsell, which can be easily managed through an ancillary software.
Mid-term bookings are all about making your guests comfortable enough to see your unit as an exciting new home. Whether they’re trying out a new neighborhood or digital nomads exploring new destinations, mid-length guests can really pump up your revenue.
Don’t be discouraged by the monthly-stay discount on Airbnb. Mid-length stays are an excellent way to tap into new guest audiences and higher business efficiency.
Your next steps? Dynamic pricing to get the utmost value for every booking (mid-length or not). Try out Wheelhouse today for free!
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