How to optimize your Airbnb pricing strategy

We explore the key factors in developing a pricing strategy and examine the pros and cons of various pricing models to help you maximize earnings and occupancy.
Hosting Advice
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May 23, 2024
min read
How to optimize your Airbnb pricing strategy

As an Airbnb host or property owner, setting the right price for your rental can make a huge difference in your revenue and occupancy rates.

However, deciding where your property falls in the huge range of pricing isn’t easy. An effective pricing strategy should consider factors like market demand, seasonality, local events, and competitor pricing. 

In this blog, we’ll not only explore the above factors that impact your pricing models, but also the pricing models themselves. We’ll dig into the pros and cons of flat pricing, manual pricing, and dynamic pricing to help you better understand these models, and ultimately decide upon the best approach to maximize your earnings and occupancy.

6 factors that affect Airbnb pricing

It’s hard to know where to start with setting the right price for your Airbnb listing—several factors come into play. Understanding what they are and how to leverage them is the best way to maximize your occupancy rates and overall revenue. 

Let’s break them down:

1. Property location and amenities

Your property's location and amenities are crucial determinants of your base rate. A chic downtown loft will command higher prices than a suburban studio. Likewise, amenities like a pool, hot tub, or proximity to tourist attractions can justify premium pricing.

2. Target audience

Who is your rental for? Are you catering to budget travelers, business guests, luxury seekers, or digital nomads? Each demographic has distinct preferences and budgets, which need to influence your pricing strategy accordingly.

3. Seasonality and special events

Peak tourist seasons and special events can cause demand to skyrocket or plummet. Adjust your pricing accordingly to capitalize on high-demand periods and remain competitive during off-peak times.

4. Booking lead time

Consider the timing of bookings relative to the stay date. Last-minute bookings might warrant discounts to fill vacancies, while early bookings could command higher rates due to limited availability.

5. Local market

Stay on top of your local market dynamics, including competitor pricing and demand trends. Finding the right balance between competitiveness and profitability is key to maximizing revenue.

6. Booking platform

Different booking platforms come with varying commission charges. While listing on multiple platforms can increase visibility, direct bookings through your own website can save on commissions, boosting your bottom line.

Airbnb pricing models

Flat pricing

Flat pricing is the simplest pricing strategy where you set a fixed rate for your property that does not change over time.


  • Simplicity and ease of management
  • Predictable income and planning


  • Inflexibility in response to market changes
  • Potentially lower occupancy during off-peak times
  • Missed opportunities to maximize revenue during high-demand periods

Flat pricing does not involve optimizing rates based on market dynamics, making it a limited strategy for a growing business. As market conditions fluctuate, this approach may leave money on the table or result in unbooked nights.

Manual pricing

Manual pricing involves adjusting your rental rates based on your own analysis and understanding of the market without using pricing software. 


  • Full control over pricing decisions
  • Ability to leverage personal knowledge of the local market


  • A time-consuming process requiring regular market analysis
  • Technical expertise is needed to interpret data and set optimal prices
  • Higher risk of human error and oversight

While manual pricing allows for more strategic adjustments than flat pricing, it can be overwhelming for hosts who manage multiple properties or lack the necessary market insights. It’s important to note, that this method demands continuous monitoring of trends, competitor rates, and local events, which can be a significant investment of time and effort.

Dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing uses automated tools like Beyond, PriceLabs, Wheelhouse, and Airbnb’s Smart Pricing to optimize rental rates based on multiple data points. These tools consider factors such as demand, seasonality, local events, and competitor pricing to adjust rates dynamically.


  • Automation of the pricing process saves time and effort
  • Optimized pricing based on comprehensive market analysis
  • Increased potential for higher revenue and occupancy rates


  • Possible costs associated with using premium pricing tools
  • Limited control over specific pricing adjustments

By leveraging dynamic pricing, you can stay ahead of market trends and ensure your property is priced to attract bookings while maximizing revenue. These tools simplify the complex task of rate optimization, allowing you to focus on providing an excellent guest experience and growing your Airbnb business.

blue and brown couch with throw pillows

Choosing the right strategy

Selecting the best pricing strategy depends on your goals, resources, and market conditions. Flat pricing might suit hosts who prefer simplicity and predictability, while manual pricing could work for those who have the time and expertise to manage their rates actively. 

However, for most hosts and owners, dynamic pricing offers the best balance of convenience and revenue optimization.

Incorporating a dynamic pricing tool can significantly enhance your Airbnb business, making it easier to adapt to market changes and ensure that your rates are always competitive. With the right strategy, you can attract more guests, increase your occupancy rates, and maximize your earnings.

Building a strategy for optimized Airbnb pricing: 5 crucial steps

To optimize your Airbnb rates in a scalable way, use the following steps while factoring in the elements discussed above:

1. Research your local Airbnb market

Gain an understanding of local base rates and how other operators adjust these rates for the factors discussed above. The goal here is to understand the market, learn from others’ strategic choices, and where possible, improve on them.

2. Establish your base nightly rate

Start with a base price by considering operational costs (e.g., housekeeping), the value of amenities, the costs of any monitoring solutions (e.g., devices like Minut, which help detect cigarette smoke in vacation rentals) competitor pricing, Revenue per Available Rental (RevPAR), and target audience.

Note on operational costs: Many Airbnb hosts opt to add a cleaning fee on top of their nightly rates, so it’s important to exclude this fee from your nightly costs. For instance, if your monthly expenses amount to $2,500, your nightly cost would be approximately $83.

3. Implement dynamic adjustments for demand and market fluctuations

Integrate a dynamic pricing tool with your PMS, and apply customized rules to allow for:

  • Seasonality
  • Event-based pricing
  • Booking lead time
  • Incentives for long-term stays

4. Implement promotional strategies

Consider offering discounts for:

  • Gap nights (when a guest can add a night to their current booking due to a gap in your booking calendar)
  • Repeat and direct bookings
  • Referrals

5. Track performance

Monitoring the performance of your listings regularly is a critical aspect of any effective Airbnb pricing strategy. By keeping a close eye on how your listings are performing, you can quickly identify trends, assess the impact of pricing adjustments, and make informed decisions to maximize your revenue .

The best Airbnb pricing strategy involves heavy research

A well-researched pricing strategy is one of the most important elements of a successful vacation rental. It ensures you’re not overcharging (which loses bookings) or undercharging (which reduces profits), and keeps you in league with other rentals in your local market.

Vacation rental tools like Minut monitor noise, occupancy, and temperature, and detect cigarette smoke. This helps reduce damage costs and energy bills, ultimately widening your profit margins and giving you more flexibility in adjusting your prices.

Want to find out why over 50,000 property managers trust Minut to protect their Airbnb? Book a demo today, we’d love to discuss how we can help you.