Guide To Increase Booking For Airbnb During Off-seasons
Every home stay owner & operator has faced challenging times during off-season, as people tend to travel lesser during the time. If you’re in the business long enough, you should know by now the low seasons of your business and be prepared for them in advance.
A Typical Home Stay
Based on a survey of 100 Airbnb hosts in Malaysia, the booking period of home stays are normally ranging around 10 to 15 days, and sometimes drops to as low as 5 to 10 days.
For a whole unit that is rented out at RM150 per day for 10 days a month just barely covers the minimum instalment after deducting cleaning, utilities and other overheads. It may not seem like a good business with little income at the end of the day.
Not All Hope is Lost
We also find that there are units that are fully occupied most of the time even if it is priced higher as compared to other units. Unless you’re a European Villa, you may lack some reason for people to pick them over you.
It turns out that people book places to experience more than just staying. Creating an experience keeps people coming back, refer their friends or make headlines on Facebook & Instagram.
Know your Customers
This is an easy way to start. If you keep a record of who visited your place and understand who are the customers that stayed with you often. Are they solo travelers, on family vacations, or are they long-distance travelers who are looking to rest before going on the road again?
Call them, talk to them on social media, or simply send them an email. Offer them promotions during the off-season period. Make sure your promotions are for a limited time only and ask guests to redeem their deals within the time period or send the code to their friends who are looking to travel.
Remember that it is 50% easier to sell to your existing customers than getting a new customer.
Market on Facebook & Google
As most people are aware of, Facebook & Instagram is the go-to place for Malaysians when looking for travel inspirations and lifestyle/leisure items.
Data shows that 97% of all Malaysians go online to search for travel-related deals and experience and 70% of people use Facebook as their first choice to market their lifestyle items.
You’d want to create a Facebook & Instagram page for your listing and name it correctly as it increases the likelihood of people searching on Facebook to find your place. Alternatively, you can buy ads to market your homestay, which works only for a certain type of home.
Increase Bookings on Non-peak and Weekdays
As many had tried reducing the price for weekdays, but there are very fewer people who travels during weekdays. You tried lowering prices during weekdays but is still unable to increase vacancy during the period.
It’s just how the industry works.. in a nutshell
You don’t want your place to be tied down to one particular industry that is affected by seasons and relies heavily on that. If people are booking your place for other purposes like meetings, workshops, photography, gathering or parties, you want to leverage that opportunity by marketing your place differently.
But, the question is how do you do it?
Add Facilities and Choices
As people are always looking to experience new things. Rather than having dinner at that fancy restaurant that is full of people on a friend’s gathering, won’t it be great for people to rent a place and cook for their loved ones?
As a homestay owner, you can rent your space hourly for any occasion. Prepare items that are needed for, extra tables & chairs, projector, whiteboard, game sets, karaoke system, – whatever you need for your space to fit a purpose.
Unique places like rooftops, courtyard, lofts can be used for a variety of purpose and you won’t want your place to be limited only to just “providing a place to sleep”. While Airbnb is not catered for bringing people in for an occasion, a local Malaysian startup Chupspace does just that.
Chupspace makes it easy for homeowners to rent out spaces hourly for any purpose, including private places to watch football, dinner, barbecue gathering, wine tasting and more.
Sign Up & Make Money As a Host - it's free
Offer an experience
While most of the homestay owners that are out there will make guests feel like you’re here for the money. You don’t want to be someone that offers nothing more than a bed. People remember the experience, not a typical night just the same in any hotel & home.
If you know that your guests are here as a solo traveler, offer to show them around the area. Tell them where to eat and most importantly, let them know that you’ll be there for them in case anything happens.
Not only that you’ll be able to hear exciting stories on their journey traveling across South East Asia, but it’s the sense of belonging that they couldn’t feel when they travel.
Even if you won’t be around during their stay, you can always drop them a message or call. Get people excited about the area that they’re not familiar with, not only telling them what they can’t do during their stay.
Make Your Space Event Friendly
While there are tons of local and overseas travelers that booked home stays as their first choice of travel. There’s a group of the younger generations that move from rural to urban cities every year.
As more people move into high rise condominiums, they lack places to have friends & family gatherings, meetups and birthday parties. Most choose homestays as their first choice to book a place for the purpose.
Opening up your space and make it event friendly for this group of people that is on a growing trend will open up new opportunities for your business as a whole.
Homestays in rural areas tend to have lesser bookings compared to those in urban cities. But who can afford to buy a house with extra space in Kuala Lumpur town nowadays?
You have to be creative and sell your place a little different than what others have done. Create a theme in your space that will attract a certain group of people.
Checkout this Doraemon Theme Homestay that is almost fully booked every day.
As creating a theme may require some form of investment, it may not be for everyone. Alternatively, you can still sell your space differently if you know what people really want. Find out how you can host an experience in small spaces here.