How can you maximize your vacation rental’s occupancy and profitability without spending any extra time on it? One of the best ways to boost your Airbnb listing’s performance is to upgrade your pricing strategy. Simply put, if you’re not updating rates regularly, you’re leaving money on the table. But applying a data-driven dynamic pricing strategy doesn’t require extensive revenue knowledge or a lot of time. By leveraging an Airbnb pricing tool, you can incorporate a huge amount of market and competitor data and automate your entire pricing process, thanks to integrations with property management systems and booking channels like Airbnb and Vrbo. In this article, we’ll introduce you to five Airbnb pricing solutions and give you the rundown on each so you can make a well informed decision for your business.
Transparent (by OTA Insight) provides vacation rental data insights to property owners, hotels, and enterprises. The platform processes millions of properties listed on Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Homeaway, and VRBO, and provides a supply view for market analysis with filters for occupancy, demand, and availability. Features include rental forecasting, booking platform, pricing distribution charts, top listing analysis, and competitor insights. Pros of Transparent include the ability to rate-shop with competitor and daily market rates, modify property operations based on review analysis, and refine guest payouts. However, the user interface has a learning curve, the website is unclear, there are limited online reviews, and it is a relatively young company. Transparent offers three pricing packages: Smart Rental Free, Smart Rental Pro ($240.25/month), and Transparent BI ($499/month). Each package offers increasing levels of rental optimization, rental forecasting, performance ranking, and custom reporting.
Originally known as Beyond Pricing, Beyond is one of the most popular Airbnb pricing tools and currently powers rates for over 340,000 listings in more than 7,500 cities across the world. The software analyzes rates at similar listings in your market to come up with pricing recommendations that help you achieve optimal profitability. Beyond’s algorithm also considers special events, seasonality, and day of week. In addition to serving up rate recommendations, Beyond can push the rates to your PMS or to your Airbnb and Vrbo listings. With Beyond, you can automate your dynamic pricing strategy but retain full control over minimum and maximum rates and restrictions like minimum length of stay. The dashboard is quite user-friendly and doesn’t require much training to get up and running. While Beyond does not support listings located outside its service areas, its service areas are large, and the vast majority of hosts will be able to use the software.
Beyond connects directly to Airbnb and Vrbo as well as property management systems like Guesty, Smoobu, Escapia, and Hostfully. The system offers a 30-day free trial; after the trial period, Beyond charges a 1% fee on all bookings. If a reservation cancels, you’ll receive a fee credit on your Beyond account.
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Another popular dynamic pricing tool for Airbnb listings is PriceLabs, which launched in 2014 and is now trusted by over 5000 hosts. Although PriceLabs’ interface isn’t the most polished in the marketplace, their customization options are top-of-the-line. PriceLabs allows you to set rules based on occupancy and booking window, plus you can customize pricing for orphan days and set cascading discounts and length of stay restrictions. The color-coded demand calendar shows your market’s peak dates, and a variety of market dashboards are available to help you better understand your area’s supply and demand patterns. PriceLabs has no geographic limitations, so all hosts can use the software.
PriceLabs integrates with a variety of property management systems, including Lodgify, , in addition to Airbnb and Vrbo. After a 30-day free trial, PriceLabs charges a flat monthly rate dependent on the number of units and listings you want to connect. For example, a one-unit plan costs $19.99 per month, while a 100-unit plan costs $644 per month.
Wheelhouse has one of the best user interfaces and user experiences of all the Airbnb pricing tools out there, and their users report boosting profitability by nearly 40% after implementing Wheelhouse’s dynamic pricing strategy. While Wheelhouse may not allow for quite as much customization as PriceLabs, their strategy interface is very efficient, letting you choose between Recommended, More Aggressive, and More Conservative rate strategies. Or, you can enter manual rate overrides. Wheelhouse constantly analyzes market and competitor data and updates rate recommendations on at least a daily basis. In addition to dynamic pricing, Wheelhouse offers a competitive benchmarking product and market trend reporting.
Direct integrations with Airbnb and Tripadvisor are available, as well as with property management systems like MyVR, Guesty, and BookingSync. Wheelhouse offers a free plan with limited functionality, but if you want the full suite of tools, you can choose between a 1% fee or a flat monthly fee based on your number of listings. Up to 10 listings cost $19.99 per listing per month, but discounts are available for owners or property managers with more listings.
Data Science, Pricing, Revenue Management, Hospitality, Short Term Rental, STR, and Property Management
Airbnb Smart Pricing
If you only list your property on Airbnb, and you’re focused on maximizing your occupancy, then Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool can be a solid, wallet-friendly option. Located in your Airbnb dashboard, Smart Pricing is available to all Airbnb hosts who have at least one live listing. Once you’ve activated Smart Pricing, which is found under the Pricing and Availability tab, then Airbnb will override your manual rate with rates their algorithm has determined will have the best chance of getting booked. You can set a minimum nightly rate, and you can manually override the Smart Pricing rates anytime, so you don’t need to worry about rates that are too cheap.
However, Airbnb’s Smart Pricing exists to maximize Airbnb’s revenue, so users report that non-Airbnb tools may generate rate recommendations that better maximize your own profitability. That being said, Smart Pricing is a convenient tool for some hosts, and it’s totally free to use. Smart Pricing updates rates on Airbnb only, and it doesn’t push rates into your PMS.
AirDNA’s Smart Rates
Already a reputable short-term rental market data company, AirDNA launched a rate recommendation product called Smart Rates. Although Smart Rates does not integrate with booking channels or property management systems directly except for one, Futurestay, it generates rate recommendations that you can manually enter into your calendars. In order to use Smart Rates, you’ll need to enter your Airbnb listing link and create a competitive set of at least five properties. Pulling from market trends and competitor rates, Smart Rates will produce a few tiers of rate recommendations: Conservative, Balanced, and Aggressive. You can input minimum and maximum rates as well as custom discounts for orphan days. All of AirDNA’s tools are available with one subscription fee, which starts at $19.99 per month and increases based on the number of listings in your market (major markets with more than 1000 active listings cost $99 per month), but you can get a discount for paying a full year up front.
Dynamic pricing is critical for vacation rental business owners because it allows them to optimize their pricing strategy based on real-time market demand and other factors such as seasonality, local events, day of the week, occupancy rate, and competitor prices. A dynamic pricing tool, such as Wheelhouse, Pricelabs, Beyond Pricing, or Airbnb Smart Pricing Tool, uses algorithms and machine learning to analyze market data and provide pricing recommendations for short-term rental listings. This helps property management systems (PMS) automate pricing and increase revenue management. The tool also allows for customization, such as setting a base price, maximum price, and adjusting prices based on last-minute bookings. Integrations with channel managers, messaging systems, and property management software make it easier for vacation rental managers to optimize their pricing and increase their occupancy rate, resulting in higher nightly rates and overall revenue.
Whether you’re a part-time host or a professional Airbnb property manager, dynamic pricing tools can unlock tremendous value and greatly reduce the time you spend on pricing updates. The best system is the one that fits your needs and budget, so we recommend taking the time to do a couple of demos and find the system that offers the functionality that’s most relevant to your business. With the right technology partner, you can achieve your occupancy, revenue, and profitability goals.