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How to Boost Your Airbnb Occupancy Rates

  • 2016-09-15

Airbnb occupancy plays a very important role for those wanting to generate a notable income from short term rentals. It goes without saying that bookings are your bread and butter – having an empty, un-booked property is obviously never ideal. Aiming for a 100% occupancy rate is not always the best route either however. When your property is always fully booked, you may lose out on potential opportunities such as last minute travellers or even companies or individuals need a venue for private events.

How to Maximise Airbnb Occupancy Rates

With that in mind, your best bet is to aim for a high occupancy that still gives you room to take advantage of potential higher income bookings that arise at the last minute. To get this right, it is essential to have a basic strategy that you will use to maintain a healthy Airbnb occupancy level.

Airbnb Occupancy Boosting Strategies

How exactly do you take your listing to the next level? For starters, you can begin by considering these tips on how to increase Airbnb occupancy rates…

1/ Price your property carefully. 

For best results, use the tools provided by Airbnb to get an average for your specific area. Pricing too high may end up costing you bookings, while pricing too low will require you to be booked out solidly in order to enjoy a rewarding holiday rental income. Consider the grading of your property, the location, the number of rooms, the overall size, the facilities, quality of furnishings, extra touches and the level of service. Once you have a general idea of a price, do some competitive research to find out what similar spaces are charging. Remember that prices fluctuate – if you are unsure how to set a realistic price, it is a good idea to consider a professional short term rental property manager for expert assistance.

2/ Make it easy (and quick) to book.

If you’re not already using instant book, now is the time to do so. The easier and quicker it is for people to make a booking, the better it is for everyone. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes for a moment and consider how much you love being able to get things done simply and quickly. Instant book is a feature that adds real value to your guests’ lives, and in turn, makes them more likely to consider your listing over one that is harder to book. You might have a gorgeous villa, with a killer listing and professional photographs, but if guests have to jump through hoops to book, none of those things matter. Sometimes, it really is as simple as choosing the property that is easiest to book.

3/ Create the perfect listing.

Yet another benefit of hiring a property manager to handle all of the marketing, promotion and management on your behalf is that you get access to experienced experts who know exactly how to craft a winning listing. Things like typos, missing information, boring introductions and uninspired copy can all affect your booking success. A carefully crafted listing that is designed for optimisation meanwhile can affect your bookings in a positive way, helping to draw in guests and create interest right from the moment they see your listing.

4/ Encourage guests to leave a review.

Reviews play a vital part of any listing. While you don’t ever want to resort to fake reviews, encouraging guests to leave a review after their stay will help your listing gain traction. Popular listings have plenty of glowing reviews. These are not only a way to promote your listing to guests viewing your property either. Reviews can also help with Airbnb search optimisation, giving you a better ranking as a host (and even helping you get one step closer to Super Host status).

5/ Plan for seasonal booking changes.

It’s not too hard to keep booking numbers up in the middle of summer in Cape Town, especially as the season gets fully underway. But you may find that it gets a bit more challenging to maintain a high occupancy level in the middle of low season. There are a few strategies designed around seasonal booking changes, including price fluctuations. Do your homework, but also look at ways that you can target off-season travellers and even niche travel groups. This is where those last minute bookings and event groups can come in handy. How can you encourage off-season travel in your area?


These are just a few ways that you can increase your Airbnb occupancy. To get personalised, hands-on advice with maintaining your short term rental bookings, contact Totalstay today and find out why we are fast becoming the premium vacation rental property management specialist in Cape Town.