Here’s the Best Time to Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money

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Whether traveling is your passion or you only browse Airbnb to kill time, you have probably noticed the price of a rental isn’t always the same. There are a few reasons for this, but it makes you wonder if you can leverage these fluctuations to save money in your travels.

You can, and we want to show you how!

The Best Time to Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money

So, When is the Best Time To Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money?

The best time to book an Airbnb to save the most money is one week out from your trip, for rental periods between two to four days. Hosts will reduce the price of a particular listing because occupancy at a discount earns them more money than no occupancy.

However, there is an important caveat to consider, market availability. When you wait until the “one week out” threshold, you significantly reduce the number of available options. Having fewer options forces you to select a more expensive listing than anticipated, despite having a relatively lower price.

For example, a listing may typically cost $500.00 a night, but the host applied a 20% discount to incentivize last-minute bookings. As a result, the cost is now $400.00 a night. In this example, the price is relatively lower, but when you looked at the market three months ago, there were multiple listings at $300.00 a night, without a discount.

Suppose the cheaper options get booked or retain their reservations; you are out of luck. However, don’t let the above example deter you. Booking a week out is a sound strategy when you plan accordingly.

How to Use the “Week Out Booking”

The most crucial aspect of your plan is a willingness to say no. the “week out booking” method should not be employed when traveling for a time-sensitive reason. These reasons can include important events you need to attend, such as a wedding, or if you do not have the flexibility in your schedule to adjust your travel days at the last minute.

You need to be able to examine the available prices a week before traveling and walk away if they don’t meet your budget requirements. However, if you can’t risk missing out on an event, the week-out method may not be the best choice.

Another point of consideration before employing this saving strategy is your intended length of stay. The “week out threshold” only applies to reservations between two to four days. If you plan to stay longer, this method may not be appropriate.

Finally, you need to know what you are willing to spend before making a reservation. You must walk into your selection period with a budget that includes the reservation and additional fees.

Are Airbnb’s Cheaper Last Minute?

Yes, Airbnb’s are cheaper last minute. The reasons why come down to a listing’s occupancy rate.

Occupancy rate is the amount of time a listing is reserved compared to the amount of time a listing is available. Hosts want to get as close to 100% occupancy as possible because a revenue stream at a discount is still worth more than no revenue at all. Having a reduced revenue stream is especially important when guests usually pay cleaning fees directly.

The Best Time to Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money

Most hosts who have time in the market, excellent reviews, and competitive prices find there are two major factors to get in the way of a high occupancy rate. The two major factors are reservation gaps and cancellations.

What is a Reservation Gap?

A reservation gap is a space between two reservations. A typical guest will reserve a listing between two and four days, and their reservation will usually coincide with the weekend. For example, you could have a Friday through Monday reservation and a Thursday through Sunday reservation immediately after. That leaves a two-day reservation gap (Tuesday and Wednesday).

A host will likely discount those two days to fill that gap as it approaches.

If you are a host and you are not receiving as many reservations as you would like, you may be hamstringing yourself by assigning minimum night stays. Check out our guide that shows you how to get more reservations using a few simple tricks.

How do Cancellations Affect Last Minute Bookings?

Simply put, a cancellation is an unexpected reservation gap, sometimes occurring during a critical and high-paying period. If a cancellation occurs a month before the intended stay, a host has plenty of time to wait for another guest. If a cancellation occurs three days before an intended visit, they will want to fill that gap as fast as possible.

A host will apply a last-minute discount to incentivize a fast booking.

Is Airbnb Cheaper on Certain Days?

Again, the answer is yes. However, the effects of a time horizon on an Airbnb’s price are different at scale. Here’s what we mean:

The Best Time to Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money

Weekly Effects

The cheapest time to book an Airbnb is mid-week. However, booking mid-week does not mean that a reservation for a weekend stay will be more reasonable when booked on a Tuesday.

The cheapest time to book an Airbnb is mid-week. However, booking mid-week does not mean that a reservation for a weekend stay will be more reasonable when booked on a Tuesday.

Instead, booking a visit starting on Tuesday and ending on Thursday will be more affordable than booking anything over a weekend.

Monthly Effects

Before booking, look to see if there are any special events in the location you are planning on staying. Rates will be higher to support the larger supply of guests. If there is a special event, adjust your stay by a week, and prices will decrease.

Seasonality

Nearly every Airbnb market has a period of high demand and low demand. For example, consider a cabin adjacent to a ski resort in Colorado. This location will be more expensive during the winter than it is during the summer. Research the area you want to travel to and book during that market’s low demand period.

How do I get the Best Deal on Airbnb?

The easiest way to get the best deal is to leverage “week out booking” and understand Airbnb’s cancellation policies. Airbnb offers a ton of policy options that range from fully refunded within 24 hours of your stay to zero refund no matter how far away your visit is.

The Best Time to Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money

The cornerstone of this approach is flexibility. First, you book a reservation 2-3 months away from your intended stay. While booking, it is critically important to review that listing’s cancellation policy before booking. Their cancellation policy needs to allow you to cancel your booking with a full refund within 24 hours of your stay.

After you book a listing, continue to watch the market you plan on traveling to so you can develop an idea of the daily rates of that location. Continue learning the market until you cross the “week out threshold.”

A week out, you are in a second selection period. Find a cheaper listing with similar features and book that listing as well. Airbnb will allow you to make simultaneous bookings as a guest. Once your new reservation is confirmed, cancel your first reservation for a full refund.

This method allows guests to seek cheaper rates for their travels without walking away from the trip altogether. Of course, you must be able to afford the cost of two bookings for a short period, but you’ll end up with more in your bank account when your refund kicks in.

How Far in Advance Should You Book an Airbnb?

The Best Time to Book an Airbnb to Save the Most Money

2-3 months away from your intended stay is generally the best time to book an Airbnb. This time provides you with the maximum number of options to select. However, the 2-3 months suggestion is a guideline rather than a rule.

There are certain times when you can push that booking a few weeks closer and other times when you may need to look several additional months in advance. For example, an Airbnb in Times Square for New Year’s Eve will require a longer lead time than 2-3 months.

As long as you research the place you want to travel to, 2-3 provide the most options. Check out this in-depth guide to learn more about timing.

Can you get Discounts on Airbnb?

Airbnb and its hosts offer a ton of discounts to help their guests get out and see the world. Those discounts include:

  • Early Reservations
  • Last-Minute Reservations
  • Airbnb referral for new guests
  • Airline frequent flyer points (airline-specific)
  • Coupons
  • Longer stay discounts

And many others!

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