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Tips to attract more bookings during the shoulder season

Autumn has arrived, and as Halloween approaches, it can be a scary time for short-term rental hosts who are facing blank calendars in the lead-up to Christmas.

However, fear not, HCH fans. We have compiled a list of five helpful tips which should help you attract more bookings during a traditionally quieter time of year.

Many of these were suggested during podcast recording sessions with our special guests. Click here to listen to the first six episodes. You can also watch them on YouTube. If you like what you hear, please subscribe, rate, and review.

Tip 1: Improve your listings with excellent photography

The major online travel agencies (OTAs), including Airbnb and, love bright, professional photographs.

As Thibault Masson explained during our latest podcast, the Airbnb and algorithms favour excellent and bright photos. If your photos are great, you will appear higher in searches and be seen by many more people.

I know from recent experience how effective new photos can be. I had a bunch taken at my properties a few weeks ago and it led to five bookings in one day shortly after they were published.

Tip 2: Consider allowing pets at your property

Now this obviously depends on the location of your listing and personal preference. Also, the impact of allowing pets in terms of revenue is debatable – but research tends to suggest you are likely to attract more bookings if you accept animals at your listing.

If you live near a prime dog walking area and have not allowed pets in the past, it could be the route to achieving many more bookings this autumn and winter.

Tip 3: Reach out to past guests and offer them a discount

Two tips in one here. If you don’t have an email list of former guests, now is the time to start one. And if you do, try getting in touch with them and consider offering a money off coupon to encourage some bookings.

Tip 4: Try to fill single night availability

Let’s imagine a guest has booked and it leads to a single night in your calendar. Perhaps they book to arrive on Saturday and your previous guests are leaving on Friday morning. It means Friday night is free and unlikely to be filled at short notice. You can try contacting both guests and offering them an extra night at a discount. I’ve done this a few times recently and it’s worked more than you might expect. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Tip 5: Drop your rates a little

Another thing the major OTAs like is cheaper rates. It is also something Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky suggested last week.

Look, nobody likes dropping their rates – but it’s better to earn 80% of something rather than 100% of nothing.

Our industry is getting more and more competitive – and while demand is increasing, so is supply. Dropping your rates a little when shoulder season approaches seems like a smart move.

If you have any more tips, drop them in the comments!

And for the latest tips, trends, advice, and analysis from the short-term rentals sector, sign up for our weekly newsletter and listen to our podcast.


Oct 08, 2023

Single night occupancy surely has to be a massive No with the cost of cleaning and laundry.

Plus drop your price...

Is this a guide how to put you out of business??

Oct 08, 2023
Replying to

I think you missed the point regarding single-night occupancy – the recommendation is to ask guests who have booked either side to extend their stay.

In relation to looking at rates – as mentioned in the piece, surely it is better to earn, say, 80% of your normal rate than nothing at all?

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