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This is the cheapest time to book an Airbnb stay

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
29/11/2016
If you’re planning a trip away and a few nights at an Airbnb property, this is when you should book to get the best deal.

Travellers who book a short break just six days in advance of their stay are likely to get the best combination of choice and cost, analysis reveals.

The research by My Property Host, which manages short-term Airbnb lets on behalf of homeowners, mapped asking prices with level of occupancy to find the best deal for guests.

It said that while Airbnb hosts can either adjust their asking price manually, or automatically via its pricing tool, this process is hidden from guests, and My Property Host wants to “lift the lid to help travellers get the best deal.”

Researchers found that landlords rarely reduce asking prices with more than 30 days to go until the travel date, with discounts coming in the final weeks.

With 15 days to go, asking prices will typically fall by 5%, with discounts climbing to 10% at 10 days before the trip and by 18% just six days out.

Looking at occupancy rates, My Property Host found these rise quickly early on and then level off.

A fifth of properties will typically be booked two months in advance, with this figure reaching four fifths at 10 days out.

Yet at six days out, average occupancy levels remain at 84%, meaning bookers still have 16% of all properties to choose from.

For longer stays, plan in advance

My Property Host managing director, Elena Lopez, said: “Airbnb doesn’t publish the previous asking price for a property, so much like airline passengers, guests have no idea what the next person paid or when is the best time to book. Our research aims to lift the lid on how travellers can book tactically to get the best deal.

“For Airbnb hosts, a discounted booking is always better than no booking. Typically, the tipping point is one week out – it’s then that hosts start cutting prices most rapidly, while for guests there is still a reasonable selection of properties to choose from.

“Travellers who are willing to leave it this late to book will get the best prices for short stays, as hosts will be keen to fill any gaps – and often slash prices to do so.”

However, she said that if you’re planning a long stay you should try the opposite approach.

“Book well in advance but contact the host to ask for a discounted rate. Many hosts will swap a 5% or even 10% reduction for the security of knowing that their property will be taken for a good chunk of time.”

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