In a previous post I talk about my opinion on one-night stays (spoiler: I don’t allow them). But, when it comes to hosting guests for a couple of nights versus a month or more, I’ve noticed some differences that warrant a post dedicated to the subject. Let’s breakdown what makes these types of stays, and your role as a host, different.
It can feel great to get a booking request for a month-long stay. I’ve gotten travel nurses, baseball coaches, home renovators, and other guests-in-need reaching out to stay in my house for periods of up to 6 months! While it’s awesome to see your calendar full and a big payout amount awaiting you as a result of the reservation, take note of both the Pros and the Cons below.
Pros Of Medium-Length Stays
- 100% occupancy. If you worry about filling up the calendar during the year, a month-long booking can give you some peace of mind. It may be a nice boost in a season where you only average 50-60% occupancy. Of course, this means you can count on the money coming in as well.
- Less cleaning. Not only does a medium-term guest mean your days are booked. Being the same guest, you don’t need to worry about paying your cleaner (or doing it yourself) until the end of their stay. Sometimes I will offer a partial cleaning every few weeks for stays of more than a month. But, this is not necessary. These stays can save you lots of time and money for your operation.
- More responsible guests and less risk of parties. Because your unit becomes more of a “home” to the guest, added to the fact these stays are often for working professionals, I worry less about the guest wrecking the place. Sure, bad habits will become extra-apparent, but wild and careless parties are unlikely.
- You know what to expect. With weekend stays, I am always checking my outdoor camera at check-in time to see who’s checking in; are they bringing in tons of booze, animals, and extra guests? The frequent rotation can make for tedious phone-checking and a worrisome mind. With a month-long stay, some of that uncertainty goes away.
Cons Of Medium-Length Stays
- Make sure you’re stocked. Some hosts say that your job as a host is to stock enough supplies (paper towel, toilet paper, other consumables) for an average-length stay, no matter the length of the reservation. If a guest stays longer, these hosts say it’s up to the guest to go out and buy the things they need. Other hosts follow the mindset that they need to provide a guest with what they need for the duration of their stay. If this is you, make sure you are able to estimate supply amounts and stock your unit accordingly. Either way, it can be helpful to communicate your expectations with your guests.
- Discounted rates. It is not uncommon for Airbnb hosts to offer discounts of up to 49% for stays exceeding 30 days. You may also get guests asking for further discounts, as the final bill for them may still seem daunting. Remember that you’re running a business…but also remember from the “pros” list that you’ll have 100% occupancy for this time period. A fair monthly discount is expected but you can speculate your expected income if you were to turn down the booking request by using the formula: Regular nightly rate x Expected occupancy rate x Number of days in the month. This can help you make your decision but be sure to consider the other Pros and Cons in this article as well.
- Risk of cancelation. I had a guest who requested a 2 month stay in the height of the Summer (the hot season for me). A week before their stay was to start, they canceled because their home renovations got delayed. This continued for months until the guest finally confirmed the dates and checked in for their stay. This is a scary concept because a month-long calendar block can cause a lot of potential guests to not see your listing when doing their shopping. Depending on how last-minute the cancelation happens, it can be really hurtful for your business.
- Get used to their personalities. While I mentioned “you know what to expect” as a Pro, having the same guest for a month or more at a time can also be a negative, depending on the guest. I had a month-long guest who I was really excited about; in-town for work, young guy in his 20s, and a self-proclaimed “laid back busybody who is never home”. He ended up being, frankly, very needy; calling me regularly about minor things he could not figure out.. And he was also a thief, stealing a couple of very nice towels and a laundry hamper from me…A hamper I had JUST put into the house before his stay!
- A “walking on eggshells” feeling. You always want to make sure you’re providing a wonderful experience for your guests, no matter how long their reservation is for. However, with reviews being critical to your performance as a host, it can feel as though you need to be rather submissive to your month-long guest. Any minor inconvenience, like a wobbly chair or a flickering light, can really add up during the length of their stay and make an impact on their perceived experience. A short-term guest can overlook a minor inconvenience that only affected them once or twice but the same small shortcoming could really affect your medium-stay guest. Besides the desire for good ratings, you don’t want a pissed-off renter in your home. You never know how they might act at move-out time if they feel neglected throughout their stay. You don’t have to bend over completely backwards for these guests, but the extra attention to hospitality is something to be conscious of.
In some times of the year I love receiving a medium-term stay. These are usually slower times for travel in the area. It’s nice knowing a guest is really feeling “at-home” in my home. Other times I enjoy the constant revolving of new guests into my home. I like feeling like I’m providing a great experience to a lot of people and am able to turnaround the place quickly and efficiently. Both styles of bookings can be rewarding in their own right. As you get to know your area and your style as a host, you’ll form your own opinions on these types of stays. If you find any Pros or Cons that I missed in this article, please let me know!