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5 Money-Making Hacks to Improve Your Short-Term Rental Business

Wish your short-term rental business was more profitable? Get five proven tactics to make more money with your short-term rental business.

I'm Sabrina, a short-term rental host coach who knows starting your own Airbnb biz can quickly get waaaay too complicated. But it doesn't have to be. I help first-time Airbnb hosts like you go from overwhelmed to "Yes!! Another  booking!"
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Do you want your short-term rental business to be wildly successful? In my first month alone, my short-term rental grossed nearly $19,000 in revenue. To make that happen, I did five crucial things that made my Airbnb a huge success (and they all work so well that I still use them today!). In this post, I’m spilling all my proven tactics that’ll help you make more money from your short-term rental.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I’m not affiliated with Airbnb in any way (other than being an Airbnb host, of course). Read my full disclosure policy here.

5 Money-Making Hacks to Improve Your Short-Term Rental Business

My Lake Tahoe Airbnb

1. Launch your short-term rental before high season

In the world of short-term rentals, seasonality is crucial. That’s because each season has a huge impact on how many people want to travel to the area. Think about it–would you want to travel to Florida for your fun family vacation during hurricane season? Or to Aspen for your annual ski trip in October when there’s no snow on the ground? No, you wouldn’t, and neither do your Airbnb guests.

So, while seasonality varies by location–because both weather and the reason for visiting varies by location–one thing’s for sure, your short-term rental business will be impacted by that location’s seasonality. Therefore, your revenue can fluctuate drastically throughout the year depending on how many travelers come to the area during a given season.

Because seasonality has such a big impact on your revenue, it’s crucial to launch your short-term rental right before or during high season for the area. Getting your property listed before high season is so profitable that you could pay off your entire mortgage for the year in just a few months.

To figure out the seasonality of any your location you’re considering starting a short-term rental in, head to AirDNA. AirDNA forecasts revenue, average daily rate, and occupancy rate for a specific address based on comparable properties in the area. In my opinion, it’s an essential tool for your Airbnb business. I use it religiously when determining whether or not a property would be a good short-term rental investment.

Pro Tip: Additionally, launching your Airbnb right before or during high season ensures that you immediately get a lot more potential guests viewing your listing than you otherwise would; this shows Airbnb’s algorithm that you’ve got a great listing, making it more likely that it will continue to boost your listing in search rankings, helping you get even more bookings. This is just one trick I teach about Airbnb’s algorithm in Listing Optimization Secrets, my step-by-step guide that walks you through everything you need to do to get more Airbnb bookings.

2. Keep a close eye on your pricing

Once you start your short-term rental business, you might be surprised to find out just how hard determining the right nightly rate (or price) is. Price your rental too high and you’ll miss out on tons of bookings. Price your rental too low and each booking you get could bring in significantly less revenue than you expected. So, how do you strike the right balance and find the perfect sweet spot every night?

The truth is, you’re working with such limited information, that you’ll never truly know what the perfect nightly rate is. So, pricing tools can be a huge help because they collect and analyze much more pricing data than we every could on our own and use that data to make highly informed pricing recommendations.

The problem is that even the best pricing tools will never know your exact property, your priorities, or have real-time information about real-world factors impacting your bookings. So, you still need a real human to check and adjust nightly rate recommendations from these types of tools.

If you’re considering using an automated pricing tool, be sure to check out my comprehensive review of Airbnb Smart Pricing first. Spoiler alert: instead of turning on an automated tool like Airbnb Smart Pricing, I highly recommend doing your own competitive research using AirDNA. With AirDNA, you remain in control. You’ll get tons of data to inform your pricing decisions but, ultimately, you set your nightly rate based on what you think is best rather than relying on an automated pricing tool that could cause you to lose thousands in revenue. Just make sure to monitor your pricing closely and adjust it as needed based on what works best for you and your goals.

Pro Tip: Pricing is just one of the 50+ ways your listing can be optimized today to start earning you more revenue today!

3. Don’t add too many extra booking fees

This might sound totally counter-intuitive, but if you want your short-term rental business to earn more revenue, you need to minimize the fees you charge guests.

When using a typical booking platform like Airbnb or Vrbo, there will almost always be additional fees added to every booking on top of your nightly rate. Each platform will add the service fee they charge guests, plus any applicable taxes and other fees required by regulatory authorities. As a host, you can choose to add even more fees on top of that, like your cleaning fee, pet fee, extra guest fee, extra insurance fee, security deposit, and more.

While that might sound great to you, it certainly does not sound great to your guests. Guests are very price sensitive; when finding a place to rent, they want to feel like they’re getting a great deal and that every dollar spent will be worth it. What’s more, once they think they’ve found a great deal, they hate being surprised by additional fees right before they hit “book”.

This has become such an important issue that booking platforms like Airbnb are now showing guests the total cost of their stay in search results. So, guests will see both your nightly rate and any additional fees (excluding taxes) before they even click into your listing! Don’t deter guests by adding on too many additional fees.

Recommended: Airbnb Host Fees: Are They Worth It For Airbnb Hosts?

4. Open your calendar slowly

When you first list your short-term rental property on a booking platform, make just 1-3 months available for booking, at the most.

This is important because you’ll be figuring out your pricing strategy during this time, so you don’t want to let too many people book all at once. You need time to learn what works and what doesn’t. That way, you can adjust your strategy before filling up your calendar.

Another reason to open your calendar one month at a time is that you can (and should!) offer a discount through Airbnb and Vrbo for your first three bookings. While this discount is totally optional, it’s a strong incentive for guests to book before you have any reviews. Unfortunately, this discount stacks with any other discounts you’ve set (like a weekly stay discount) and applies to every night, holidays and weekends.

If you open your calendar six months out, for example, chances are all of the holidays in that window will get booked at a significant discount. Meaning, you could miss out on hundred if not thousands of dollars in revenue on nights that would have very likely gotten booked without a discount. So, take it slow. Give yourself time to figure things out. If you list your property during high season and have an optimized listing, you shouldn’t have any problem getting bookings as you gradually open up your calendar.

Pro Tip: This is just one way your calendar can be optimized to maximize your profitability as a new Airbnb host. Your calendar settings have such a big impact on your revenue that we cover it in detail in Listing Optimization Secrets. Learn how to optimize your calendar settings to start earning more from your Airbnb right here.

5. Propose compromises

As a short-term rental owner, you’ll quickly learn just how often guests ask you for something (hint: all the time!). The best thing you can do is say yes as often as possible! Doing so builds strong relationships and creates a great experience for your guests, leading to return customers for years to come. For example, if a guest asks for a discount because something was dirty when they arrived – give it! (Better yet, offer a small refund before they ask.)

However, from time to time guests will ask you for a large refund that you don’t feel comfortable with. Rather than giving a flat-out yes or no, consider proposing a compromise. This happened during wildfire season at my Airbnb. For over a month, there was an unhealthy amount of smoke in the neighborhood as well as evacuation orders nearby.

Several guests asked for full refunds but because of the timing, refunds weren’t allowed under my cancellation policy. So, I had every right to tell my guests no. At the same time, I could have given them a full refund if I thought that was the best thing to do. A much better solution, however, is proposing an option that you both benefit from.

In this case, I offered my guests the option to reschedule their trip. That way, I wouldn’t lose out on the revenue altogether and they would still get to enjoy their vacation.

Here’s the message I sent in response to the guests that asked for a full refund:

Pro Tip: After I sent that message, these guests reached out to the Airbnb Resolution Center. Airbnb support then reached out to me asking if I would make an exception to my cancellation policy. If this happens to you, hold your ground! You have every right to say no if this would be outside of the cancellation policy these guests agreed to. Once I said no, I got a message from my guests graciously accepting my offer to reschedule.

BONUS: Invest in improving your Airbnb listing

Unfortunately, by far the biggest mistake I see new Airbnb hosts make that holds them back from earning more revenue is not having an optimized Airbnb listing.

Did you know there are over 15 sections of your listing that can be optimized for both Airbnb’s algorithm and your potential guests? Improving these sections can have a significant impact on both the number of people that actually see your listing and how many bookings you get. If you want to earn more from your short-term rental business, then check out my step-by-step guide, Listing Optimization Secrets.


With these five proven tactics, you’re well on your way to earning more from your short-term rental business!

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Do you have any questions about earning more from your short-term rental business? Let me know in the comments.

Disclaimer: All content on this website is for informational purposes only. You are taking all provided information at your own risk. We are not financial, real estate, legal, investment or other professionals. Nothing on this website should be construed as professional advice. We will not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature. For more information, read our disclaimer.

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Discover The Secrets
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Airbnb Calendar
Your Competition
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I grossed $160,000+ my first two years Airbnb hosting. Now, I’m sharing all my Airbnb hosting tips so you can build your own insanely profitable business.


I'm Sabrina,
Your New Airbnb
Secret Weapon.