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Vacation Rental Pricing

The growth of vacation rental properties has seen record popularity in the last decade. Pricing expert from Simon Kucher & Partners and #PPSDALLAS18 Pricing Workshop leader Dylan Vest shares insight for property owners in this guest blog post about the vacation industry's intersection with pricing strategies. In recent years, sites like VRBO and Airbnb have made it easier than ever before to connect property owners and investors to aspiring vacationers. Unfortunately, the same tools are creating a glut in the market for short-term rentals as anyone with an extra bedroom is taking a shot at this seemingly easy “side-hustle”. If you’re serious about building a profitable rental business, there are a few pricing considerations throughout the three major phases of the transaction that might just help fund your own vacation.
Preparing your listing
Before your listing goes “live” you need to answer two major questions that will inform your basic price structure:

What value are you providing and what is your objective?

The base rate of the rental will ultimately be determined by what value you’re delivering. It’s not just about having a newly renovated IKEA kitchen or an ocean-front view. Do you have a fenced in yard that would save someone the cost of boarding their dog? Are you close to the airport, which might save a prospective tenant an hour (and Uber fares) on each leg of their trip? Consider these elements when developing a base rate and don’t just price based on comparable rentals in the area. The minimum rental period is a great way to boost revenue without raising the price, but it will also be guided by your overall objective. If maximizing revenue is your objective, then keep the minimum stay length at one day; if you’re willing to sacrifice some occupancy for less turnover-related work, consider extending it to three to five days.

Increasing the minimum booking length can improve overall profitability.

Going "LIVE"
Once a base rate is established, two major factors will serve as inputs to the final customer price: demand, about which I’ll discuss a combined approach, as well as services-related fees. Seasonal demand will be a major price driver for almost every vacation rental out there. Most people vacation in the summer, so in many situations it will make sense to price May-September at a higher multiple of your base rate, but this isn’t always the case. Consider the average Appalachian Mountain cabin, for which demand peaks with the fall foliage color. Local events can have an acute effect on demand for specific days on the calendar and should be priced accordingly. Step one is identifying the key events for the year, and step two is ensuring that the days leading up to and following the event are adjusted properly. Tip: Hosts often want to block out dates for themselves to use a particular rental during parts of the year. Instead of blocking the date, consider raising the price to a level that would cause you to reconsider your own plans. This is the same logic as Zillow’s “Make me move” price. Charging a cleaning fee is the industry standard. This covers the cost of getting the property ready for the next tenant and should be a part of all rental transactions. Additional services and associated fees can be a great way to offer an added value to the customer at a higher cost. In the pricing industry, we call this “maximizing willingness-to-pay.” Allowing a pet to stay at the house with an additional fee is a service that serves to eliminate the need for boarding. Charging a fee for additional guests beyond a stated capacity is a service that prevents people from needing to book a second hotel room or house nearby. Understanding, defining and charging properly for these services can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.

Smart fee inclusion can drastically boost overall revenue (% from an actual portfolio property in 2018)

The follow-through
Before the first guest arrives, consider the following tools to protect you from additional incurred costs, minimize churn of high-quality guests, and maximize long-term pricing potential. Security deposits are designed to cover just about anything done by the tenant that leads to additional work or causes damage. At the very least, be sure that you include “inspect for damage” in your cleaning service’s to-do list and when you find it, charge for it. You may also consider specific charges for a sink full of dirty dishes or failure to take out the trash. Rebooking discounts on a future vacation is a great way to lure customers back next year, but don’t give it away too easily. Consider offering a 10% discount for a review online, an above average length stay, or a booking during the offseason. In 2018, reviews and ratings build a brand. These reviews can have a tremendous impact on the long-term success of your rental. Provide a hard copy means for providing feedback such as a guest log, and request that users cite at least one potential improvement here. This will give tenants a forum for complaints without having to post it via a public review. Oh yeah, listen to - and act upon - the feedback! About the Author: Contact Dylan directly about this article and his upcoming appearance during #PPSDALLAS18 via email: Dylan Vest will be leading a workshop during our 29th Annual Fall Pricing Workshops and Conference event in Dallas, Texas titled "Getting Your Customer Pricing Right" on Tuesday, October 23.

Read the Workshop details below and click the image to learn more!

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#PPSDALLAS18 Official Release

For Immediate Release Dallas, Texas Will Host The Professional Pricing Society (PPS) and The 29th Annual Fall Pricing Workshops & Conference: Achieving Peak Profitability ATLANTA, GEORGIA, The Professional Pricing Society (PPS) proudly announces that the PPS 29th Annual Fall Pricing Workshops & Conference will be taking place in Dallas, Texas, on October 23-26, 2018. The Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel is graciously hosting this highly anticipated event for well over 500 business professionals focused on achieving peak profitability within their organizations. “PPS is excited to bring our pricing expertise to Dallas, with the headquarters of 22 Fortune 500 companies, and strong industrial, and financial sectors,” said PPS President, Kevin Mitchell. “We are particularly focused on discussing emerging trends in revenue management, margin enhancement, sales, and profitability.”The Fall Pricing Workshops & Conference will include:
  • Over two days of Certified Pricing Professional (CPP) workshops
  • 4 breakout tracks
  • More than 40 speakers
  • 2 full conference days
  • More than 100 hours of networking
The Professional Pricing Society (PPS) is a member association of professionals committed to distributing pricing expertise throughout the business world. We provide leading-edge pricing and revenue management best practices. PPS produces up to five major annual pricing conferences in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. PPS also offers more than two dozen, full-day training workshops every year, taught by leaders in the business community. These workshops serve as the foundation for PPS’s Certified Pricing Professional (CPP) designation. PPS distributes publications to its members which includes an eight-page monthly newsletter and a 36-page quarterly journal. The PPS website ( is a central resource for state-of-the-art pricing knowledge and hosts a job site where professionals can post or review new opportunities in the industry. PPS also maintains a Pricing Blog, and a Pricing Group on LinkedIn, and can be followed on Twitter @pricingsociety.

CLICK HERE for more information about the 29th Annual Fall Pricing Workshops & Conference

Or Please Visit:

Or Contact:

Lisa Fisher


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Revenue Management KPI's - PricingChat Recap

We held a #PricingChat - a live chat on Twitter - with pricing expert Avy Punwasee to gain insight on Revenue Managment KPI's. Peter Drucker said, “what gets measured improves.” It’s a simple concept that becomes infinitely more complicated when dealing with revenue management. In our experience, regardless of being B2B or B2C, most pricing metrics are underutilized. The lack of visibility and active management leads to lost sales and profit. In this #PricingChat with Avy Punwasee, we answered questions about revenue management KPIs that every organization needs to evaluate. About Avy Punwasse: Avy Punwasee is a founding principal of Revenue Management Labs, a boutique consultancy dedicated to realizing sustainable bottom line improvements through developing and executing innovative pricing strategies. With over 15 years of senior experience spanning pricing, strategy, and analytics, Avy has transitioned from being an in-house practitioner with large companies such as Anheuser Busch InBev, Ford Motor Company etc. to consulting for leading global companies.

View the full recap of the chat below:

Click the image to learn about the 29th Annual Fall Pricing Workshops and Conference event in Dallas, Texas and hear more on this topic in person! Continue reading

Tips To Improve Retail Pricing Management

One of the most difficult, yet key factors to successful business models is pricing. Retailers struggle to find the right balance between optimizing profits and maintaining traffic. There is a science to crafting a sound Retail Pricing Management strategy. Strategies must ensure retail businesses are well positioned to compete, so... tie the price to the value. Always. While companies should make price part of the offering, the prices must allow for competition within the market, not with the lowest price, which is easy, but with a good price that makes sense by allowing you to make the profit without killing volume. Our friends at Pricing Solutions tapped expert Fred Puech, director of pricing research and analytics to share four impactful strategies that will improve retail pricing management. Learn sustainable pricing strategies that develop healthy margins and good traffic. READ THE FULL ARTICLE from Pricing Solutions HERE. Continue reading

The Pricing Virtual Summit 2018

Announcing the PPS Pricing Virtual Summit Event! The PPS Pricing Virtual Summit brings leading pricing executives to speak directly to pricing professionals in real-time for real results!

Whether you’re looking for tactics on how to lead a Digital Transformation, develop a compelling pricing strategy around Artificial Intelligence, or use analytics to find hidden profits, find the resources in our Virtual Summit.

This 1-day event spans several hours so experts can deliver proven pricing strategies and case studies from their most successful campaigns! Learn actionable steps that will work in a business right now.

Learn more about this exclusive offering for Pricing professionals by clicking HERE.

Watch a clip of #PPSSD17 Keynote Speaker Laura Preslan of Microsoft deliver a soaring presentation:

Click the link BELOW to access the BONUS Presentation Slides from Laura Preslan's Keynote Speech!

Laura Preslan Presentation Slides #PPSSD17

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