We look at 7 strategies for Airbnb slow season in Colombia. Are you an Airbnb host and do you have a strategy for the Airbnb slow season in Colombia?

When things are good during the busy season like December in Colombia, even the mediocre Airbnb host does well. It’s the slow season that separates the mediocre from the great Airbnb hosts in Colombia.

This subject is one of those fringe optimizations that most Airbnb hosts in Colombia ignore. Or, if they do anything, it’s to lower the price during the slow season.

This is a mistake. You should be keeping an eye on future occupancy and lowering your price 90 days in advance.

However, this article is not dedicated to pricing. I have listed several strategies below to help you decrease the impact of the Airbnb slow season or entirely remove it from your calendar.

All of the strategies have one goal in mind: to increase the flexibility and, thereby, the pool of future potential guests who can book your Airbnb property.

If you follow the below Airbnb slow season strategies, you will be elevating yourself above your competition (those Airbnb hosts in Colombia who do not read this blog) and help you to cruise straight through your slow season.

There are several slow season strategies you can implement throughout the year. Some of these strategies have you planning six months in advance! It depends on your situation, but you should follow at least a few of the below strategies.

The slow season in Colombia is typically March to June (except for Semana Santa around Easter) and September to November.

About the Author

My name is Daniel Rusteen and I am a location-independent digital nomad having lived in 50+ cities exclusively sleeping in Airbnbs (1,500+ nights) while remotely managing Airbnb properties and helping Airbnb hosts to be successful.

I run a personal blog – dannybooboo blog and have another website to help Airbnb hosts make more money – OptimizeMyBnb.

Daniel Rusteen, the author of this article

Daniel Rusteen, the author of this article

I come from the days before the Airbnb you know today. I started working at Airbnb in 2013. I remember countless conversations with residents of San Francisco, the headquarters of Airbnb, who had no idea about the company even when it was valued at over $10 billion and 7 years old.

In the eight years that have passed since I first heard of Airbnb, I’ve become one of the world’s best at everything Airbnb:

To help you make an informed decision before investing in a property for Airbnb in Colombia and becoming an Airbnb host, I have created a list of nine tips to attract long-term Airbnb guests in Colombia based on my experience.

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

Strategies for Airbnb Slow Season in Colombia

Here are seven strategies for Airbnb slow season in Colombia based on my experience as an Airbnb host.

1. Lower Your Night Rate

Obvious, right?

But, lower the price more than you think. Hotels generally lower prices up to 40 percent during the slow season and they are professionals with numerous marketing channels and teams devoted to getting the pricing right.

You need to understand your fixed costs (expenses paid regardless of a guest occupying your space like rent or mortgage) and variable costs (expenses paid only when a guest is in your space like electricity) to know what your true minimum price should be.

To clarify your minimum, it represents the amount you would accept for a reservation that allows you to profit instead of keeping the place vacant.

As mentioned above, there is math involved to get to this number. It should equal your fixed costs plus variable costs for that reservation plus how much you value your time.

A minimum is not what you would like to get. A lot of hosts make this mistake and price their minimum way too high during the Airbnb slow season.

In rare situations, like during the coronavirus pandemic, your minimum actually decreases to cover only your variable costs in order to lose less money.

For example, if your variable costs (water, electricity, gas, etc.) are $25 per night and your fixed cost (mortgage, internet, taxes, etc.) are $75, your minimum during desperate times like coronavirus should be anything above $25 per night. That’s because you will lose less money having it rented. Even at $30 per night, that extra $5 ($30 minus $25) will go towards decreasing your fixed costs or net loss.

Inside an apartment in Medellín with a view

Inside an apartment in Medellín with a view

2. Adjust Calendar Availability

In general, I recommend Airbnb hosts in Colombia should keep their calendar open three to six months into the future.

This is because you can charge a premium to guests booking 3+ months out, but a guest booking 6+ months in advance probably knows something that you do not (upcoming conference, concert, etc.).

With this strategy, I recommend you open your calendar availability to 12 months at the start of busy season. Three months later, adjust your availability to 9 months. Three months later, adjust to 6 months.

This strategy, though not perfect due to Airbnb limitations, essentially allows guests to book through next year’s slow season where price maximization is much less a concern than occupancy rate.

Here’s an example…

Let’s assume Airbnb slow season starts in February and ends in October. In this case, you would open your calendar to 12 months of availability in August so that a guest can book throughout next year’s slow season (starting February of the following year).

Around January, you would change your calendar availability to 9 months. And around March, you would change to 6 months. Around June, you would change to 3 months until next August when you open your calendar to 12 months and repeat.

The concept behind this strategy is to secure some bonus reservations from the guests who are planning ahead six or more months in advance of Airbnb slow season in Colombia. If you have 5 days booked on a few of your slow season months, this relieves a lot of pressure.

3. Add the Word “Discount” to Your Airbnb Title

Specifically, for the slow season, you can add verbiage into your title like ‘Extra 10% Discount’. I see this so rarely on Airbnb in Colombia, that it will get future potential guests clicking on your listing, at the very least.

The idea is that a guest has already narrowed down your listing to their ideal budget and then seeing you offer an extra 10% discount, they would be crazy not to have a look, at the very least.

Be sure to specify the details of this discount in your listing description. If thi9s works well, you might consider increasing your pricing to offset the discount a bit … or, using it as one of your busy season strategies.

The downside to using this strategy is that it will require you to manually send the future potential guest a special offer.

4. Offer a ‘Friends + Family’ Airbnb Discount

This strategy is 100 percent automated.

If you use a service like Smartbnb , you can send out an automatic message to the guest a few days or a week after check-out letting them know that you offer an extra percentage discount to the guest and any of their friends or family (as long as they mention the guest by name) during the slow season.

You can get creative and offer the discount for only midweek stays, for stays of four nights or longer, for stays on any day in particular months, etc.

5. Increase Percentage Discounts

To attract longer-term guests in Colombia, increase those monthly and weekly booking discounts.

In general, a week-long reservation in Colombia typically gets a 10 percent discount and a month gets a 20 percent discount.

Filter the search for your city in Colombia, price range, and the number of beds to see how much competitors are offering for a discount and beat the competition out by 5 percent or more.

6. Remove Extra Person Charges

An extra person charge is an aggressive pricing strategy for Colombia. Most Airbnb hosts in Colombia incur limited additional work or wear and tear on the home with an added guest, yet most charge for an extra person simply because it is an option.

An aggressive pricing strategy is best kept for high season. Remove the extra person charge during your slower months.

However, add a significant extra person charge for any guest over your maximum. For example, if your maximum occupancy is set for 4 guests, add a $100 charge for guests after 4. This accomplishes two things.

First, it allows Airbnb to let you charge the guest if they are caught bringing more than is allowed for based on the reservation guest count.

Otherwise, Airbnb will agree that there were more guests, but will not send you any extra money because you do not indicate any charge for additional guests (yes, I learned that the hard way).

Second, it disincentives the guest from bringing extra people.

In the high season in Colombia, when demand is highest, you are able to be more aggressive with your pricing by adding in an extra person charge. There are a few important notes involving math if you choose to do this.

Let’s say you rent your home to 4 people at $100 per night. Effectively, each person is paying $25 per night. If you add in an extra person charge for a 5th guest (add a floor mattress or pull-out sofa), this fee should be a maximum of $25 on the high end. Otherwise, the incremental cost will go up.

I recommend you charge around 50 percent of the cost per person without an added guest (in this case 50% of $25 is $12.50).

Another important note is to understand that if you are hosting an entire home and you are not on-premise, adding an extra person fee incentivizes a certain type of guest to bring more guests than indicated.

Instead, I recommend you price your space for maximum occupancy which is what most guests are looking for anyways.

7. Lower Minimum Nights

If you have a 2+ night minimum, the Airbnb slow season would be a great time to test out a single night minimum, even if it is just for weekdays. Most cleaners would gladly accept the additional work.

See our article about things to know before investing to become and Airbnb host in Colombia.

Make sure your property permits short-term rentals. For example, in Medellín, it’s legal to rent your apartment short-term (less than 30 days) only if you’re in a building whose by-laws specifically allow for short-term rentals.

Medellin Guru’s Airbnb Series

Medellin Guru now has a series of several articles about Airbnb in Colombia:

  1. 9 Strategies to Find Killer Deals on Airbnb in Colombia
  2. 15 Things to Know Before Investing to Become an Airbnb Host in Colombia
  3. 10 Airbnb Best Practices for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia
  4. 9 Tips to Attract Long-Term Airbnb Guests in Colombia
  5. 7 Strategies for Airbnb Slow Season in Colombia
  6. How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book
  7. 15 Ways to Increase Your Airbnb Search Rank In Colombia
  8. How Safe is Airbnb in Colombia? Is it Safe to Use Airbnb in Colombia?
  9. Airbnb Travel Itinerary for Your Airbnb Guests in Colombia
  10. How to Get Started on Airbnb in Colombia: A Guide

RE/MAX Coffee Realty

Are You Looking to Buy a Property for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia?

Medellin Guru partnered with RE/MAX Coffee Realty to offer real estate services to foreigners and Colombians interested in buying and selling properties in Medellín and Colombia.

Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about real estate and advice about buying and selling properties for Airbnb hosting. So, we partnered with RE/MAX Coffee Realty to offer reliable real estate services to readers.

We decided to partner with RE/MAX Coffee Realty for services for buying and selling real estate for several reasons:

  • RE/MAX is the largest real estate company in the world and is a well-known brand for foreigners.
  • RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate companies in Colombia with 35 offices in four cities (Medellín, Bogotá, Cali and Barranquilla). So, RE/MAX can offer real estate services to readers in several locations in Colombia.
  • In Colombia, RE/MAX has over 350 real estate agents including more than 70 agents in Medellín. Also, RE/MAX has agents that are bilingual and speak both English and Spanish.
  • RE/MAX ensures properties are not overpriced by performing a study of market property prices known as an ACM (Análisis Comparativo del Mercado).

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Inside an Airbnb

Inside an Airbnb

The Bottom Line: Strategies for Airbnb Slow Season in Colombia

The above strategies for Airbnb slow season in Colombia are based on my experience as an Airbnb host.

You need an active annual pricing strategy to account for the low and high seasons. Due to demand, anyone can get by in high season, but it is the Airbnb slow season that separates the professionals from the amateurs. Here is what you should think about in order of importance:

  1. Lower your nightly rate up to 50 percent
  2. Adjust your calendar availability to encourage early slow season bookings
  3. Increase your percentage discounts based on competition
  4. Remove extra person charge
  5. Lower minimum nights to one
  6. Add the word ‘Discount’ into the front of your title
  7. Offer a ‘Friends + Family’ Airbnb discount

For kicks, here’s what Airbnb says about how to navigate the Airbnb slow season…

Also, keep in mind becoming an Airbnb host in Colombia is not for everyone. And see all the Airbnb in Colombia articles I have written for Medellin Guru.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution! To learn more about me send me a message on  Instagram. If you’re an Airbnb host, then visit my blog for Airbnb hosts.

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