Using PriceLabs for multi-unit accommodation pricing

Over the last two years, we’ve had several Boutique hotels, Apart-hotels, Resorts & Guesthouses use PriceLabs. For simplicity, we’ll call these multi-unit accommodations. This article dives into details about using PriceLabs for multi-unit accommodation pricing.

PriceLabs is a revenue management solution that combines human control with best in class automation and market data to maximize revenue. We bring a data-driven approach, automation rules, and extensive customizations to manage pricing and minimum-stay restrictions for larger portfolios in bulk. This helps property managers increase revenues and save hours in the process.

We cover the following topics in this article:

  • How managing multi-unit accommodation pricing differs from vacation rentals
  • How to use PriceLabs for multi-unit accommodation pricing
  • Multi-Unit accommodation pricing strategies
  • Accessing Airbnb market data for any location

How managing multi-unit accommodation pricing differs from vacation rentals

 

The second distinction made above (“Pacing”) is crucial and well known in the hotel industry! In many ways, multi-unit accommodation (Boutique hotels, Apart-hotels, Resorts & Guest houses) behave like hotels.


How to use PriceLabs for multi-unit accommodation pricing

1. Setting market-based nightly pricing recommendations

PriceLabs is primarily known for is its market-based dynamic pricing algorithm! All you need to do is connect your multi-unit accommodation to PriceLabs and set a base rate for each unit. Really that’s it! From there, we’ll calculate rates every night.

When you connect your multi-unit accommodation, we get your property’s address from your property management system. Our system then will analyze your property’s historical, its future performance, and it’s neighborhood. We optimize your nightly rates daily to account for these local trends in seasonality, day of week, lead time, and neighborhood demand for future events and holidays.

Once our system optimizes your pricing calendar, it will look something like this:

This is also a crucial step that many hotel revenue management systems have been missing! Almost all hotel revenue management systems look at internal occupancy data to adjust rates and most ignore market occupancy! The one’s that do include market data have generally made the work very manual!

Thus, these solutions have been out of reach for small multi-unit accommodation players.

Now with COVID, we see unprecedented changes in supply and demand patterns in the industry. Further, events are getting created or canceled on the fly. Thus market data is more important than ever! We wrote a little post about how COVID will change revenue management for vacation rentals. This also applies to multi-unit accommodation.

PriceLabs automation changes that! We gather all the market information and adjust rates based on what’s happening around you!

2. Making rates similar for all units within a unit type (or rate type)

This is an essential step as you want your pricing for units within a unit-type to be the same for rate parity and better pricing control!

  • PMS supports multi-unit set-up: We only import the unit-type (also called room-type, rate-type or parent unit) when you add your multi-unit accommodation to PriceLabs. When we send rates to your unit-type in your PMS, and your PMS will send these to OTAs. If there are some OTAs (like Airbnb) where connect each unit, these units will get rates from the unit-type.
  • PMS does not support multi-unit: You can still make rates the same for similar units by mapping them as Parent / Child within PriceLabs. The key criteria for mapping is that your multi-units should have the same location and same base rate. For example these are all similar-sized similar-design 2-bedroom units in an apartment building.

3. Adjusting PriceLabs’ algorithm to match your pricing strategy

In the first bullet of this how-to, I had mentioned that PriceLabs is known for its market-based dynamic pricing. The second thing that we are popular for is our range of customizations and the ability to control them!

This is particularly helpful when your multi-unit accommodations cater to a more specific demographic than the market around you, such as business travelers. You need to adjust your rates to fit your booking trends better. Easily make adjustments to trends including:

4. Controlling rate changes based on pacing

In the table above, where we looked at differences between Vacation rentals and multi-unit accommodation pricing, was “Pacing”. We support two types of pacing:

  • Occupancy based adjustment (OBA) was developed specifically for vacation rental pricing. Because a vacation rental listing is either available or unavailable on a given day, the traditional pacing approach (see next bullet) does not apply to vacation rentals. So in this scenario, we look at listing occupancy across several days. This allows us to adjust rates higher if your listing is getting a lot of bookings. Read more about it here.
  • Portfolio Occupancy Based Adjustments (Portfolio OBA) feature is extremely important for multi-unit accommodation pricing. We recommend you set this up. Unlike OBA described above, Portfolio OBA looks at occupancy for a given date across all the units under them. Here is how to set this up.

 

5. Setting minimum stay restrictions

To maximize your revenue, you want to adjust both your pricing and availability. One way to control availability is by setting minimum stay restrictions.

For example, suppose you are in a destination that receives many weekend bookings starting Thursday. In that case, you may want to restrict your minimum stay for weekends to be three nights. Else you might receive a Friday night booking, which will reduce the probability of receiving a booking for the rest of the weekend.

But also, if you haven’t received a booking and only 7 days remain between stay date and the weekend. You may want to drop these restrictions down to 2 days or even 1 day.

Well, PriceLabs makes it super easy for you to control your minimum stays! You don’t have to spend ridiculous hours and manual effort to change this every day. Read this article to understand how to adjust minimum-stays.

6. Adjust rates for specific dates in bulk

With PriceLabs, you can adjust rates and minimum stay requirements for any specific dates by room type or all room types at once. Apply the same fixed rate to all identical rooms, or make a % adjustment to all room types for a specific date range with one simple click. PriceLabs lets you:

  • Set fixed prices for upcoming dates
  • Adjust recommended prices up or down by a %
  • Set minimum and maximum prices for holidays and events
  • Require longer / shorter stays for specific date ranges

These manual overrides can automatically be applied to all listings in a building using group date-specific overrides or set individually for any units that require unique attention in our multi-calendar.


Multi-Unit accommodation Pricing Strategies

Now that you are familiar with how you can use PriceLabs for multi-unit accommodations. We wanted to share some pricing strategies that you can use.

Our powerful customizations enable property managers to implement revenue strategies specific to multi-unit accommodation that would otherwise require manual, daily updates.

Here is a sneak peek of multi-unit-specific strategies made possible by PriceLabs:

1. Adjust rates based on the occupancy of the building

Since there are multiple units to be sold each night, managers can use the booking pace to adjust rates for unsold units in a building based on how quickly other units are getting booked. If there is a set of dates far in the future that starts getting booked more quickly than usual, rates for the remaining units that haven’t been booked yet will automatically increase. If your building sees fewer bookings than usual for certain dates, rates will automatically decrease until the booking pace picks back up.

By automatically fluctuating rates based on your building’s occupancy, you can maintain a predetermined booking pace that fills your building without leaving money on the table. Learn more…

2. Optimize your length of stays: mix of short-term + mid-term

You can reserve a few units in a building for long-term reservations until the last minute. By doing this, you can cater to both short-term and long-term guests instead of short-weekend stays blocking your calendar from accepting month-long bookings.

PriceLabs allows you to only accept longer stays far out and focus on filling vacancies with shorter bookings last-minute. Assigning different length of stay restrictions to different rooms in the same building ensures that your building is always available to all guests looking to book. Learn more…

3. Automatically fill remaining gaps between stays instead of playing reservation Tetris

A known benefit of having identical listings is that you can move guests between units to minimize the number of gaps in your calendar.

PriceLabs will automatically fill any gaps you miss or make short stays available. Learn more…

Accessing Airbnb market data for any location

Want to understand how other Airbnbs are setting their rates or how is the market behaving?

PriceLabs gives you access to robust demand trends in easy-to-read graphs. These can help you to make informed decisions when setting pricing and minimum stay strategies for your building. This product is independent of our dynamic pricing solution. So you can get data for any location in the world! (Hint: Looking to invest in a new building or taking on new properties?)

Order a Market Dashboard to see current trends in nightly rates, occupancy, booking lead time, length of stay, desired amenities, and more!


Phew! Long post. We hope you found this useful? There was a ton of information that we could have gone into here. So! Here is a list of Property Management Systems we integrate with!

Curious how else PriceLabs can help with managing multi-unit accommodation?

Our team shares trends we are seeing & actionable advice for property managers and vacation rental owners!

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