Why Airbnb Hosts Do Not Use Airbnb Smart Pricing | Airbnb Host Tips

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Smart Pricing is a scam.

Okay, I exaggerated, but It is definitely not at all “Smart” and why I would never recommend it!

Let’s quickly go over what it does and how it is different from Instant Book.

Instant Book

Why Airbnb Hosts Do Not Use Airbnb Smart Pricing | Airbnb Host Tips

I would absolutely recommend Instant Book to other smart Airbnb Hosts. Instant Book allows guests to instantly book your listing. It is a nifty trick that saves you time from communicating back and forth with your potential guests. I use it every day.

Another less well-known reason to turn Instant Book on is to rank higher on Airbnb’s search engine. Their search algorithm will automatically rank hosts with Instant Book higher than those who do not (Airbnb takes in over 100 clues, but only a few that matter the most).

Airbnb Smart Pricing

Why Airbnb Hosts Do Not Use Airbnb Smart Pricing | Airbnb Host Tips

Smart Pricing lets you set your prices to automatically go up or down based on changes in demand for listings like yours. It is based on the location of your listing, the season, demand, and other factors.

This all sounds great because it saves you the headaches of knowing how to adjust your pricing strategy, but it comes with a big problem.

Airbnb Host Tips

The big problem is that smart pricing’s software will often underestimate the demand, thus pricing your property below your actual market value.

Why Did Airbnb Build Smart Pricing? 

Airbnb is doing a huge push to compete with hotels.

In order to attract new customers, it is in their best interest to slash prices to compete with large hotel chains. While this strategy is great for Airbnb, the hosts are left to eat the costs.

Why Airbnb Hosts Do Not Use Airbnb Smart Pricing | Airbnb Host Tips

(Losing lots of money using Smart Pricing)

This is what I do instead – Airbnb Host Tips

When I first started hosting back in February of 2017, I was doing it the manual way.

I logged into Airbnb every day to adjust my pricing and apparently, Airbnb awards hosts who regularly update their calendar by showing their units first.

This manual method was great, but it doesn’t scale. As soon as I opened up my second unit, I was spending hours a week doing this… Nothing is wrong with this if you’re happy spending the time.

Here are my tips to help you do that

  1. Research how much your competitors are going for in your area. You should pay attention to how many reviews they have.
  2. Go 15-20% below what your competitors are charging. You can do more, but I do not recommend it. Please make sure that you are setting your calendar availability to 3 months ahead so that future guests cannot take advantage of the lower pricing 6 or 9 months ahead.
  3. Once you get a few 5-star reviews, then it’s time to adjust your pricing to reflect the true market value of your listing. Technically, you are still in the ramping up phase of a new host, so adjust your prices accordingly. I gave myself 2 months to ramp up and ramping up means getting as many bookings and 5-star reviews as possible.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

Optimize your Pricing Strategy

You might be wondering if there is a better way to do this and there is. I have done my research on the available automated pricing tools in the research. There are 3 main ones: Everbooked, WheelHouse, and Beyond Pricing.

2019 Update: Everbooked was bought by Evolve and subsequently shut its services down. Wheelhouse pivoted to Lyric (A STR provider).

Everbooked- discontinued automated pricing

Last time I checked, Everbooked decided to get out of the automated pricing market. You can read more on their blog. So, it is no longer a viable option. I used their trial version for a couple of weeks. It was just okay.

WheelHouse Vs. Beyond Pricing

(Read more about my expensive experiment using Wheelhouse for two weeks)

Here is a real snapshot of how much WheelHouse thinks I can make in the last 2 weeks of September

Why Smart Airbnb Hosts Do Not Use Smart Pricing | Airbnb Host Tips

If we tally up from 9/20 to 9/30, the total would be $1,807 dollars. 

Here is the same time frame for Beyond Pricing.

Why Smart Airbnb Hosts Do Not Use Smart Pricing | Airbnb Host Tips

If we do the same, the total would be $1,884 dollars.

We have a winner!

$1,807 vs $1,884 is a difference of 77 dollars. 

If we go further and multiply by 3 because there are 30 days in a month = $77 * 3 = $231.

So, in this example, we would be getting roughly 4.2% more in revenue going with Beyond Pricing than their main competitor Wheelhouse.

I always try to squeeze more out of my listings, so this is why I went with Beyond Pricing. Other than the increased revenue I get from them, here are a few more reasons why I went with them instead:

  • First ever vacation rental pricing solution
  • The only solution built by a team that actually has experience doing pricing before (their founder, Ian, used to help the world’s biggest airlines and hotels)
  • And they are by far the biggest and most popular with over 120,000 listings using us in over 1,000 markets

Here is how to Sign up for Beyond Pricing

  1. Go to Beyond Pricing and click on Join.
  2. Link your Airbnb account, or multiple accounts, with one click.
  3. Enable daily automated updates to your Airbnb calendar by turning on Beyond Pricing sync.

That was easy!

BONUS: I talked to Ian and was able to hook you guys up. If you sign up via my link above, you’ll get 1 month free + 30 dollars off of your second month!

Now, ready to make more money using Beyond Pricing!


This was a popular post, so many hosts have reached out and asked me to do an in-depth review of Beyond Pricing. You can read it here.

Interest in learning how to build your rental arbitrage empire? You can subscribe to my blog and learn tips and insights on my process of creating a profitable 6-figure passive income business using other people’s home. I write on the regular and offer free tips and insights.

  • Bill Gaskins
    Posted at 23:28h, 02 December Reply

    Thank You

  • Michael Hickey
    Posted at 03:04h, 27 August Reply

    Thanks… helpful info.

    • Sam Zuo
      Posted at 08:44h, 25 December Reply

      You’re welcome!

  • Andrea Jasson
    Posted at 20:36h, 19 February Reply


    thanks fo all the good content.

    I am puzzled about the extra fees that are charged by Airb&B and the hosts themselves to the customers.

    1)Cleaning fees – these seem to be left to the discretion of the hosts. I have done a couple of sample check-outs and cleaning fees range anywhere from 10% to 30% of the nightly fee. What are your thoughts, guidelines concerning these fees?

    2) Actual AirB&B fees. I thought these were 3% of the total, but, again, they seem to be way higher, upawrds of 20% of the nightly cost. Any thoughts on this?

    Many thanks.

    • Sam Zuo
      Posted at 10:01h, 20 February Reply

      Cleaning fee: you can go as high as your nightly rate.

      Airbnb fees: 3% for hosts, ~15% for guests.

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