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Host Tools has a robust and customizable multi-calendar full of features to help you set your pricing and availability across connected channels. 

We've designed our pricing and availability features to help you develop a strategy to reach full occupancy at maximum prices, without spending your days updating calendars across different platforms. 

This post will go over the Host Tools pricing and availability customization features and will give step by step instructions for setting some common rules and settings.

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts. Ready to join thousands of hosts and start automating your short term rentals? Start your free trial today, no credit card required! 

Pricing and availability rules overview

Host Tools has a powerful calendar tool that uses rules you create to completely customize your pricing and availability settings. Rules are set in the pricing calendar, or from the main multi-calendar. 

What are pricing and availability rules?

You set a rule to tell Host Tools how to set your availability or prices. An example of a pricing rule is “increase nightly rates by 15% on weekends.” Another example of a pricing rule is “copy all my prices from VRBO to Airbnb and Houfy.” Host Tools is constantly checking and updating your pricing and availability so your prices will update across channels whenever there is a change. 

An example of an availability rule is “change my minimum night requirement to one night IF I have a one night gap between bookings, but only for that date.” Another example of an availability rule is “automatically block the night before and after every new booking” in case you don’t want to have any same-day turnarounds. Or, “only accept reservations 3 months or less from today.”

How to create a pricing or availability rule.

Here’s a basic overview of how to set a pricing or availability rule. (See examples later in this post for step by step instructions for creating our most common rules and settings) :

1. Click “Pricing” in the header.

Click “Pricing” in the header

  2.Choose which of your listings you want to create a pricing rule for.

  3.   Select the blue "Add Rule" button underneath the graph of your prices.

Select the blue "Add Rule" button

4. You can use a pricing template or choose to copy a rule you have from another listing from the drop-down "Templates" menu.

Choose a rule from the template or select a rule from a different listing

5. Select a “Rule Type” from the dropdown to choose when the rule will be applicable.

Select a “Rule Type” from the dropdown to choose when the rule will be applicable

6. Hit “Save” and you’re all set!

Common availability rules

Minimum night requirement

Most hosts want reservations that fill our calendars with as few gaps as possible. Minimum night requirement rules help with that. A minimum night requirement is the minimum number of days a guest can book your property for. Setting a minimum night requirement can help ensure that you don’t get a one night booking three months in advance, in the middle of high season. 

But, it can also make sure that you are able to get a booking for an “orphan night” if you end up with any on your calendar. “Orphan days” are 1-3 empty nights in between longer bookings.

Here is how you to set different minimum night requirement rules in Host Tools (Note: This feature will override all existing minimum night requirements on Airbnb or Vrbo listings. )

How to set a general minimum night requirement

1. Follow steps 1-3 from the above “How to Set Up a Rule”.

2. Under the “Options” tab of the pop-up, select “Set Min Nights” from the drop-down.

Under the “Options” tab of the pop-up, select “Set Min Nights” from the drop-down.

3. Type in your minimum night requirement hit save, and you’re done!

How to set a different minimum night requirement for orphan days

A host can set the length of an orphan period, and then create a minimum night requirement or pricing rule around it. For example, if you have three nights or less unbooked between reservations, you can make those nights available even if your usual minimum night requirement is longer than 3 days. The “orphan rules” you set on the Host Tools pricing calendar will override the minimum night requirement just for those days – allowing you to rent out those nights and keep a fully booked calendar. 

How to change a minimum night requirement around orphan periods:

1. Create a new pricing rule

2. Select “Orphan Periods Between Bookings”

3. Choose the desired number of days under “Orphan Period”

4. Under the “Options” drop-down, select “Set Minimum Nights”

5. Type the number of days in the “Amount” field

6. Save!

Setting up minimum night requirement around orphan periods

Set availability with floating window of days

Don’t want to accept reservations any further than three months out? You can set your availability with a floating window of days rule. By setting your floating window of days rule, for example, to 90-365, you won’t allow guests to book any further than three months out of the current day. This rule will automatically renew every day.

Here is how to set up your floating window of days rule:

1. Follow the steps at the beginning of this post to create a new rule.

2. From the “Rule Type” drop-down menu, select “Floating Window of Days”.

3. Type in the number of days from the current day you want the rule to start, and the number of days in the future you want the rule to end, in the boxes on either side of the line.

4. Choose “Set Availability” in the drop-down "options" menu and set availability to “Blocked.”

5. Hit “Save” and you’re done!

You can also do this if, for instance, you want all weekends blocked over a certain period. You simply choose the days of the week you want to be affected at the bottom of the menu. This is perfect if you use your lake house on weekends in the summer!

Auto-block the day before or after a reservation.

Some cleaning companies require a full day to clean. Or some hosts clean themselves, as well as working a 9-5 job. Whatever the reason, I received many requests to add a feature that allows you to auto-block the day before and/or the day after a reservation.

Here is how you do it.

1. Create a pricing rule for a listing or a listing group.

2. From the rule type, drop-down menu choose "The Day After a Reservation," or "The Day Before a Reservation"

3. Under Options choose "Set Availability"

4. Under Availability choose "Blocked"

The calendar will then show that the day before a reservation starts or the day after it ends is blocked.

Manually adding reservations, or blocking days across all channels

The Host Tools platform allows you to manually create a reservation from within the Pricing Calendar, or to block dates by creating a “dummy reservation.”

Here is how to manually add a reservation or block dates: 

1. Click and drag on the dates you want to block or add a reservation to.

2. Select “Add Reservation” and complete the empty fields. Your auto-messages will send to the guest’s email address if you add it here.  If you are just blocking dates, you can write “blocked” as the guest’s name. 

3 You can change the dates in the “add reservation” pop-up if you didn’t select the exact ones you wanted. 

4. Don’t forget to hit “save”!

Select “Create Reservation” and complete the empty fields. If you are just blocking dates, you can write “blocked” as the guest’s name.

Common pricing rules

Orphan period pricing

As explained earlier in this post, an “orphan period” is any days left open between longer bookings. Orphan periods are usually one to three nights long, but you get to choose what an "orphan period" is on your calendar. Host Tools makes it easy to automatically decrease the price on these nights to help get your calendar fully booked. 

Here is how to automatically lower prices on an orphan period: 

1. Create a new pricing rule as explained above.

2. Choose “Orphan Periods Between Bookings” as the rule type.

3. Choose what an orphan period is. In the example below an orphan period as defined as 2 nights or less that are open between bookings.

4. Select “Decrease by Percentage” under the “Options” drop-down

5. Type the desired percentage under “Amount.” In the example below orphan nights are decreased by 25%. 

6. Save and you’re done!

 Setting up pricing rules around orphan periods

Override prices

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken! Overriding your pricing rules on specific dates is simple. If you want to make an edit to a specific date or set of dates, you can easily select and adjust the price in a matter of clicks – without affecting the rest of your Pricing Calendar. Read up on pricing strategies here.

1. Select the date(s) in your calendar that you wish to override by clicking and dragging across the dates. 

2. Select the “Override Price” button from the pop-up. Type the desired price in the “All Prices...” box.

Select the “Override Price” button from the pop-up. Type the desired price in the “All Prices...” box.

3. If you would like different prices on different platforms, unselect “All” and type in the desired nightly rate for each platform. If you do not wish to override one platform, simply uncheck it from the dropdown. 

4. It’s important to note that if your override price is lower than the minimum price you’ve set the price will default to your minimum price. This is because Host Tools will never set your price below the minimum price.

5. Don’t forget to hit save!

Seasonal pricing

If your listing is located in a vacation area, odds are you have high and low seasons.  Host Tools has the ability to create pricing rules that only apply to specific months of the year to allow you to lower or raise your prices over a period of time every year.

Here is how you make a seasonal pricing rule: 

1. Make a new pricing rule following the steps at the beginning of this post. 

2. Choose “Months” from the “Rule Type” drop down menu. 

3. Choose what months you want change prices on (in this example I chose winter months)

4. Under the “Options” drop down menu you can choose to increase prices by a percentage or by a set amount. 

5. Decide what channels you want this rule to take effect on. 

6. Hit save! 

Last minute discounts

Sometimes your listing will have a few last minute dates available. If you’re the type of host that would rather have a full calendar with a few discounted nights vs an empty listing, Host Tools’ pricing tool can help you with that.  You can create a floating pricing rule that gradually decreases the price as the available night gets closer.

Here’s how you do it: 

1. Create a pricing rule. 

2. From the drop down “Pricing Templates” menu, choose “Gradually decrease prices by 40% over the next 7 days. 

3. This template  will auto-fill the fields of this rule. If you’d like to change the amount of days, or percentage that your rates are discounted, you can. 

4. Hit save. 

Channel specific pricing

Each channel has its own fee structure and often you will want to adjust your prices depending on which channel you’re setting prices on.  Host Tools allows you to create any pricing rule and apply it to only one channel.  Often hosts will create an “All Year” pricing rule then add a percentage increase to account for the difference in fees and set it to apply to only a specific channel.

Here’s how you do it: 

1. Create a pricing rule. 

2. Under the “Rule Type” drop down menu, choose “All Year.” 

3. Under the “Options” drop down menu, choose to increase your rates by an amount or a percentage. 

4. Pick the amount or percentage you want to increase your prices by. 

5. Choose what channel this rule will affect. In the example below I have created a rule to increase my prices on VRBO by 3%. 

6. Don’t forget to hit save. 

Pricing Tool Settings

Host Tools doesn't just have a rule-based pricing and availability tool. There are also many different pricing settings for your listings. Here are some of our most popular pricing settings. 

Setting a base price or copying prices from one channel to another

Your base price is the price that Host Tools’ price calculations start with. You can make your base price a set number, or choose a listing’s prices as your base price.  For instance, let’s say your base price is set at $100. You then create a rule of a 20% price increase on weekends. This means that your weekend prices are $120. 

Your base price setting is also how you can use Host Tools to copy prices from one channel to another. 

Here is how to set a base price:

1. Go into a listing's settings by clicking “settings” from the drop-down menu under your profile picture. Then click the settings button next to the listing.

2. Look for the “Base Price” dropdown. From here, select “Set Amount” or choose from the dropdown: Airbnb, Vrbo or Houfy. 

By selecting “Set Amount” you will manually type in your base price. 

If you select Airbnb, Vrbo, or Houfy it will grab prices from the chosen platform and populate them to the others with any rules you have created. Many people use dynamic pricing software to set prices on one channel and then copy them to your other channels.

3. Click the “Save” button – and you’ve done it!

Minimum price

Stacking different price rules together automatically is effective, but you want to make sure the discounts never create a total nightly price for less than your minimum price. Your minimum price is the absolute lowest nightly rate you are willing to rent your property out for. 

By setting a minimum price, Host Tools will never set your prices below your minimum no matter the combination of your price rules. For example, you may normally rent out your Airbnb for $350/night. Your minimum price might be $100. If the property is approaching an unoccupied date, the price rules discounts that are applied may mean that the property would be rented for $80. With a minimum price, no matter the pricing rules, a property’s nightly rate will never fall below $100. 

Here is how you set your minimum price: 

1. Go into a listing's settings by clicking “settings” from the drop-down menu under your profile picture. Then click the settings button next to the listing.

2. Put your minimum price in the text field next to “Minimum Price.”

3. Hit save. 

Host Tools calendar recap

The Host Tools pricing and availability calendar is designed to be easy to use so you can start automating your pricing and availability immediately. We're excited for you to begin using it, I think you’ll be amazed at how quick it is to set up! Here is a quick recap of all of the features we covered in today’s post:

  • What pricing and availability rules are. 

  • How to make a new pricing or availability rule. 

  • Common availability rules:

    • How to set a general minimum night requirement

    • How to change a minimum night requirement around orphan periods:

    • Set Availability with floating window of days

    • Auto-block the day before or after a reservation.

    • Manually adding reservations, or blocking days across all channels

  • Common pricing rules:

    • Orphan period pricing

    • Price overrides

    • Seasonal pricing

    • Last-minute discounts

    • Channel specific pricing

  • Pricing settings:

    • Setting a base price or copying prices from one channel to another

    • Setting a minimum price

We are continually working to adjust and improve our tools to meet your hosting needs. We hope that this post will guide you in utilizing our pricing and availability calendar to keep your calendars as full as possible.

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for Airbnb and Vrbo hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on both channels. Try it for free today!

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