Updated: January 9, 2019
I have recorded a few complementary videos:
Introduction to my PriceLabs Review
I use PriceLabs for my Airbnb listings, the revenue managed listings, and the Airbnb property managed listings. This should come as no surprise to you. The few reviews I have written are because I use and value the services. I routinely monitor and test all major players and smaller companies I find or are brought to my attention.
I want to clarify that the Airbnb smart pricing arena is super competitive with many quality companies (Wheelhouse, Beyond Pricing, Everbooked, Vayoo). I decided to write my review on PriceLabs for reasons that will be explained below.
If you are thinking what the heck is a smart pricing company, let me explain. A smart pricing (or intelligent pricing) company updates your Airbnb calendar with daily pricing depending on many variables. These prices change daily and are automated. Here is a nice graphic from the PriceLabs site that pictorially explains what intelligent pricing software does:
If you do not know what an Airbnb intelligent pricing company is, you are missing out. Click To Tweet
PriceLabs Overall Recommendation + Why
Overall Score 9/10
Cost – PriceLabs charges a flat fee rather than a percentage. I prefer this because whether my reservation is for $100 or $1000, the software is doing the same amount of work. PriceLabs will be the cheapest option for anyone with 70%+ occupancy and a daily rate of about $75 or more. As you use PriceLabs for more than one listing, the cost per listing drops. Notice the below prices are for Airbnb hosts in US, Canada, and European countries. If you are not in one of those categories, you will pay slightly less.
Daily Rates – PriceLabs varies the daily prices more than the others. You may or may not prefer this. I prefer it. The nearer unbooked dates go lower and the further out unbooked dates go high (typically) than the other services. This is important if you want to maximize your revenue as you’ll undercut your competition and charge more during optimal times.
Customization – The customizations alone pays back the monthly fee. However, you need to set time aside to learn the intricacies. My PriceLabs review will help.
Support – Email only, however, I have found the wait time is minimal. As far as I can remember they have responded same day within a few hours every time I have had to send an email over the past 1+ years I’ve been using the service.
Load Time – Sometimes you will need to wait up to 30 seconds for the calendar to load. This delay adds up quickly once you have more than a few listings.
OptimizeMyAirbnb.com gives PriceLabs a rating of 9 out of 10 stars. Click To Tweet
PriceLabs ‘Review Prices’ Dashboard
The PriceLabs ‘Review Prices’ dashboard is straightforward. I will explain each column:
Listing Id – Displays the Airbnb unique number with a link to the online listing. If you use a PMS, like Guesty, this will show a unique ID associated with that platform.
Listing Name – Shows listing title, platform being used, and email address associated with the listing.
Customization Group – Allows you to apply standard customizations (we will talk about these below) to a group of listings rather than applying and changing them individually. PriceLabs has written a lengthier version of this feature.
Tags – Allows for better sorting. For example, if you have listings in different cities, you can identify them here.
Min – Your minimum acceptable nightly price. General advice: Your minimum is probably too high so lower it by 15% right now. Specific Advice: A minimum typically only comes into play during the slow season and in the next 7-10 days if unbooked. If you are doing things right, rarely will a guest book at your minimum price. A minimum price is not what you would like to get, it is the minimum amount you will take at a moments notice to get your place booked if the alternative is to keep it vacant.A minimum price on Airbnb is not what you would like, it's what you will accept to avoid vacancy. Click To Tweet
Base – Your base price is what you would expect on an average night in an average month. Either go with PriceLabs suggested base price (which is usually pretty accurate) or take a guess. Regardless, you will have to monitor and adjust your base price throughout the year as booking trends change.
Let’s take a quick break from this PriceLabs review for a public service announcement on a common question I get asked: What should my base price be?
A Note About Your Base Price
If you are not sure what this number might be, PriceLabs recommends a base price and they provide you with some information if you click on ‘Base Price Help’ within the listing calendar.
However, do not spend more than two minutes deciding your base price because you are going to have to adjust it. These smart pricing tools are not a set-it-and-forget-it software. You will have to monitor, at least monthly. (For my premium revenue management hosts, I monitor and adjust 2x per week.) If you place your base price at X and the next two months are booked at 100% occupancy within a week then you priced it too low and should raise your base price X+10%. Alternatively, most Airbnb hosts overvalue their space. If you have a low occupancy rate and are barely getting inquiries, then decrease your base price X-10%. You can read about my Airbnb revenue management strategies in detail.
Your base price on Airbnb is the price you would charge a guest on an average night, in an average month. Click To Tweet
Ok. Back to the PriceLabs Review and the ‘Review Prices’ dashboard…
Max – Maximum rate you are willing to charge a guest per night. You can leave this blank.
Last Synced – The last time PriceLabs synced with your chosen platform. If this is more than 24 hours, something is off.
Sync Prices – Whether or not you want to turn on the automatic daily sync between PriceLabs and your chosen vacation rental platform or management system. Once you start syncing prices, your old rates will be overwritten with the new PriceLabs recommendations.
7/30/60 day – Represents percentage of days open in the next 7, 30, and 60 days, respectively. The other services show the percentage of days booked so this is something you will have to adjust to had you been using a different service. High numbers bad, low numbers good.
Review Prices – This green button is where the magic happens and takes you to each individual Airbnb calendar where you have more customizations available to you.
PriceLabs Listing Calendar Dashboard
This is where you come after you click the green ‘Review Prices’ button to the right of every row on the main dashboard. You will see a lot of the same information as the account dashboard with two very large distinctions: ‘Customizations’ and ‘Recommended & Custom Pricing Calendar’.
Note: If you make any changes to the ‘Lowest’, ‘Base’, or ‘Highest’ you need to click ‘Save/Refresh’. If you make changes to the calendar directly, like changing a daily price, you do not need to click ‘Save/Refresh’ unless you want to change to take effect immediately (instead of over night).
The ‘Sync Now’ button will update your prices in Airbnb within a few minutes. We will explore the ‘Customizations’ section in detail below. Any customization you create will override the existing price.
PriceLabs Customizations – Last Minute Prices
A common complaint of an Airbnb host using other third-party pricing tools is that they do not have enough control over last minute discounts. PriceLabs fixed this. You have three options: Fixed, % – Flat, or % – Gradual.
Fixed is self-explanatory. You give the system a set price for X days (ie set my price at $50 for the next 7 days).
% – Flat – Applies a flat percentage discount (decrease) to the suggested rate over the next X days, but not below the specified minimum (ie Apply a flat 50% discount to the recommended rate over the next 10 days). You can also select ‘Increment’ which will raise your prices.
% – Gradual – Applies a gradual percentage discount (decrease) to the suggested rate over the next X days, but not below the specified minimum (ie Apply a gradual 50% discount to the recommended rate over the next 10 days but not below my set minimum). In the example, the discount would be 50% on day 1, 45% on day 2, 40% on day 3 until it reached 5% on day 10. If you had changed the number of days to 5, then the percentage discount would be 50% on day 1, 40% on day 2, etc. You can also select ‘Increment’ which will raise your prices on these days.
PriceLabs Customizations – Orphan Day Prices
This feature is super neat! I am not sure why Airbnb has never figured this out for themselves as it would make both the host and Airbnb more money plus increase the number of available days for the guest. That is the definition of a win-win-win.
An orphan night is defined as a night that cannot be booked due to your minimum nights requirements. For example, if you have a 3-day minimum and a gap of 2 nights on your calendar, that 2-night gap cannot be booked. This customization is meant for Airbnb hosts with a 2-night minimum or higher and is to be used in conjunction with the minimum stay customization discussed one section below. You have two options with this feature:
Fixed – Simply input a fixed price you want your orphan nights to be priced at and define an orphan night. The photo below tells the software to apply a rate of $95 to any orphan night defined as any gap of 2 days or less. This rule would be for a host with a minimum stay requirement of 3 nights which could have 2-day orphan nights on her calendar between bookings.
Percentage – Similar to fixed except you enter a percentage increase (increment) or decrease (discount) which works off the recommended price. For example, if the original recommended price on an orphan night is $100 and you set a 25% increase on orphan nights, the new price would be $125.
I recommend an increase for orphan nights to avoid guests who are interested in getting a single-night deal for a party. Additionally, orphan nights can be a month or more into the future and there is no reason to discount that far in advance.
Check out all these customizations in OptimizeMyAirbnb.com's PriceLabs review. Click To Tweet
PriceLabs Customizations – Minimum Stay Update
This setting allows you to book otherwise orphan nights. It is a bit complicated but powerful. I will explain it as simply as I can. PriceLabs has written a detailed explanation of their minimum night customizations for your viewing pleasure.
Important note: if you change any of these settings, PriceLabs will overwrite any existing settings in your Airbnb account related to minimum nights.
You must first switch ON the ‘Minimum Stay Update’ customization and three more options will appear below. You have three options with this first value:
None – No minimum night adjustments will be made to your Airbnb account, but you can still work with the remaining three customizations as explained below: Last Minute Bookings, Far Out Bookings, and Orphan Bookings.
Fixed – You will probably use this option. The first box represents your general minimum (in number of days) to be applied to all days. The second box (ie on the right side) represents a minimum you want to set on the weekends. A weekend is defined as either a Friday or Saturday in the reservation. For example, if you require a 3-night minimum on weekends, this could include any combination of the following reservations: W/Th/Fri, Th/Fi/Sa, Fr/Sa/Su, or Sa/Su/Mo.
Booking Value – This is only to be used if you want a minimum total dollar amount per reservation. PriceLabs will adjust your minimum nights requirements to accommodate the number. For the majority of hosts, this will not be used.
From PriceLabs: “If the value in the box is 300 (currency same as that of the listing), then we will calculate a minimum stay for each date such that a booking with value less than 300 is not possible. As an example, if the prices for 5 consecutive dates between two bookings is (100, 100, 150, 200, 200), then the minimum nights for those dates will be (3,3,3,2,2).”
Minimum Stay For Last Minute Bookings
This customization changes your minimum stay requirements for near unbooked days (ie Change my minimum to 1 night if unbooked nights exist within 3 days from today).
BEWARE! If you do this, depending on your area and your listing settings, you might want to raise the price of this vacancy. A last-minute reservation is higher risk than one made in advance. Think about it, most partiers and thieves are not planning 30 days in advance. If you need help identifying problem Airbnb guests in advance, then read my article.
Minimum Stay For Far Out Bookings
Allows you to increase your minimum night requirement on any reservation further than X days. I am torn on this one. On one hand, it seems to make sense to try and get more days per reservation if that reservation is far out into the future (at least 90 days). On the other hand, if you are getting a good rate as you will with PriceLabs (the further out the booking, the higher the price), then you may miss out on a premium priced reservation because you want an extra night on the reservation. Additionally, if that reservation comes during slow season, I think we all would be happy to accept it well in advance. Side note: Be wary of guests booking too far in advance as they may know something you do not leading to an unfairly priced reservation.
Be wary of an Airbnb guest booking too far in advance. Click to find out why. Click To Tweet
Minimum Stay For Orphan Bookings
This is so cool! Likely, you will use this in conjunction with the ‘Orphan Day Prices’ customization.
Length of gap – This allows for a dynamic minimum night requirement depending on the length of the gap. For example, the screenshot below tells the system to make the minimum night requirement equal to the gap of unbooked days as long as the gap is either 1 or 2 nights. This would be a suitable setting for an Airbnb listing with a 3-night minimum (ie potential for 1 and 2 orphan night days between bookings). Is this clear? If not, let me know in the comments and I will explain further.
PriceLabs Customizations Dashboard
This is an advanced section. PriceLabs allows you to create customizations that apply to your entire account, a group of listings that you setup, or individual listings. This creates a hierarchy problem where you have more than one customization on the same listing. PriceLabs has explained their hierarchy rules for customization in their blog.
Account Level Customizations – You can create any of the customizations we talked about above once and apply them to all of your listings with this feature.
Group Customizations – If you have two or more distinct groups of Airbnb listings where an entire account customization would not work, then you will want to create a group. This would be used in any case where you want to apply different customizations to different listings for any reason.
Listing level customizations – This is your one stop shop to adjust any customization on any specific listing rather than having to first click the ‘Review Prices’ button on the main dashboard for each listing you want to edit.
PriceLabs Manage Listings Dashboard
This looks a lot like the PriceLabs ‘Review Prices’ Dashboard…and it is very similar. Here are the differences:
PMS – Lets you know which vacation rental system the listing is connected to. They list Airbnb as a PMS which it is not (it’s a vacation rental platform like VRBO), but it still will be found in this section as it is treated the same.
Customization Group – If you created a ‘Group Customization’ in the ‘Customization’ dashboard, here is where you can group the listings associated to any group.
Show Listing – Uncheck if you want a particular listing to not appear in the ‘Review Prices’ dashboard
Tags – Another option to group listings as you see fit with text descriptions.
Low/Base/Highest Price – If you had pricing adjustments to make to the minimums, base, or high price on numerous listings you could do that here without having to click into each individual listing.
Map Listing – Useful for users who integrate their PMS with PriceLabs. Some PMS systems do not integrate with Airbnb, so in that case the map functionality lets PriceLabs know which PMS listing corresponds to which Airbnb listing so that 1) they can maintain price parity and 2) they do not double charge because it is the same listing just listed in multiple places. The extra channel costs $1 per channel. If you use a PMS, this becomes your main calendar and you should integrate your pricing through your PMS rather than the platform (ie Airbnb).
PriceLabs Review – Support
PriceLabs offers email only support, but they do respond rapidly. They post their support email in numerous places so you cannot miss it. Email them at support@PriceLabs.co (not a typo, it is ‘.co’).
PriceLabs Review – Suggested Improvements
- Speed up load times within Pricelabs between updates and calendars
- Show prior days action – In an individual listings calendar, past days are simply greyed out. I would like to see whether or not a particular past day was booked or not and at what price. This helps me figure out if my minimum pricing is accurate.
- ‘Save/Refresh’ loading stall – When you adjust something on the calendar and click ‘Save/Refresh’ there is a loading lag. It is only a few seconds, but it can add up if you have 30+ listings. The ‘Sync Now’ button does not do this.
- ‘Review Prices’ dashboard window adjustment – I would like to be able to adjust the top window that shows all of your listings. When you have more than ~12 listings in the system, it takes up the entire screen on a normal sized laptop and you have to scroll down to the listing calendar each time.
- Show occupancy rates in calendar view – I find myself scrolling up to view the occupancy rates for a particular listing when I am looking at the calendar.
- Assign color values to occupancy – On the main dashboard, I would love to assign color values to the occupancy rates rather than being stuck with the current system choices.
- Average Daily Rate comparison – ADR is a hotel-industry metric, but it tells you directly how you are doing by taking into consideration the rates you booked at and your unbooked days in a given month. I would like to see this number per listing.
- Booked vs blocked future dates – I would like to know whether a future greyed out day is blocked or booked. Right now, I have to log in to Airbnb for this information.
Why I Like PriceLabs?
I will ignore cost because if you are using the software correctly, you will earn more money than you would trying to price your listing yourself. In other words, you will earn more money than you pay for the service.
The biggest reason I like PriceLabs is due to their (you guess it) prices! I feel their variability in pricing is most accurate for the listings I manage and those I do Airbnb revenue management for. I find some of the other companies prices are too flat.
PriceLabs has introduced some fantastic and unique functionality. Here are the two features I like most:
- Lowering minimum nights requirement while raising price for orphan days
- Customizing last minute discounts
PriceLabs is like poker. You can learn it quickly, but unlocking its full potential (customizations) takes time. Start slow. Sign up, connect your account, and input your minimum and base prices. Then, chill for a week. Then, come back to my PriceLabs review and look into one customization per week starting with the ‘Last Minute Prices’ customization.
I love PriceLabs because of the variety of customizations allowed, the low fixed price point, and, of course, the daily rates. I also love that it is available globally and have recommended it to many of the hosts I have worked with.
The main downside really is the load time. If you are a property manager with 10+ listings, this task will take you 15 minutes instead of 5 every week. Not a huge issue, but definitely room for improvement.
Click any link in this PriceLabs review blog post to receive $10 off your first bill plus 30 days free to try out the software. Then comment and let me know what you think of them.
PriceLabs Smart Pricing Software<$20
Also published on Medium.