Since its inception in 2008, Airbnb has continued to grow in popularity all over the world. This is because it offers guests a cheaper accommodation alternative and a more authentic experience. Data from Airbnb reveals that there are 2.9 million hosts globally, with over 600,000 listings in the US alone (the highest number of any nation in the world).
Due to the demand for short-term rentals, Airbnb investing has become a lucrative option for many. A recent article on SpendMeNot indicated that Airbnb has pumped $33.8 billion into the US economy. However, your earnings as a host will depend on demand, season, and location. One specific metric to look at to forecast your profit is the Airbnb occupancy rate by city. Today, we’ll look at this metric for the California real estate market – a popular tourist destination where Airbnb hosts are raking in profits already.
What Is Airbnb Occupancy Rate?
Airbnb occupancy rate by city is one of the most important metrics you need to understand as a real estate investor and Airbnb host. Occupancy rate refers to the ratio of time an Airbnb investment property is occupied to the time it is made available for rent. The higher your occupancy rate, the more revenue you are likely to generate from your rental property.
Airbnb occupancy rate is calculated by dividing the number of booked nights by the total number of nights your listing was made available for reservation and booking. Here is the basic formula:
Airbnb Occupancy Rate = Number of Booked Nights/Total Available Nights
You can use an Airbnb estimator tool like Mashvisor to get the latest and most accurate Airbnb occupancy rate data for neighborhoods and properties. Mashvisor’s data comes directly from Airbnb and our calculations are verified by active Airbnb hosts.
Buying Property in California for Airbnb
California, the most populous US state, is a favorite destination for travelers. According to SF Gate, 35 million people visited the San Diego real estate market in 2018, while the San Francisco real estate market got 26 million visitors. In total, Airbnb hosts in California welcomed 9.5 million guests in 2018 and earned about $2 billion. Investing in an Airbnb California rental property can therefore be a great way to make a good return on investment.
Though the number of bookings dropped earlier this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Airbnb California occupancy rates are now picking up as the economy reopens and travel bans have eased. For example, back in March 2020 during the first peak of the coronavirus, Mashvisor reported that the Airbnb occupancy rate for the Los Angeles real estate market had dropped to around 59%. Looking at the list below, you can see that things have improved.
Airbnb Occupancy Rate by City in the California Housing Market 2020
- Fresno: 75%
- Visalia: 74%
- Bakersfield: 71%
- Sacramento: 70%
- San Bernardino: 69%
- Walnut Creek: 68%
- Torrance: 68%
- Oxnard: 67%
- Riverside: 65%
- Los Angeles: 65%
- Glendale: 64%
- Long Beach: 64%
- Chico: 64%
- Pasadena: 64%
- Oakland: 63%
- Fremont: 63%
- Chula Vista: 62%
- Santa Barbara: 62%
- San Francisco: 62%
- Claremont: 61%
It is important to note that not all the cities listed above allow non-owner occupied Airbnb rentals. Be sure to do your due diligence before you invest in Airbnb in California.
6 Tips for Improving Airbnb Occupancy Rate
Knowing the average Airbnb occupancy rate for a city is a great starting point in your journey and will help you choose a great location for your Airbnb investment. But your aim as a real estate investor should be to ensure that your Airbnb rental is fully booked, no matter what season of the year. Here are some of the things you can do to improve your occupancy rate:
1. Consider the neighborhood
Your efforts to boost your Airbnb occupancy rate should begin even before you purchase an Airbnb investment. With the data above in hand, continue to research the different housing markets before settling on one. You should choose a location that has no restrictions regarding renting out non-owner occupied homes or the number of days a host is allowed to rent out.
Then, be sure to choose a good neighborhood with a high Airbnb occupancy rate in the city of your choice. Mashvisor’s real estate heatmap tool offers Airbnb analytics to help you find the best performing neighborhoods in a city. Try it out now.
2. Set the right price
One of the best things about Airbnb rentals is that you can adjust your pricing as often as you wish. This means that you can raise the rent during the high season in order to maximize your rental income. Similarly, you can lower your rent in the low season so as to attract more travelers. Having an intelligent pricing strategy will enhance the chances of keeping your calendar filled with bookings.
3. Highlight your best amenities
To have a continuous flow of bookings, you must always strive to enhance your guest experience. Besides good communication and pricing, guests value great amenities. Take time to research your target tenants and understand their needs. For example, business travelers would appreciate amenities such as high-speed WiFi and a coffee-making machine. In 2020, guests will probably appreciate space and any extra precautions you’ve taken in terms of sanitization.
Make sure your listing’s description highlights all your best amenities. Meeting the specific needs of your guests will prompt them to leave a positive review, and enhance their chances of coming back.
4. Respond to messages promptly
When people are deciding between several Airbnb rentals, they are likely to contact the hosts with specific questions. The faster you respond to guest inquiries, the higher your chances of getting more bookings. Be sure to answer guest questions comprehensively within two hours or less. During their stay, you should also be accessible at all times by phone or email. If you don’t have the time to respond to guest inquiries, you could hire a professional property manager.
5. Use professional photos in your listing
When it comes to Airbnb listings, a photo is indeed worth a thousand words. No matter the phrases or words you use in your description, potential guests will make a decision based on the accompanying photos. Consider investing some money in hiring a professional photographer to capture the best features of your rental property. Take photos of every room in the house, as well as the outside. Don’t forget to update the photos after every major renovation. Having professional photos on your listing is indeed a great way to boost your reservations.
6. Become an Airbnb Superhost
- Complete 3 reservations or complete at least 10 trips that total at least 100 nights
- Maintain at least a 90% response rate
- Maintain a 1% cancellation rate
- Maintain a 4.8 overall rating
Understanding the Airbnb occupancy rate by city is very important before investing in the California real estate market. Once you’ve made an investment, make an effort to boost the occupancy rate of your Airbnb rental property. If you do your homework, your investment in the California housing market 2020 will eventually pay off.
To learn more about how Mashvisor can help you find profitable Airbnb investment properties, schedule a demo.