One great way to save money on Airbnb rentals is to negotiate with a host for a lower rate. Airbnb has actually built this option into the platform. Airbnb hosts are allowed to offer you a discounted price and overwrite their official listed price. This is one of the secret benefits of staying in an Airbnb over a traditional hotel. Once you have contacted the host and come to an agreement on the new price, the host can send you a special payment link for the booking. This article will show you how to respectfully and successfully ask an Airbnb host for a discount.
Why would an Airbnb host agree to a discount?
There are four main situations in which you are more likely to be successful when asking for a discount:
- You are looking for a longer-term rental
- You want to book a last-minute getaway
- You want to book in the low season
- You are considering a new listing that doesn’t yet have reviews.
Remember that an Airbnb host will be more likely to agree to a discount if they can benefit from it in return. Think first about the ways your request would benefit the host. For longer bookings, the host will have less cleaning to arrange and fewer check-ins to deal with. It can be a real pain for hosts to clean, do the laundry, and welcome guests for several 1 or 2-night stays in a row. With a longer stay, they can avoid multiple days of cleaning and only have to deal with one guest. Depending on the popularity and occupancy rate of the property, renting to one guest or family may be more beneficial to the host than leaving the property unrented during that extended time.
Hosts may be more willing to lower the price if they won’t otherwise be able to rent out their property. The closer you are to the check-in date, the more likely the property won’t be booked, and the more likely a host will agree.
For many hosts, their main concern is not so much the duration of each guest’s stay but rather knowing that they are renting to respectful and honest guests who will follow the house rules and take care of the property. They don’t want to be bothered late at night for issues that could wait until the next day. They don’t want to hear complaints from the neighbors about noise.
There are two main ways a host will determine if you fall into the “respectful and honest” category: your previous reviews and what you write when you contact them.
What to do before you contact an Airbnb host to negotiate a lower price
Read the listing
Read the full property listing and at least several of the reviews. This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many guests contact hosts with questions that were already answered in the listing.
If you want to negotiate a lower price for a longer-term rental, make sure to read the listing’s description and the price at checkout to see if discounted weekly or monthly rates are already listed. Even if there is already a weekly or monthly discount listed, you can still try asking for an additional 5-10% off with the right approach.
If you plan to ask a question about the property to build rapport before asking for a discount, make sure your question has not already been answered in the listing. You don’t want to start out by annoying the host or showing you don’t pay attention to detail.
Search the listing calendar
Look through the listing calendar to see how popular the property is for the general time period you are looking to stay. You are more likely to have success if there are gaps in the calendar around the time of your booking.
Complete and verify your Airbnb profile
Before you contact the host, make sure your Airbnb profile is completed and verified. Include at least two photos of yourself that show you as a responsible person.
To get verified on Airbnb you will need to upload a photo of your legal identification or passport and answer a few questions about yourself.
You can also connect your social media accounts but remember that hosts may look at your social media accounts and corresponding photos when assessing if they should give you a discount.
Establish a good reputation on Airbnb
Over time you should try to establish a good reputation on the Airbnb platform through positive reviews from your hosts. This will make it easier for you to negotiate discounts in the future since hosts will likely read your reviews before deciding about discounts.
What to do when you are ready to contact the Airbnb host
Click on the contact host button
When you are ready to negotiate with a host, go to the listing on Airbnb. Instead of clicking on the “reserve” button, scroll to the “Hosted by” section and click on the “contact host” button. This will take you to your message inbox where you can write your message to the host.
First and foremost, remember you will be staying in someone’s home or investment property. Everything you say and the manner in which you say it should demonstrate that you’re a polite and trustworthy guest.
Don’t start out by asking for a discount
Let the host get to know you. Introduce yourself and who you will be traveling with. Tell them where you are from, what you do for a living, and the reason for your trip.
Complement the property and tell them why you think their property will be a good match for you. You could also mention some of the activities you plan to do in the area during your stay.
If you have questions that weren’t answered in the listing, you can ask the host a question or two. Just make sure not to seem too needy or high maintenance.
Let the host know you will respect their property
Give specific details about how you will be a low-maintenance guest. You can say you will wash the sheets and towels weekly if there is a washer and dryer. Offer to put out the trash on the specified trash collection day.
If you are bringing a pet, make sure to mention how you will clean up after the pet and keep the pet off of furniture. Point out any (good) reviews you’ve had that mention your pet.
Reference your previous reviews
Always reference your previous reviews that show you are a good guest. Hosts are more likely to trust another host’s review of you more than anything you tell them.
Discuss the price and your budget
If you are negotiating a price for a longer stay, respectfully state that the property listing does not mention a price for longer stays. If you are traveling long-term you can tell them you have a specific budget.
Whether you are negotiating a lower price for a longer stay or a last-minute getaway, always be polite when asking if they would consider offering you a discount. Never assume that the host should lower the price because it seems overpriced to you.
Be flexible with the dates
If your dates are flexible, you can ask if there is a minimum length of stay the host would prefer in order to offer a discount. You could also ask if there is an earlier or later set of dates when they would consider a deeper discount.
You can also improve your chances of success by offering to be flexible with your check-in and/or departure times, booking in the low season, and booking a newer listing. The timing of your request for a discount may influence your success. You may not have much luck asking for a discount several months in advance unless it is a very seasonal market and you are looking to book in the low season.
Mention your connections
If you are a repeat guest or if your friend or family member previously stayed at the property, make sure to mention this.
What NOT to do when asking an Airbnb host for a discount
NEVER ask for a discount in exchange for a good review
Negotiating a price in exchange for a good review is against Airbnb’s terms and conditions. Hosts can be banned from Airbnb for this and trying this tactic may instantly end your negotiation.
NEVER try to pay outside of the app to avoid paying Airbnb service fees
Paying outside of the Airbnb platform is against the Airbnb policy and can get hosts and guests banned. AirCover is Airbnb’s free travel insurance that provides booking protection, alternative accommodations if you can’t check into your rental, a guarantee that you will get what you booked, and a 24-hour safety line.
If you pay outside the app, your money is not protected if you arrive and find that the listing does not match the property. Similarly, if you pay outside the app and the host suddenly decides to cancel last minute, there is no assistance for getting your money back or booking an alternate place.
If an Airbnb host asks for payment outside of the app, be vary wary that you may be the target of an Airbnb scam. Before you book your next Airbnb, review these tips for avoiding Airbnb scams.
NEVER spam several hosts at once
Don’t send a bunch of messages to several hosts to see who will offer the best discount. Give yourself time to contact each one and hear back from them before you move on to the next. If you are booking a last-minute place it may be more acceptable if you contact more than one host at a time, but do so in moderation.
Be aware that Airbnb can ban you if you are overly aggressive and enough hosts complain about you asking for a price reduction.
I would recommend only negotiating for a place you actually plan to book. It is bad karma to ask a host for a discount and then once the host has agreed to your price, decide you won’t book the property after all.
When asking an Airbnb host for a discount, the most important thing to remember is that you are asking to pay less money to stay as a guest in someone’s home or investment property. If you are asking a host to accept less money then make sure the host understands how they will also benefit. Offer to be flexible in any way that fits your schedule and needs. Find ways to demonstrate that you are a respectful guest who will take care of the property.
Even if your negotiation fails, stay respectful and thank the host for their time. You never know when a host’s circumstances will suddenly change. You also never know when your politeness may be the good karma that helps the next guest who contacts the host for a discount.
Before you book your next Airbnb, make sure to read my Tips, Tricks, and Travel Hacks for Saving Money on Airbnb. If you love to earn miles and rewards on travel bookings, you’ll enjoy my article on How to Earn Miles When Booking an Airbnb.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to constitute professional advice. Deskless Nomad makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete, or up to date. Please see the full Deskless Nomad Disclaimer.