Top 5 Tips for Negotiating a Better Airbnb Price

It'd mean a lot to Emily and me if y’all would take 10 seconds to vote for us as your favorite miles & points blog! Thank you!

P.S. You can vote every day. :)

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Through Airbnb, you can stay at unique places all over the world.  Including igloos, castles, and treehouses!

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Airbnb Features Listings Across the Globe. Find Out How to Get a Better Price!

Because pricing is up to each individual host, there is sometimes room for negotiation.  I’ll share a few tips on how to get the best price!

What’s Airbnb?

Link:   Sign-Up for Airbnb

Airbnb is a service that allows you to book a stay with individual hosts.

You can book a private or shared room, or an entire home.

When you’re ready to book, you request your dates from each individual host, NOT Airbnb.  So you arrange your stay directly with another person.

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Stay in a Castle, Here’s Your Chance!

Benefits of booking a stay through Airbnb:

  • Breakfast and snacks are often included in the price
  • You can arrange an early check-in or late check-out, space permitting, for NO extra charge
  • Many Airbnb places have a washer, full kitchen, and free internet
  • Travel with friends or family and stay together in 1 home
  • Stay in any part of town, NOT just where the chain hotels are located
  • Visit a unique destination where there are NO hotels
  • Meets lots of interesting people along the way!

Get a Better Price!

Once you decide on a place, enter your dates to see the final price with all taxes and fees included.

Airbnb charges a varying percentage as a service fee, and sometimes the hosts charge extra for things like extra guests or for cleaning.  So be sure you know the final price before you ask for a discount.

Here are some tips for getting a better price.

1.   Book Close to When You Want to Stay

Airbnb places get booked months in advance.  Sometimes hosts find they have gaps to fill between stays, even up to the current day.

In that case, the host might accept a lower offer.  Send them a message and ask if there’s a discount for booking the same week as your stay.  Or even the same day!

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Ready to Book and Stay Right Away? You Can Definitely Ask for a Lower Rate

Before you do this, compare prices with other dates in the future.  Many times, hosts lower their prices to attract bookings.  So you may already be getting a discount!

Still, it never hurts to ask!

2.   Stay Longer

There’s lots of preparation on the host’s side that goes into a great stay on Airbnb.

They have to clean, stock supplies, buy snacks, and make sure everything is perfect before you arrive.  When hosts have lots of short stays, it gets hectic very fast!

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Pack Your Bags! If You Have a Longer Stay, You’re More Likely to Get a Discount

If you offer to stay a week or longer, some hosts are willing to offer discounts.  That’s because they won’t have to incur the costs of cleaning, laundry, and their time while you’re staying.

And like anyone else, hosts like to take breaks, too!

3.   Go in the Off-Season

Summer is the peak travel season for most of the US and Europe, especially if you’re visiting a tourist destination.  Hosts won’t be as willing to negotiate because they know they can charge premium rates.

But if you want to stay between peak seasons, you might get a discount!

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Bring Your Hat and Gloves! Stay During the Off-Season and Save Money!

For example, lots of towns known for skiing make great places to hike in the summer.  And most cities have vacancies in the middle of winter, but still have lots of activities.

If you’re willing to travel after the high season, you can ask for a lower rate on your booking.  Many times, the host will be happy to have you!

This is a great way to get quality stays for less money!

4.   Offer Something in Return

Do you have a handy skill?  Are you good at gardening, painting, or repairing things?

Ask the host if they need help with changing light bulbs, fixing a leaky sink, or nailing down squeaky base boards.

Or maybe you see the host has a garden outside.  Offer to pull out weeds, or plant new flowers.

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Are You Handy? Offer Something in Return for a Percentage Off Your Stay

If the host has lots of artwork in their home, offer to paint a new work during your stay.

There are lots of ways that people can help each other.  And you can tell a lot about your host by the photos of their home.

Where can you offer something in exchange for a discount?

5.   Be Your Sweet Self!

Hosts are people, too.  And they like to interact with people who are genuinely excited about staying in their home.

Express your enthusiasm.  Tell them what you’ve planned for your trip.  And thank them for making their home available.

Ask if a discount is a possibility.  Sometimes the best way is to simply ask.  And of course being nice can only help! 🙂

More Ways to Increase Your Chances

Fill in Your Profile

Airbnb has a vibrant community based on person-to-person interaction.

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Show Your Face! Airbnb Is Built 1 Community Member at a Time.

So upload pictures of yourself.  Talk about your favorite destinations.  Add your interests, or where you went to college.

There are lots of ways to connect with people.  If you have an empty profile and no photos, it’s hard for a host to know who they’re talking to.  And no one wants to talk to a blank profile!

Start Staying!

Once you get a few good reviews, other hosts will be more likely to give you a discount.  Because they’ll see that you can be trusted.  And they’ll feel better about having you in their home.

The best way to build your Airbnb profile is to start using it.  The search functions have lots of filters and ways to explore all the listings.  Get familiar with them, and start using the service.

Use Airbnb’s Message Service

If you want to ask for a discount before you book, the only way is to ask via the messaging service on the website.  That’s because you won’t get the hosts phone number until after you book.

So the best way to ask up-front is through the website.

Ask at Any Point of Your Stay

Once you book, you can ask for a discount via email, text, or phone.

Hosts have the ability to adjust pricing at any point during your stay – before, during, or after.

Top 5 Tips For Negotiating A Better Airbnb Price

Think of Something You Could Do? Let Your Host Know!

So if you think of something to exchange or offer help to the host, they can alter your reservation while you’re staying with them.  Or even after you leave!

So don’t be shy.  Airbnb is built on interaction.  And you can find lots of interesting places to visit!

Pay With a Card That Earns Bonus Points

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Citi ThankYou Premier

Make sure you earn bonus points when you book your stays through Airbnb.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel.  And the Citi ThankYou Premier earns 3X Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on travel.

Bottom Line

Airbnb is quickly becoming 1 of the biggest websites to book travel.  And because it’s based on person-to-person interaction, you’ll have lots of room to negotiate a better price.

Especially if you want to stay close to your requested dates or in the off-season.  You can also offer your services in exchange for a discount.  And asking nicely never hurts, either! 😉

Sign-up with my link and get $25 off your 1st $75+ stay!

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Airbnb!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 responses to “Top 5 Tips for Negotiating a Better Airbnb Price

  1. Before my first airbnb stay years ago I added to my profile by asking two friends to vouch for me on the airbnb website.

  2. It’s amazing how the simplest things never have occurred to me, like simply ASKING for a discount! We use AirB&B all the time, so I’ll definitely have to give this a go next time around

  3. As a host, I’ve learned to set a fair price and ignore requests for lower price. Unfortunately I’ve learned that most of the people that ask for discounts are the most difficult to deal with and I’d rather have my place sit empty.

  4. I concur with @Andrew. Before slamming hosts with discount requests look around at prices in the area and at the booking schedule. If the price is competitive and the schedule already has bookings around when you want to travel, there will not be any motivation for the host to lower prices. I just booked a place in Kauai where the host is allowing 6 people instead of the normal max of 4 and the price is similar to other listings in the area. That is essentially a “discount” as it saves us a ton of money from having to book a second place to stay.

  5. We frequently stay at AirBnBs and it never occurred to me to try to negotiate a lower price in these situations! But I will in the future. Thanks!

    (Though Andrew’s comment from the host’s perspective of finding it discount requesters more difficult to deal with does give me pause. If I do try to negotiate a discount, I’ll try to make it apparent to the potential host that, apart from the discount request, I’ll be the most effortless guest ever. : ) )

  6. I agree with Andrew. I’ve been a host for 6 years and have hosted over 130 families. I set my price very fairly and give a discount already to guests staying 7 nights or longer. I would be offended if someone asked for a deal without ever being here. I also have a discount for returning guests.

    When I initially set my prices, I did and market search of the hotels in my area and have set my price to be half of it.
    It’s already very fairly discounted. Don’t embarrass yourself by asking for a lower price yet.

    The idea of bartering is a possibility, but again, only after you know the person and they have been there for a couple of days…

  7. I also agree with the hosts’ comments here. You may get a better deal if you book ahead (since the listings with best price/reviews will likely be gone). If you are booking last minute you are already pressed for time. It may turn the host off and by the time you fall back on your alternatives, they may be gone too. Why put yourself through the stress? The “it never hurts to ask” rule doesn’t apply here. I am renting out rooms in my home (though on more permanent basis and not thru Airbnb). Since I do research and set fair prices, I do not entertain counter-offers.

  8. As an Airbnb Superhost with 85%+ occupancy, I deny all requests for a discount or bartering–I too find it offensive. I do get these requests occasionally and usually they’re usually those people that haven’t really used Airbnb before. I post a fair market price and most listings have an attractive weekly and monthly discounted rate. It’s not a bidding platform. I’d recommend just picking a listing that fits your budget and is well rated. Of course you can ask for a discount, but don’t be surprised if your inquiry is denied entirely.

    As a frequent airbnb traveler, I’d certainly not wait to the last minute if you’ve got your eye on a certain listing. They’re all mostly one-of-a-kind listings, so you’ll want to inquire and book the ones that are available for your needs.

  9. SalsaVictoria

    I agree with the hosts who’ve commented: Andrew, mulbry, Rachel. Asking for a discount to stay in someone’s home is a bit uncouth. I’m an extremely hospitable, reasonable person and I have excellent reviews on AirBnB and low prices. If someone asks for a discount I generally think they’re a bit sleazy and I don’t want them staying in my home. There are always exceptions, but it’s not worth risking a high maintenance guest. So, actually, it CAN hurt to ask. I have a kick ass house and have fantastic guests, but if you ask for a discount before you’ve even seen what I offer, you’ll get turned down every time.

  10. Right, negotiating price on Airbnb sounds good in theory but wouldn’t work in practice. I wonder whoever wrote this article actually did it and ended up with a better deal than otherwise. Yes, it may work on a couple desperate hosts eager to fill out rooms last minute, but in the long term you are better off booking ahead and save yourself the stress and time (and $$ too, since the best deals are the first to be gone).

  11. Not a good “million mile secret” to ask a small business owner to reduce the price further. Any city has many Airbnb apartments or rooms; just pick one that meets your budget and avoid the embarrassment of asking for a discount. The people who do ask an Airbnb owner for a discount, like the author of this piece, are the same people that use their credit card for purchases less than $10 with total disregard for the small business owner’s exorbitant transactional fees from the credit card company. Completely shameless and greedy for the sake of a few points or miles!

  12. I agree with the other hosts. As a host myself I don’t negotiate below our rate in a town of 200,000. The only times I’ve tried it is more trouble that it was worth and the guest didn’t book anyway. We only charge $49/night which is similar to a room at a cheap motel near the airport. It isn’t worth my time to clean, freshen the room, and make breakfast for less than that considering many hosts have full time jobs on top of airbnb.

    Just this week I got a request from someone who had never used airbnb before who wanted to use the room to sleep for a few hours during the day but she only wanted to pay an hourly rate. She contacted me because hotels don’t have hourly rates and she couldn’t afford $50. I said no, not worth my time to put new sheets on the bed or to have someone with zero reviews and very little money to stay in my house while I am not there. There are parks you can nap in during the daytime for free.

    I agree with Rachel, if you have stayed with us before I am more flexible with cancellations if your trip changes and more likely to give you a better rate after you’ve established a relationship with us. We use airbnb when we travel too and I would never think to ask for a discount before I know someone because I know the amount of effort a host is already putting into the rental. Don’t do it!

  13. If you are considering AirBNB for the first time I cannot stress taking time and actually filling out your profile with information about yourself! When I made my first booking I noticed some Hosts will not book to people who don’t have feedback. Once at my first stay I talked to the guy as to what made him decide to rent to me and my partner even though we had no feedback. His reply was my profile and my communications with him. He felt like he had a decent idea of who we were and it gave him confidence to rent to us. Just a FYI.

  14. I got 9 days for 3 guest for $202 in Manhattan NYC for September 10-19 2015 $22 per night for 3 guest in a apartment . I got the week discount In Airbnb! Me and 2 kids in a Single Mother Apartment. I hope to have a good experience!

  15. All these “small business owners” are making me laugh. Did MMS tell you to use your side income for your small business credit card apps?

    It never hurts to ask stays true. I’ve gotten discounts of 20% or more, and have never “lost” a booking at a place I want to reside in due to me asking. The most they can say is no.

  16. all the hosts that claim turning down discount requests are accurate. But only for shared housing where they are offering a single room. In cases of full apts in major global cities where apts are often handled by agents, it’s a business and in last minute requests, I’ve been able to get apts at 50% of their already good prices! For eg – barcelona classy 4 bedroom in shoulder season in good neighborhood (2 days before arrival) at $125 a night. Never been turned down flat out when negotiating and have saved tons of money

  17. This spring in Sedona I noticed someone had different price for a similar room, and the one we wanted was about $110 a night. I messaged him politely and said I noticed that you have a $59 room, can we have this other one for less than $100. And he gave us our four nights with less than 24 hours advance For $89 a night. In this situation he was some sort of agent renting out a timeshare through Airbnb.

  18. We’ve hosted Airbnb guests for a couple of years now, and have had only one request for a discount (which I declined), and they stayed with us anyway. I used to own a retail store and would get customers coming in asking for a discount. After a couple of these, I started turning the tables on them: “Hey, it’s been a slow day here at the store. Would you be willing to pay $10 for that $8 item?” After all, don’t ask, don’t get. That shuts up the discount-requesters pretty quickly.

    I’m guessing that those of us who are successful with our Airbnb businesses comfortably decline requests for discounts, and I would, like Salsa, above, flat-out decline a booking request from someone who asked for a discounted rate.

  19. I have no idea why so many folks get offended on being asked for a discount here! At the end of the day, everyone’s situation as a host is different, their goals are different (of making money) and at the end of the day, its a business after all! And there is no business where you cannot negotiate prices in some way or the other!

    We all use coupons for most internet websites or have promotions from time to time. You go to flea market (not comparing it to hotels, just an example of human behavior) and get people to discount more than 50% easily just by asking. People stand all night long queued up for Thanksgiving deals – its just another way of looking at it, but would you judge someone personally waiting 12 hours in cold to get hold of a discounted TV or an iPhone on Black Friday knowing that he spent 12 hours in line? I don’t think so. You bid on “best offer” on ebay and try to get even a lower price. That option is selected by the seller to encourage people to offer lower than their listed price in the first place! You go to a car dealer and negotiate a price even lower than their so called best offers!

    Why would you start judging someone when they ask you for a discount? May be you are in a good mood, may be your situation is a bit off compared to your neighbor offering similar prices and you want a sale rather than leaving your house empty? Your best bet is simply to say “NO”. Why judge them? May be its just a culture difference in the US. If you go around the world, you will find people negotiating everything in all areas of life/business.