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Top 5 Tips for Negotiating a Better Airbnb Price

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Top 5 Tips for Negotiating a Better Airbnb Price

Million Mile SecretsTop 5 Tips for Negotiating a Better Airbnb PriceMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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 Card

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!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Its in Airbnbs best interest to keep rents high as they earn as a percentage of the rent. This means they have more loyalty in my opinion to the hosts.
Airbnbs site is set up to convince hosts their flats are worth more, and their suggestion tools are borderline mafia/monopoly/anti-trust. They want all comparable flats to be comporably HIGH in price. Discounts goes against their business model.
Rentals are very overpriced, and getting a 30% discount MAY get you to the market price.

Ignore hosts who have 2+ listings as they are usually ‘middles’ or brokers and any discount will come right off their commission as they have already negotiated prices with owners. In a rush, Ive used them as they find you something quick, but discounts are small.
Ignore superhosts and listings with lots of positive reviews. Owners have higher occupancy, less willing to negotiate, and more difficult to deal with as they fell entitled to everything. Give a first time host a chance! They will go out of their way for you, give discounts and leave you a great review!
Finally, remove the personal factor by simply telling them that your company pays your housing up to X dollars and you’d like to stay in that range. If they decline, thank them, and leave the door open if you like by closing “I will continue to search, but I really like your flat, so if I’m forced to go over my housing allowance I will contact you next week to see if its still available”. I never needed to go back to someone who declined in me in over 50 bookings in four years as there are so many flats everywhere. Was slim pickings four years ago. Today Airbnb is overrun with hosts/middles/agents giving renters massive negotiating power.

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.

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.

The best business minds in the world are flexible. Planes flex…..or break. Don’t think your listing is SO amazing it shouldnt even entertain a discount. I’ve been in the real estate business 17 years worldwide and traveled to 87 countries on a 11yr nonstop tour, using Airbnb exclusively for the last four years.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I consider myself an expert on this subject, having negotiated discounts on about 70% of my monthly stays.
Half of those who refuse my offer come back in a week after realizing the math, and they arent getting full price for that time period. I reject those 100% of the time. I always lose when Im greedy, and they shall also.
Never been to any major city that didnt have 100+ flats available in my price range at any time. Your competitors are accepting discounts so ya know….

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.

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