Recently, I have seen lots of travel-hacking blogs offering airbnb travel “advice”. They suggest messaging a host to ask for a discount.
Fair warning: if a host readily accepts your discount, be wary. You get what you pay for. They are either bad or inexperienced hosts – their calendar is open for a reason.
When pricing, Airbnb hosts already take many things into account, including: demand, season, competition, and availability. If it is a last minute booking, the Airbnb host knows this and has already applied a heavily discounted rate. So when a guest asks for a discount, it strongly suggests that they don’t understand the pricing system. And if they don’t understand the pricing system, it is likely that they also don’t understand other things about the platform, like how to be a good guest.
There are certain times when a promotional discount may be warranted, such as when hosts advertise on other platforms or offer deals to repeat guests. This is markedly different than a guest message requesting a markdown.
Airbnb guests: do not ask your host for a discount.
Airbnb hosts: how do you treat a guest inquiry that asks for a discount?
99% of the time, the answer is a resounding no. If your property is priced appropriately for your market, in no way should you give guests a discount. If an honest self-reflection shows that you are overpriced, then you can agree to a discount that makes you comparable to similar listings.
Most hosts are frequently adjusting their pricing, so accepting a discount should be a rare occurrence. The reasoning behind this statement is that if guests receive discounts after asking, they will continue to ask . And if haggling over prices becomes the norm, could you imagine how inefficient Airbnb would become?
After saying “No”, you should then pre-approve them for the original listing price. Send them a polite message, along the lines of, “Thank you for your inquiry. In regards to your request for a discount, our rates already fluctuate based on time of year and current demand. If you take a look at similar listings, you will see that we are priced competitively, especially considering our location and experience. Although we are unable to offer you a discount, we would love to have you as a guest! Please let me know if you have any other questions.”
Although asking for a discount is definitely a red flag, it is not an automatic disqualifier. I can appreciate someone looking for a bargain, as long as they are respectful. Most of the time, the inquiry either disappears or else the guest understands and accepts the booking.
If the potential guest continues to haggle, or asks a lot of questions (the answers to which are written in your listing), this indicates that they will be high maintenance. Rescind your pre-approval and decline. I would rather have an empty night than a high-maintenance guest that leaves a 3 star review…if you have been an Airbnb host for any length of time, you know exactly the type of people I am talking about.
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