Tuesday Travel Tip: How to negotiate (and save) on your next Airbnb stay
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues, many travelers may be itching to go on their first vacation in months. A home-rental platform, like Airbnb, might be the ideal place to find your next stay. That’s because it is easy to find properties that have enough personal space in our era of social distancing.
Whether you’re an experienced Airbnb guest or just a novice, did you know that there may be an opportunity to negotiate on your next booking? It only makes sense to do in certain situations, but with 42 Airbnb stays under my belt, I have been able to negotiate — and save — on reservations around the world.
How to message a host before booking
While searching for the perfect Airbnb, you can actually message the host prior to going through the booking process. After selecting a property from the search results, scroll down to information about the host. Here, you should see the “contact host” button, highlighted below.
From there, you can explain why you’re reaching out. Since this article is all about negotiating the rate, read on to learn more about how — and when — to do so.
Negotiate delicately — and be respectful
First, I want to make this clear: don’t message every host that you come across and demand a lower rate than published. Like with any negotiation tactic, restraint and respect are necessary. In fact, Airbnb can outright ban you if enough hosts complain that you are aggressively asking for a reduction on the listed price.
Many hosts have thought pretty carefully through their pricing and — especially in light of the pandemic — will be looking to recoup some of the lost revenue from the downturn in travel. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate at all.
Although by no means exhaustive, here are a few things to consider when negotiating your Airbnb stay.
Related reading: When Airbnb is better than a hotel for families
When you’re staying for a week, a month or more
If you’re planning on staying for weeks or months at a time, let the host know this ahead of time. If you can guarantee revenue for the host for an extended period, the host may be willing to discount the total cost of your reservation. Keep in mind that hosts already have this functionality — you may see a “weekly” or “monthly” discount when searching for these respective time periods.
But it can still be worth messaging the host, as long as you’re straightforward about your intentions.
When you’re staying during off-peak time periods
A non-peak period is another opportunity to message a host to inquire about a discount. If it’s summer and you’re renting in a ski town or it’s winter and you’re traveling to the beach, you’re more likely to come across hosts that may be willing to shave off the cost of a nightly rate.
When you’re staying at new rentals with few ratings
New hosts just trying to get their properties on the map, so to speak, may also make for good candidates to negotiate. If you notice that they have few reviews or ratings, politely message them to see if there’s any wiggle room with the reservation.
Again, do not cold-message all hosts who don’t have any reviews. If you’re seriously interested in a property, inquire within.
Related reading: Best credit cards for Airbnbs
View this post on Instagram
A long weekend getaway (read: quick winter escape!) doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With so much capacity to San Juan from the NYC area, we scored a great flight deal during a traditionally expensive weekend. Other ways to keep costs low: 1. Stay at an Airbnb for part or all of your trip — an entire one bedroom apartment in San Juan cost us $50/night 2. Rent a car and explore on your own instead of booking a tour to El Yunque. 3. Use points instead of cash when it makes sense — we redeemed 12,000 Hyatt points for a night at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve (it would’ve cost $400 cash) P.S. Puerto Rico is very much open for business after recent setbacks from earthquakes so go, go, go!
A post shared by Chris Dong (@thechrisflyer) on
There are numerous other factors to consider when negotiating your next Airbnb stay. Do you have a good rating as a guest? Many hosts may work with you only if you have established yourself as a reliable Airbnb customer.
Are you booking last-minute or far in advance? If a host is desperate to fill their space and the reservation is imminent, they may be more willing to negotiate.
The biggest rule of thumb is to put yourself into the shoes of the host — why would they be interested in discounting their property for you? Be tactful, clear with your intentions and drop the negotiation if it’s obvious the host isn’t interested.
Featured photo by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees