Although they are our bread and butter, guests are well aware of Airbnb rentals’ highly competitive nature and may take advantage of the fact by insisting on discounts. There are even websites that coach prospective guests on how to manipulate a lower rate in Airbnb rentals!
If your Airbnb guests are asking for a discount, have your facts on hand and be polite yet firm. Let your guests know what they could do to qualify for a discount, such as extending their stay. Otherwise, you may spot a problematic guest and decline outright.
It is never easy to say no to guests, especially when bookings are low, but you should stand firm in your prices.
You know the value of your property and should not have to negotiate your rates if your rental is already competitively priced. If you would like some tips on how to deal with discount requests for your Airbnb property, read on.
Be Firm but Polite
If you maintain a polite and helpful attitude when responding to discount requests, you may spare yourself the anxiety of a ‘hard no’ especially when new to the Airbnb game. A great response would go something like this:
“Thank you so much for your interest in my listing, but my price has been carefully structured according to the location and seasonal rates and value, so unfortunately, I am not open for negotiation. If you browse similar listings in my location, you will find my price competitive, especially considering my 5-star review status. If you have any other questions, please be free to ask. Thank you!”
If the guest is demanding and seems unpleasant, you may indulge a more direct response such as:
“Thank you for your interest in my property. I do not offer discounts. May I suggest you find a listing more appropriate to your price range or perhaps a motel nearby? I’m sure you will find a suitable spot to match your needs and budget. Best of luck!”
Have Your Facts on Hand
As an Airbnb owner, you would have studied the local rental markets to ensure that you balanced your profit with a price that is competitive with other similar-sized rentals in the same area. Check out our AirDNA review if you aren’t familiar with local market data.
Sometimes newbie Airbnb landlords may get flustered by discount requests and capitulate, especially when reservations are low. And I can tell you that some of our worst guests have been due to discounting.
However, if you have done your homework and created a price per night that is a good balance between profit and affordability, you should stand firm. It helps to have up to date pricing of the local hotels and other Airbnbs as a reference point, some hard facts you have at hand to explain why your prices are fair.
Ensure that you keep your figures up to date because seasonal rates may fluctuate quite considerably in certain regions and rentals rise accordingly.
Having the figures on hand will also make you feel more confident and help you substantiate your polite but firm refusal to comply. People also tend to respond to black and white figures and are less inclined to argue their point when faced with the facts.
Say No and Pre-Approve the Reservation Anyway
Oftentimes your guests may just be taking a chance on saving some money in a busy Airbnb market.
A quick way to keep your approval rate on track and weed out the chance takers is to decline the discount and pre-approve the booking anyway. Although you are not necessarily penalized for not accepting a booking, it is recorded on your acceptance ratings.
This is a tactic used by many Airbnb owners when faced with guests that seem problematic from the get-go. Guests who show little understanding of your position as landlords and demand discounts and are declined may give you unfavorable reviews even if you deliver 5-star hosting and accommodation.
If your guest is already demanding outlandish requests for over the top specialized requirements, you will likely benefit from a straight decline in the long run. Ensure that you respond either way within 24 hours or your response rating will suffer.
Thank me later.
Explain What Your Requirements Are for a Discount
Successful Airbnb owners are flexible, and as an owner you may offer a variety of ways to make your listing more competitive. You may point out what would qualify your prospective guest for a discount, such as a longer-term stay or a mid-week stay instead of the weekend.
If you point out these qualifying actions, you may provide an incentive for your guests to prolong their stay, which is always a bonus. You will also sound more positive and work around the ‘hard no’ factor by beginning your response with a ‘yes’.
“Yes, you may certainly qualify for a discount if you…” sounds a lot better than a message that starts, “Unfortunately I cannot offer you a discount because…” Keep your tone polite and positive, and you appear more confident and in control of the situation.
Consider Updating Your Description and Photos on Airbnb
If guests are consistently requesting discounts for your rental, the problem might be with how the rental is presented on Airbnb’s website.
Focus on your listing photos and see if anything may be changed to make your listing more attractive to your guests. You may consider hiring a professional Airbnb photographer, which is expensive but may draw more guests to your listing at higher prices, and reduce your discount requests.
Ensure that your description is top-notch and that you have listed all the features and offerings that will entice a guest to stay.
If you have added more features since your initial listing, make sure to keep your listing updated and current. A professional and sleek listing may go a long way to ensuring that your guests won’t insist on a discount for your rental.
When Should I Consider Giving a Discount?
There are times when it makes sense to accept a discount request, despite the ‘red flag’ potential of discount demanding guests.
That being said, Airbnb should use their discretion when calculating the benefits of an occupied rental at a discount and an empty apartment. A few scenarios make sense to accept your guest request, and these are two of them:
- Airbnb rentals that are new to the market with few reviews may benefit from accepting discount requests or offering reduced rates. This part of the process of getting your listing on the map, so new owners should not be scared of offering a discounted rate to build up their presence and reviews.
- Airbnbs that get recurring guests will be rewarded with higher occupancy by offering loyalty discounts.
Airbnb offers a New Listing promotion that applies a 20% discount to new listings for the first three bookings, allowing new hosts to get bookings 30% faster than average. This is an open-ended offer, and hosts may opt-out at any time if they feel the promotion isn’t a good fit.
This novel promotion is an incentive for guests who might be hesitant to try new hosts who have no posted reviews, so it makes sense to offer this type of discount.
If you have no bookings and would rather accept a discount than lose occupancy, you may take advantage of Airbnbs’ “Last Minute discount” which allows hosts to automatically adjust their price to ensure that they don’t lose out their rental income.
As an Airbnb owner, you have studied the market and ensured your property offers fair rates.
You shouldn’t have to compromise your efforts to ensure that your rental offers the best combination of value and profit. Often guest’s demands in early negotiations might be a sign of further trouble down the line.
So be polite and firm, and never feel pressured to reduce your rates to suit your guest’s whims.
If you found this article helpful and want to learn more hosting tips, consider joining our newsletter