Maybe you’re not into the idea of venturing too far from home yet, but you’re ready for a road trip and a change of scenery. Great — but look twice before you book your accommodations. You may be able to save a bit of money you can put back into your travel budget. The secret, according to Chris Dong at The Points Guy, is asking your Airbnb host for a discount.
“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,” Dong writes. “However, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate at all.”
If you’re planning to visit for longer than a few days, see if the host offers a discount for stays of a week or more, Dong suggests. Many hosts already have this built into the calendar for their listings, so play with arrival and departure dates to see how rates fluctuate. If you don’t see an extended-stay discount, you can contact the host before booking to ask if they would be willing to offer one.
Or, if you’re considering a listing with only a few reviews — maybe the host is new — the host might be willing to charge a reduced rate now to drive more traffic later.
Of course it helps if you’ve proven your mettle as an Airbnb guest. If you have a mix of good and bad reviews or a limited reservation history, don’t expect anyone to offer you any perks. But if you have a solid history as a guest and travel often, your profile plus a very kindly worded request (hint hint) may catch the host’s eye.
Don’t message a bunch of hosts intending to book with the lowest bidder, Dong warns. Only message a host you’re genuinely interested in reserving your stay with. While some hosts will be happy to take a booking at a reduced rate to make up some of their lost income from the shutdown period, others may have already lowered their rates as far as they can go.
Remember to be respectful, and don’t bristle if the host isn’t down with discounting their rates. Shoot your shot, but accept that it’s not going to work every time. As with most purchases, there’s no chance you’ll save any money if you don’t ask.