Airbnb has changed the way travelers live on the road. And for the better. Anyone who denies this is senile. While you’ll pay more for an apartment than locals do (unless you stay 3+ months, which you’d be better off using a realtor), you still have the ability to rent an apartment instead of a hotel. That’s a huge benefit.
Instead of having to spend cash at restaurants 2-3X every day, you can cook whenever you please. Instead of living in a small box for a few weeks, you have your own place to spread out and relax. For trips of one week to three months, Airbnb is a godsend.
While $30 USD a night seems like a steal for five nights, paying $900 on a monthly rate over three months seems pricey. This is especially true when you Google around a bit and find similar apartments being rented to locals for around half that.
Still, many travelers, myself included, prefer to use Airbnb. The convenience is just too good to pass up. Everything is automatic. Your payment is automatic. You just show up and grab the keys. Then the place is yours. No going to ATMs in foreign countries on a consistent basis pulling money out to pay rent. No searching high and low to rent a place while staying in a putrid hotel for a few nights.
Plus – as I typically stay in a city for one or two months, most landlords working with locals won’t want to rent to me. So Airbnb it is. This leaves me looking for the best deal I can find on the site.
So I’ve found a way to get great deals on Airbnb almost every time. Here’s how you can, too:
If you’re looking to get Airbnb deals, then you’ll typically need to stay a little longer. I’ve tried to get good deals on 3-4 night trips and most hosts reject my negotiating almost immediately. The nightly price is set so the host make a solid profit on all stays, even short ones.
When negotiating Airbnb deals with hosts, the shortest stay you can expect to get a deal on is one week. One month and most hosts will start to play ball. Two months or more – almost every host will at least listen to your proposal, provided you pitch him or her like I recommend.
P.S.: Getting great deals on Airbnb is a little like sales.
Airbnb hosts look at who they’re renting, too. Airbnb insurance isn’t great for hosts – so they don’t like to rent to people who may destroy their property, anger the neighbors, etc.
I look friendly AF on Airbnb.
If you want to get a good deal, try and create a profile that makes you look friendly, easygoing, and clean. This will ensure hosts want to rent to you. If you look like a problem waiting to happen, you’ll struggle to negotiate great Airbnb deals.
Always Search One Person
Hosting 2-3 people is rarely more expensive than hosting one, yet many Airbnb hosts charge extra per person. This is especially common in the United States. I don’t play that. I get the price for one person. I do all my negotiating like I’ll be the only person staying in the place. Then I inform them if someone else will be coming.
If I’m renting a two or three bedroom apartment with a friend(s), I let the host know once the price has been agreed upon. Most hosts won’t back out of a month or two deal just because one other person will be staying. They know it doesn’t cost much more at all.
Of course, if they straight up ask me how many people will be staying, I’ll tell them an honest answer, but most hosts won’t do that.
The best rates will always be found in the off-season. If you’re willing to hit up popular areas in the off-season, you’ll find some incredible deals. Before you start looking for Airbnb deals, know where you’re going. Research peak season and low season.
The time of year will be a huge factor in determining a host’s willingness to negotiate. In high season, you might not have much wiggle room. In low season, you may be able to get over 50% off on the posted monthly rate you found online.
Which leads me to my next tip – you have to be reasonable when negotiating with Airbnb hosts. Don’t insult them by offering a price 70% off their monthly posted rate. On monthly rates, I’ve found you can get between 25-50% off depending on the season. When renting weekly, you should shoot for 10-30% off the posted rate.
Also, do your research. If the place you want to rent is already offering the best prices on Airbnb, then you might struggle to get a better deal from the host. Hosts know their market. They know if their place is overpriced or cheap. Still, most hosts will negotiate a little bit.
And since most Airbnb hosts are willing to negotiate a little, you might as well just ask. The worst they can say is no. You have nothing to lose. And if you really want the place, you can just agree to whatever price they demand if the negotiations fail.
How to Ask For Amazing Airbnb Deals
So how do you pitch Airbnb hosts to give you a gaudy discount? There are two things you should always do. First, you need to offer some benefit to the host. Do they have many reviews? Offer an absolutely glowing and detail review in return for a great monthly discount.
First, you need to offer some benefit to the host. Do they have many reviews? Offer an absolutely glowing and detail review in return for a great monthly discount. Maybe the host doesn’t get booked a lot, and you need a place for two months in the city. By offering to rent the place for a long stay, you’re offering the host great value.
You need to find out what the host needs and then play off that.
Once you know what the Airbnb host needs, you need to be open, honest, and personal. Tell the host about you, why you’re visiting the city, what you do, your hobbies, etc. Build the relationship a little bit. Ensure your potential host feels comfortable with you.
Here’s an example email I’ve sent out:
Hola (insert host name here),
Buenos Dias! Hope all is well.
I will be coming to Bogota for a few months, and I’m looking for an apartment with three rooms with my friends.
I work online and enjoy working out. I hope to come to Bogota to see the beautiful sights, explore the city, practice my Spanish (a lot!) and possibly meet a cute girl.
I’m on a limited budget, but am interested in your place. Is your apartment available for these dates? Do you have photos of the bedrooms?
Basic and to the point (and a few Spanish words because I was in Colombia). While I broke my own rule with this email by telling her I was traveling with friends, I was confident this Airbnb host would negotiate because her place was new online. I was personable. I informed her of what I do on a day-to-day basis. Then I briefly described why I was in her city. Immediately after our small talk, I began negotiating for a lowered rate.
And the “meet a cute girl” line? I add this for one reason. If you’re living in an Airbnb apartment for months on end, you don’t want a bunch of rules to follow. You expect to be treated like an adult. This means having friends and possibly, a lover over when you please.
By including that line, your host immediately knows you plan to have people over who aren’t living in the apartment. This is important. 95% of Airbnb hosts won’t care what you do as long as you:
Don’t break anything.
Don’t break laws (no drugs).
Don’t have huge parties that piss off the neighbors.
Don’t bring over shady people (aka drug dealers and prostitutes).
…And you shouldn’t have an issue following those guidelines. I always treat an Airbnb rental respectfully, and in turn – I expect Airbnb hosts treat me like an adult.
Closing the Deal
If you follow the guidelines above, you should be able to get a solid discount on an Airbnb rental. While negotiating, don’t be afraid to name your price. Normally, the host will try to get a little more out of you if your request is in their wheelhouse. That’s fine.
For example: if I want to rent something for under $1,000 USD a month, but most of the rentals I like are in the $1,100-1,200 range, I’ll often ask for $875 a month or so. Then the host will counter with $950. And I’ll accept.
How to Get Amazing Airbnb Deals
If you’re new to Airbnb, then this guide should save you a little money. If you’ve been using the site, I hope you’ve been negotiating already. No reason not to get a great deal! Questions, comments, concerns? Sound off in the comments and let me know what you think.
Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.