Airbnb discount - Mauritius

How To Get An Airbnb Discount (a quick, simple trick)

Derek Travel Costs, Travel Tips & Advice 21 Comments

Airbnb discount - Mauritius
About two years ago, I started doing something that pretty much guarantees I get an Airbnb discount every time I book accommodation with Airbnb (the website that allows you to book rooms, apartments and homes all around the world).

It wasn’t some crazy secret that I had uncovered or some complicated trick that I figured out over time. It was simply an idea that came into my mind one day.

Here’s how it works:

I send a message to the host before I make a booking.

Yes, I write the host a message, and as you’ll see below, there’s a good reason for it.

First, while Airbnb does try to keep the blue “Contact host” button quite hidden, it does exist and is usually right there on each listing page, just under the property description.

So all I do is click that “Contact host” link and write my message.

In my message, I simply ask for a discount. This really does work and it works even better if your arrival date is less than a month away. Why? At this point, the host will naturally be more motivated to rent out their place for fear of not renting it at all during that period of time.

With that said, this little Airbnb discount trick still tends to work no matter how far in advance you are making your booking, which is why you should always give it a try.

What I typically do is come up with an amount that I want to pay for my stay and I write something such as, “I see your apartment is listed at $500 for two weeks. If you could make that $400 I’d book it right now.

And then I also provide some details about myself so that the host feels more confident in me as a renter. I’ll include something like “we’re clean, laid-back, we work from home and we don’t party or cause any issues.

Basically, the idea is to explain to the host that they don’t have to worry at all about you or their apartment/house, making the deal even better for them.

In addition, I’ll also try to use some of the local language as it shows some respect to the host and lets them know that you are an experienced traveler.

An overall message might look like this:

“Dobry den Eva,

I hope you’re doing well. We’re coming to Prague from September 10th – 20th and your apartment really caught our attention. I noticed the price for 10 days is $410 USD. If you could offer us the place for around $330 USD, we’d book it right now. We’re laid-back, we’ll definitely keep the apartment very clean, we actually both work on our laptops from home most mornings and then we like to just wander around the city in the afternoons. We’re not party people and we’ll always respect all the rules of your place. Let me know when you can and we look forward to hopefully staying at your beautiful apartment!

Regards,
Derek”

What happens next is that I’ll usually receive a reply from the host followed by a “Special Offer” email from Airbnb. These emails come in when a host has changed the listed price and is offering you a stay at a discounted rate.

Airbnb discount - Ubud

I just went through my last six Airbnb stays (Gran Canaria, Prague, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Athens and Mauritius). Sure enough, a discount was received on all of them. The smallest discount was 6% and the largest was 25%.

And it all happened by sending one quick email to the host. That one message creates a human connection which is something that a normal Airbnb booking, or any accommodation booking, lacks if you just book it right away.

When we make a personal connection, everyone involved tends to worry less and feel more confident in whatever we are trying to do. In this case, a host will feel more inclined to give a discount and trust their incoming guests if those guests reach out and give a good first impression.

At least that’s how it’s worked for me!

For those wanting to give this Airbnb discount trick a try, here’s an Airbnb link that will also give you up to $40 off your next booking.

Have you ever tried the above? Any success? Any other Airbnb discount tricks to share?


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Comments 21

  1. Derek, home-owner airbnb’s are already much lower cost than hotel rooms and guests get far more room, free tea, coffee etc, other provisions, personal attention of the host often with recommendations on local places to visit, eat and drink. The reasons for hosting is very broad, some because it supplements low incomes, or assist a start-up entrepreneur of artist not starve whilst they build their start-up, some retired with pensions being paid later and later now, some supplementing the ever rising costs of living, utilities, food etc which is not keeping up with salaries, to some it is a full-time job and reduces reliance by some on social security benefits, and many other reasons. Whilst I understand that everyone likes a discount attitude, you appear to be a healthy individual with a good job but have chosen to use your influence to cause your readership to push home owners for discounts. No host has to agree to a discount but if everyone starts doing it it’ll tear the heart out of hosting. There is also a general view among hosts that those seeking unreasonable discounts (or any) tend to display self-entitlement and can be high maintenance.

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      Author

      Hey Max – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The only thing is that Airbnb has changed a bit. It is no longer that cheap option to hotel rooms, all hosted by people that need extra income. Given all the fees and taxes added on, it’s actually quite comparable to hotel and guesthouse rooms in many places around the world these days. You also have businesses that own entire apartment buildings, renting them out on Airbnb, and plenty of people that are simply trying to earn as much as they can for their place. I’m in an Airbnb right now in London that did not come with free tea or coffee or other provisions and after speaking with the owner, she revealed that she earns very good money on Airbnb compared to what she could get from a regular renter (3 times as much). So she was more than happy to give us a discount to ensure her place was rented for the period we needed. That’s generally the same thing we hear from almost all of the hosts we talk to during our travels.

      And sure, it could mean the person is high maintenance, but all you need to do is check the traveler’s reviews from other Airbnb hosts, as you would in any situation.

      I understand what you’re saying but I do think that Airbnb has become much more of a business (I use it all the time as I travel nonstop). For every host that is offering their place for a very reasonable rate to cover the expenses they need to cover or supplement their income, there are dozens of hosts (individuals and businesses) trying to earn a very good profit through it as well. And I’d imagine if asking for such discounts were really unreasonable, I’d be told ‘no’ most of the time. But it’s quite the opposite and I’ve been using Airbnb regularly for many years now.

      As with anything, there are always different perspectives and I appreciate you sharing yours 🙂

  2. I think it’s totally reasonable to ask for a discount, if you are staying a month or even longer. Especially, if it is in the off-season. You are doing the host a favor, not the other way around. Also, what are the chances the accommodation is going to be able to be booked for each vacant day of the year. I think the host would have to figure the opportunity costs of taking a chance and waiting to get the full price or the guarantee of a longer term booking, “Bird in the hand” approach….

  3. And here I thought everything that could be written about Airbnb was already written! I am definitely going to try this tip. My husband and I have been traveling about six months out of the year now for a couple of years and I figured out pretty fast that having a kitchen and more space than a hotel is better when away from home long-term (and helps with us not killing each other!). Thanks for not keeping that gem to yourself.

  4. As an airbnb host i can tell you I would never do this unless my apartment is so shitty that even the reduced price is too high. So I would book only if the host refuses to give a discount. That way you can be sure you are renting a nice apartment which rents out easily.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Christian – I understand what you’re saying but we look for discounts all the time, every day, on everything we purchase. And many of those purchases come from small businesses, but that doesn’t stop us from asking for a discount. Sometimes it’s not about pure profit, sometimes there are other reasons why a discounted rate might make sense. An example, as I put in the post, is if the Airbnb is not yet booked for dates in the very near future. The chances get much lower that it will be booked. It would certainly be better to reduce the price to get someone in there and also get that positive review if the place really is great. That’s better than the apartment/house/room sitting empty and the host getting zero benefit at all during a particular period of time.

  5. This is a great tip! I wish I’d seen this sooner. I already booked my Airbnb accommodations last month. Thank you for the tip. 🙂

  6. You are totally correct and I will say that, for your target audience (people who travel long-term, generally have perfected the art of being an ideal guest, and likely have great reviews) this is entirely appropriate. The problem arises when some shill at HuffPo reads this and recommends that every newcomer to Airbnb ask for discounts. Their audience is not savvy like yours, and their requests dilute the requests from veteran travelers lie yourself. In the hosting forum I belong to, hosts are getting discount requests for New Years Eve, for regular two- and three-day stays. That is what I mean by taking advantage.

  7. I have been successful doing this in the past like you have but I only ask for a discount if I’m staying 3 days or more. It doesn’t really make sense for less than that.

  8. Great tip. We book 2-3 days normal way and get proper connection with the host and we can check out the place. After one day (or so) we make contact face2face or through WhatsApp etc. and make a deal for longer period in the place, if we liked it. Probably this way the final price is about the same than your procedure except taxation and service fees. This has worked really well at least in Eastern Europe off season. With your tip we probably can get places even cheaper for the first days.

    1. Post
      Author
  9. I like the wording of your message. When I was hosting though, we would turn down all discount requests as we found these guests were generally high-maintenance. I guess it varies according to the demand in the area and whether or you like having longer stays in your property (not all hosts do – and the weekly/monthly discount feature in the listing can be a clue).

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Steph – I guess you can also check the feedback that guests have received from past hosts in order to get an idea of what kind of guests they would be. But either way, I’m sure it does vary.

  10. This is something Horizon (home sharing with friends, friends of friends, and communities) would enable to do much, much easier. Ie hosts setup a profile, add a link to their AirBnB listing, join relevant groups, and then anyone with a mutual friend/group can send them a direct message. We’re optimized for helping travelers find the “friends, family & trusted connection” discount that exists on every listing in the world.

  11. I’m a host and yes it does eat into profits. Many will reluctantly agree to be nice, or if the length of the stay outweighs the discount. We have many flat coats per stay like housekeeping, so asking for a discount on 10 days is very different than asking for a discount for a weekend.
    Mostly, I think the author of this article is attributing the willingness to give a discount to trust and reassurance, but honestly, I think the hosts that agree give the discount because of the social awkwardness involved in saying no. Hosts are hosts because they want to help and they want to be nice. Don’t take advantage of it.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Teresa – Thanks for the comment. I have spoken with many hosts though and I’ve never heard anyone state that they felt pressured to say yes to a discount. Everyone has said that if they can offer a discount, still earn a profit and have a chance at getting another positive review on Airbnb, then giving a discount is worth it to them. Also, keep in mind that a large percentage of Airbnb hosts are actually companies these days, ever since Airbnb allowed you to add additional hosts to your account. So now you have companies buying up apartments and hiring a management company to run them. So it’s really not much different than trying to get a discount at a hotel in many cases.

      While I understand that many hosts are simply trying to earn some income from their property, at the end of the day, if they don’t want to give a discount there’s certainly no reason for them to say yes. I’m not trying to cheat anyone at all. But just like anything we buy these days, there’s nothing wrong with at least trying to get the best price possible, one that works for both purchaser and seller.

  12. Hey Derek,
    Interesting idea. Thanks for sharing.
    I assume that in such a case the ownwer of the property does not really lose any profit. The discount is made possible by ‘setting aside’ the platform. Contacting him privately and agreeing on a discount implies that you make the actual booking privately, too, in one-to-one trust agreement, rather than a standard Airbnb booking. In such a way, he could, in fact, make some exta profit for himself, too, if the agreement is to share in half the platform’s commission. Am I getting it quite right?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Dimitrios – Actually, the host can change the price on the Airbnb platform just for one booking and then send you a new offer through Airbnb. So everything still remains official through the site but you receive a discounted rate instead of the one that was originally listed.

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