airbnb guest negotiates price

What to Do When an Airbnb Guest Negotiates the Price

AirHost Academy is a participant in affiliate marketing programs, such as the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. AirHost Academy is not affiliated with Airbnb or any of its underlying companies in any way.

What should you do when an Airbnb guest tries to negotiate the price?

When NOT to Negotiate with an Airbnb Guest Over the Price

This depends on whether or not the price, in your eyes, as the owner, is negotiable. The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I even willing to negotiate?”

Many hosts aren’t open to negotiating. A lot of them even consider it to be an insult.

If your margins are low and people are knocking on your door asking to get in, there’s no reason to put up with someone who’s trying to talk you down to a lower price. In fact, in that case, you’d probably want to consider raising your prices (but not after confirming the booking, of course).

If you aren’t open to negotiating, and your Airbnb guest asks for a discount, simply tell them, “Thank you for your inquiry. Sorry, the listed price is the final price. Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.” You don’t need to explain to them why you won’t go any lower. It’s your rental, after all.

However, maybe it’s the off-season and you offer a boutique experience that you charge a little bit extra for. In that case, you might consider negotiating a little bit.

We’ll help you figure out exactly what to do in that scenario when an Airbnb guest tries to negotiate the price and you’re open to negotiating.

First, we’ll help you figure out when you should outright cancel the reservation instead.

Haggling: When It’s a Red Flag and When It Isn’t

You might have thirty good guests in a row, but then there’s that one, that thirty-first guest, that seems to embody Murphy’s Law: breaks the coffee table, steals the bedsheets, leaves food crumbs behind the entertainment unit.

And, as you undoubtedly know, guest reviews only give you so much information. When you don’t have a lot of raw data to work with, that’s when you have to let your instincts take over.

As we’ve mentioned before, one of the leading reasons people use Airbnb is because of the low prices for the value. Obviously, that means there will be some people who want even cheaper prices, so they’ll try to haggle with you over the cost of your Airbnb.

The extent of this haggling might be a red flag, an indicator that this person is the difficult thirty-first guest who’s going to cause you a world of trouble. However, that isn’t always true. It depends on the specific scenario.

Here are some tips:

  • Does the guest keep pestering you with other questions? It’s one thing to ask for a slight discount, it’s another thing to keep at it. If they ask you for a discount and free breakfast and a ride from the airport, they might be the type of person who’s going to find something to complain about regardless of a near-perfect Airbnb experience.
  • Do you offer the lowest prices in your area? If the guest is asking for a discount on bargain-bin accommodation, there’s no reason to give it to them. You’re already the best deal out there.

How to Negotiate with an Airbnb Guest

If you’re open to it, here are some tips to help you negotiate with an Airbnb guest:

  1. Define Your Low. What’s the lowest price you’d rent your place out for? Before negotiating, write that number down and never go lower.
  2. Consider Your Experience. Suave salespersons might want to hop on a phone call with you to talk the price down in real-time, not just over the Airbnb messenger app. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, and you’re not exactly experienced with negotiation, just tell them you’d prefer to message on the platform instead. Don’t get caught making a promise you can’t keep; that never looks good.
  3. Emphasize questions. Ask questions. For instance, ask the guest, “What would your ideal Airbnb stay cost?” In his book SPIN Selling, Neil Rackham dissected over 35,000 sales calls to find that, “in successful sales calls it’s the buyer who does most of the talking.” And, how do you get the buyer to talk? By asking questions.
  4. Emphasize strong points. If you can’t agree on the price, tell the guest, “While I can’t quite go that low, you can always be rest assured that over one hundred people have stayed in my Airbnb at this price, and they’ve all been satisfied. The [billiards table, hot tub, other amenity] is always a lot of fun. You won’t be disappointed.”


What do you think? Are you open to negotiating? Why or why not?

At what point do you think haggling is a red flag? And what tips do you have for negotiating the best price (as a host)?

About the Author Phil Sykora

Phil Sykora is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH. His work is focused on the real estate industry covering short term rentals. Phil is currently living in Costa Rica taking advantage of "geoarbitrage." Phil combines his passion for travel with his short term rental experiences to offer hosts advice on how to make guests feel right at home.