How To Negotiate Airbnb Price & Save Money

[Airbnb Negotiation Script Included]

Airbnb Hack: How To Negotiate Airbnb Prices & Save (Over 50%)

It may be hard to believe… But it took me almost three years to learn that you can negotiate on Airbnb.

It wasn’t until one night in Kyiv, Ukraine where I learned the SECRET Script on how to negotiate Airbnb prices and save money.

Since then, I’ve been able to save over $10k on Airbnb stays – in just this past year alone.

If you’ve ever booked an Airbnb rental or plan to in the future, then you won’t want to miss out.

In this post, I’m going to share the proven secrets and shortcuts (and the negotiation script) on how to negotiate Airbnb prices and save money on your next stay. More specifically…

  1. Maximizing Your Airbnb Guest Profile
  2. Finding Your Ideal Airbnb Stay
  3. Crafting Your Airbnb Negotiation Script
  4. Airbnb Negotiation Tactics
  5. Airbnb “Special Offer” Rules

Contents

Icon - Airbnb Social Proof + Background

Introduction

Airbnb Social Proof + Background

Icon - Maximizing Your Airbnb Guest Profile

Chapter 1

Maximizing Your Airbnb Guest Profile

Icon - Finding Your Ideal Airbnb Stays

Chapter 2

Finding Your Ideal Airbnb Stay

Icon - Airbnb Negotiation Script

Chapter 3

Crafting Your Airbnb Negotiation Script

Icon - Airbnb Negotiation Tactics

Chapter 4

Airbnb Negotiation Tactics

Icon - Airbnb Special Offer Rules

Chapter 5

Airbnb “Special Offer” Rules

Introduction

Airbnb Social Proof

First things first. I practice what I preach

During the time of writing this, I’m currently at an Airbnb in Cartagena, Colombia in which I used the same Airbnb negotiation script and process that I’m about to show you. So you can negotiate prices on Airbnb and save on your next Airbnb stay.

Here’s proof:

Cartagena, Colombia - Airbnb Original Price

Original Airbnb Listing Price: $1,777

Cartagena, Colombia - Airbnb Discounted Price

Discounted Airbnb Listing Price: $698 (61% Off)

This Airbnb cost us just under $700 in total for 32 nights.

When split by two people, less than $350 each per month or about $11 each per day.

P.S. I have several more screenshots of social proof. Just email [email protected] if you are interested.

Airbnb Background

At its core, Airbnb is a marketplace. Where the laws of supply and demand exist.

That said, people can negotiate at a marketplace. And Airbnb is no different.

What most Airbnb guests don’t realize is that there is a special feature for Airbnb hosts, called “Special Offer”.

This feature allows hosts to send a guest a modified date and price, different from the original listing price.

Before we dive into the step-by-step process on how to negotiate prices on Airbnb, I want to be clear.

Do NOT abusively send low-ball messages to every host.

Instead, be fair and cooperative when negotiating. But prepared for some hosts to say no.

It’s important to note that Airbnb can ban you if enough hosts complain that you are being aggressive and asking for an unreasonable Airbnb discount.

Many hosts have thought pretty carefully through their pricing and even set monthly or weekly discounts.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate at all…

Chapter 1

Maximizing Your Airbnb Guest Profile

There are multiple points that you can leverage when negotiating Airbnb prices. 

These negotiation factors include:

  • Length of Airbnb Stay
  • Completed Airbnb Profile
  • Verified Airbnb Profile
  • Airbnb Profile Reviews
  • Forgoing Airbnb Amenities
  • +2 Bonuses Airbnb Factors
Icon - Airbnb Negotiation Factors

Length of Airbnb Stay

More specifically, your “Length of Airbnb Stay” gives you leverage in which the longer your reservation is, the more guaranteed income the Airbnb host can earn.

Additionally, by having a longer stay, the host has:

  • Fewer vacancies (less guaranteed income)
  • Spends less time vetting out new Airbnb guests
  • Less time coordinating or performing cleaning services

An ideal length of stay to negotiate well, is a minimum of 4 weeks or 1 month.

Note: According to Airbnb, a short-term stay is fewer than 28 days. A long-term or “monthly” stay is 28 days or longer. Not all rentals on Airbnb offer long-term stays, as hosts decide on their property’s availability. Along with if they offer a weekly or monthly discount.

You can negotiate for stays as little as a one night stay, but don’t expect much success.

Two weeks is probably the least amount of time in which I’ve had success negotiating a lower price.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate at all…

Completed Airbnb Profile

When an Airbnb host considers whether to host you or not, one of the first things they will look at is your profile.

That said, it’s important to completely fill out your profile.

This includes:

  • Profile Photo
  • About Section
  • Location
  • Languages
  • Work
Airbnb Completed Profile

Verified Airbnb Profile

It’s important to have a “Verified Profile” by confirming your identity with Airbnb.

This is usually done by uploading a Government ID (e.g., Passport, Drivers License, International Identity Card).

Additionally, one can verify a legal name and address or last 4-digits of Social Security Number.

Or one can verify an email, phone number, and work email too.

Airbnb Verified Profile

Airbnb Profile Reviews

While it’s easy to skip out on completing, one area that holds a lot of credibility and validity is Airbnb profile reviews.

This includes receiving Airbnb reviews from hosts and providing reviews as a guest too.

Hosts are able to see the number of reviews and if other hosts wrote messages as well.

If you have unwritten reviews, it’s best to go back and fill them out so the host’s review is able to attach to your profile.

Note: You have 14 days after checkout to write a review for a trip.

    Airbnb Profile Reviews

    Forgoing Airbnb Amenities

    Another leverage point is saying no to Airbnb amenities/features.

    This could include but is not limited to saying no to:

    • Free Breakfast
    • Room Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Airport Transportation

    On the other hand, one can provide value to the host by:

    • Offering Social Media Content
    • Taking Updated Listing Photos
    • Leaving a Stellar Review
    Icon - Airbnb Airport Transportation

    +2 Bonus Airbnb Factors

    As promised, the two bonus factors are “Personal Branding” and “Ability to Pay”.

    Personal branding in the sense of including a personal or work website within your profile.

    SamLepak.com Personal Website Example

    As for ability to pay, being able to pull the trigger on a listing right away gives you leverage that you don’t need to discuss with others.

    In other words, you are the decision-maker.

    Ok, now that it’s clear on what factors you can leverage and why, when negotiating Airbnb prices – we are going to go step-by-step on how exactly to do this on the Airbnb website.

    Chapter 2

    Finding Your Ideal Airbnb Stay

    At a high-level the process is as follows:

    1. Bulk Find Airbnbs
    2. Modify & Send Script to Airbnb Hosts
    3. Negotiate With Airbnb Hosts
    4. Receive an Airbnb Special Offer
    5. Accept an Airbnb Special Offer

    If you are a visual learner, I’ve added a YouTube video to help out here:

      Okay, so first login into Airbnb.

      Next, select the location, check-in and check-out dates – you can add in flexible dates if needed, and lastly, the number of guests. Then hit “Search”.

      Airbnb Search Criteria

      In this scenario we are going to look for places in Sydney, Australia – one of my favorite cities.

      Then zoom in on your target location and set your preferences/filters. These includes:

      • Monthly Stays
      • Cancellation Flexibility
      • Type of Place
      • Price
      • More Filters

      It’s best to set “Type of Place” and “More Filters” with your non-negotiables first.

      Some non-negotiables that I always include are: 

      • WiFi
      • Entire Place
      • Kitchen
      • Washing Machine

      When setting your preferences it’s ideal to have less than 50 stays that match your criteria. 

      If it’s still over 300+, then I recommend adding a few more preferences so you can focus your time on realistic accommodations.

      Airbnb Stay Preferences

      Another area to consider is setting the price range to no more than 2x your actual budget.

      For example, if my budget is $1.5k/mo then I might set the max budget to $3k/mo and change the bottom of the price range to $500/mo to weed out other places.

      Next, go through the places evaluating their photos, location on the map, number of reviews, average review rating, if the host is a SuperHost, and of course the price.

      If there is a place you like, it’s best to heart the location and save it to a list (e.g., Sydney, Australia).

      Evaluate Airbnb Listings

      Once you have gone through the stays that match your criteria and selected the ones you like (ideally 8 – 10+), it’s time to batch send out the negotiation outreach message.

      What you will want to do is go to Profile (upper right) > Saved > Select Location > Click on the Stay > Scroll Down to “Contact Host”.

      Here is where you will send a message to the host.

      Airbnb Contact Host

      Simply copy and paste this Airbnb negotiation script message. Then change out the bolded / bracketed / underlined parts with your own information.

      Here is an example of a message that I have sent to Airbnb hosts that has worked well.

      Airbnb Negotiation Script Approval Example

      Before we walk through the negotiation script and explain the input parts and why this message is effective…

      Secret Bonus: Known Future Airbnb Vacancy

      By looking at the Airbnb listing’s calendar you are able to see if the property is booked after your desired stay.

      This allows you to learn if the place is usually booked or not.

      In other words, does the Airbnb Host have guaranteed future income or not?

      If not, this could give you more leverage in negotiating Airbnb prices because you know they may be willing to accept less because usually, some income is better than no income.

      Chapter 3

      Crafting Your Airbnb Negotiation Script

      At the top of the Airbnb negotiation script template there are instructions on how to use the template.

      Below that is the template itself. 

      That is what we are going to walk through.

      Like any personalized message, it’s important to use the person’s first name.

      You should be able to see this when you scroll down to the bottom of the Airbnb listing.

      Note: It might be more than one person.

      The first part of the message is introducing yourself and sharing a bit about yourself to show you are trustworthy.

      Airbnb Negotiation Script Template

      Effective things to share are:

      • Personal Website
      • Hobbies/Activities
      • Profession

      Note: Your website may be blocked by Airbnb.

      The second part is to hype up the location.

      More often than not, the Airbnb host is from that location, either they live there now or grew up there.

      Make them feel good about you wanting to live in their city/country.

      Next, the third part includes highlighting the actual listing itself, followed by directly confirming your biggest concern.

      Hyping up the listing usually includes calling out something in the listing that makes that place unique or would attract someone to stay there.

      Common examples include:

      • Rooftop Pool
      • Amazing City View
      • Beautiful Artwork
      • Well Equipped Kitchen
        Rooftop Pool

        As for confirming the biggest concern, this is simply asking a question to get confirmation on a potential deal-breaker.

        Common concerns include:

        • WiFi Speed
        • Heating / Air Conditioning
        • Actual Beds vs. Couch Converted Beds
        • On-site Security
        • Parking

        The fourth part is the ask. This where you add in your initial offering price.

        The recommendation here is to go below the top price you are willing to pay. 

        As this allows more room for negotiation and for you to meet them in the middle.

        The last part of this paragraph is the rationalization statement.

        Airbnb Script Rationalization Power Statement

        This statement is extremely powerful because it reinforces some of the leverage points we discussed before such as guaranteed income. And if you plan to stay longer, a potential hook for giving them even more future income.

        Next, if you have more than one big concern – usually the smaller of the two – this is a perfect spot to confirm it.

        Common examples include:

        • Extra Set of Keys
        • Guest Policy
        • Early Check-in Time

        And before the salutations, is the final power statement in which you say you can book and pay immediately.

        This reinforces that you are the decision-maker and am able to give them money now.

        Ok, that’s pretty much it with the script.

        Follow the directions and go ahead and bulk send the new message to the Airbnb hosts on the places you favorited.

        Bonus Negotiation Script Notes

        Before you go bulk sending out the negotiation outreach messages… 

        From experience, there are two important things to avoid when sending this message.

        1. Adjust Your Script Price

        The first thing is that all Airbnb stays are different, don’t send them all the same price. 

        For example, if you plan on sending this message to two Airbnb hosts with the respective price of $2.8k and $1.6k for their places, then don’t send $1k for both.

        Most likely you’ll need to bump up your price on the $2.8k to strike a deal.

        This goes back to the note of being fair when negotiating price. In other words, don’t lowball them.

        2. Avoid Using General Callouts

        The second thing is that you can callout specific things in the listing or use a generic phrase.

        For example, the place looks really clean and the beds look comfortable.

        The generic phrase is okay… But if you really want to show the Airbnb host you are interested in their place, then take the extra few seconds to add in something special about the listing.

        Ok, once you are done sending the messages to the hosts it’s time to wait for them to respond.

        To set expectations, some hosts will straight up say no, some will counter with a different price, and some will be willing to accommodate your lower price.

        Chapter 4

        Airbnb Negotiation Tactics

        Soon after sending your Airbnb negotiation script, you should start to hear from hosts within 24 hours.

        This is where the real negotiation is going to take place.

        Next, I’m going to share three secret tactics for effectively negotiating with Airbnb hosts via chat.

        1. “No-Oriented” Questions
        2. The Powerful “F-Word”
        3. Negotiate Not Only Airbnb Price
          Icon - Airbnb Negotiation Tactics

          “No-Oriented” Questions

          Made famous from former top FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, this is asking a question where the default response is no.

          Some examples include:

          • Are you not interested in having me stay at your place?
          • Do you not want someone to book your place during this time?

          This is effective because saying “no” makes people feel protected and in control.

          And as we know the secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control.

          The “Powerful F-Word”

          No, not “F**k”, but “Fair”.

          It’s no secret, people want to be treated fairly, and rightfully so.

          That said, you can either tell them you believe this Airbnb offer is fair or you can ask them if they believe this is a fair offer.

          Some effective phrases sound like this:

          • “Given the details of our conversation do you believe the offer presented is fair?”
          • “Please note, I’m here to work with you and come to an agreement that is fair for the both of us.”

          Negotiate Not Only Airbnb Price

          To put it simply, you can negotiate for having or removing extra things such as transportation, amenities, cleaning services, meals, etc.

          For example, my Airbnb in Quito, Ecuador I was able to negotiate an upgraded WiFi speed for work.

          A nice $40+ value for free.

          Airbnb Free WiFi Negotiation

          I’ve also stayed at places where I’ve declined free breakfast and was able to negotiate a cheaper price too.

          Having these extra things to negotiate with give you leverage and allow you to get more creative in your deal making.

          And at the end of the day…

          My best piece of advice in negotiating is to make the other person feel like they won the deal.

          If you want more secrets and shortcuts to negotiate not only Airbnb stays but other things in life, I highly recommend Chris Voss’s MasterClass or his book, “Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It”.

          His advice alone has saved me and made me tens of thousands of dollars in just this past year. 

          Chapter 5

          Airbnb Special Offer Rules

          Before we finish up, there are two quick things to note when accepting an Airbnb Special Offer (aka discounted Airbnb price).

          1. Once the host sends the “Special Offer” you will have only 24 hours to accept the offer or it will expire.

          2. The host will not be able to see the service fee that Airbnb charges to the guest.

            Icon - Airbnb Special Offer Rules

            The first point is important because this goes back to you being able to pull the trigger.

            The second point is important because let’s say you agree on $1,000 for the month, the host might set it at $1,000 and the service fee + cleaning might make it $1,200.

            I’ve done two things to counter this.

            Send them a screenshot link (recommend Lightshot) with the price so they can resend a new Special Offer.

            Or at places where you have to pay electricity at the end of your stay, you can use the overage as a credit towards the electricity bill. Think of it as a prepayment.

            Airbnb Electricity Negotiation

            Ok, at this point you are now ready to start negotiating the price and saving money on your next Airbnb stay.

            I’m excited to see hear much money you’re going to save!

            Now It’s Your Turn…

            Which tactic from today’s post are you going to try first? 

            • Are you going to use the negotiation script for your next Airbnb stay?
            • Or are you going to fill out your Airbnb guest profile to make it look trustworthy?

            Let me know by leaving a comment below, right now.

            If you like this post, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive work from home and travel secrets – that I only share with subscribers. It’s free.

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            P.S. If you are looking for a discount on your next Airbnb rental, here are some Airbnb discount codes for you:

            2 Comments

            1. Jonathan Levi

              Nice one Sam. Learned some valuable tips here. One other one that I read in a book called “how to run away from home and take your kids with you“ was that only suckers book way in advance. He claims that if you contact hosts a week before or even less, they will be eager to have you stay and gain some income rather than losing the month or whatever. I look forward to trying it out.

              Reply
              • Sam Lepak

                Awesome insight, Jonathan! Definitely agree that last-minute booking is very effective too, all dependant on your situation. If you have more time, recommend to negotiate well in advance since there will probably be a higher selection of available listings. And will definitely check out the book. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

                Reply

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