Navigating Negotiation: Airbnb Discounts?

Yes!  A host can send a special offer with a percentage or at a specific dollar amount off of a stay. 

When You’re the Host

Before you start to Airbnb your space, you must know the lowest price you’ll go.  It’s a lot of work, and there’s a risk that guests will damage your space, so you need to make sure that you aren’t going to lose out.  If you are already offering your space at the lowest price, just say no.

As a host, I won’t just give a discount to anyone.  If someone is asking for a discount at my prime time, I almost always say no.  I know I’ll get a full price booking, and I don’t need to offer a discount to fill my house up.  Depending on the situation, I have two standard responses.


I don’t offer discounts.  My house is booked almost every weekend, and my calendar fills up quickly.

It’s short, sweet, and to the point.  As long as I’m willing to let a guest walk, this is a perfectly acceptable answer.  You don’t need to go into detail. Second,

I understand your budget might be tight. I recommend searching Airbnb for listings that are in shared units (roommate-style), which are cheaper than renting a private home. You’ll share a common kitchen and living area, but you’ll pay a fraction of the cost. 

If you want a private space, I suggest renting inland. Homes that are located farther from the city center or the bay will be much cheaper than a unit on in my area. There are many safe, clean suburbs within a 20-minute drive including Crescent Lake, Allendale and Historic Kenwood; they’re all family-friendly neighborhoods with more affordable units. 

Finally, if none of those options work, there’s a handful of extended-stay motels within two miles; all have rates in the $60 – $80 per night range. 

If they go into detail and are expressing their need, this shows I am trying to assist them in their needs.  However, I can honestly say that I’ve never had a guest pass over my house due to not being offered a discount.

When You’re the Guest

If you find an amazing place that’s outside of your budget, go ahead and ask if they’d consider offering you a discount.  Always consider it from the host’s perspective.  What would be a perk for them?

  • A stay coming up within the next two weeks.  It’s harder to get bookings that close to a stay, so I’m willing to be a lot more flexible.​
  • A stay scheduled during the slow time.  Whether it’s the off season or a week night instead of a weekend, there’s usually a slow time.  Do not confuse “the slow time” with space on the calendar.  A host will generally know how their season will go.  For example, if someone asks me for a discount in March or April, it’s always a no, even if there’s calendar space two weeks out.  I’m so busy with the full priced stays that a couple empty calendar days are actually a blessing.  However, if someone asked me in July if they could have a discount in mid-December, it’s a hard YES.  I’d happily give a 5% discount to someone staying over four days, because I know it’s highly unlikely I’ll get another booking at that time.
  • A longer stay, where the host will actually save time not having to flip the house.  A three day stay will not get a discount from me, but I’d be more open to a group of guests staying a week.  However, some hosts only want to rent out part time, and are inconvenienced by longer stays.
  • A guest with a lot of great reviews has a lot more leverage, because I know they won’t come in and make a complete mess of things.
  • Guests I like, who are friendly, and who say nice things about my place.

Each situation is unique since every host is unique.  Present what you think would be a perk to them.  Make sure you are polite and respectful about it and use some of your tips to make friends.