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I’ve been a keen reader of this forum for nearly two years and have picked up lots of tips, but this is my first request for help with a potential guest.
Here’s the scenario:
Requests to stay for 4 nights, but wants a discount as the cost is “is a fair amount over our budget”.
I reply saying we don’t accept discounted offers and wish home well in finding alternative accommodation within there budget.
They reply say “just noticed there’s table tennis etc., etc…” They are now willing to pay the full amount.
My gut feeling is to decline, having read many experiences you folks have relaid about those that ask for a discount often end up being the problematic and/or guests that leave a poor review.
So rather they just faded away. My request is how to handle my reply and also I don’t want to decline the request and harm my standing with ABB.
Any help would be appreciated.
Maybe they where just fishing for a discount. After all the worst is that you said no. Ask them some questions about what brings them to your town to get more information about them. I really don’t think it occurs to guests that hosts sometimes see a discount seeker as a red flag. If it where me I’d probably accept them.
I’m also one who thinks a fishing expedition for a discount is NOT enough reason to turn away the booking. In many places this is slow season and a 4 night stay is pretty sweet. But if that isn’t a concern for you then you could try replying with some questions or comment like "oh the table tennis broke and I removed it, sorry I need to update my listing. And then block the dates perhaps. Or ask some other questions that would help to reassure you so you can take some satisfaction in getting this booking.
It’s a request to book Ken. We do not offer instant booking, solely so we can vet potential guests.
A bit more info.
-The booking, for a family of two adults and two children, is for June, which is coming into our high season and they are trying to get approx 20% off.
-Only just joined ABB, zero information on them.
-Messaging is polite, but displays little about them other than a sentence which I find a little out of place. Here’s their last reply
“I had another look…noticed you have a table tennis table, gas and natural BBQs and such a big garden, it all looks perfect inside and out so I have requested a booking, [it will be amazing I’m sure and we all deserve a treat to look forward to]. Really looking forward to it.”
-I am a SH with 5 stars throughout hosting and just get the feeling guests who ask for a discount because of budget constraints and then suddenly “find” the money, are more likely be a pain and to ping me in their review. I don’t rely on the income, so really don’t want them to stay.
I was thinking of replying something like:-
Thanks for your message. I understand how difficult it must be managing family budgets and I don’t want you to be disappointed with any aspect of your stay, particularly if our barn doesn’t meet your expectations.
So as I mentioned before, I think it best if you find accommodation elsewhere. Sorry to disappoint you.
Best of luck
I have also thought about ringing ABB to ask their advice?
I always listen to my gut and if anyone asks for discounts before booking they get declined but then I use insta book so any suchlike will only come as nice safe enquiries for me which I just let expire. I wonder, if you have an enquiry you don’t want to get into trouble for declining, if you block the dates off in your calender does that automatically cancel the enquiry penalty free though perhaps?
If I were you though I would respond with that message and block the dates off temporarily so they go elsewhere (hopefully).
I spoke to ABB who confirmed they had “no red Flags” against this guest, so messaged them and asked for more info as some of you suggested. Also asked them to read the complete listing, to confirm they accepted the house rules and explained the quirkiness of our barn to them.
They replied with lots more information and confirmations, so have accepted them.
I will try to remember to post a follow up after their stay.
I’m a bit surprised that there are hosts who call Airbnb to ask their advice about potential guests. By there again, I have a pretty well-known bee in my bonnet about hosts who expect Airbnb to deal with aspects of their business that they should be able to deal with themselves.
This topic of conversation comes up so often and I hope that you’ve read my comments on the matter. I wouldn’t like casual readers (possibly would-be hosts) to think that guests asking for discounts and then being troublesome is a hard and fast rule of hosting - it is not,
Over the years I’ve had hundreds of guests who have initially asked for discounts (which I don’t give) and in every single case the guests have been fine.
And the one in mine is that every listing and inquiry is different.
For example, asking for a discount on a holiday rental is different than asking for a discount on a 3 week stay near a hospital where grandpa is. Asking a lot of questions (from another thread you commented on) about a holiday booking is different than asking a lot of questions because you’re trying to have an event, or squeeze in too many people or go to an event an hour away or…LOL.
Yes, true. These days I’m definitely in a holiday rental situation. Many guests are coming here from Europe and I can understand why they would have a lot of questions because the USA is a pretty strange place to them and South Florida is possibly the weirdest place in the country.
My most recent “lots of questions” person was booking for her husband who was coming for a job interview. I spent at least 15 minutes helping her figure out that my rental was close to the place he was interviewing. She booked but then canceled less than a week before arrival (after holding the date for over a month). It’s annoying but those cases are 1% of my business. It’s part of the job.
@GentleHart, hosting is a business and I don’t take offense when potential guests request a discount. I also don’t associate a request for a discount as a red flag. Do I ever accept a request for a discount? Sure, but it depends on the particular circumstances – a discount for a 1-week Christmas stay is a certain “no”, but a discount for a 3-week stay that includes Christmas may be considered. I also don’t get upset at potential guests that ask me endless questions – I prefer to address questions and having a potential guest deciding that my property is not a good fit prior to booking than a guest realizing, once they check in, that the fact that my property is bay-front doesn’t mean that I’m a block from the beach.
Quote “I’m a bit surprised that there are hosts who call Airbnb to ask their advice about potential guests. By there again, I have a pretty well-known bee in my bonnet about hosts who expect Airbnb to deal with aspects of their business that they should be able to deal with themselves.”
Well you may be so experienced that you are able to cope with any potential risks to your accommodation. I am not and surprised you are able to judge the knowledge and competency of fellow hosts. So I choose to minimise the risks by posting on this forum, (get mostly good feedback) and also (given I’m on a 24 hour timescale) want to determine if ABB can shed any more light on this newly registered guest, which they did and gave me an insight into declining the request and the consequences to my place on their platform.
Thanks for your comments. The request was for four days, so not that long in my view. Had they wanted to book for say a week or two, then I would consider a discount if asked.
I am an advocate of answering and asking as many questions as needed prior to a stay, for all the reasons mentioned here and elsewhere. Far better to try to manage expections on both sides before they arrive and then, in perhaps a more emotional atmosphere, try to resolve problems.
I’ve read jacqo’s posts over the years, and I don’t think that was the meaning at all. Please look at it this way - AirBnB will give you advice that suits THEM the most. I called just to check policy about refunding a guest that left early, and they said “We’d like you to refund them to keep them happy so they’ll book again”. Who does that help the most? Definitely not me.
So we don’t recommend calling AirBnB for advice on handling guests, because AIrBnB will 95% of the time side with the guest,. They will try to get you to 1) accept a booking you don’t want to accept 2) refund a guest that shouldn’t be refunded, or tell you 3) “the damages were really wear and tear” or 4) call the guest and talk to them.
My wife and I had a couple from out of state reserve our airbnb for an entire month last year in order to search the area for a home. They booked months in advance.
A few days prior to their scheduled arrival, they text us to say they were already in the area, saw our house and were canceling because the neighborhood didn’t look safe (65 other reviews said otherwise).
We felt their reason to cancel was bogus. How they could have received our address that far in advance? We felt they found a house already and wanted to chisel their stay.
Airbnb was going to refund their stay until we called and demanded they forfeit their money. Airbnb sided with us.
We not only kept a $3000.00 stay, we booked another $4000.00 in other stays for the month. Airbnb asked us if we would refund them anything because of our good luck and we said no.
If you stick to your guns, airbnb will take your side.
I would not take the booking. The fact that they then came back saying there is tennis, etc and willing to pay the full price is a red flag to me. I would not ring ABB to ask their advice either - they are only interested in hosts taking bookings.
It is their first time? There is no way on earth I would take a group with kids who have asked for a discount and actually stated that it is above their budget if it was their first time using Airbnb and they have no prior reviews. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to others opinions but this would be a no for me. My experience after almost 4 years is that is soon as I say no to something it is all generally downhill.