Misleading Airbnb discount

I was updating my calendar last week and Airbnb suggested I offer a 7% discount for people who want to stay from 22-25 October (as it was vacant then) “to attract more bookings”. I was happy with this so clicked “yes”. Today (it’s the 22nd here), I got a booking for February and the person was asking when they were going to get their 7% discount… I asked her to send me a screenshot of the listing and this is the wording:
7% off for Oct 22-25 Book within the next 4 days to get this special offer.

I spoke to Airbnb who agreed the wording was misleading.

I also agreed to give the guest a 7% discount (knowing how fickle guests are with their ratings), even though I know we would be able to get a full price booking for her weekend dates…

Has anyone dealt with this before?

Lesson to be learned here – NEVER GIVE DISCOUNTS!


I don’t offer last minute discounts, so haven’t used it.

Having read the wording
7% off for Oct 22-25

i don’t think it is confusing and I wouldn’t have discounted for a February guest


Hey Jodes,
So this is what Airbnb does.

However, it does say that if you chose to adjust to the Airbnb-recommended discount and press accept, the guests who earlier have looked at those specific dates will receive an e-mail or get prompted by the app that you now offer a "special offer / discount ". That’s why the now ask you about it!

I highly recommend not using these suggestions from Airbnb. I’ve never had problems getting bookings as long as my prices don’t vary too much from the market.

I don’t think that wording is misleading and I would not have discounted. I would have told her that offer only applied to the October dates, and that I would understand if she wanted to cancel.

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Well, that was a daft thing to do, wasn’t it? Now you know.

Why was it “daft”?

We’ve had this offer popping up a few times and ignored until recently. Ours was 11% though.

The first time I accepted it within a day or so we had one request to book (he had no chance with his feedback!) and then an IB for three of the vacant four days.

Second time, last week, I accepted but ramped up the prices to compensate. Two days later got a booking for the three vacant days.

I had mixed feelings about the latter as I’d planned to do some maintenance (very old house :slight_smile:), so had a few days off instead!

If someone says they will promote our property I’m not going to refuse it, I just don’t want it to cost me money, being Scottish and all that!


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I don’t think it was misleading either.

I love it when those pop up on my calendar! I just up my prices a bit, accept the discount, and get bumped up the search listing with a discount showing on my listing. Seems to get me some extra bookings when things are slow.

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Why is it daft? Chiefly because I (and most hosts I know) have enough intelligence to decide for themselves if and when they want to discount rather than have a computer program tell them.

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Good on you. We’re coming into a pretty dead time in our area so right now every little helps!

I suppose this touches on the debate about hosts setting prices or following Airbnbs suggestions that, if followed, probably wouldn’t even cover cleaning and utilities, as mentioned above by Jaquo. We don’t have “smart pricing” here in Spain, so all prices are set manually.

Personally I think it’s about balance - ignore their extremely flawed “price tips” suggestions and set your prices at what you are happy to accept. However, if you get an opportunity to gain a bit of prominence in searches, without losing any money, than I think you’d be “daft” not to take it.


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Let’s look at what Airbnb itself says:

‘And it’s our intention that you always remain in control of your pricing and that you have responsibility for setting your pricing for your listing and for your goals.’

So as an example, let’s imagine two apartments, both on Airbnb. They are in the same location. One is just upstairs from the other so they even have the same view.

The owner of the uppermost apartment, let’s call it A, has a mortgage. The owner has licences from the city that are required for STR, he also has STR insurance. The owner of the lower apartment (B) owns the property free and clear. He doesn’t have STR insurance or the necessary licences. Unlike the owner of A he flies under the radar and doesn’t pay TOT to the state. He employs an inexperienced friend to clean and prepare the apartment.

The owner of A upstairs, pays for professional cleaning and maintenance. He supplies things for his guests that the owner of B doesn’t such as welcome basket, fresh flowers, wine, toiletires etc. In short, A has many more expenses.

Because the apartment costs more for the owner of A to run as an STR, he knows exactly how much he must make per year to cover expenses. The owner of B hasn’t worked this out and to him the money is just a nice bonus.

When Airbnb’s computer looks at these two apartments - and let’s not fool ourselves that these ‘price suggestions’ are done by a human being - then they should be the same price, right? Same location, same size, same apartment complex - as far as a computer is concerned these two places are identical.

We trust computers to do many things but I really don’t think that we should trust them when it comes to such important issues.

I don’t think the wording is misleading. You got suckered, sorry.


Thanks for everyone’s input. I don’t usually take Airbnb price guidance but in this instance, I had 3 free days and it was only 7% (about $10 per night)- if its the difference between getting a $450 booking and not, I’m happy to offer the discount.

The real intent of my email though was to see whether you thought the wording is misleading - which many of you seem to think it’s not. Regardless of whether I got “suckered”, I’ve been dinged too many times to not try and do everything I can to get a good review.

7% off for Oct 22-25 Book within the next 4 days to get this special offer. <-- I think the wording is especially misleading given it says "book within the next 4 days to get this special offer- if you were to book on the 25th it implies you still get the special offer (even though the dates are over).

If you are happy with the outcome, nothing we think matters. I wish I was an expert in English language so I could explain exactly why I read “7% off for Oct 22-25” to mean the discount applies to those dates and not to the booking window. Also when someone goes to book and before they click the final acceptance which means they’ve reserved it’s clear that no discount is applying.

In terms of being suckered I don’t mean that as a criticism of you but as annoyance with Airbnb. But what they try clearly works as they not only got someone to book, they got someone to extend a discount for days not intended to be discounted. We like to act like they don’t know what they are doing but apparently they do.

Personally never use the pct discounts that pop up. If I have vacate dates that I want to fill I manually change the rate for the specific dates I want.

I agree that it’s dumb to say “book within the next four days to get this offer” if the offer is for the next four days. But it still isn’t reasonable to think this means you get 7% off ANY dates if you book in the next four days.