Sympathetic situational discounting?

I get a lot of requests for discounts, because its a lot of days, senior, military vets, etc, and largely (except when we’ve donated housing for wildfires) I stick to my pricing, which I think is fair.
This one below got to me, though. Does anyone have a handy moral compass or personal ethos for this kind of thing?
Your place looks really neat! We are in a crunch to find housing for the next few nights, while we go back and forth to xxxx Children’s Hospital on yyy where our three-year-old is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia for four days in a row. We don’t need anything special, which your place definitely is, but we have limited options. Would you possibly have a discounted rate? I’m happy to provide medical info/diagnosis/etc. Thank you so much for anything you may be able to do.


I am a big ole sap. When my area had flooding I rented my condo for basically cost.

Is there a Ronald McDonald House close by? They are designed for this. After asking a few probing questions, I would probably discount because I can’t imagine the stress the family must be under.

I wish your family didn’t have to go through this difficult time. I want to see what we can work out.

Let’s make sure this is a good fit for you.

How many people will be staying? Will you be dividing the day so everyone usually not here at same time?
Help me understand what appealed to you being here instead of Ronald McDonald house.
Will this be a recurring rental? Maybe we should consider a monthly rental…it may be cheaper & you could leave your belongings here.
Will child be going in for chemo only or staying overnight in the hospital?
If the child is staying here, what do you need special? Extra cleaning? A toddler bed? Anything special for food prep like antibacterial dish soap?

As kindnesses: If the child is staying in the hospital overnight, & parents are splitting time staying with child, consider supplying ear plugs & sleep masks. They may not realize the need & not have. Coffee & breakfast bars & cheap ramen noodles are always appreciated. (I know there is nothing healthy about ramen noodle packages but when you are beyond tired, headache from not eating in 12 hours, just want something quick & go to bed, salty ramen noodles are delicious)

After you understand their needs better, you can decide what you are able to do price-wise and other.


Yeah, for pediatric oncology I do. Free stay with verification of child’s illness. And the next stay and the next stay and the next one. Free. I’m a person of modest means and wealth but I’d do this without a second thought.


I agree in principle. Sometimes a host isn’t financially able to do free but super discounted is ok. I’ve had times I could afford generosity and times I was limited.

With me knowing nothing about the details of this my gut feel is extended family like grandparents are staying too and/or there’s an Ex somewhere & everyone doesn’t need or want to be in the same place. Horrible difficult time. Space can help reduce some family dynamics.

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I would. We are in a lucky position, though - we don’t have to live off our Airbnb earnings- it’s going towards retirement. And if I learn that someone is coming into town for a funeral or something, I almost always slip them some sort of “bereavement discount”, on the order of 10 or 20%, maybe eliminating the cleaning fee or making the last day free, depending.

This seems like a legit request, and you can hardly go wrong in this world by showing some kindness.


Now see, my knee jerk reaction is, “Yes, I would.” But here we go. I had a bereavement discount request about 3 weeks ago. I gladly gave the discount they named. Then they came back and said another host was going to do X and would I match it. Wow. Just wow. I said they should stay with the other host. Oh, no, you have higher reviews so we’ll book you.

They proceeded to ask for free early arrival, to go over my max capacity (& also for free), etc, etc. The day of arrival they started on about what kind of pillows do I have because they have neck/back issues and are my towels small because they hate small towels. Ugh. FYI…I cancelled their stay. They were the worst.

So sadly, I’d want to say yes, but I’m gun shy now. Even grieving or distressed people can apparently be jerks.

You have to go with your gut. It’d be very hard to say no to this. I’m sure I’d say yes but if they went down the road of my “bereaved” guests I might have to shut it down.

If there are ample lower priced comps in your area I would be hesitant, but mostly because I got burned.


Had a similar issue with a bereavement group.
Booked for 12, brought 20, flooded the upstairs bathroom that damaged the 120 year old plaster ceilings downstairs.
Denied everything until I flicked them the photos my neighbours sent.
They didn’t think children under 12 counted, like a hotel….:rage:


So they broke your rules, damaged your house and lied to you. All after you kindly gave them a discount. Nice. :unamused:


You have to be careful with wedding groups too. My group brought extra people (I caught it & charged them). I told them the condo wasn’t equipped for that many people (beds, towels, plates etc). They submitted a claim wanting me to pay for the air mattress they purchased & took with them . People…just people. SMH.

Ditto, with the rest. Definitely would ask a few leading questions; “trust but verify”. And if it all checks out would offer a heavy discount.

My wife’s brother died from leukemia as a child. My in-laws, 30 years later, still carry that grief.

Helping this family during a time of need would hopefully keep some wind in their sails.


Yes, it’s one thing to not make a profit or a very minimal one on the accommodation itself, if you can afford to do that, but there doesn’t seem to me to be a good reason for the host to actually be out of pocket, unless they feel good about it, just like they were donating to a charity, but directly to the recipient. So things like utilities should be covered by the guest- after all, if they were home, they’d be paying for the hot water, etc, anyway.

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Thanks @KKC and all, I was in the same place. My challenge is with ‘verify’, how to confirm if this is real or an invented reason for a discount, as I am unfortunately less trusting than I used to be because people…’I can’t honestly think of a way to verify this that isn’t a massive invasion of privacy.


She offered to send you the info, so I don’t think that saying, sure, if you can send that, I’d appreciate it, is an invasion of privacy. Actually that she offered to send it in the first place makes it seem like this is on the up and up.


Yep. This……………………….,.

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I would give them a discount. I don’t think folks would lie about a child’s illness.

I oh so unscientifically go with my gut, lol. Frankly I don’t get many requests. I’ve occasionally had repeaters need to stay an extra night once they are already here because of some local family crisis and I sometimes don’t charge. My general rule of thumb would be to cover my costs even when I sympathize. Mine are minimal since its a home share, I offer simple breakfast, and we do our own cleaning.


All you need to ask them for is a copy of the hospital confirmation that there child is being admitted for care.

They can easily black out personal details such as their home address or treatment details.

In our area paediatric oncology is well supported by lots of resources. I would direct them to their social worker to get information about Ronald McDonald House or other hospital discounts at hotels. But of course, do as your own set of ethics dictates.


This. Verify the illness and the hospital and then either free or deeply discounted. Since my earnings aren’t my main source of income, I’d do free.

I block days for people like this and do NOT offer bereavement discounts. Lots of funerals in the area and my prices are already competitive.

I’ve had the same run-around “So and so is at $X will you match it?” Me, “No. They don’t my amenities, or proximity to your event.” Then if they persist, I block a day on my calendar and they go away. I even had one person come back after I unblocked the day (stalker!) and ask if it was personal against them (discrimination!). I said that based on our correspondence, this wasn’t a good fit for either of us. Still wanted to book, blocked, booked with next folks.



And then I’d host them for free, but that’s me.

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To be clear there is no legal obligation of privacy here. HIPAA does not apply to you, ever. And the ADA nor the FHA apply either. So you aren’t doing anything legally or ethically wrong by asking. And you aren’t doing anything wrong in a moral or etiquette sense either since they have 1. asked for a favor based on provideing the information and 2. offered to send you the information.

Just say, yes please forward the information and I’d be happy to consider a different rate, thank you. Let them decide what to share or what not to share, that is up to them 100%, it has nothing to do with you. The only thing that has to do with you is whether or not you want to accept the information that they choose to send to you as “proof” or not.