The negotiators are getting worse out there

This is only a sample of the hard knocks my poor potential guests face today…wah wah - it is all a front.

I have been through a lot within the last 48 hours with multiple guests. But it is amazing to me what every guest comes up with as excuses - aka manipulation. Hold strong folks.

Several days ago guest asked for a 2 night booking through my direct website: peak leaf season weekend. I let him know there is a 4 night minimum. He came back asking if we would do 3 nights. Of course I knew in the back of my mind I would accept if reservations didn’t leave holes in the calendar. I already had Sunday booked for another 3 day, and knew he would come back with 3 nights as a compromise.

Just check out the negotiating “dance” we play with each other. At least I was dancing. He inquired for a 2 night stay with 4 adults (prime weekend) of leaf season!

Me: Hi XXXX,

I am quoting you based on 4 adults, no children/infants. The rate is $250 a night with a $105 clean/prep fee per reservation. Everything is taxed at 11.75%. However, we do require a 4 night stay for that weekend. Total for 4 nights would be $1,234. 84. Let me know if I can answer anything else. The weekdays during peak leaf season only require a 3 night stay. We allow 2 night stays on weekends during the off season.


Traveler: “Is the bacon available for the weekend of the 22nd of October? Thanks”

ME: “Yes. Here is our availability calendar.”

Traveler: “I have a reservation with another company for the following weekend, but it is a 3 day rental, is there anyway you would consider a 3 day rental? The cost is a bit prohibitive for the 4 days.” (He is of course trying to make me sweat I will lose a potential reservation)

ME: “I will ask XXXX the owner of the cabin. I will be back after 4. I am helping to prepare the cabin for today’s guests. I know if he does allow 3 days it would have to be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as to not break up the week.” (Of course I didn’t need to ask…just letting him think he is getting some special approval or something) - my needs were already met.

Traveler: “That would work perfect. Thanks!”

ME: (Evening of same day) - "I have attached our house notes and departure checklist (for your review) - so you can decide if you would like to move forward with the 3 day booking. If you would like to move forward then I will email a short contract for you to sign, scan, and email back. We require payment by check when a reservation is made outside of 30 days of arrival. Within 30 days then we allow credit card payment. Of course you are also welcome to book us through Airbnb or Flipkey; however, they do charge the guest high traveler fees for using their site. But they only require a credit card. You can find our cabin listed on multiple sites by googling “XXXXXXXXXXX or XXXXXXXXX”


Traveler: “Thanks for the email. So, with the remain,
I assume that the owner was willing to accept The 3 night stay, which is great news. As this is a surprise my wife would see any checks that clear our account, so I was hoping to use a credit card to keep our anniversary get away a secret, is there anyway we could use a CC, to secure the room for the weekend of the 22nd? Thanks!!” (bullshit lie of surprise for his wife…just wants me to accept credit card)

ME: Yes, owner made an exception. However, we only willingly absorb credit card fees (from direct bookings) when dates are booked within 30 days of arrival. But guests can book us through the other sites and use their credit card.

I already waived the damage deposit because there are no children in your group, and trust you will take great care of the cabin. The credit card fees would come to $28.05 including NC lodging tax on those fees. NC requires us to even charge lodging tax of 11.75% on credit card fees if the guest is charged them. If you would like to pay the $28.05 then that would be okay with us…and we will make an exception for you. Overall it is much cheaper than paying Flipkey 13.5% or Airbnb 6-12%. Just let me know. We just do not believe in making the big banks even richer for a simple transaction.


I do not care if he books at all. But it is just the song and dance that is played is all.

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My whole point of this post is just that the song and dance is getting long and old. Every traveler has a “story” of why they want to use their credit card rewards and have you pay for them. Every request does not offer to pay extra …"oh by the way - my other daughter will be joining!! My gosh - I hadn’t had anything like that in a long time. But she got charged. And the day before was “can we get in early the night before because…” - again - no offer to book the previous today. I had to ask and they agreed to book. BTW - “do you want me to book the day before for you?”

Funny how guests are so clear when they want to take advantage, but so vague if it will cost them anything…


Hi @cabinhost,

Wow, that’s an awful lot of typing. And I thought some of the conversations I had with my guests were lengthy. Is that typical of your enquiries?

Update: Just received this response:

“I agree with the plan. Can I give my CC up front. The fee is not an issue. What is the next step to book the cabin?”

See what I mean about how it all is just a song and dance?? But it is human nature I guess…

Gotta go get my contract together…

After all my hyperbole about never giving discounts, I just sent a "special (discounted) offer to a guest as this will be his fourth stay with me, it’s during the week during the off-season (two months away) and he is super clean. I guess there are always exceptions.

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It depends on if they want to go back and forth. This is through my direct website. Most fill out the form and want a quote.

It’s worth it though…

I think they all know - or sense - that there is a glut of hosts our there. They play games and manipulate because they know the market is competitive. I am not that patient with it. I just decline after a certain point. I am lucky I am in a position where I can.

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Yes, and they are encouraged to negotiate every step of the way - by travel bloggers.

The ridiculous discount seekers I decline. I sent this guy a contract and he is my target market - 2 couples traveling together. Hopefully it ends well. And he feels like he “won” something…lol.

I’ve only had 2 enquiries asking for a discount. Both booked at full price. So while it is annoying, they’re just trying to save money. I don’t blame them one bit. You don’t ask, you don’t get.

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Ask once? Cool. More than once? Not cool. The constant manipulation is a drain. I’m surprised you’ve only been asked twice, but then again you’ve not been hosting super long, right? Plus, I think the negotiations are more common in certain price ranges.

I used to only get asked on VRBO, but then people on Air do it too now. Flipkey too.

My last VRBO inquiry sent through a blank message. This is getting more common too. I could select “phone number” to count as my response. I didn’t even bother to reply back. She can’t even take the time to type “just want to confirm these dates are available”? - sounds like the blast emailing they encourage.

This is one of my favorite, and briefest, inquiries. Obviously, I had to ASK HIM a lot of questions:

“Coming back to CU for home football game.”

Bingo. I’ve never been asked for a discount because I have 1 night guests at under $50. It’s not enough money to even be worth their time. I do think if I were asked I’d just decline altogether.

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The best ones are always the freebies. I got a doozy last year from a couple seeking to do ocean research work for their non profit based in Iowa. Yes, an ocean non profit based in Iowa, and would I let them stay for free for two weeks to research the ocean and of course I would get a big tax write off! Decline.

Second best was someone who wanted the room for $20 a night and in return would mention me on Twitter because as a fitness trainer she had 30,000 followers. Oh yea, sounds like a win win. Decline.


Actually I used to receive inquiries from negotiators when I was a new host with a low price, but not anymore now that my prices are in the higher end for my area.

I had a few very short reservation requests just saying “Disney!”. I thought it was weird and rude until I had to send a reservation request myself. When a guest is about to send a request, Air displays a message like “tell (name of host) what brings you to (city name)”… I am not sure but I think this message was flashing red ! So these guests just did what Air told them to do.


I guess we’re lucky - 3 years and no one has ever asked for a discount. But, as others have suggested, ours is a very reasonably priced private room so maybe it’s less likely. But these people asking for discounts, are they mostly Americans? We’ve had very few American guests so perhaps that’s another explanation. The one time we did give a discount was for 2 guys who were doing a charity bicycle ride from John O’Groats to Lands End. They were raising money for a children’s hospital. We still had them book through Airbnb but then gave them all the money back in cash.

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Here is my latest negotiation attempt from a guest. My maximum stay is 10 days BTW.
Him "Hi this is X. Your house is really beautiful, how much for 1 week?"
Me "Thank you for your message - if you select the dates you would like to stay for one week, then send a booking enquiry, you’ll be told how much the cost will be (I don’t calculate this amount, Airbnb do). Many thanks again, Suzannah"
Him "I am student from AUT, can I live for long time maybe three months or half year, and pay weekly in your house? Is it the same price with shortly stay?"
Me "Hi again X, If you select the exact dates you would like to stay and place a booking enquiry, you will be advised of the cost. I do not negotiate or accept payments outside of Airbnb, thank you.
Crickets :slight_smile:


Here’s mine, which woke me at 2:50am.

Hello there! I’m XX! What a lovely unit you have!

I will be visiting beautiful Hawaii for a very special holiday all the way from London. I’m 23 and very polite, tidy and respectful.

Is this lovely place available from the 2nd October till the 6th October? Just want to enquire about the price - is this flexible at all? I am very keen to book! :slight_smile:

Many kind regards and I really look forward to hearing from you.


It is available, but I don’t offer discounts. It’s priced fairly for the amenities, season and area. There is also accommodations tax of 13.45% due in cash on the reservation.


Also 23 is a bit young, sometimes they are ok but I really do want over 25 which I state in my listing, as well as the tax.

Why or why do they insult us by tryin pg to negotiate? Does this look like a Moroccan bazaar? :smile:


@Barthelemy that is my experience, too. I was asked for discount waaaay more when I was cheaper and brand new. My very first inquiry asked if they could clean and skip the $50 cleaning fee. (My answer was No.) And I had one douche who got really nasty and accused me of a bait-n-switch because my weekend rate was slightly higher. Frankly, the bargain hunters on the low end are the worst.