Unusual discount fishing

I got a confirmed instant booking today with this message from the guest:

This is a 4-day reservation that is only 6 days inside of my 90-day booking window during the busiest time of the year. The guest created her account 19 months ago but has no reviews. I find it interesting that she specifically used the term Special Offer. I’m thinking she’s just hoping I’ll alter the reservation to reduce the price, but she’ll still pay full because accommodations are proving difficult to find in general. However, she may also be using my listing a placeholder for 48 hours while she continues to search for accommodations at a lower price point (which she is unlikely to find).

This was my response.

She did not respond and she did not cancel. Are there any “red flags” here?

I’m hoping she cancels because Smart Pricing booked these exact dates at $28/night higher in 2019, but that also means she’s unlikely to find anything cheaper. Again, more Smart Pricing disappointment.

I would cancel as uncomfortable, I would be uncomfortable that this guest will be a pain in the ass. Cancel it and raise the price if it should be more.


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I would not be worried, I think some listings do have special offers so he/she could have just saw it while looking at other listings.


That came to mind simply because overspending tends to lead to buyer’s remorse. Still, the “hefty expense” might be an innocent lie in her mind just to see if she can get a better price.

I thought Special Offer is a specific term for responding to an inquiry or reservation request, whereas a when searching listings it’s shown as a promotion. She even capitalized the words making me think she read some blog on getting Airbnb discounts or she’s being coached by another Airbnb guest.

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Your suspicions about her reading some blog or being coached are probably correct. In any case, the “family wedding” usually means that there end up being tons of people in the house coming and going, using up the amenities- “Oh, but they’re not staying overnight!”.
I wouldn’t want this booking.


Uncomfortable with this reservation…



That part doesn’t bother me. Over 20% of my guests come for weddings.

  • “smart pricing” is only smart for airbnb, at your expense.
  • The guest MIGHT have booked places but not been reviewed by hosts

I see red flags here. Bargain hunters are often not good guests and may give a poor or substandard review.

You may wish to block out dates so far ahead, 3 months is a long time, especially when your rates are not optimized for your stay.

If I were in your shoes, quite honestly, after the 48 hours, I would burn a “I’m very uncomfortable with this booking” and call airbnb to cancel it". Then, you’ll get a higher priced booking.

It sounds like there is a high season coming up. It may well be to your benefit to only allow bookings for that time once it’s only perhaps 4 weeks out. You’ll have one of the only spots available and can demand a premium.

Remember, you are running a business. Do whatever you need to put the edge on your side of the ledger.

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I’m always adverse to Discount shoppers. Despite everything you do and provide, there’s always the chance they will provide a lower rating on ‘Value’.

If you do keep this guest, I’d also make them aware that it is MLB Cactus League Spring Training, and that is a very large factor in why the rates are higher. Maybe provide them the attached schedule as a gesture, both as justification and to be helpful. But with that in mind, if you cancel, you most likely get it filled.

I opened up March 2020 a week ago, and its already 70% booked. March 2019 was almost completely booked (back2back bookings all month)

“ Base-a-bol ben bera, bera goooooood to me.“ … Chico Escuela (Garrett Morris SNL)



I don’t see a problem. My partner always try’s to get a better deal on EVERYTHING. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
You have replied and she hasn’t cancelled all good.


We’ve had many many many conversations here about discounts. Some hosts see asking for them as a sign of a potential guests. Other hosts, including me, see no problem at all with guests asking for a discount.

Yet again, it’s one of those ‘every host is different’ scenarios.

I tell guests that the place is already great value so I can’t offer any further discounts. I think that almost always the guest has booked and there have been no problems. But there again, I’m in an area where there are thousands of Airbnbs, other STRs and hotels so they aren’t choosing our place on price but on location. With some people, it’s just second nature to ask for a discount.

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@Debster There are some things it’s appropriate to try to see if you can get a better price on. To me, they are those things that are being “middled”- there is a middleman between the producer and the customer, who may be willing to offer a discount and make a little less profit. But the creator of a product or service should not be bargained with- it’s insulting. My price for my listing is as low as I can set it and still make enough of a profit to make hosting worthwhile. Someone who asks for a discount is disrespecting me and my offering.
Does your husband try to bargain at the check-out stand at the supermarket? When he fills up the car with gas? Why view someone’s Airbnb lisiting, which they put a great deal of time and effort and care into as something negotiable?

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When I started hosting, at first I was put off by the discount seekers, but I realized there are lots of people that do it. To some it’s culture, to some it’s a thrill, but all I have to do is politely say “no.”

However, I have concerns about somebody that books at a price that is overspending their budget. When people are unhappy about how much something costs, they nitpick to justify their reasoning.

BTW, she finally replied with this:

I don’t think she’ll cancel. I just checked the nearby hotel that is normally the least expensive in the area and for the same dates, the price for one room with 2 queen beds is the same as my whole home with 4 bedrooms, 3 queen beds and 2 twin beds.


Yes. All of them! :wink: Asking for a discount, going for the sympathy card (hefty expense for my family - either save for it or don’t go, IMHO), and then no response to your message.

She’s either going to be the best guest ever or the worst guest ever. There will be no in between.

Turn off smart pricing or raise your base price for the busy months. You shouldn’t lose $28 a night!!

I have stopped trying to predict guest quality. Just had a guest who I thought would be high maintenance due to a large number of pre-stay questions. Ended up not hearing from her at all during her stay.


About 20% of my guests are coming to a wedding. Since I ask where the wedding is (golf course, winery, other) and I have a no gatherings policy, it all works out well for this home.

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More messaging with my guest has revealed that the actual wedding venue is in a small town about 50 miles away but the guests are going to be doing other things in my area before the wedding.

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