What to say to booked guests who notice I have a newer lower rate

Times are hard and bookings have eased off. I’m booked solid through March but only have a week booked in April and 2 weeks in May, then it is clear sailing until Sept. and Oct. with 10 nights booked. (I know, it’s my fault for booking so far ahead.)

It has never been this bleak in 6+yrs. and I owe it to the glut of similar rentals on the market that are waa-ay more affordable than mine.

I am thinking of dropping my nightly rate by maybe $15, only because I don’t like the look of a $10 drop (psychologically) but am concerned about a push-back from the guests with reservations already in place.

Has anyone dropped rates and had guests with future reservations request (or demand) an ‘adjustment’ of their rate? How do you/would you respond? I do not have ‘seasonal’ rates as an excuse to fall back on ~ I’ve always had one rate year 'round for easier bookkeeping.

Naturally, I do not want to lower the original rates for the confirmed guests because they have had those dates blocked on my calendar for as long as a year. I only have a deposit from them and it would be a $4,000 loss if they cancelled.

@SandyToes. I fuss with my prices all the time. In fact, I just finished lowering all open nights into the next 30 days. No one has ever mentioned it. As far as I know, no one has bothered to notice. I did have one family extend their dates only 8 days out, and they couldn’t understand the math, but didn’t argue at all. [That is the only scenario I can imagine that would get someone to notice.] We used to move prices around when I worked at hotels as well, and again, no one ever complained.

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We have a guest checking in next week that booked a few months ago when our rate was $94/night. It’s now $79/night.

I am hoping she doesn’t notice, but if she does, I’d refund her the difference. I’d also just explain that most of our bookings are 1-3 weeks out and we needed to adjust the rate to ensure we are booked.

sigh it’s tough, eh. I don’t think they’ll notice though because I never relook at the rate of a hotel or whatnot after I book.

We drop our rate by $15.00 if our place isn’t booked for the next seven days. When guests ask about the different prices we explain that we drop the price as the date gets to within a week. This is not unusual in pretty much any business.

Thanks all,

Yup, it would work if it were within spittin’ range but I need to get some live bodies committed for April and beyond.

I don’t have the luxury to wait when it’s a fly-to destination.

I don’t know that many guests would refer to the listing calendar after booking… Messages, yes. But not the calendar.


I would say don’t worry about it. I think guests primarily enter their dates and decide if the total works with their budget. Do we think that guests are looking for changes in pricing of the place they’ve already booked? If anyone did ask me, I would just say I use dynamic pricing.

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I used to worry about that too. And my rates can change by $100 US per night (three-bedroom standalone villa).

So I asked this same question on the Homeaway forum a few months ago. The response I got was that very few guests ever look back at the time they booked to see if the rates have changed. Most guests, once they have booked, get on with their lives to other things. And that’s been my experience, too. No one has ever come back and said to me “Your rates for the week after our trip are cheaper. We want that rate”.

If your guest does complain about the surrounding dates being cheaper, remind them that they booked far ahead in order to be sure that they got the place they wanted at the price they thought was fair. Tell them that the rate for the week they are booking is the rate they paid, but they can cancel and get the next week (or the prior week) for the lower rate. Hotels have a different rate for every night of the week and it changes by the minute and depends on how far out or how close you book. Why should we be any different?

BTW, this is why I HATE the refund policies of AirBnB. I’d be happy to price like a hotel - a cheaper, non-refundable rate or a higher, refundable rate. I’m sure 90%+ of travelers would take the cheaper non-refundable rate. But forcing us to have essentially completely refundable rates pits every host against another one, and opens the door for people to book your place, then just cancel at no penalty when another place discounts at the last minute to get a booking. It’s a nasty race to the bottom, and over time will leave AirBnB with only the poorest listings as the better ones will decide it’s not worth the price and list somewhere else, or just stop hosting.


It doesn’t matter holiday companies do it, retailers do it, supermarkets do it. If it doesn’t sell and has a sell by date, businesses will usually discount closer to the ‘sell by date’ and consumers expect it. Absolutely no reason to offer a discount to the full price guest if they happen to notice it.

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Very simple. Pricing is based on demand, just like hotels.


Well that’s not quite true. If people cancel your booking, and go book somewhere else, they are not refunded the Airbnb fees, i.e. they pay those twice.

I had one guest move their reservation from one night to the next. They noticed what they thought was a different rate and asked for the difference. However it was an easy decline because the difference was just the second person fee which they hadn’t initially paid. All this to say someone might notice. I agree with everyone else that simply saying you operate on the same basis as hotel pricing should suffice as an answer. I don’t get bookings far in advance. I no longer lower my prices if I’m not booked, if anything I raise them because the closer it is to someone’s travel date the fewer rentals that are available. As I’ve previously posted, most of my stays are one night, non-discretionary travelers, not tourists.

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Yeah, the closer to the event the fewer places available. So I usually check my competition for open dates and price just under them, which is often higher than I was initially. It’s the cheap and amazing places that go first. Us middle grounders tend to get booked last minute because we’re what’s left… Most of my bookings come within just a week or two of the date. I’ve gotten quite a few within hours of check-in.

@SandyToes Check your competition for those dates and price just under comparative places. You may find that you’ll make more money, possibly less, but at least it will be an educated pricing that will be the most likely to get you booked.

Terr-rific! I hit the sack early last night and woke up this morning to what amounts to receiving a roomful of presents ~ meaning, all your helpful replies. Thanks so much, it’s just what I wanted!

I was stymied because I could not come up with wording that would justify what might appear to be a double standard. Now I have LOTS of fodder on how to respond to any guest asking for a rate reduction if they see the rate has been lowered. My draft responses are at the ready.

The collective belief is that guests don’t go back and review the original listing so it is unlikely they will ever see the changed rate. I hope that’s true but I tend to revisit the listings of the rentals I secure, right up until my trip (and beyond!) because I look for changes and whether there are newer reviews. (Guess I’m the rare guest who reads everything!)

All I know is, if I noticed the host was advertising a lower rate than what I was paying, you can bet your booty I would ask about it. : )

If you offer a higher end place I would expect people to look at your listing a lot. I know when my husband and I booked a once in a lifetime vacation I would go to their website every week and look at the new pictures and read reviews. But I never checked the pricing because it’s kinda understood that you agreed to that price when you paid for it. But I’ve also worked in sales and service most of my working life.

So it totally get your thought process, but at the same time I think your guests (since they’re going to a vacation destination and are tourists) chose your place because they wanted to stay there and are more worried about their trip and relaxation than arguing with the host about saving $40. I’d think they’re more focused on planning, dreaming and relaxing than fussing with money they’ve already spent.


I do the same thing. But if I had the problem that the OP mentioned, I’d use the reason that others have suggested - that hotels, airlines, cruise companies and so on do exactly the same thing.

It’s very unlikely that booked guests will notice and ask but there are lots of reasons that could be invented. There was a cheaper rate because the building was being repainted, the road to the beach was closed for construction, the local [main attraction] was closed for maintenance - there are many issues that might affect guests mildly but could be a reason for a discount.

I’m not suggesting lying to guests exactly ( :slight_smile: ) but a little research could develop creative solutions.

Most guests won’t notice. I had one guest asked me about this. I told her that, my rates are different everyday. I have a website run my rates. It’s all automatic. Not under my control. Seem to work well. :slight_smile:
My answer was true. I didn’t lie. Just didn’t explain how the website works and if I want to i can take over control, balabalabal…


If I was your customer, I wouldn’t buy that explanation. But I guess if people do believe you, there is no reason to make a fuss about this.

We get this alot when people are initially booking. ‘Why is the werk before/after cheaper’ etc. I say we price like hotels and have an non ABB website that does our pricing. Some book, some dont.

Im in the camp of keeping prices high and getting the close in booking bc all the cheap places have been booked for months