How to negotiate Airbnb and Wimdu deals
Negotiations on Airbnb, Wimdu and other short term rental platforms are an absolute must to counter any demand-based pricing mechanisms, which is utilized to put hosts in a favorable position.
However, very few take advantage of the “contact host” -button to give it a shot.
Here is how you do it:
Step1: Collect as many offers as possible
If you want to be in a favorable negotiation position, you will need to have a lot of options. On top of that, not all hosts update their calendar regularly. Therefore, you need to filter at least 10 to 30 listings.
You can even include the ones that are 30% over your max. budget.
Step2: Contact hosts before booking
Sent messages to each host, stating your interest in the room and the date you want to move in. Most importantly, ask for special discounts for that specific period.
I did the following negotiation for a single room that was listed for 480€/month. I was searching for an accommodation for 5 months but wanted a breakdown of the best prices.
In the above example the price dropped from 480€ to 320€/month!
In some cases a host will directly ask about your max budget. If so, I recommend throwing in a price that is 25-30% lower than the listed price.
Step3: Let hosts know that you have options
Hosts know that a lot of inquiries often convert into bookings. Hence, if you let them know about other offers, they will sometimes throw in a last discount to secure your booking.
Not all hosts are going to compromise on the price.
However, you can increase your odds if you contact hosts with zero or little reviews. They need to boost their profile with good ratings to receive more inquiries and hence are more willing to negotiate.
Step4 Disclose your budget
After collecting all offers, you should have a good sense of the price level. It is highly unlikely that hosts will go further down but it is worth a shot
If you feel the Vibe was good, you can counter offer with a budget that is 3-8 percent lower than their best prices.
Avoid even numbers like 450€ and instead use odd ones like 439€
Why odd numbers? Refer to this article about German social-psychologists from the University of Saarland, Trier who have released a study on successful negotiation strategies.
It is a well-known “secret” that experienced users with long-term plans are trying to avoid the service fees by booking a room for several days. After “testing it out”, they privately extend their stay (outside of the Airbnb-system) with the host.
Some hosts even encourage you to dodge the fees and save money.
Of course, this can be risky.
If you hand out your money in cash to a shady host, you might get scammed with no room arrangements AND more importantly without any evidence to proof it. Even good host reviews are no guarantee that you won’t get conned.