Did you know that Airbnb has more listings than the 5 largest hotel chains combined?
They span the globe with 400+ million listings in 190+ countries.
Our family is head-over heals in love with Airbnb. So much so that we use them for most of our accommodations while traveling.
One of the biggest reasons we're smitten with Airbnb is the fact that it's possible to stay at high-quality Airbnbs amazingly cheap. Much cheaper than far inferior hotel rooms.
In this step-by-step guide we'll walk you through how we book every one of our Airbnbs for a discount.
The process is quick, simple, straightforward, and we guarantee it will save you lots of money.
Finding new customers is Airbnb's single largest expense. Most of their customer acquisition costs go toward a brilliant incentive program. The program pays new customers to book their first Airbnb stay -- $40 to be exact!
Ebay is one of the best places to find discount Airbnb Gift Card promotions.
There are frequent promotions offering Airbnb gift cards for 90% of face value. That's an immediate 10% discount on any booking. We have saved $1,000s on this alone.
The best part is that you can add the gift cards to your account. Once you have added them to your account, there is no risk in losing them.
Important: Buy the gift cards with a cash back credit card for an additional 2% discount.
We currently have a $9,142.93 gift card balance ready for use on our next Airbnb stay.
This Airbnb offers an 8% weekly discount. We've seen them as high as 50%.
Many Airbnb guests book short stays -- think weekend trip. The result is that many homes are full on the weekends, but available (vacant) on weekdays. Unsold inventory = lost money!
In an attempt to book more stays, and make more money, many Airbnb hosts offer discounts for stays of a week or longer.
It's a win-win situation. The Airbnb host fills their home, while the guest receives a discount for staying longer than average.
Weekly discount offers display on the listing itself, when available. And, will only display when your search timeframe triggers a discount.
Monthly discounts are also available if you plan on "putting down roots."
20% special offer + 15% weekly discount + 10% gift card discount. We booked it!
During the low season, or if the Airbnb is new to the platform, vacancy is common.
To fill open nights, hosts can make a special offer for bookings made by a certain period for a certain period. For example, any stay in July is 20% off if booked by June 1.
It is possible to combine a special offer with the weekly discount as seen in the screenshot below.
Our favorite strategy is contacting the host and asking for a discount. This strategy is our favorite because it provides the deepest discounts.
Contacting the host is simple. On the listing page, scroll down to 'The Host' area and click the 'Contact Host' button.
When contacting the host, do so before requesting to book the home.
In our message to the host we introduce ourselves, tell the host why we're traveling in the area, compliment their home and then ask for the discount.
Here's an example:
My name is Brandon. My family (wife, and 3 kids ages 6, 4 and 2) and I are full-time travelers experiencing the world and everything it has to offer. We are planning our upcoming trip to Lagos, and are excited to relax on the stunning beaches. Of all the homes we're considering, yours is our favorite. The home is beautiful, and the picture of the rooftop deck looks amazing. However, it is beyond my family's budget. Are you able to provide a discount? You can see from our reviews that we are pleasant guests, and that we treat a host's home as our own. I completely understand if you're unable to provide a discount -- but had to ask. Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
The host will decline/ignore or reply back with a discount -- Airbnb calls the discount a 'special offer'. If a 'special offer' is made, you as the guest have 24 hours to accept. After 24 hours the 'special offer' will expire.
You do not need to accept the first 'special offer' a host makes. We will ask for a deeper discount at times, at which point the host can adjust and resend the 'special offer'.
Important: The host is unlikely to offer a discount if they are confident that they can fill the space.
A good way to determine your likelihood of success is to check the calendar for availability.
Rule Of Thumb: If more than 1/2 the nights of a given month are available, you're likely to receive a discount.
Many hosts charge 'extra guest' fees when the number of guests exceeds 2. Why should we as a family (or group) pay more for the same space? We shouldn't, and that's why we always ask the host to waive the fees.
Airbnb does not make the 'extra guest' fees easy to find (see 2nd screenshot below), but you should always be on the lookout for them. Here's an example of how expensive 'extra guest fees' can be.
1-Week Stay for 2 people = $91/night
1-Week Stay for 4 people = $145/night
So....I'm paying $54 more per night...$380 for the week.....a more than 59% increase....for the exact same space? Uhhh???? No way.
To be fair, more people likely means more wear and tear, higher utility costs, increased complaints from neighbors, etc.
But, in my opinion, those costs are minor and the 'extra guest' fee is more of an 'extra profit' fee.
$45 cleaning fee is more than 1/2 a night's stay.
Many hosts charge a cleaning fee to cover the cost of cleaning the Airbnb following a guest's stay. At times this fee can become quite large.
We look for homes without a cleaning fee...or a minimal cleaning fee. If we fall in love with a home that comes with a high cleaning fee we usually ask to have it removed as part of step #5.
Sure, I'll share the love!
If you love Airbnb as much as us, you'll want to tell your friends about the awesomeness. There's great news! Airbnb has a referral program. For each friend you refer that books a stay, you'll earn $20 in Airbnb credit.
A delicious free breakfast included in our $56/night Airbnb. The view was also free. 😉
Feeding a family of 5 is expensive. We save $10+ per day when free breakfast is included in our stay. This can result in an additional 10-20% savings at our budget.
Did I miss out on anything? Which other strategies do you use when saving on Airbnb stays?
Loving life and inspiring others to travel the world.
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