The Perfect Place for the Perfect Price: How to Hack AirBnB

by Nick Waterhouse

I have rented AirBnB properties in many different cities all over the world. From wine country abodes in Sonoma to party pads with infinity pools (see above image taken earlier this year) in Thailand, AirBnB has proved a legitimate and affordable way to have all of the amenities of a true home while traveling. Best of all, I have never paid the full listing price for a rental on AirBnB. Whenever I share this fact with other travelers, they are surprised at how easy it can be to rent a great place for less.  Learning the process below will help you find a phenomenal place for an affordable price while helping renters fill vacancies and further develop this amazing community.

Here are 5 items to help easily secure your next cheap rental on AirBnb:

1) Contact hosts as close to arrival date as possible

When looking for the perfect AirBnB property, make sure arrival dates and the number of guests are set correctly as this will filter out the unwanted places and places that aren’t available for the dates of your stay. It is vital for the bargaining process to contact hosts as close to your stay as you are comfortable in doing. This puts pressure on the host to fill the vacant property and also ensures that someone else won’t come along and want to book the property for the full price.

2) Bargain Smartly

Obviously, hosts are going to be hesitant to drop the price for their property for no reason. To begin a conversation, mention that the property and reviews look great but that it is currently out of your price range. Then say how much you would like to spend and ask if the owner has any other properties in that price range. The email will look something like this:

Hello [Insert Host Name]!

I hope all is well!  My name is __________  ( a fellow AirBnB’er) and I will be in [City Name] on Sunday to relax and get work done after a long stint of traveling. Your place looks perfect but it is a bit out of my price range at the moment.

I wanted to reach out and ask you if you had any other properties available during this time that are cheaper/smaller or if you had any suggestions as to where to stay locally. I am looking to spend about $xx USD a night and would only need one bedroom. If your property I am contacting you about remains available, would you be able to lower the price for me? I am a great guest and leave great reviews on AirBnb 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read my message and I am looking forward to hearing back from you.

Best Regards,

AirBnB has a great feature that saves the first e-mail you use to contact a seller so for all other available properties, you can contact the host with one click. Don’t be afraid to lowball the original price of the listing and be honest with yourself about your true budget. Always say that the price you mentioned is the maximum you can pay. If the host has another property in your price range, then great! If not, more times than not they will lower their price to meet your needs and fill the vacant property.

3) Use reviews as leverage

As you can see in the template above, I mentioned that I am an experienced AirBnB’er who always leaves great reviews. This will encourage a host to give you the property for your asking price as they know you will leave a positive review in exchange. AirBnB reviews are treated just like any other e-commerce site and positive reviews greatly increase the rental chances of a property. Using a positive review as a bargaining chip can go a long way.

4) Look for great places with no reviews

If you find a new property or a place that seems great with little or no reviews, contact these properties first. Hosts will be much more likely to rent their property for a cheaper price if they are new to AirBnb and want to start generating some reviews and income. The e-mail template above will still work fine but feel free to lower your initial asking price if the place has no reviews.

5) Don’t skip unusually large properties

If a host is offering a very large place, there is a good chance it is rarely rented on AirBnb. Most couples, solo-travelers or families wouldn’t think about contacting a host who is renting an 8 bedroom house. I have been very successful in renting larger places for myself or a very small group. Use the e-mail template above but I would make sure to tell the host that they are welcome to lock x-amount of bedrooms that would not be used. This puts the host at ease by ensuring that you will not be bringing more people than originally mentioned.

These 5 simple tactics have worked wonders for me throughout my travels. Contact as many properties as you can to better your chances to finding that perfect place. Don’t forget that hosts also leave reviews on their guests – so be polite, leave the place spotless and write a kind, constructive and thorough review of the property. Safe travels my friends!

Have you tried these tactics out? Let me know by sharing your story below.


Nick Waterhouse is the founder of AirBuds, Ltd. and BackpackingWithaBusiness.com. When not starting new projects, he is exploring far-off lands or making music with his friends. Feel free to contact him at BackpackingWithaBusiness@gmail.com.

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