Guests increasingly ask for discounts

45 Replies

Is everyone else seeing an increase of inquiries asking for a better deal?

When I started 4 years ago, it was very rare. Now a large % of guests ask for discount. In the past 24 hours alone, got 2/3 inquiries per property all asking for discounts!!! Drives me crazy. So time consuming....

And how do you deal with them? Refusing is losing the deal. Negotiating is encouraging them to do so even more.... :-(

What are your thoughts?

Updated 2 months ago

​UPDATE: The downside of a "bad inquiry" is not just the waste of time with having to reply. It's a lot more. You risk to increase your average response time, especially when it's from overseas or different time zones and you are not available. More importantly, inquiries that don't convert do reduce your ranking drastically.

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I think part of the issue is profesionlization of the sector.   Quality goes down and prices go up and people are nickle and dimed ( cleaning fees, deposits, etc) Once this happens people dont feel bad asking for discounts

Guests of whom? What do you mean by guest?

Hey @Kevin Lefeuvre

You've poked the bear and I've only had one cup of coffee!  Yes, indeed this is happening and I agree with @Account Closed inferred is that they really are are just "visitors" and we have no real relationship with them as the OTA's would like us to believe.  They try and create this false impression by dressing up their websites, changing their marketing spin, and collecting reviews of "US" and not really our properties because the reviews follow us and we are labeled as SuperHosts and Premier Partners.  We try so hard to build a relationship so they leave us a 5 star review.  We hope they might return and book directly with us the next time, which happens occasionally and does start to build some relationship.  That's a good thing and I certainly provide discounts to them, without them having to ask.  Wouldn't it be great to have returning visitors, that became "guests" for every stay?  Would you pay an OTA 3% if you could book direct, maintain your price, control your own "experience" and reviews and would market only your property if they were looking to return to the same location?  It is so counter intuitive in that they market your competitors before they even book!  That's messed up!  Talk about market and price erosion!  I define a guest as someone I already know and care for that I would allow to stay at my own home for free, not someone who wants a glorified hotel room or BnB that might include a pool, basket of goodies, well appointed kitchen, etc... that "rents" my home.  These people are really visitors but the OTA's like to soften it and pitch that they are creating these "experiences" to differentiate themselves in the travel industry; trying to convince the municipalities that they are different in some positive way.   It seems that the people that are asking for discounts and paying the least are the high maintenance visitors, complain the most, and ding us on reviews for not having "Olive Oil" or that the place doesn't have "creature comforts" (barf).  This is a serious business and I struggle every day with these requests and conflicting, almost crazy making" messages from the industry.  Take your discount requests and shove them where the sun doesn't shine.

I need more coffee,

Mike

@Michael Greenberg . Dropped the mic on that one I can’t beat what he said. Perfect. “The less they pay they more they complain”

@Lucas Carl hahaha, we need to meet sometime.  Oh, and to add insult to injury.... look at what ABB just put on my property pages this morning:

"Something for everyone

Guests will choose one of these options on your listing page:

Flexible

FULL PRICE

OR

Non-Refundable

10% OFF"

@Michael Greenberg I was playing around with the idea of STR forum meet up in Vegas. Truth is I just want to hear @Paul Sandhu jokes in real life and see if they’re better or worse LOL

I get them all the time and i know they blanket the entire listing in the area asking for discounts.  I have 4 in the same area and i get the same email across my 4 listings.  Don't fall for it

Increased competition means more and more owners will have to negotiate their prices to keep the property full. Guests get used to seeing discounts and start expecting them. 

I don't get asked for discounts all that often, but when I do, I generally say "The current price shows all available discounts".  At least twice recently people have booked anyway, and been thrilled with their stay!

BTW @Michael Greenberg you have to opt in to that refund policy thing ABB is pushing, it's not a default. 

@Lucas Carl if there's an STR meet up in Vegas you better organize it before I move away from the west coast! LOL

@Lucas Carl About 3 months ago I had 3 engineers from China rent a furnished 4BR from me through an interpretor.  They had been staying at a Holiday Inn Express, but the lack of cooking facilities were a disappointment to them.  I was going to charge them $600/week for the 4BR.  

The interpretor asked if I could give them some sort of discount.  I told them that they could get a 4th person for the 4th bedroom and the price would remain at $600.  

A month later the smartest guy from the group went back home, and he was replaced by 2 other guys.  So they got their discount, and I was making the same amount of rent that I originally asked for.

Another two guys were renting a two bedroom place from me.  They said they would be here a long long time, and wanted some sort of discount.  So I made a deal, stay and pay for 7 weeks and the 8th week is free.  Then it repeats.  They ended up staying for 6 months.  They get 3 weeks free, but I got 23 weeks of rent and my cleaning lady didn't have to raise a finger for half a year on the unit they stayed in.  

One of the guys left rapidly on bad terms.  He was about my height and size.  The other guy was about 6" taller than me.  After they left, I found a deep indentation in the drywall that I could lean back in to.  It fit me perfectly, shoulders/head/hips/back.  I guess the two of them had a disagreement, and the smaller guy was thrown hard enough in a wall to leave an impression.

@Julie McCoy spot on as usual with her answer.  We get discount questions from time to time. You just have to come up with polite/friendly wording to let them know that no additional discounts are being offered at this time.

Originally posted by @Michael Greenberg :

Hey @Kevin Lefeuvre, 

You've poked the bear and I've only had one cup of coffee!  Yes, indeed this is happening and I agree with @Account Closed 's comments, but beyond that I also think there is an erosion of prices being driven by the encouraging behaviors of the OTA's and travel industry as a whole.  They are encouraging a race to zero.  Are you ever 

 Michael, coffee is a must in the morning, (as in the afternoon). :-)

Agreed on everything and the fact OTAs like lowering prices. I wonder if there is not something in their communication funnel encouraging the guests to ask for discount. I do travel a few times a year using them and didn't notice anything, but I won't be surprised if in one of those "retargeting" ads or emails, they don't encourage them to contact the host and ask for discount. (the same way they send us notes such as "XY has not yet booked, contact them and offer a discount or ....")

Thanks for the detailed comment.

Originally posted by @Mary Mitchell :

I think part of the issue is profesionlization of the sector.   Quality goes down and prices go up and people are nickle and dimed ( cleaning fees, deposits, etc) Once this happens people dont feel bad asking for discounts

 True!

You are correct @Julie McCoy , but just the "noise" it creates is an erosion of the market, no matter how small.  I too have a "nice declining statement", I just like to get a little snarky on BP at times.

@Lucas Carl does it have to be LV?  There has to be something more interesting in the wanderful life experiences.

@Paul Sandhu that is unbelievable and to build on what Lucas stated, I'd hate to see the other guy.  Reminds of the jokes "3 guys walk into a bar...."  you can tweak and finish the rest.

@Kevin Lefeuvre , thanks!  Oh, I've seen those retargeting ads, just login to your ABB account, look for a property, select your dates but don't book.  You'll get a taste for them and they are appetizing.

Good topic, got my blood flowing this morning, even after the coffee wore off.

Originally posted by @Julie McCoy :

I don't get asked for discounts all that often, but when I do, I generally say "The current price shows all available discounts".  At least twice recently people have booked anyway, and been thrilled with their stay!

 Yes Julie, that's my standard response too. Even though the discount shows on their quote without us mentioning it anyway. 

Yesterday I went crazy and replied this to the 4th inquiry in the day: "If I wanted to discount any stranger sending a message then I would put the low rate up there and the place would be fully booked in 2 minutes for 6 months ahead." My partner said I am crazy. I needed to do that to feel better, coffee would not be enough :-)

I have had one family who told me they could only afford to pay half the rent. Mind you, after putting 100K down with a mortgage of about 3K a month, these imbeciles still wanted to only pay half the amount because that's all they could afford.

What I wanted to tell them: try a trailer park, I'm not in this business to do charity.

What I actually told them: The rent is 3K a month firm, I can't rent the property for a fraction of what it costs me to own....

Originally posted by @Avery Carl :

@Julie McCoy spot on as usual with her answer.  We get discount questions from time to time. You just have to come up with polite/friendly wording to let them know that no additional discounts are being offered at this time.

 You are absolutely right Avery. Speaking one's mind gives energy though .... from time to time :-)

Originally posted by @Chai Xiong :

I get them all the time and i know they blanket the entire listing in the area asking for discounts.  I have 4 in the same area and i get the same email across my 4 listings.  Don't fall for it

 Interesting!

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