5 Airbnb Tips For Booking Your Next Vacation Rental
By now you’re probably familiar with Airbnb. The concept is simple: guests can rent space in someone else’s home (a shared room, private room, or the entire home). Often times Airbnb rentals are cheaper than booking a hotel room and you get to have a more genuine experience wherever you travel. Airbnb’s are a great solution for any type of traveler, but you do need to do your research first. In this post, we’ll share 5 Airbnb tips that will save you time, money, and add value to your next Airbnb guest experience.
1. Read EVERYTHING (Especially The Reviews)
This is the most crucial tip we can give you. With so many Airbnbs to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to decide the best place to stay for your next vacation.
One of the biggest reasons Airbnb has become so popular is because of its review system. Real customers leaving real reviews of real experiences. Unlike hotels and other review sites, where businesses pay for people to leave them positive reviews or only show the hand-selected five-star reviews they want you to see, Airbnb uses a system that ensures all of the reviews on its site are legit. You can only leave a review if you are a registered Airbnb user and you only have the ability to leave reviews for properties after you’ve check out (at which point you only have 14 days to do so).
Never book an Airbnb without combing through the reviews first and reading through the description.
A few things to consider:
- Are you comfortable with the house rules?
- Are pets allowed?
- Will there be wifi?
- Understand all the amenities that are included.
- Know what the cancellation policy is.
- What are other people saying about their experience?
Yes, pictures and property descriptions are useful, but the real inside scoop is hidden within the review section.
Reviews offer a glimpse into previous guests experience with the hosts and the property that you’re not going to find within the description.
Naturally, the host is only going to highlight the positive aspects of the property and the best quality pictures because they want you to stay there. They may add fluffy words or use filtered photos to make the experience appear to be better than it actually is.
On the other hand, the reviews will give you the nitty and gritty truth. No one is afraid to tell you how they truly feel in a review.
Just remember that not every review will be 5 stars. Some people have different tastes, and at the end of the day, each person will have a different Airbnb experience. That is why it is important to read through all of the reviews to identify patterns in what the past guests are saying. If more than one or two people are leaving the same feedback, then it is safe to assume that is what you can expect from that Airbnb.
2. You Can Negotiate The Price
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually bargain with an Airbnb host using what’s called a Special Offer, which is essentially when a host gives you a discount to stay at their property.
The best way to do this is to send the host a message with the specific dates you have in mind and have a REAL human conversation. After all, these are people who are opening their homes up to the public, so treat them like a neighbor, not a multinational hotel chain.
If you want to try to haggle on the price before booking you will want to click on the “Contact this host” button (not the “Request To Book” button) with the dates you have in mind. Then, start the conversation by telling the host a little bit about yourself and your trip (the idea is to make a human connection first). After you get the conversation going, then you can use your haggling skills and try to secure a discount.
Please use this tip with caution and remember that most hosts are the owners of these homes and may even live in them for part of the year. They are not big hotel companies and have set the price where it needs to be in order for them to profit from welcoming you into their home.
The only circumstances we recommend working out a deal with the host would be in the following situations:
- You are planning on staying for a long time. Don’t waste someone’s time trying to bargain the price down a couple of dollars if you only plan on staying for a day or two.
- You have actually taken the time to have a conversation with the host first and gotten to know them a bit. People trust people before they trust businesses. That’s what makes Airbnb so special. The properties that get rented out are mostly owned by locals themselves which is what makes the Airbnb experience so unique. If you are nice to the host from the beginning and have a genuine conversation with them, they might be nice enough to give you a discount.
- You’re in need of an immediate last-minute booking. Think like a business-owner for a second: you own a milk store and you don’t want to waste your inventory so you only buy as much milk that you know will likely sell. Would you rather sell your milk at a discount or not sell it at all and have it go to waste? I assume you’d want to at least get something out of it. For this exact reason, it’s likely that an Airbnb host is willing to lower the price on a rental if that means it will get booked.
The Airbnb rental is a host’s inventory and when it’s not filled they are wasting time and revenue opportunities. Most hosts want their place filled every day of the month in an ideal world.
Negotiating last minute probably will only happen when times are slow so if its high season in a touristic place your Airbnb host might be confident he/she can get the room booked, even at the last minute. But hey, if you’re flexible and can take the time to haggle a bit, you may be able to save some money on your next Airbnb.
3. Sometimes, It Pays To Stay Longer
This tip may require you to make some careful calculations. When it comes to booking an Airbnb there are actually some scenarios when staying an extra day or two can save you money:
If The Airbnb Offers Weekly Or Monthly Discounts.
Most Airbnb hosts want people to stay for as long as possible. Less turnover for them = more money in their pockets. As such, many hosts offer discounts for longer stays. There are weekly (7 nights) as well as monthly (28 nights or more) discounts, so check the listing to see if the host offers a reduced rate for extended stays.
You may discover that it is cheaper for you to change your 5-day vacation to a full week. Wouldn’t that be nice?
If The City Where The Airbnb Is Located Has Hotel Or Occupancy Taxes.
Let’s say you want to take a trip to Southern Oregon, in Oregon, the state charges a lodging tax for “short-term rentals.” A short-term rental is defined as anyone who stays temporarily overnight for a consecutive period of fewer than 30 days.
Meaning if you choose to stay 31 days instead, you don’t have to pay this tax.
If you planned on staying somewhere for 27 days you’ll likely save more if you stay 28 days to receive the monthly discount. But, you could save even more if you choose to stay 31 days to avoid extra taxes. This is where those careful calculations come into play!
Play around with the number of days you plan on staying the next time you book on Airbnb, you might be surprised with the results.
4. Communicate With Your Host
After reading through the full listing of the property, introduce yourself to the host and ask any questions you might have that weren’t answered in the description. How quickly they respond will tell you how organized they are.
You want to stay with a host who is responsive, so a good rule of thumb is less than 24 hours for a response is good, but anything longer than that is a red flag.
The best Airbnb experiences happen when you establish communication with your host early on. That way, when check-in day rolls around you know exactly what you need to do and there are no surprises waiting for you when you arrive. We’ve heard horror stories of people showing up to their Airbnb without ever establishing communication with the host only to find that the home is no longer an Airbnb and the listing was never taken down.
A good rule to follow is if you have not heard from your host at all before the check-in day, then you may want to contact Airbnb directly and have them cancel the booking on your behalf. Airbnb has great customer service!
5. Be a 5 Star Guest!
Did you know the guests of an Airbnb also get reviewed after their stay?
The host uses reviews to determine who to rent their property to the same way Uber Drivers use reviews before picking up a customer for a ride.
If you get a bad review from a host, it might be difficult to get your booking requests accepted the next time you want to rent an Airbnb.
This is why it’s crucial to read through the house rules and talk to the host before your stay to establish their expectations. Being considerate and polite is always a good idea, especially when you are essentially borrowing someone else’s home.
Did You Find These Airbnb Tips To Be Useful?
Whether you’re new to the world of Airbnb, or a seasoned veteran, using these Airbnb tips can save you time, money, and a whole lot of headaches when booking your next Airbnb. Do you have any other Airbnb tips or hacks you like to use? Let us know in the comments below and we may add them to this list!
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