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Tips for Travelers Asking for Discounts

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Created on: Jun 25, 2012 4:57 PM by laura - Last Modified:  Jul 2, 2012 12:18 AM by laura

This article is part of the Community-Sourced Series, Vacation Rentals 101: A Primer for Travelers iStock_000019842250XSmall.jpg


If you’re like most travelers today, you probably look for discounts and/or possible cost-savings opportunities as you plan and book your vacation. Thanks in part to an uncertain economy, general belt-tightening, and a culture of Groupon and Social Living "deals," it is certainly no surprise that you would consider asking owners and property managers about the possibility of getting a vacation rental discount for your stay.


To help you save time - and better understand the vacation rental owner and manager perspective on discounts - we polled vacation rental owners and managers on Community to get their feedback. Below, please find some helpful tips from owners/managers on asking for discounts.


  • Do not expect or ask for a discount when booking six months in advance unless you are staying 7+ nights.   - Mike


  • To improve your chances of getting a reduced rate, request dates that completely fill an empty space in the property's calendar, between other bookings.  - SFVacationHut


  • Do not to take it personally if property owner is not willing to negotiate a lower price.  Every owner situation is different; some owners may have flexibility to negotiate a lower price, while others do not.  In addition, an owner may be willing to negotiate a lower price for some dates but not for others. – SFVacationHut


  • When it comes to renters asking for discounts, during the high season I tell them to check the calendar 2 weeks before the date that they want to rent. If it is still open at that point, I will discount. In the mid season, I never have to discount, and in the low season it doesn't pay for me to discount unless they are taking a long term rental. If they continue to negotiate, I tell them that I have only raised my rates $100 in the past 5 years, understanding that the economy is not good. I also will give repeat renters the orignal rate that they paid, as a result, I have 4 renters every year that have been renting for 3 years or more. – terrirusso


  • It's not rude to ask "what is your best price?" or "do you offer military discounts?".  However, it's first best to consider the circumstances: Is it peak season?  Is it a good place at a fair rate already?  Are there few places available on a last-minute booking?  There can be exceptions so it never hurts to ask, just like you'd ask for a hotel's specials.  However, it is presumptuous to feel the owner is obligated to make a concession for you that they don't normally make for others.  Common sense and good social skills is the key here. – swlinphx


  • We have some excellent points here for travellers.  We are all looking for a "bargain" in these times, however asking me for a discount for my rental properties is no different than asking the traveller to go to work for less money than they currently make.  Many don't realize that this is a "business" that we derive our income from and asking us for a discount translates to less income for us in the end.  I suggest that if a person is looking to spend less money then perhaps seeking a less expensive property would serve them better.  The act of bargaining for a lower price has prompted many home owners to inflate their price so that they can in the end "get their full pay".  - Oceansoblue


  • Definitely. It's all in how you approach the home owner. Home owners resent guests bargaining even after the home owner has said this is their best rate. - Marilyn 


  • I think, as Marilyn, suggested, it totally depends on HOW you approach the owner.  If you write a respectful message, explaining who you are, your reason for visiting the area, and the things that attracted your attention to this specific rental ... and you follow up on this very considerate and respectful message with a simple sentence saying that you are a member of the military and would like to be advised of any discounts for the military if available ... this would not bee seen as rude at all. 


BUT: If you send an inquiry with NO INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF AT ALL, and with just one line in the message area, saying "please give me your best, discounted rate," this is what will annoy the owner and may result in you not getting any response at all.  Why?  Because while we may, sometimes, give discounts, it is only during our off-peak season and even then, it is only for people that we have talked to and gotten to know and feel comfortable with.  If you have not told us anything at all about yourself, you have given us NO REASON AT ALL to want to you give you a discount, so why would we?


When you inquire, remember it's like renting an apartment directly from a landlord ... you go there, you talk to the landlord, you try to get in his or her good graces, and if you like the place, and if the landlord likes you, then you will get to sign a lease at the apartment.  If you walk in demanding stuff from the beginning, the landlord may not warm up to you at all, and you may not be offered the apartment.


When guests don't understand this last point, and simply ask for the price and the discounts up front, without giving any information about themselves ... this is what bothers the owners!  There is a lot of trust that has to be built up on both sides of the equation, before any transaction takes place.  I think it would be beneficial if more potential guests / renters would understand this. - SFVacationHut

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