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We are new to the rental scene. We just fixed up our property this spring and are renting it for the first time. We took a lot of time inquiring as to what would be a fair rate. We had a woman inquire about our property asking for our best rate. We wrote back and said the rates were as they are advertised. She wrote back asking if we could give her a discount as she had 4 children and really liked our home. We gave her a small discount....no tax....Then she wrote back and gave us her budget for the holiday. We decided to be charitable and gave her the rental at her asking price, which was 300.00 Euros less than our asking rate. Then she wrote back and said that she couldn't afford the damage deposit. My husband wrote back and said that we were giving her a good deal and were not forgoing the damage deposit. She then asked if we would reduce it. I wrote her back and basically asked her to look elsewhere as it was obvious that our property was outside of her budget. She then wrote me back a nasty email criticizing all sorts of things about us and our property and told me that I should learn how to deal with clients in a better way. I couldn't believe it! We were really trying to help her out, but had our limits as to how much we wanted to give her. My questions are.....Is this common? How do others handle these kind of situations? Do you think she was serious or just a weird person?
Unfortunately people will try to get the best deal at the expense of hurting
you. It happens often but more to others and I'm not sure why. This is a good
reason to competitively price your vr, then stick to your pricing. Sometimes its
not worth the few dollars you do get when several headaches come along with it.
I would rather see my place un-booked then to discount it so much that I feel
violated. You did the right thing, graciously refusing to rent to the person. As
many veterans of this industry have seen, the ones that try and talk you down so
much are the ones that seem to also give you countless problems even after they
have stayed. Stick to your guns and protect yourself!
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You need to stick to your guns. Someone else posted this a while ago in response to people wanting a deal and I love it.
Just politely thank them for their interest and tell them our home is not available. We only offer a discount to valued returning guests - we prefer guests that want to stay in our home because of our presentation, good value rates and reviews from other guests."
Also, the person who wants the lowest price and the "best deal" is normally the one that is hardest on the house and the worst headache.
And remember, they can't leave you a review if they didn't stay at your property.
I wholeheartedly agree with the above two postings. We've been renting for three years and we find that there are always people looking to get a bargain, I almost feel as it half the pleasure they have in renting a place is being able to gloat to others about the "steal" that they got.
I've also found those people that are trying to bargain you down also bargaining with a few other perspective properties until they get their "deal" which probably isn't going to be your place and then you will have wasted a lot of your time.
If you're going to offer a discount, offer it to a returning guest.
The only time we've been a bit flexible with pricing has been off -season.
I also think that if people feel that they are paying for a quality "product," they'll treat it with respect.
You'll always find exceptions to the rule, but I would stick to your pricing. Best of Luck!
Thank you everyone for all of your support! I feel so much better. I guess it hurt me because we thought that we were helping a family that didn't have much money. She ended up emailing me again after I posted my question on Community. The email from her was very mean.She mocked me for not renting the property to her and said that we wouldn't get anyone else and called me all sorts of names. I did not respond and blocked her from my email.
I had something like this happen over the past few days. After 5 emails on differant price reductions and being asked 1 more time to change my price I agreed. I said it would now be $1000.00 per night per person as well as $500.00 per person cleaning fee. Well he wanted to know why I went up so I told him going down didnt seem to make him happy. He laughed and said to me this may not be the rental for him.
You will get the hang of it soon enough. I sometimes cut our rates if the spirit moves me - honeymooners - repeat guests - active military - senior citizens - but there is a limit. She was really pushing and wanting more, more, more. Stick to your guns - you're running a business, not a charitable organization! Good luck!
We have an ocean front home. If a person starts asking for discounts, reduced rates, etc. I suggest that maybe they should look for a property that is not on the ocean. There are many properties for less money and I do not feel that I need to lower any rates. Stick to your guns. It is important to know what your competition is charging. Study the other homes in your area and compare what amenities they offer. It is important to be informed if you are going to run this as a business.
She's a wheeler-dealer. Most people like getting a bargain (who doesn't?) but this goes beyond the pale.
Regarding the email: consider the source. You have to make renting worth your time, financially, and she was out for everything she could get.
There is a place my partner and I *love* staying in Mobile, AL, and because we've been there several times the owner gives us a repeat customer discount. You can offer a discount if you have a repeat customer; but a first-timer -— no. If they have a problem with that, then they can rent from somebody else (or check into a hotel).
How interesting reading your post and the replies!! I feel I have priced my place at the low end, relative to the market, because I live there part of every month (I have a business in the area) and am paying the mortgage anyway! So...when someone asks for a discount...I am gracious but clear that I have a very simple fee structure...I include taxes in my rate, I do not charge extra for weekends or holidays, and the cleaning fee is exactly what I pay my cleaner...I don't make a dime on it. And I have done it this way to avoid the discount conversations. I also created this based on my experience as a renter at numerous VRBO properties. Once I give them that background, they either just rent the place or go elsewhere, which I am fine with.
In one case, I let myself get emotionally involved (the woman was recuperating from cancer), and gave a discount; then she felt she needed to leave early as we had a plumbing problem (which was corrected in a hour), and asked for one night's refund, which I did. Then she wanted the ORIGINAL price as a discount "for her trouble" (an additional $25). Because I feel the customer is always right, I refunded the additional amount... and felt it was a pretty inexpensive lesson in NOT DISCOUNTING FOR FIRST TIME RENTERS. I totally agree with giving the return renters (who have been great and treated my home with respect...which is the vast majority) a break.
So...live and learn! You should know that most of my renters are lovely people, fair people, honest people and treat my home like their own. That is the most important thing to remember. Audre Gutierrez (222369 on VRBO)
It really sounds like you dodged a bullet with this one. If she had rented your place, I would guess there would be additional requests for a discount and/or complaints about things. She sounds like a NIGHTMARE.
Someone posted in another forum that potential renters looking for discounts are a massive red flag. I'd say in this case that's defnitely true!
Personally I rarely give a discount. My price structure is set up with discounts built in, depending on the time of the year. If I have an odd week or it is early or post season, only then will I consider a discount. I've been handling vacations rentals on Cape Cod for 20 season's and have heard and seen many things along the way. Clearly discount requests should send a red flag when after an initial agreement the renter continues to request additional discounts. By the second request, I nicely suggest they may want to consider another property better suited for their vacation needs. Even as a "seasoned" vacation "Landlord", I have been taken advantage on more than one occasion for honoring multiple discount requests. It is never easy to refuse a rental or income, especially in this "vacation renters" market. Someone is always going to feel "bad" or misunderstood.
However, if I an negotiating with a repeat renter, I am always very accommodating. Recently, I raised by rates for my pre-post season weeks, a 10 season renter was happy to the increase but asked if they could arrive a day early. Not only did I agree to allow them the early check-in. I gave them the additional night at no charge. BONUS! They were very happy and I hope they will continue to visit my rental property in the coming years. I've agreed to let them always have this bonus free day early check-in as a gesture of their continued loyalty to return.
I agree - if you agree a discount at the very outset you're in for a bumpy ride... they find fault and demand more.
If anyone opens up dialogue looking for discount I shut down the conversation, I'd rather have the house sitting empty than risk damage and bad feelings.
My price is my price... sometimes I offer discount, for example if someone enquires now for 2012 I'll honour this years published price... that sort of thing - but if someone asks for discount with a hard luck story the price goes up!
I have to say she sounds a bit of a fruitcake... where are you as you mention €
Here in France we have to watch the French as they use rentals traditionally as a place for the whole family & friends to come... classic example, I had an enquiry the other day (we can sleep up to 10 on proper beds) she wanted to know about settees breaking down & z beds... I asked the question how many ...16 minimum in the party! It doesn't seem to compute that all our china, cutlery, dining table size, hot water etc. is designed for 10 persons maximum!
I agree with tansy on two things.
One: I will honor this year’s price if someone is booking a year in advance. Two: If they ever say will you give me a discount, I shut off the conversation with a simple no. You have to get over the feeling in the pit of your stomach about losing a renter because that renter may cause you more problems and headaches than you ever dreamed of. Remember, you are running a business and it needs to be treated as such. Would you ever go into a Hilton and say, "this is my vacation budget so I need you to lower your rates" and expect them to do so. No, you would not and that is because you know they are running a business. Always go with your gut feelings and when someone starts out saying your house is not worth what you are asking for it, politely tell them to look elsewhere.
I discount in two situations-returning guests, and someone recomended by returning or previous guests. Be aware of an increasing scam- people asking for military discounts. Until this year, I never had anyone ask for a military discount. They usually inquire without asking up front, but when you respond and discuss the price and lease details, they look for anywhere from 10-30% off. The first time this happened, I said was happy to discount for someone who had served our country. But when I asked for proof of military service, they disappeared. After that I informed them upfront that I would be willing to discount upon proof of service. One woman actually was anoyed and asked if I didn't believe her. No one who inquired ever booked.
Last year I had a request for a rental by an active military person. The email stated that they were returning from active duty in Iraq and wanted to spend the summer in the sun. I was a bit hesitant. They asked for a military discount and we do not have one. They said since they were overseas, his mother would be sending the check.
I asked for his full name and address, parents info. I looked him up on Facebook. There he was in full army uniform. I checked the parents facebook page and they were nice sounding people with nice friends.
Although I did not give a discount, the person was in the military and the rental was a good one. He, his fiance and friends left my home in wonderful clean condition.
I agree with those who say stick to your price. We have not raised our rental rate in 2 years and tell people that we are holding prices down due to the economy. Also, we will honor the current rate for next year with a deposit. If they rent for longer than 1 week we discount the further days 10% but that is all. I suppose we could raise rates and then offer a discount, but that seems dishonest. Some people will try anything to get cheaper rates and you should resist the urge to discount just to get a rental. You all sound like conscientious owners and your place is worth what you charge!
One lesson from this is that you should not make more comments than necessary, a simple "We are sorry but we cannot reduce the deposit" would sufice. Otherwise you open yourself to emotional comments. They will simple accept it or walk away.
Be careful that the competition may be testing your price flexibility, always get their phone number and if in doubt, check thei IP address.
This is a red flag. I have not had such a problem, but recently saw a TV show on Marriott, in which one of the big wigs at the company said they would rather turn away a customer, than give a discount, since they would then get used to bargening their way down. I have offered discounts to fill low season space and had great renters who took the home, but when they start to bargin and bargin, then I would refer them to someone else in their price range. I can only imagine what else they would want refunds for when they show.
I would only give a discount if someone wanted to rent my place in either January or February.....my slow months. I never ever discount the deposit, they can put that on their credit card and make small payments until they receive their refund AND if they can't do that, then I personally don't want them in my home. I have a huge investment in my home and furnishings and folks staying in the house need to understand that, or find another place to stay.
First welcome to the business, we have really enjoyed having a rental property over the years.
There are some people out there that just don't understand what renting from the property owner reallys means and you just need to not let it bug you (learn and move on). There are all types of blogs and TV segments on how to get the best deals when on vacation but most of those should not apply to our "homes". Have your competative rate (we have a lower winter rate) and then decide on what discounts you want to give, military or AARP for example, and then stick to just those. You might loose a couple of potential guests but in the long run it will save you a lot of trouble (normally the people who get steep discounts are not the best behaved guests).
If someone asks for a discount outside of what you decide just stick firm and respond with a polite email saying your rates are competitive and that you do not offer any discounts.
Hope this is helpful.