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22811 Views 53 Replies Latest reply: Nov 3, 2012 8:48 PM by marilyn RSS
New Member 1 posts since
Sep 14, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 14, 2011 11:01 AM

Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

So this is our first year renting our place as a vacation rental.  We've had a pleasant experience for the most part.  One thing, however, that strikes me is that so many inquirers want to negotiate the price.  I've been a VRBO customer for years, and never once did I send an inquiry asking "what's your best price?" or something similar, but it happens all the time to me as an owner.  Is this normal?  Was I naive by not negotiating?  Should the rental price include room for negotiation? 

  • New Member 4 posts since
    Jun 19, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 14, 2011 12:22 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    Our property is based in France, not sure where you are.  Amongst fellow gite owners, it seems the norm here this year particularly for people to ask for "your best price".  I think given the current world economic climate, that people are trying to push for that extra bit of discount.  My advice is, if you have other bookings, and aren't desparate for the business, then hold firm.

  • lrbaldwin Active Contributor 755 posts since
    Feb 16, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 15, 2011 2:44 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    Do not negotiate!  You've set your price at what you think is fair, so stick to it.  If, near the time of the high rental season, you have weeks unrented, just go on line and adjust your rates if you like.  But just say no to anything lower than your published rates.  If owners start negotiating, the prospective renters will drive us all crazy!

     

    Linda

    Chatterbox Too in Duck, NC

    • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
      Feb 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Dec 14, 2011 11:11 AM (in response to lrbaldwin)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I would never negotiate. Stick to your rates. To me, when people try to negotiate, it raises a "red flag" as to what type of guest they might be. I am not talking about just a question about whether or not your rates are firm...I can understand that question in today's economy, but if they try to start playing "let's make a deal", I would politely refuse to play.

      If there times that you are without reservations, post a special on your listing, etc.

  • New Member 13 posts since
    Sep 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 15, 2011 3:16 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I take it that your rental property is fairly priced amongst your competition.  If that is the case, then there is no reason to negotiate a price. 

     

    My view is that if someone wants it badly enough, then they will pay the advertised price.  If price is the only important issue for them wanting to vacation in your area, then there will be cheaper, and probably less desirable, places for them to stay at.  The ball is in your court!

     

    Additionally, queries like this don't usually end with price!  Once you start down the path with this problem, then the potential guest comes back with more requests...........

     

    We hold fast to our policy on this issue, and have recommended cheaper alternatives in our city when we get asked this question.  On more than one occasion, after having seen 'the less costly' choices, they end up booking with us after all..........!!!!

     

    Your rental is a business, just like any other, and should be run like one.  They wouldn't ask the same question of, say, their doctor, lawyer etc. so don't feel offended or bad about setting your limits and sticking to them.

     

    Best wishes!

     

    HomeAway 365199

    www.thevenetianterrace.com

    • sfvacationhut Community All-Star 643 posts since
      Dec 31, 2010
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 20, 2011 2:18 AM (in response to dorsodurodeb)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      Yes, Dorsodorodeb, I agree!  We have the same philosophy.

       

      We often get people who say, "Oh, I love your apartment, I saw the listing online, but the price is a bit high; I want to stay for X amount of time and my budget is X dollars.  What can you do for me?"

       

      I tell them that if they want budget accommodations, they can go straight to AirBnB.com.  They have plenty of listings for less than $100 per night, some for less than $50 per night in San Francisco!  Yes, you may be sleeping on a sofa with someone else's dogs and cats, but you will definitely find something within your budget.  The truly budget conscious people have been so appreciative to find out about this.  It's good for us because it saves time ... it allows us to quickly send the discount seekers along, and focus on the people who are interested in our apartment for the price as listed.

    • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
      Feb 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Dec 14, 2011 11:12 AM (in response to dorsodurodeb)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I agree.

    • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
      Aug 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Dec 17, 2011 2:44 AM (in response to dorsodurodeb)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I thoroughly agree with "dorsodorodeb'.... 'tsvr' and  'irbaldwin'....just either go online to "adjust your rates"  ....or create a "Special" if you're not getting bookings.  I do offer discounts ....but they are the people who are my "returning guests" and those others I might do it for do NOT ask me to "adjust my rates so they can afford my place".  I don't want the "haggler", the "bottom feeder" in my home.  I have a "target visitor" that I have set my place for. I focus on the people who can  AFFORD my already affordable rates, in my category of rental, in my location {which is a popular spot for vacationers}. If your rental rate is in line with those others in your vicinity, I would not recommend "negotiating".    If someone can not "afford" your rate, they should be shopping in a different store. They should not be trying to "cut into you / your business" so they can have a stay in a "nicer" place, if they really can't afford it.  It's my experience and I am sure that of the others here....when you  lower your price for them, chances are you'll get the lower quality of guest....meaning, they don't know how to act in someone else's very nice home.   There is one other thing I want to clarify when it comes to discounting because I don't think it should be "automatic" or "on demand" / "at request"....  if you discount your property too much, too often, at the wrong time, consistently for the "wrong" people....you devalue your property.

      • New Member 1 posts since
        Jan 3, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Jan 3, 2012 4:56 PM (in response to anja)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        Agreed.  My house rents for a 30 day minimum and it has been my experience that the best renters are repeat renters.  For such guests, I will offer discounts such as multi-month rates or hold a prior year's rate if I have increased the rate in the meantime.  However, if someone wants you to reduce the rate at the outset, you are setting the wrong tone from the very beginning.  Assuming you set your rate correctly according to what the market will bear, someone who wants to stay in the house should expect to pay the rate you have advertised or vacation elsewhere (someplace that participates in Priceline perhaps?).  I had one renter who tried to negotiate a significant discount for the following year by stating he had been offered a lower rate (in a smaller unit) by a neighbor.  I congratulated him on his sharp bargaining skills and wished him the best of luck with his new landlord.  Turns out, the alternate offer was a fiction intended to manipulate me into dropping my rate below market, and the tricky renter was never seen or heard from in my area again.

        • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
          Aug 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Jan 3, 2012 6:16 PM (in response to mrr)
          Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

          Lesson: when your rates are in line with your "local market"...for size, location, etc. ...do not let yourself become "troubled" over whether to "negotiate" by someone "challenging you".  I just had a similar thing happened to me...as "mrr"....just before this Christmas holiday.  My calendar was showing 7 nights open for one of my units because I thought my sister was going to visit....but she couldn't come.  I did not offer a 'special' because I was not fearing that it would not book...{December in my location is "high season"...no problem finding renters}. A guy sends me an email stating that he wants to book ...just himself...but he is eager to tell me that he found a "comparable place" at a "much lower" price. {I don't ever negotiate! Never have...never will. So, I politely declined.} Anyway, there was no way, after that "introduction inquiry" that I would even consider renting to him - regardless - because he was obnoxious in his tone {asked me "Why not" when I "politely" declined negotiating.  I don't have to explain why}. But, I wanted to see the  "comparable place"....he found {because he annoyed me that much}.  He would not send me the link...he said he didn't have it "at the moment"....but he did tell me the name of the "complex" the "condo" was in.  I know that place. The cheapest apartments cost under $100 a night. They are very "used".  Cheap - yes...if you need cheap.  The best beaches are a good drive ...about one hour to reach the beaches that are a mere 10 minutes from my place.  Not at all comparable in standard / quality, location, amenities...nothing comparable. I do not "challenge" these types of people....I just don't rent to them. But, I did tell him I was confident that it was not in line with my standard or location...which justifies my higher rates.  And, I told him that he was lucky to find such a "cheap" rental  in December...so he should "get it before someone else does". {That's what he said he wanted...a cheap one}. I wished him "happy holidays". I thought I was rid of him. But...he tried to book with me the next day...said he "lost the opportunity". Really? He wanted to get me to reduce the rate.  I did not book him.  I don't play games and I don't run a "garage sale".  {A nice couple booked 6 nights out of the 7 I had --- no nonsense.}   P.S.  I have stayed in places that are under $100 a night...very nice accommodations.... it's not that lower price that is the problem....it's the ploy some people will use to "trick" Owners with higher priced properties into lowering them. I might even have given him a small "discount" on the rate {even if it was Christmas week}....if he had not been  so obnoxious in his first approach with me.  He showed himself to be "cheap".

  • Contributor 26 posts since
    Jan 3, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2012 6:22 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I read this thread a few months back and now feel it's time to comment.  My condo is one of hundreds in an area with thousands.  There are 4 different styles of condos within my complex with maximum  capacities of 2 or 4.  Some units misrepresent that fact while others use photos of views they wish they had.  Some owners fail to mention what I consider are serious drawbacks to their particular situation.  No phone, no A/C, 40 year old furniture, the list is endless.  Since this particular condo was built for the value minded it tends to draw more folks on tight budgets.  My unit is in a superior location within the complex, very well equipped and priced accordingly so I get a lot of "what's your best price" inquiries.

    If I am able to screen the prospective guest and determine I want them as a customer I will often negotiate other factors of the visit in exchange for a discounted price e.g. I will ask them to move arrival or departure date to better suite my calendar leaving me a more marketable vacancy on either side of their stay.  If I am left with unsaleable holes in my calendar I gain nothing. 

    I also get a lot of folks claiming they've gotten a better price but they think they'd be happier in my place and could I see a way to match this best price.  I believe most these "quotes" were simply lifted from the lowest prices advertised on the web.  Some of these best price phantom quotes were later traced by me to units that were already reserved by others.  To some of these inquiries my response (and one I picked up in the forum) has been "those places charge less because they know the value of what they are selling"

    Another tactic I've used is to ask for the unit number they were quoted on.  Many of these folks have no idea where the unit is or how it's equipped, It may indicate a phantom quote but most frequently it's a lack knowledge.  If the unit is comparable to mine the information helps me keep a pulse on the realities of my particular market.  I have gone as far to tell people they've gotten a great deal and I am unwilling or unable to match it.  If the unit is less than comparable I will focus on what sets me apart and distinguishes my place from the others and avoid pointing a finger at the shortcomings of the competition. 

    I tried the "stick to your guns" tactic but have had better results negotiating occasionally while educating myself and visitors.

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Mar 10, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 10, 2012 3:44 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I am a midcareer exec with a lot of experience in travel, primarily as a consumer.  I've run events attended by heads of state staged at the Moscow Metropole and Istanbul Hilton (among others), and paid sixty cents to sleep on a door laid across two sawhorses in Mexico.  I have a fair range of exposure to hospitality.

     

    With all due respect, "refusal to negotiate" is unprofessional, and once you accept funds for a good or service, one must try to act professional.

     

    Please observe the difference in the terms "negotiate" and "oblige."  One very acceptable outcome of a negotiation is to say "I'm sorry, I just can't do that."

     

    Prices at corporate properties are often flexible, though not if you are booking online.  However, they also offer guarantees that typically are not offered by sole proprietors (which is what most HA listers are), or not possible for sole proprietors.

     

    Asking for a discount is not rude, it's simply a question.  You have the right to say "no," after all.  On the other hand, if you are trying to build a customer base and small business, being amenable to those who are shopping means you are competitive - and refusing to respond to competitive pressures is really the mark of amateurism.  YOU may not think of yourself as  "pro," but once you accept that money and cash that deposit check, you are - whether you wish to be or not.

     

    I would hope that tone of the request would be important.  "We love the location and it looks lovely, but we can only afford $x for the week" should not offend someone who accepts that they are dealing with the public (and you are, here).

     

    And when someone says "I'll give you $x and not a penny MORE!!!!" (see: the tone of some of the posts in this thread) it's an indication of an abrasive personality.

     

    I once rented a house from someone that required no haggling on price, and was exactly as advertised.  Unfortunately, the "caretaker" was a person with a very, very strange personality who kept wanting to sit in the house with us and "hang out."  I called the owner and we quickly and easily negotiated a departure.

     

    Negotiations are the crux of human relationships, particularly business. 

    • New Member 6 posts since
      Sep 20, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Mar 10, 2012 9:39 PM (in response to danhedonia)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I own several short term furnished properties and multiple long term unfurnished homes.  In both instances I am astonished that people shop in an area of which they simply cannot afford.

       

      To my knowledge, people don't walk into Holts and ask for discount...if they cannot afford it, they shop in a store that matches their disposable income.  If the store is offering a discount, then the shopper can take advantage.

      I don't see our rental business any different.  Our asking price is the price.

       

      Our rental properties are huge investments for all of us.  Along with these investments are expenses above private property ownership which the average person does not know or see.  The moment we place our investment in the rental arena, the operating expenses increase tremendously.  Items like insurance, utilities, leasehold depreciation, income tax, county, state and/or provincial taxes are all built in to create a bottom line. In consideration of all these extras, the profit margin is not nearly as great as the consumer realizes. Yes, it's called business and we are all in this business to make money.  Cutting our rates can only reduce one of the above mentioned numbers, that being our profit.

       

      I wonder how the discount shopper would feel if they were asked to go to work for less money than they made last week?  Essentially that is what they are asking when requesting a "deal".

       

      Operating on the "something is better than nothing" moto will ultimately end in a failed business. 

       

      Recognizing that people are free to ask whatever they want, my preferred client is still those who respect my asking price without issue.

       

      I have yet to find a person who does not enjoy a "deal" including myself. When I come across a service or item that doesn't match my pocketbook I source the one that does.  This option is very accessible on HA thanks to all of our varied investments on the website.

      • New Member 10 posts since
        Apr 28, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Oct 23, 2012 9:35 AM (in response to oceansoblue)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        I too have a few vacation homes, from rustic to luxury.  It's amazing to me the people that will pick the most luxurious home and ask for a large discount.  For example, "we would love to rent your beautiful vacation home, but we only have $xxx amount to spend, would you consider giving us a discount?."  The way I respond to those types of inquiries is to list the vacation homes that are within their budget.

  • swiss-house Contributor 260 posts since
    Jul 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2012 3:01 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I'm going to break my thoughts into two separate posts:

     

    1) Do we offer discounts when people ask for one?

     

        Sure - but it depends on what THEY bring to the negotiating table as well.

     

    If they bring a respectful attitude, a small and mature group, or business during a particularly slow period of time, I'll gladly give a discount.  All three of the above are non-monetary things of value for which I'm willing to accept less payment for my service. 

     

    A) A respectful attitude typically means that they will respect the house - they will leave it straightend up with the towels in the tub, the dishes in the dishwasher, and ready to be vacuumed.  They'll likely respect our neighbors by not having loud outdoor activities, and will be more likely to watch their kids so they don't write on the walls.  I often offer a reduction off the daily rate in exchange for this value add, particularly when coupled with one of the others below.

     

    B) A small group is easier to clean up after - fewer beds to make and less mess in the bathrooms.  I usually offer 25-40% off the cleaning fee.

     

    C) Filling in when our short term calendar is empty?  Sure - we have a bare minimum that we have to charge to make it worth the wear and tear and utilities, but even with discounted off-season rates sometimes the house can site empty for a couple weeks.  If someone asks for a discount I might give it to them since some income is better than no income.

     

    XYZ) We have also given discounts to special cases - A guy proposing to his girlfriend, a family in the area for a hospital visit, etc.  These are hard to evaluate - there are so many fakers out there.  Perhaps we've been taken advantage of a few times.  Eh - it comes with the territory I guess.

    • New Member 2 posts since
      Mar 10, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 23, 2012 10:02 AM (in response to swiss-house)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I really agree with what you've written; ultimately, dealing with the public comes down to how you run your business; these are private businesses, and so much of what you would like to do is at your discretion.  One can decide whether or not to become angry when one's price point is challenged in the market.  Many people in the business community find that feedback invaluable, rather than offensive. 

  • swiss-house Contributor 260 posts since
    Jul 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2012 2:53 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    My response to customers who request discounts - part 2

     

    Should you feel obligated just because someone asks?  Heck no! 

     

    What I've found in years of negotiation in the corporate world is that there are two types of concession requests:

     

    1) The power request - Your house is just a commodity to me.  GIVE me a discount or I'll take my business elsewhere.

     

    2) The fair-price request - I bring something other that just money to the table...

     

    3) Special Cases

     

    My response to the power request is always no.  Just no. 

    Because it doesn't stop there.  They will nit on this (can we get an extra bottle of propane in the contract?)  They will pick on that (we'd like to check out at 4PM instead of noon).  And once the contract is signed they'll look for ways to get out of paying for it or demand a refund on something - "or else I'll give you a bad review." 

     

    To this potential guest, your house is just a commodity, not unique or different from the other 35  houses on HomeAway or even a hotel room.  If they just need a place to lay their head, then let them rent from somewhere less unique or well appointed.

     

    What drives this kind of person, I don't know.  Some just need to impress their spouse with how much power they have, or be able to brag to their neighbor how much they saved on their vacation. 

    I want no part of either.

     

    My response to the fair price request is often yes - see my other post on when we have given discounts. 

     

    Special cases are always hard to decide upon - you have to let your concience be your guide.  But there are few gotcha's to watch out for:

     

    The "We can't afford" request isn't really a special case - they want the upgrade that is your property (compared to something that rents for less) without offering anything in return.  Folks like this are used to living above their means - and when the time comes to pay even what they have promised, they often come up short.  The second payment that's due 30 days before they arrive?  Well, they're running a bit behind this month - can they get it to you by our arrival date?  Yeah, I know it's due this weekend, but they still need to get a check from their friends who are coming - can they leave you check on the counter when they leave?  Sorry, they just forgot to leave a check, they'll mail it to you....

     

    The military return reunion / family reunion discount also is the most common special case, and we often want to act on things that pull on our heart strings.  I encourage you to do so - but be careful. Because often these reunions turn into parties, and parties almost always result in more difficult cleaning, overloaded septic systems, and ocassional broken fixtures.  Be very clear when people ask for a special rate based on their service to your country or a unique family situation.  Rent only to controlled family groups.  Mom just got back from overseas service and wants a get-away with just her husband and kids?  Yup - I'll gladly give you a discount.  But a reunion that includes Aunt Martha and her kids who happen to live nearby, or a bunch guys from your unit?  No, we'd prefer not to rent the house at all, thank you for asking.

    • carol Senior Contributor 2,147 posts since
      Dec 10, 2010
      Currently Being Moderated
      Mar 12, 2012 8:21 PM (in response to swiss-house)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I also gave a military discount last year, but since then I've wondered if I was taken.  Do you request proof of military service?  What kind of proof?

      • New Member 6 posts since
        Sep 20, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Mar 12, 2012 9:03 PM (in response to carol)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        Hi Carol,

        Assuming this conversation is referring to the U.S. ( I am a non American) I am uncertain what a military discount is why do we offer that?

        • carol Senior Contributor 2,147 posts since
          Dec 10, 2010
          Currently Being Moderated
          Mar 12, 2012 9:16 PM (in response to oceansoblue)
          Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

          It would be a discount for active members of the US military.   Many businesses in the US  offer such discounts -- our country does not pay its soldiers very well and many of them are risking their lives. 

          • sophie Senior Contributor 969 posts since
            Mar 4, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Mar 12, 2012 9:27 PM (in response to carol)
            Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

            Really......

            carol wrote:

            our country does not pay its soldiers very well and many of them are risking their lives. 

            My husband is active duty Army and makes more money than ANY of our friends and family. Our family has 100% paid premium health care/dental/vision, paid life insurance, disability insurance, a fabulous retirement account, benefits that follow him and us our entire lives,  a large portion of our income is non-taxable, survivor benefits when he retires, a fully paid 4 year college for my son to any college he chooses, commissary benefits, px benefits, not to mention other benefits on post/base.

             

            You are correct in one thing.....he has risked his life for everyone in this country....but people abuse military discounts and feel they should be handed out freely.  I for one, don't believe so. We do pay our soldiers.

             

            And....for any soldier that is in combat, they actually earn more money! It's called combat pay.

            • carol Senior Contributor 2,147 posts since
              Dec 10, 2010
              Currently Being Moderated
              Mar 12, 2012 9:49 PM (in response to sophie)
              Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

              Hmm, maybe I've been fed a bill of goods! 

               

              Regardless of whether a discount was deserved or not, how would I tell if they are active duty?  Is there some ID or paper that can prove that?

            • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
              Aug 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Mar 12, 2012 11:06 PM (in response to sophie)
              Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

              'sophie'....thank you for your post!  I just had a nice couple stay with us last month...the husband in active duty -- a physician -- who just came back from another tour in Iraq.  I did not know, when they booked, that they were military. They told me that they do quite well with income and all the benefits they rattled off were the same you shared with us here {and well-deserved benefits IMO}. The wife actually said that they don't "wear it on their sleeves" because they don't want people to think that they expect discounts wherever they go!!  They don't want to be perceived as "needing" it....or even "deserving" it.  They were so nice and very sincere.    And...thank you/husband for his service!!

            • sodamo Contributor 260 posts since
              Nov 5, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Mar 13, 2012 4:58 AM (in response to sophie)
              Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

              Sophie

               

              Wow, guess I retired way too early, but I suspect you might need to gear for a let down upon retirement:

              -Our family has 100% paid premium health care/dental/vision - be prepared to pay for Tricare and extra for dental/vision. Oh and there are very active "negotiations" to charge for TCFL, so enjoy while free.

              -paid life insurance - No life insurance carryover after discharge

              -disability insurance - disability insurance not comparable to civilian type

              -a fabulous retirement account - yep, we got a 3.6% COLA this year, Zero previous 2 years, mine started @ 38% of my active duty monthly pay for 20 years service.

              -benefits that follow him and us our entire lives - you might be shocked how short that list is in reality

              -a large portion of our income is non-taxable - a portion of which serves to permanently reduce the retirement benefit

              -survivor benefits when he retires - you mean the % of pay withheld until age 70 so you receive a % of his pension?

              -a fully paid 4 year college for my son to any college he chooses - must be a new one, we had to pay our son's college, but I did get VA help for myself.

              -commissary benefits / px benefits - sale on Sales tax, but prices aren't always less

              -not to mention other benefits on post/base - not sure what, but a very small list given changes, gas and booze isn't always cheaper, most of the benies others like clubs etc closed down.

               

              I too thank your husband for rising to the challenge and I do realize pay is better than it used to be, but the reality isn't always the rosy picture when taken out of context.

               

              Today's soldiers aren't really poor, but far from rich and they definitely earn it. There are also special pays for some professionals (like Doctors/Aviators etc that the common soldier doesn't get. and BTW, the above was not meant as a complaint, just reality.

               

              I'll give a military discount upon presentation of ID card.

               

              David

              USArmy Retired

              • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,339 posts since
                Aug 5, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Jul 11, 2012 4:54 PM (in response to sodamo)
                Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

                They may not be poor, but the contractors who don't put their life on the line sure get paid a lot more.

                 

                I don't offer military discounts. I have a son, a son-in-law and daughter-in-law all military. However, if I find out someone is a Veteran, I sure want to make their stay especially memorable if I can. It depends on each situation.

                 

                That way there isn't an "expectation" but rather a "surprise".

      • swiss-house Contributor 260 posts since
        Jul 6, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Mar 13, 2012 9:45 AM (in response to carol)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        Please don't let this discussion devolve into a rant (pro or con) on the value of military personnel, or any other group.

         

        My point is that I have a soft spot for families re-uniting, regardless of their income.  An overseas relative coming to see grandchildren, a parent who has undergone cancer surgery, anything along these lines tugs my heart strings. 

         

        I'm a trustful person who doesn't demand to see proof of their claim, and I may have been taken a couple times.  If you've seen any of our reviews, you know that people comment most on the love, trust, and care that has been built into our houses, and I believe those vibes not only help them build better memories, but also results in more respect for the house and how they treat it while there.  In fact, part of the reason we turn down "mean people" who are demanding of discounts, etc. is that we don't want them to bring any of their negative vibes into the house.

        • sodamo Contributor 260 posts since
          Nov 5, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Mar 13, 2012 12:13 PM (in response to swiss-house)
          Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

          Yes, my apologies. I just get a bit over the top when that picture is painted either too rosy or too thorny.

           

          For our place a military discount likely would not be the factor that makes it affordable or not, but more of a little "thank you"

           

          I probably shouldn't post late at night when fighting off the crud. Again, my apologies

           

          David

           

          Sent from my iPhone4 - Aloha

          Please visit vacation.ninolehawaii.com

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 10, 2012 8:52 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    We don't take offense when a person tries to negotiate, assuming they are respectful. However, just because you are asked, does not mean you have to do so! We rarely agree to lower our rate, it is fair and competitive in our market. And fortunately, we have had a robust calendar since we purchased our property in 2010.

    The most common request we get is renters asking for long weekends even though our listing clearly states we only do full weeks. I guess the attitude is -- "it doesnt hurt to ask"

    Michele

    • jamaicavilla Contributor 70 posts since
      Jul 1, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Apr 11, 2012 4:56 AM (in response to mmperr2)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      Everytime I negotiate a special rate for a guest, I have issues.  I would not do it.

      • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,353 posts since
        May 25, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Apr 11, 2012 2:15 PM (in response to jamaicavilla)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        I get quite a few "weekenders" from the Houston TX area. It works for me quite well. If I have no one LEAVING on the day of check in I often will allow a 2 hour earlier check in time, and the same on Sunday , but only AFTER I clear it with my housekeeper.

         

        I never negotiate prices on week long rentals during High season UNLESS someone wants a 6 night stay (our normal week is 7 nights) . Then I offer the 6 nights @ the weekely rate(They save $75 anyway, as opposed to our nightly rates).

         

        I guess it depends on your market.

        Debj

        • New Member 10 posts since
          Apr 28, 2012
          Currently Being Moderated
          Oct 23, 2012 9:21 AM (in response to msdebj)
          Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

          During High Season I require a week stay.  If a family wants a longer stay, they need to purchase 3 or 4 additional night at the higher, nightly rate.  It's easier to rent a 3 night stay to 2 families (within a week) than a "leftover" week that only has 5 nights remaining.  By charging the higher nightly rate for additional nights during peak season, I don't feel as big of a loss if the remaining 3 to 4 nights don't rent.  During the off seasons, my policies are very flexible.

  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 22, 2012 5:07 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I always say to the traveler trying to negotiate, "how do you know you are getting the best rate if everyone gets different rates" " How do you know yours is the lowest"?

     

    Marilyn

    Www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

  • tylerg24 Contributor 49 posts since
    Jul 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2012 12:28 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I think nowadays more than ever more people are going to be shopping around and looking for bargins. Just the way times are right now. A few things to help combat this is make sure your home is priced competitively with the others in your market. Get on VRBO/HA and check comparable properties to yours. What are their prices and polocies. Second when someone asks, "what is the best price you can do" I always respond with "Are prices are listed but what are you guys looking to spend per night?" by turning the question around and directing it towards them you now are able to control the situation and see what price point they are really looking to spend.

  • stjvilla Active Contributor 624 posts since
    May 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2012 2:06 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    We do give discounts for returning visitors, for a single couple using one of two bedrooms (we can lock the other as it's in a separate pod) or if it's last minute.  However, we don't automatically discount if people ask.  We haven't raised our rates in 5 years and yet the cost of electricity has recently gone up a whopping 14%.  Guests don't know or care about that, but it's not worth it to discount below the point where we are only breaking even as we would be subsidizing their vacation!

    • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,353 posts since
      May 25, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 28, 2012 4:00 PM (in response to stjvilla)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      I had 2 very interesting email exchanges yesterday with 2 potential renters. Same dates, different ad site leads.

       

      One came from my Flipkey ad where I have a 10% discount on rentals in December. They wanted clarification of the fees,  which I provided. .

       

      The other came in at almost the same time from VRBO. I responded  exactly the same way, at  the same time and offered them the 10% discount, (though I certainly didn't need to). Their response - that came back to me before the FK lead -  was "Well, VRBO is sending me numerous other properties that look as though they'll bargain with me".  okay....

       

      End result? The FK travel request booked.the dates, and were very nice  The VRBO request got back to me 5 hrs later, and when I told them I'd already booked the dates, they were angry.  

       

      My conclusion: Shopping around is okay, but HA/VRBO's encouraging travelers to shop around might back fire - on the traveler.

      debj

       

      ..

      • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
        Aug 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Oct 29, 2012 3:09 AM (in response to msdebj)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        The "exposure" of 10 competiting properties often works against us, I'm certain of that.....and that's one of the "disservices" that I believe HA performs against "their paying Customer"....that's us.    I have a few instances in which I believe I lost out on rental opportunities...and among them were a few people I was "working with" until they stopped responding...and I think I know why.  

         

        But, as you stated,  it can backfire, too, on the Traveler.  I have several other experiences where someone would "play me" for time....or.... "play me for a discount"....and they lost out, in the end.

         

        A recent annoying example:

         

        A woman contacted me who wanted to rent my cottage for 4 or 5 nights  (my minimum stay duration is 5 nights at the full rate...and that's clearly advertised). I wasn't sure at first if it was a "bulk inquiry", but she sounded okay... so I answered with interest and sent an offer to her.  Next...she responded by telling me that they (w/husband) also contacted two other "recommended VRBO properties"  and one of the other VRBO owners offered them a rental in my area for $85 a night ---- and so the couple asked me if I would match that. 

         

        Nope.

         

        A day later....the woman sent me another email asking if I would consider going down to $95 a night {even though it was beyond their budget}.

         

        Nope.

         

        {I do not bargain over my house. I'm not running a garage sale...and  wouldn't ever be offering that rate at any time of the  year...especially for the high winter season in my location. I'm always very polite to everyone and re-stated my price policy and referred to my offer.}

         

        Some more days later, she emailed agreeing to my original offer that I had sent to them {before I knew they were bargain hunters}.

         

        Yay!!!.....I was then in the good position....I could inform them that someone else came along in the meantime and accepted my offer. 

         

        Of course, she had to tell me how disappointed she felt. But, here's the kicker:  she actually said that she was upset because she was discussing with me but   .... that I accepted someone else's offer!     Whoa!  

         

        I had to respond to clarify.... that it is I who makes the offers....and not the traveler....I do not accept "offers from anyone"....it's the first person to accept my offer that gets the house.   

         

         

        P.S.  I completely agree with stjvilla ...the prospects neither know...nor care to know how we justify our price policy.  They are motivated to find the best value for their money. But, I can not afford to subsidize people's vacations...and I'm pretty generous with amenities, even in this economy I haven't cut back.  But, Travelers are sometimes obnoxious with the flea market ...garage sale strategy to gain something they otherwise could not afford.  It's a turn off for me when people approach me with a "discount mindset" from the start....and especially after getting my offer which I craft carefully and considerately....yet, they ask for more.  Note: I offer generous discounts to my returning guests (always)....and some to newcomers...but it's "my offer"....my choice to do so....along with my choice over who gets the key to my house if there are competing prospects depending upon the circumstances.  Frankly, being the first to confirm acceptance of an offer is what works best to get what one wants....if it is within ones means to afford!  There is a type of Traveler that wants more than what s/he can afford in reality...(or bargaining is their usual game regardless)...they want what they see....yet they permit themselves to be distracted by other offers that are put before them....but they really want what originally attracted them.  I immediately lose interest in games some people appear to play....especially when I know that another Traveler will come along and respond with genuine interest and have no question about the offer other than to ask me how they may send payment.  Those are my ultimate target group...people who know what they want... can afford what they are pursuing.... and do not 'play with me'. 
         

        • sage Community All-Star 966 posts since
          Jul 4, 2012
          Currently Being Moderated
          Oct 28, 2012 10:10 PM (in response to anja)
          Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

          Anja & Debj -

           

          I think your experiences highlight a fundamental flaw in the procedure that recommends other properties, and one which can serve to alienate travelers.  That is, the recommendation comes after the traveler has done the initial screening and identified one or more specific properties of interest.  The HA recommendation then serves to confuse the traveler with excess information.  The traveler, who had thought the prospective properties had been narrowed down, suddenly is confronted with more choices.

           

          The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less is a book written by a psychologist whose studies lead him to conclude that giving too much information, and too many choices, can cause anxiety in consumers, and lead to paralysis.  Travelers who were happy with their choices and prepared to select their vacation rental, are unexpectedly given additional information which they then feel compelled to analyze. 

           

          Most of us have probably experienced this phenomenon.  If you go into a store to buy something, you find it, perhaps selecting from 3 or 4 alternatives, pay for it, and are happy.  The whole transaction takes a few minutes.  But try to buy the same thing online, where  there are thousands of sellers of various products, and one feels obliged to find which of the competing products is best, and then find the seller who will give the best price.  It can take a long, long time to make the purchase, and still one may worry that a better deal was missed.

           

          To give suggestions early in the process would be fine.  But when a traveler has identified specific properties of interest it is a disservice to the traveler, and also to the owners who are dealing with suddenly confused travelers.  Giving the suggestion sends a message to the traveler to the effect of "okay, but since you are probably too stupid to find the right vacation rental without some help, check out these alternatives." 

           

          Is there any empirical data to show travelers have a better experience as a result of these recommendations?  I would be surprised.  But I suppose someone is getting a bonus for coming up with the idea and implementing it.

           

          Too many choices is not good for anyone.

          • crescentbeach4u Community All-Star 862 posts since
            Sep 10, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Oct 28, 2012 10:28 PM (in response to sage)
            Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

            Sage......you deserve 2012 post of the year!

            • sage Community All-Star 966 posts since
              Jul 4, 2012
              Currently Being Moderated
              Oct 29, 2012 12:54 AM (in response to crescentbeach4u)
              Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

              Doug -

               

              Thanks.  I realized that I had been seeing posts through several discussion threads that seemed to have a common element.  It took a while to understand what I was seeing. 

               

              Initially I thought the HA explanation on the recommendations, that we all benefit from additional exposure of our listings, made sense, and at worst the effect of the recommendations was neutral.  I figured that as many travelers would be led to my listing as there were who might have been led away.  But then I realized that even if that is the case, many people looking for vacation rentals are being overwhelmed with more choices than they really want, and the effect is not good as seen with Debj and Anga's experiences with travelers who were angry/upset after sorting through additional recommended listings only to return, too late, to what they had wanted in the first place.

               

              The recommendations feature seems like one of those instances in which technicians have driven the product development.  Just because a nifty feature can be implemented does not mean it should be implemented. 

          • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
            Nov 9, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Oct 31, 2012 10:38 AM (in response to sage)
            Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

            I agree completely. Why is the renter shown additional choices. I understand that Homeaway wants to keep all advertisers happy. but let the homes speak for themselves. If the renter has narrowed their choices, showing additional homes does nothing for both the original homes and the newly provided homes.

  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 31, 2012 3:44 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    So here goes todays story.

     

    Renter contacts me several weeks ago about renting one of my homes. I stated my rate and asked them to visit my website and see additional pictures and amenities of my home. They loved the house. After a week they contact me that it is not within their budget. I ask their budget. My first mistake (but it is off season and rentals are slim).

     

    I email them that I cannot meet their budget and wish them a happy holiday. I tell them as this is really off off season, I would consider a 10% discount. My second mistake.

     

    They email me after another week that they will accept my offer and what is the next step to rent my home. They ask for my homes address. I did not make a THIRD mistake. Advised them that we do not give out an address unless I meet the tenants in person or receive a deposit. I give them the details to send the full amount, plus security deposit and cleaning fee. We are now 40 days away from rental date. At 60 days we always ask for full payment, security and cleaning fee.

     

    Another week goes by and receive an email that they do not "feel comfortable paying in full up front. They will send 1/2 now and pay me the balance upon check in. Also, since the husband is a police officer, they will not be paying a security deposit".

     

    My answer: Sorry, but no thanks, have a wonderful holiday.

     

    I may be blonde (sorry to all you blond ladies out there), but I am not dumb.

     

    Couldn't stop laughing when I read the email.

     

    I should have held my ground on the price. When is enough, enough??

    • crescentbeach4u Community All-Star 862 posts since
      Sep 10, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 31, 2012 3:57 PM (in response to marilyn)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      Way to stick to your guns marilyn!

      • iopbeachhouse Community All-Star 455 posts since
        Aug 10, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Oct 31, 2012 5:49 PM (in response to crescentbeach4u)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        Had a negotiator yesterday. His "assitant" sent the inquiry for a weekend in November. It happens to be at the end of a time we plan to be at the house doing maintenance. The renter wanted to come in two days before we had planned to leave. We could do that. They wanted all 5 nights that were open. We could do that. Intererstingly, it was for 4 people and we have a 6 bedroom house. I quoted them our published 5 night price with taxes and cleaning. The "assitant" came back with a statement that his boss wasn't coming in until late and would be leaving early so they were offering us a price that equaled the rent with no taxes or cleaning. We do not discount except for military discounts. We have found that discounting just brings people in who really can't afford the house and the results have not been positive. I politely replied "We cannot accept your offer. We hope you find something that suits your needs and your budget." I will say I didn't much care for working with an "assitant" and not the renter directly. How do others handle those situations?

        • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
          Nov 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Oct 31, 2012 10:50 PM (in response to iopbeachhouse)
          Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

          As I sit here, sipping my glass of wine by candlelight (no, not a romantic evening, but no power in the hamptons due to hurricane sandy), I am amazed to hear that no matter where in the world, these hagglers rear there ugly heads.

           

          I agree, dealing with an assistant, secretary, administrative assistant etc, is a pain in the behind. It is difficult enough negotiating with the renter, but to have a second party act as mediator is very difficult.

           

          I agree 100%, if they cannot afford the house, they should not be renting it. I too have had nothing but issues with people who do not appreciate or understand high end furnishing, electronics or property. Someone looking to live the "life of Reilly" should have the money to do so. Hence, no haggling or bargain hunting.

      • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
        Nov 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 1, 2012 6:58 PM (in response to crescentbeach4u)
        Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

        And now a day later I get a request from another renter wishing my home. Give them my price and they love the price. They are coming to see my home with deposit in hand.

         

        Moral of the story: stick to your guns, don't give in and tell them to shove it when the renter tells you how to run your business and the rates you should charge them.

  • crescentbeach4u Community All-Star 862 posts since
    Sep 10, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 7:40 AM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    What urkes me the most are the potential renters that throw out the "I have lost someone this past year and need help to move on" when discussing rates.  I have gotten 5 of these types this past year.  But I learned from all of you to stay my course.

     

    Ironically I just had renters last week that after they left the wife let me know that they were trying to move on after losing their daughter this past year.  I broke down on the spot and was honored that they chose my place to meet with the other siblings to try to move forward.  Never once was this mentioned before a contract was signed. 

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 7:50 AM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    Our property is in Nantucket, so we have a fairly limited number of competitive properties, as the Island is so small. When setting rates, I do look at comparabe properties, but I also ook at the local B&B and hotel rates.

     

    Even though we are a luxury home, our rate per room is way below the cost of any of the nicer hotels. Plus the guests have the extra living space, kitchen and outdoor space. I point that out to folks who are trying to negotiate. If they are serious renters, that usually makes sense to them, especially if they are new to Nantucket.

     

    I've had folks say "that number is not in their budget", I suspect as a negotiating ploy. Its not my place to determine thier budget, so I just thank them for their interest and move on- often thay do come back.

     

    I am flexible in the off season- not as to rates, but as to the length of the rental. even though my listing says we rent for full weeks only, I often get inquiries for weekends. I will rent for a minimum of 3 days, but at the full week rate + my turnover cost built in.

  • Contributor 188 posts since
    Aug 30, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 4:48 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    Some people will always want a "deal" no matter what you rate is.  I find that those people often tend to be the hardest on the house and to deal with.  Saying no is not allways easy, but often required to protect your home.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2012 7:40 PM (in response to dheverett)
    Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

    I enjoyed reading every square inch of this thread. I'm actually in the works with HomeAway to write an article about the "4 types of vacation rental planners" which include:

     

    • The "Early Bird"
    • The Comparison Shopper
    • The "Haggler"
    • The Last-Minute Deal Seeker

    This article will cover real-world experiences I've had, as well as the typical "attributes" these people exhibit.

     

    I'd love to get feedback and hear about all of your personal experiences with these type of consumers, and how you've dealt with them.

     

    If you're interested in contributing to the article, please feel free to private message me, or you can e-mail me directly at:

    justinurich43@gmail.com

     

    Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

    • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
      Nov 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 3, 2012 1:52 PM (in response to justin.urich)
      Re: Inquirers That Want to Negotiate

      The comparison shopper:

      I love your home but just saw a house down the street that was significantly less.

      I ask "what was their rate"

      They say half of my rate.

      I say, I  "had better run down there right now and rent it. You see I just rented my home for the asking price and I need a place to stay."

       

      Last minute deal seeker:

       

      Renter, well since you haven't rented the home always, why not let me have it for half your normal rate and at least it will be occupied.

       

      In front of the renter I add up all the costs of running the house and say "Whoops I made a mistake, the price just went up 25%"

       

      Renter either runs for the hills or begs to have the original price.

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