97 Replies Latest reply: Aug 13, 2013 10:39 AM by trish RSS

    Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?

    wiffle Contributor

      I'd love to share stories here, so that perhaps other owners can decide if negotiating rates is something they want to do.

       

      I have caved to the negotiators a few times and it  does  not turn out well. The people who have "negotiated" with me have  been  diffiucult to work with for the most part. They haven't lived up  to their end of the agreement and some have outright lied. I think  negotiating sends a signal to some people that we are  desperate for the  rental, and in our case we are not.

       

      I would rather my home be empty than to rent to those who break the agreement terms before they even arrive at the house. I don't want to encourage this behavior, which only seems to happen after a rate negotiation.

       

      I  have posted several times that we should just say  "no" to rate  negotiations, and I am kicking myself because I did it again  last week. No more.

       

      Here are a few stories:

       

      A very friendly  lady asked for a generous short-notice discount, and once agreed she was  non-responsive. She was nice until she got what she wanted and then  suddenly, not so nice. She mailed her payment on Monday night (for  arrival at the house that Friday) when it was clearly stated that the  check had to be in my hand by Monday (time to clear bank). We had to  tell her we would mail her check back and to find another place to stay,  and she became quite unpleasant and got quite snippy on the phone.

       

      In another instance, the negotiator emailed on the  payment due date that he  would mail the check that night. A few days  later he emailed again  stating that he had just dropped the check in  the mail earlier that morning.  My gut said that was a lie, and by this  time I knew he couldn't come up with the money and the rental  wasn't  happening. A few days later, he emailed to ask if he could Fedex  the  money. LOL - I told him we weren't a good fit for him.

       

      Another negotiator wanted a discount for their  wedding  week, quite a few months away. I agreed and informed him that to   reserve, we require payment in full. His proposal: We take our home off  the market for several months for a $100 refundable deposit, until he  could visit the property (an 8 - 10 hour drive from him). I told him  that was not possible, and in retrospect, given the difficulty he was  having with the money, even with the discount, I think they were  planning to use our small home to hold the wedding. I could be wrong,  but that's my gut feeling. A few months later he seemed surprised that  we had rented the house for part of his dates.

       

      Unfortunately,  several of the negotiators open their communication by stating their  occupation, as though that should be leverage for a better rate. In  several cases, the difficult people have been, or claimed to be  teachers. I know when I see a renter's occupation listed in an inquiry  that the discount speil is forthcoming. We have all heard about people  requesting a military discount but when asked for proof of military  status, these folks disappear.

       

      The vibe I have gotten from the negotiators/discount seekers is that they only care about their side of the deal.

       

      Most of the full-rate renters are a dream to deal  with. They send their payment immediately, they don't make up stories on  why they didn't send payment when due, etc.

       

      I am done  with the discounting, except for return renters and perhaps verifiable  situations such as relatives traveling to funerals, etc.

        • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
          mike Contributor

          Another good topic ... I agree with wiffie, when I discount for no other reason than I just feel like being a nice guy I seem to regret it for the same reasons, however that doesnt mean I dont discount.

           

          In this case a good offense is the best defense. When responding to an inquiry offer a discount right away if its warranted to incentivise the booking. For example if someone is inquiring to arrive on a day of a departure, or book within 1 week of arrival, I immediately offer a discount (night free, 10% etc) to encourage the booking vs just hoping they will pay the full rate. This way I have offered my rate for a good reason and they can take it or leave it.

           

          Garage sales are for haggeling NOT vacation homes. STICK TO YOUR RATES! Its better for everybody. 

           

          Mike Cushing

          www.bookbyowner.com

            • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
              New Member

              Every time I discount I regret it. They are always the most difficult to deal with. Now I just say that 50% of my business is repeat, and it would not be fair to my regulars. The End.

                • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                  msdebj Senior Contributor

                  Same experiences here. EVERY single time someone wanted to negotiate they turned out to be troublesome ( even those that did not get a reduced rate- which doesn't happen very often! ).

                   

                  The worst of the worst are those who want to make last minute bookings. I require a minium of 3 days, from the date I receive payment and a signed contract, to arrival.. I've actually had people call me and argue that I'd be better off renting to them at the last minute than having my home empty. Really, I do not know what planet these people live on.  

                    • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                      Contributor

                      Sometimes, I just refer them to the local roach motel. 

                       

                      Especially, when they tell me that $75(at the time) for a beautiful condo is on the high end of their budget. 

                       

                      or when they say "I just can't play at that level"! and I say "well, I just can't rent at that level!"

                       

                      I do discount but it's by my choice.  If someone asks for it, no way.  I would rather let the place sit empty then rent it to a disrespectful ****.

                      • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                        wiffle Contributor

                        msdebj wrote:

                         

                        Same experiences here. EVERY single time someone wanted to negotiate they turned out to be troublesome ( even those that did not get a reduced rate- which doesn't happen very often! ).

                         

                        The worst of the worst are those who want to make last minute bookings. I require a minium of 3 days, from the date I receive payment and a signed contract, to arrival.. I've actually had people call me and argue that I'd be better off renting to them at the last minute than having my home empty. Really, I do not know what planet these people live on.  

                         

                        People who think a little bit of money is better than no money are assuming we are desperate. That logic doesn't work at a nice hotel, nor should it work with vacation rentals, unless the owners actually are desperate. It would be far better to proactively post a short-notice rental discount on the site rather than let the renters bascially name their own price.

                  • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                    lynn.gallimore New Member

                    I've found that hagglers and people asking for a discount don't understand the value of my property or appreciate the work and costs associated with vacation home renting. When I've agreed to give them the discount it's as if I'm also agreeing with them that my property, work, and costs aren't valuable. And, unfortunately, its ended up costing so much more in the end in terms of damages, extra work, etc.

                    Now, when asked if I give discounts I very simply say "No" without any explanation. Take it or leave it.

                      • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                        skiandglee Active Contributor

                        I agree with all, No discounts.  I actually get slightly offended by some of the requests.  Offering $750 for a rental that costs $2500...  I have other long term rental properties, not vacation properties, and learned long ago that the lower the rent, the less desirable the renters.  As many above state, those that want your property at a discount are more likely to not value it as you do and could end up costing you money raher than leaving it vacant. 

                         

                        I also have repeat renters that ask for a "repeat renter" discount.  This isn't insulting but I don't discount.  I reply with "I want my past renters to return for the hard work I put into my property, not to bought to come back by a discount".  I do get a large portion of my rentals from repeat renters and word of mouth referrals. 

                          • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                            wiffle Contributor

                            skiandglee wrote:

                             

                            ...I also have repeat renters that ask for a "repeat renter" discount.  This isn't insulting but I don't discount.  I reply with "I want my past renters to return for the hard work I put into my property, not to bought to come back by a discount".  I do get a large portion of my rentals from repeat renters and word of mouth referrals. 

                             

                            I haven't had past renters request a discount. I proactively offer it when I recognize their name on the inquiry as a former renter who was easy to deal with and took good care of my home. So far, repeat renters have not asked for any additional discounts beyond my offer.

                             

                            I always worry less when a good renter returns and that (to me) is worth the discount I offer. The good renters who return never seem to have issues. They just enjoy and leave the place nice. I even give them a discount during a festival or holiday.

                        • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                          aznative Contributor

                          I haven't been able to be on the forums for a long time recently because our life has been upside down, but we have been getting so many "Low Balling Lesters," (as one of the blogs called them) lately, that I just had to sign in an do a little venting.

                           

                          I swear, what in the world is going on??!!!  I haven't had one inquiry in the past month that hasn't been someone either asking for a huge discount, telling us that they would be willing to pay $XXXX for seven nights, or asking if we would take $XXX?  Of course, the $X amount is something that is less than about $80/night, and I actually recommended to one of these that our area has a hotel down the street that might be in that price range!

                           

                          Am I being too sensitive, and taking this too personally?   We have a beautiful home, and the very first sentence that we have on our listing is that our home is a luxury property for the discriminating traveler.  Of course, we all know that no one actually reads the listings... they just send out 50 inquiries and see who bites, but really!  Some of these I find truly insulting.  I just received an inquiry this evening, and I think it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  And it wasn't even one of the bad ones!  He wrote:

                           

                          "Four guy's on our annual golf trip Nov 5- 12. We are  hoping to keep our cost as reasonable as possible. Please make us an offer that  includes all charges. We will are ready to book and once we can agree on a price  with someone we we stop shopping!"

                           

                          Excuse me, but "make us an offer??!!" We have really worked hard to hone in on our rates, and they are posted on our site.  We are not inexpensive, but he didn't check our rates or he would have seen that we aren't the property to inquire about to keep ones rates as reasonable as possible.  We have a luxury property, we pamper our guests, provide a beautiful place with every imaginable amenity, and I just find it so rude when these "shoppers" treat finding a vacation rental as an auction.

                           

                          As for our experience with these people, I am so sorry to admit that we actually took one of these low-ballers last week, and it was a disaster.  First, he called on the phone and said he was willing to pay $X for 8 nights. The property is currently vacant for several weeks, so hubby talked me into going ahead and taking him (single man coming on business... self-professed clean freak so "won't be much cleaning afterwards."

                           

                          Well, I had a very bad feeling about him from the beginning, so we did a walk-thru with him before and after his stay.  (I always listen to my gut feeling... just proves its the best thing to do.) The house was a mess.  I'm not talking about things that needed putting away so much, but dirt.  He especiallly got dirt all over our loveseats in the TV area, and when we said that we were going to have them cleaned but that the ARDI insurance would take care of it he got all huffy and said that they were that way when he got there (even though we had it noted that they were spotless,) made several comments about our home being the nicest place he had ever stayed but that it was "over-the-top" nice, and what did we expect from someone renting? He actually told us that our home was "too nice!" for a vacation rental!  He also said that if the insurance company contacted him about the spots on the furniture that he would deny that he was responsible for them.  And, oh, by the way, he broke the bottom rack of our dishwasher, but blamed that on the previous person as well.  Funny, it wasn't broken when he checked in... it must have been Gremlins. Again, glad we had insurance.

                           

                          This was the very first time we have ever had a renter in our home who "haggled" with us on our price, and we caved in. Every renter we have had to date has just accepted our price, paid it without fussing, and left the home as clean as it was when they checked in.  We have had fantastic reviews, (VRBO listing #333950) and all of these people were people who contacted us wanting to rent our specific home... not shoppers.  Never again will we rent to someone who wants to steal our home for less than the price of an average nightly rate for a Holiday Inn. He has by far been the most difficult guest we have had, and ironically paid us the least we have ever accepted on a nightly basis. Boy, have we learned our lesson the hard way.

                           

                          But beside all of that, what is it with this sudden rash of guests treating us like Priceline?  Is anyone else finding this going on for them?

                           

                          Sorry for the rant.  Just had to get this out of my system!

                            • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                              wiffle Contributor

                              Aznative, I checked out your listing and your home is beautiful.

                               

                              There are a lot of travel articles out there suggesting that renters negotiate. I just ran across such an article in Budget Travel's November 2008 issue (cleaning out my library). Plus, I think a lot of people just ask for discounts these days. I was recently planning a roadtrip and I did ask if one of the small town motels offered an AAA discount.

                               

                              Today I received a call today from a last minute prospective renter. He came across as very curt, kind of rude, and immediately wanted a discount. His group may have actually been in the town already, and it is a festival weekend so the town is pretty full. I have been very preoccupied lately and didn't manage my rates well leading up to this weekend, but recently lowered them. I am still too sore from the last haggler so I told this prospective renter that the price is what is posted, no discounts. They did not rent the house, and my house is empty.

                               

                              And you know what? I am 100% okay with that. We bought our second home for us, and these rentals only help pay for it.

                               

                              I'm pleased that I said "no" to the discount! You should refer your husband to this thread the next time he thinks you should discount.

                                • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                  aznative Contributor

                                  Hi wiffle, thanks for the compliment .  Glad you feel okay about sticking to your guns.  It's one thing for a hotel to offer AAA, AARP, Corp discounts, etc. but do these people think that they could call up the Hyatt Regency here during our peak season and say, "Hey, we would like to stay at your 4-star resort hotel for $1000 for 10 days, okay? "

                                   

                                  Seriously, a couple weeks ago I called a Hampton Inn in our area, and got their rates. The next inquiry I received wanted to stay for less that this hotel!  I diplomatically described that this is a three bedroom home in like new condition, huge stainless steel kitchen, designer decorations, fireplace, putting green, firepit, barbeque area backed up to a natural open space with local wildlife, fully stocked with laundry soaps, kitchen supplies and cleaners, and a refrigerator stocked with breakfast items of their choice. two car garage all on one level that can be entered from garage, and that if I matched her offer we would be getting less than the Hampton Inn.

                                   

                                  She wrote back in 45 minutes and said that she found a home in our area with a private pool for the $$ they wanted to spend, and that there was no shortage of rentals available in our area!

                                   

                                  Maybe it's a matter of some owners just being happy to have someone in a rental that is managed, not furnished with nice furniture, basically nothing in the house... one person told me their last rental didn't even have a roll of paper towels in it.  It is difficult to compete with properties like this.  It hurts those of us who care about delivering high end service and amenities.

                                    • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                      wiffle Contributor

                                      I have considered creating a private internet forum for vacation rental owners in the small town where our vacation rental is located. A union of sorts. We are competitors, yet we all have a common goal.

                                       

                                      One  thing is for sure: some VRBO owners need every rental they can get. We have to choose if they are our competition or not.

                                       

                                      We have to find our niche. I recently raised our rates, and our bookings actually went up.

                                       

                                      Regarding the paper towels - I have rented quite a few homes, and most have only provided minimal paper towels and toilet tissue. I've had to buy soap to wash dishes (not even a starter supply provided), and have even had to buy a bucket to wash dishes that were dirty on our arrival. From that, I've learned to put out 4 - 6 rolls of toilet tissue in the cabinet, provide all soaps, decent shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

                                       

                                      My husband spends about one week a month in Tempe for work. I go with him a few times a year. I would love to rent your home one of these trips. We usually get stuck in a hotel though, company policy.

                                       

                                      I have done what you have done, checked the rate of the local hotels, and adjusted our rates accordingly. Why would one expect to pay less than the rate for two modest hotel rooms if they were receiving a whole two bedroom house for that price?

                                        • Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                          aznative Contributor

                                          Wiffle... exactly. And... love to have you sometime. You will defintely have paper towels and toilet paper!!   (oh, and a nice sink to wash dishes, but they will all be clean and in the cabinets!!!)

                                           

                                           

                                          Oh... and just to rant one last time, we have HD TV with surround sound, a television in every bedroom, and three with DVD players.  WHERE is anyone going to find a hotel room, even a suite, with those things??? I'm just in a mood... lol!

                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                      New Member

                                      I totally agree with you. Every inquiry I've had has asked for a discount or asked what is your real rate . All this is indicated on listing. A few months ago I had a guest offer me 65$ for a 120-130$/night (modern beachfront Cancun 1 bedroom; rate for 2 people).I explained no; and wrote several paragraphs why and the real cost of finding a similar property in this primed club zone. She agreed. I verified if both her and her friend were non smokers. She agreed. All proceeded well. I did give her about 40$ discount(10% from posted rate), short 4 night girls get away . Professional and nurses (like myself). I offered her a discount a few weeks before her trip because my husband had visited and told me both pools were closed for renos and there was noise because some units were being remodelled,possible closure of elevator, I first offered her to cancel with full refund (I should have followed my gut instinct and cancelled her). Refunded 1 night (110$) to her. A few days before her trip she asks if it's ok if another friend joins them she had bought her ticket already and would need access a few hours earlier than her (keyless entry) .I said no, that we agreed on two not three (written on contract) and that if she wanted to she should pay me back the 110$ I refunded her. I already had programmed the lock. She replied back, that because of the state of the place and no pools (by then one had reopened),etc, THE PRICE was more than reasonable for all three.I told her that this extra person would not be allowed into my condo unless she paid. That my manager was the hotel manager and had this authority. She paid. THe second pool opened two days prior, elevators were OK too. This girl showed up with another person ( a guy) ,the authorized two other guests, THEY SMOKED and stank the place up, partied like animals (mid to late thirties, no spring chickens), ranked up the air conditioning, complained of not enough water (she called me:: wanted a discount; denied the fourth person), left the place a mess; destroyed all small towels (used as shoe rags). The place was left a mess. MY MISTAKE: no damage deposit. I had recently converted to DAMAGE protection insurance. LESSONS learned; do not rent to people who give you offers; they don't respect your prices or your property and ALWAYS ask for a security/damage deposit EVEN if you purchase damage insurance. My manager also advised me to rent only by the week; it's a different clientele. For the few $$ I made in profit, it's not worth the stress.I need to report this nutcase,she rents often from this site. Her behavior WOULD not be allowed in a hotel.Where can I report her?

                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                      lynn.gallimore New Member

                                      I went through a spell of renters in August that made me question whether I should continue to rent out my home. Many people called asking for discounts. But what was worse was the horrible condition the renters left my home in.

                                      We are located within 200 miles of several military bases. The military couples, without a doubt and invariably, are the worst. I don't know why but they are.

                                      Ever since I changed around the wording of the welcome letter, people have been MUCH, much more respecting of my property (HomeAway Property #282933) http://hillcountrysinya.com.

                                      Here is some of what it contains:

                                      "Before you take your shoes off…

                                       

                                      1. Burn Ban in Effect!

                                      Our area is experiencing an exceptional drought and extreme wild fire weather conditions. Do not burn anything outdoors and notify the owner if you want to use the grill.

                                      2. This is a NON-SMOKING property.

                                      Smoking is strictly prohibited in the tent, on the veranda, or anywhere on the Sinya property.

                                      3. You will get your deposit back if:

                                      • No      damage is done to the property, foliage, the tent, or its contents,      beyond normal wear and tear.

                                      • No      towels or linens are permanently stained, lost or damaged.

                                      • No      charges are incurred due to contraband, pets, or collection of rents      or services rendered during the stay.

                                      • All      keys are left on the hook by the front door.

                                      • All      charges accrued during the stay are paid prior to departure.

                                      • “Recyclables”      (glass, aluminum, plastic bottles, and tin cans) are separated from      the trash.  The      trash is disposed of in the grey trash receptacle at the pump shed      and the recyclables are left in a trash bag on the veranda near the      steps.

                                      4. We are here for you!

                                      Let us know immediately if something isn’t working, gets broken or becomes stained.  Do not attempt to clean or repair any damage yourself. Attempting to clean it yourself will make the problem worse. Let us take care of it for you.

                                       

                                      Thank you for your care and respect of Sinya."

                                       

                                      The other major change that seems to have made a big difference is that I long longer refer to it as my vacation rental, but instead, it is my vacation home. It seems that when people understand it is your home, rather than something you rent out, they show a little more respect.

                                        • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                          aznative Contributor

                                          I think you are so correct, Lynn, about letting people know that it is your home.  One of the differences that happened with this last, disrespectful guest, is that he called over the phone, and I didn't send him our usual inquiry letter.  That was my fault, and I learned my lesson.

                                           

                                          When someone inquires about renting our home, I send a reply by regular e-mail that is about three pages long.  In that letter, it not only gives the rental rate, policies, and information about the property, but I also flat our say in it that this is not "an investment property that we have bought to use for a rental."  I say that this is our home, that we supply everything like a "home-away-from-home" for our guests, but that it is also for discriminating travelers who will treat it like they would treat their own home.

                                           

                                          Because I took all of the information from our last guest over the phone, I didn't send our usual letter of explanation, and when he was leaving, he made the comment, "well, you have rent to cover your stuff."  That comment spoke volumes.  He was looking at our home as a "rental," rather than looking at it as someone else's home and property that is to be respected.  How many times do people joke about doing things with rental cars that they would never do with their own car?  I think this is the same thing.

                                        • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                          New Member

                                          We've only owned our rental home for about 6 months, and have already had several inquiries about, "What is the best price you can offer us?"  As the apartment is abroad, we rely heavily on a management agency to oversee its day to day running although we deal with all the inquiries and bookings from our end.

                                           

                                          Our firm response to such inquiries is along the lines of, "Whilst we know that potential guests invest a lot of time and effort into planning their vacation we, too, have invested a lot of ourselves into creating a holiday home that will provide every comfort, convenience and long-lasting memories of a visit to this wonderful city.  As it appears that price seems to be a factor in your vacation plans, we can highly recommend that you visit listing numbers ? ? ? ?   for apartments that would be more in keeping with your budget".

                                           

                                          We NEVER, EVER haggle over an inquiry such as this; gut instinct tells us that this initial question is only the beginning of more and more problems............ 

                                           

                                          We firmly believe that we are in-line with our 'competitors' prices', and would absolutely prefer to see our place sit empty than worry about what might be going on abroad in our absence.  If someone is disrespectful at the outset to haggle over a fair price, then it portends of future problems.

                                           

                                          You either want it, or you don't!!!!!  Period...........

                                           

                                          Deborah         HomeAway 365199               www.thevenetianterrace.com

                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                              aznative Contributor

                                              Good advice, and your response is worded perfectly.

                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                  New Member

                                                  This is a very interesting and timely discussion.  Several renters over this fall have asked for discounts.  The last couple asked me to discount the rate from $425 to $300, including cleaning fee and tax.  I wrote back and described the benefits of the property, taking 2-3 paragraphs to explain the experience I wanted people to have and the extras that I stock, such as a bottle of wine, individual bottles of shampoo, soaps and conditioners, even extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as the fully stocked kitchen and views.  Then I explained that if I discounted to their offer, I would still have to pay cleaning and tax out of my pocket, explaining that I'd wind up with less than $200.  The email ended by saing that I'd hate to lost them as renters, but felt that the house was worth the price.

                                                   

                                                  They booked the house at the usual price and are there this weekend.  Great, right?  No.  First I got a call saying there wasn't a gas barbecue grill, which they'd really wanted.  I don't offer one, but evidently I checked the wrong box on HomeAway and it said gas barbecue grill.  I explained the error.  Then the woman said she was upset because I have a fireplace that doesn't work.  THAT is clearly stated.  Did I have a firepit?  No, but I described several places on the property where they could build a fire. 

                                                   

                                                  Later, I got a call that the heat wasn't working.  Yikes.  The furnace had been serviced the day before their arrival.  I told them where to find the emergency number, offered to call it myself, and told them where to find extra blankets.  The repair man came this morning to fix the furnace.

                                                   

                                                  At the same time, they texted my property manager to say that the coffee maker wasn't working.  I called them to walk them through it, and they figured out they'd put the water in the wrong place.  (Directions for the coffee maker and all appliance brochures are at the house.)

                                                   

                                                  The gas barbecue grill was my error, and the furnace and lack of heat (they did have hot water) is a legitimate issue.  On the other hand, if a gas barbecue grill and working fireplace were must haves, why didn't they confirm their presence?  I would normally give them a refund for the lack of heat, but what about all these other things? 

                                                   

                                                  Just goes to show that what everyone else says is right, if a renter asks for a discount, don't rent to them.  Even if they pay full price they will be looking for ways to discount the property.

                                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                      New Member

                                                      I, too, have found that hagglers generally are the worst renters--but it's not ALWAYS the case.. Yes, sometimes you give them an inch and then they want a mile.. My rental is unique/luxurious etc;--and by far the highest priced around--so haggling --or at least ASKING makes sense-- Can't fault them for TRYING--- and-- I don't know for sure that I would have always rented a particular week if I hadn't made some concession--

                                                      But I find when I hold my ground---and sound more like THEY, the renter has to APPLY to rent the property---instead of ME wanting THEM to -- It is a psychology reversal-and they TRY to convince me to LET them rent it--so to speak [ie demand references, etc;]--which puts the power/control back to the renter...

                                                      On a case by case basis- I'll make concessions -- and I think I get it "right" more than "wrong" now---

                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                    joan.l Senior Contributor

                                                    I hate being asked, "what's the best price you can give us."   The prices are on the website.  I'm not desperate.  If this person doesn't rent, someone else will (w/o a discount).

                                                     

                                                    I only OFFER a discount if:

                                                     

                                                    They're staying a very long time so I'll save on housekeeping and supplies expenses...and they're booking during lowish season times. 

                                                     

                                                    I've asked if they can depart at an early time (say 10am) to allow more time to clean the place for guests arriving the same day.   This discount is minimal...like $20 discount for that last day.

                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                    New Member

                                                    As a frequent vacation home renter, I would like to chime in.  I often ask for discounts, or exceptions to the rental policy (AKA will you take a pet, or will you consider a 5 night rental versus a week.)  I don't do it all the time, but when it makes sense I do so.  Typically I will do this for the following types of scenarios:

                                                     

                                                    1) When I see a gap in the calendar that looks odd, maybe a 5 day gap, when the rules say week rentals only

                                                    2) When the rental says no pets, but their calendar looks sparse.

                                                    3) When there are several open properties in the area that are being offered at a lower price, for seemingly the same ammenities, etc.

                                                    4) Or if it's an area I am not familiar with, or perhaps its not quite in the area I want to be, or perhaps I have to make some concessions like taking a 2 bedroom with a sofa bed versus a 3 bedroom.

                                                     

                                                    On the flip side, I am also a very good renter.  I pay quickly and typically leave the unit cleaner than when we showed up.  As such, I think I'm worth the occassionally discount, but its understood that you as the owner don't know that in advance.

                                                     

                                                    On that note....why you guys don't provide a discount to previous renters, I'll never know.  The easiest customer to get is an existing customer.  Ask me if you can place my email on your email list, send me a note if you are offering a seasonally or short notice discount.  Even better, give me a TBD% discount if I come back in the next TBD months!  Each time I go to repeat location, I look at all the units in the area.   If I had a discount in hand, I probably wouldn't think twice and just book the place I had stayed at previously.

                                                     

                                                    I don't think you need to shy away from discounts, but you certainly need to think them through to make sure they make sense. 

                                                      • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                        skiandglee Active Contributor

                                                        Hi Desertdweller,

                                                         

                                                        I can tell you the reason I don't give discounts to previous renters since you were wondering why we don't (or some of us don't).

                                                         

                                                        1) I want my renters to come back to my properties because I provide the best properties in my area with the most amenities for the least amount of comparable money.  I don't want to purchase their loyalty.

                                                         

                                                        2) I don't want to penalize other renters into paying more for the same property as a prior renter.

                                                         

                                                        3) I need to make as much as I can to continue adding amenities that will make each subsequent stay even better without raising the rental rates. 

                                                         

                                                        I have indoor pools at my properties and I often provide the renters with the competitor's sites so they can see what they get.  I am the cheapest indoor pool houses at the lake where I am and yet I provide full video arcades, large screen HDtv's, Movie libraries with 400+ movies, sauna's, hot tub's, steam rooms and at one property, an 18 hole private putt putt golf course.  All for less money than any of my competition who has just an indoor pool.  So you can see why I wouldn't be apt to discount my properties considering this, or no?

                                                         

                                                        Rick

                                                        www.vacationrentalhelper.com

                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                            New Member

                                                            Rick,

                                                             

                                                            Yep, I'm not in the vacation rental business, I but I am business man, so from that perspective, I can totally understand your approach and its makes sense. 

                                                             

                                                            However, I just want to give you the mindset of a very good vacation renter.  I believe I am a good renter, and I think that has value.  Its almost the same as the hotels.  They reward folks who continue to give them business.  Often times, I too am looking to get that value.  In this particular post we are talking discounts on the rate, but I'm sure there are other ways to say, "hey, you were a great renter we would love to have you back."

                                                             

                                                            In terms of penalizing other renters...you're not.  You are rewarding someone who has shown you they treat your property with care.

                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                sfvacationhut Community All-Star

                                                                If you are one of the owners (like me) who asks for a $250 security deposit

                                                                up front  ...

                                                                One nice way to "reward" good customers is buy telling them that next time,

                                                                if they stay with you again, they will NOT be asked to pay a security

                                                                deposit. I believe that works well for customers who have earned your

                                                                trust.  I actually haven't done this myself, but I have had that offer made

                                                                to me, after I personally have stayed at vacation rentals.  And so I have

                                                                since considered offering this to our exceptionally neat and considerate

                                                                guests.

                                                                 

                                                                One thing that I personally have done for some exceptionally nice renters

                                                                who really went the extra mile to leave the place spick and span ... we have

                                                                refunded them $300 instead of $250.  We just gave them a little "bonus" to

                                                                show our thanks.

                                                                 

                                                                I agree with Tyann, I don't want to promise discounts to return customers,

                                                                even if they were very nice.  It's too hard to keep track of, and I do think

                                                                it sets up a disadvantage, for the people who want to pay full price.  And,

                                                                the experience we've had is that our return customers WANT to come back, for

                                                                full price, because vacation rentals are in short supply in our area ... we

                                                                have had lots of would-be repeat renters who would have loved to book with

                                                                us, but we were already booked up.  They didn't want a discount, they just

                                                                wanted a VACANCY, and it wasn't there.

                                                                 

                                                                But I believe the above methods are a nice way of showing the good ones that

                                                                they are in indeed part of the "preferred customers club."  (Not a real

                                                                club, just a psychological one!)

                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                              tyann Contributor

                                                              I am one of the owners who does offer returning guests a discount. Why? To reward their loyalty to our places, and they end up telling more people about our places. When people ask for a discount, I am upfront that I do not give discounts, unless they are a returning guest or if the dates are just a week or two away.

                                                               

                                                              Our little neighborhood has been proliferating, and all the new places lately have become competition. And, it's a lot of first timers in renting out their homes. So, they offer discounts, panic that their calendars are empty, and offer deeper discounts. I can't compete, nor do I want to, with the slashing prices. I do my best to offer the amenities that guests wouldn't mind paying a bit more for to stay at my places.

                                                               

                                                              As for the type of returning guest discount, 2nd and 3rd times back are 5% off, and the 4th or more is 10% off.

                                                               

                                                              Tyann Marcink

                                                              Nature's Retreat and Canyon Retreat

                                                              Website Design and Photography

                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                wiffle Contributor

                                                                desertdweller wrote:

                                                                 

                                                                As a frequent vacation home renter, I would like to chime in.  I often ask for discounts, or exceptions to the rental policy (AKA will you take a pet, or will you consider a 5 night rental versus a week.)  I don't do it all the time, but when it makes sense I do so.  Typically I will do this for the following types of scenarios:

                                                                 

                                                                1) When I see a gap in the calendar that looks odd, maybe a 5 day gap, when the rules say week rentals only

                                                                2) When the rental says no pets, but their calendar looks sparse.

                                                                3) When there are several open properties in the area that are being offered at a lower price, for seemingly the same ammenities, etc.

                                                                4) Or if it's an area I am not familiar with, or perhaps its not quite in the area I want to be, or perhaps I have to make some concessions like taking a 2 bedroom with a sofa bed versus a 3 bedroom.

                                                                 

                                                                On the flip side, I am also a very good renter.  I pay quickly and typically leave the unit cleaner than when we showed up.  As such, I think I'm worth the occassionally discount, but its understood that you as the owner don't know that in advance.

                                                                 

                                                                On that note....why you guys don't provide a discount to previous renters, I'll never know.  The easiest customer to get is an existing customer.  Ask me if you can place my email on your email list, send me a note if you are offering a seasonally or short notice discount.  Even better, give me a TBD% discount if I come back in the next TBD months!  Each time I go to repeat location, I look at all the units in the area.   If I had a discount in hand, I probably wouldn't think twice and just book the place I had stayed at previously.

                                                                 

                                                                I don't think you need to shy away from discounts, but you certainly need to think them through to make sure they make sense. 

                                                                 

                                                                Hi desertdweller,

                                                                 

                                                                In your list of situations where you may request a policy exception or a discount (if I am reading this correctly) that you may request to bring a pet to a "no pets" property if the owner's calendar is sparse. Of course, you are free to ask for any concession or exception, but I do hope that if an owner advertises their property as pets not allowed, that they change their listing after pets are allowed. Many of us have pet allergies (my husband and daughter), and must use additional medications when exposed to pet dander. Simple cleaning does not rid a home of pet dander. I realize that this responsibility is on the owner and not you, I just wish that owners would not make that concession out of desperation. Of course, we can always ask before renting if pets have been on the premises, but in my opinion owners should not allow pets and smoking under any circumstances if their listing states they don't allow these allergens.

                                                                 

                                                                Asking for a discount because you are making a "concession" due to not enough bedrooms or location? As an owner, I would encourage you to rent in the area you prefer to be in, and to rent a home with enough bedrooms. If that perfect home is not available, due to demand, etc. I would not offer a discount and those are exactly the types of discount requests that I do not even bother to answer.

                                                                 

                                                                Regarding the discount/haggling, I did not start out with a negative opinion of the people who do this. I was very well trained by the people that do this that they do not send their payments on time and that they are difficult to work with. I have yet to run across a good discount guest such as you, and because of these flaky and disrespectful people, I am not likely to. I am completely soured to the experience. I would say discount seekers who are also dream renters are the exception to the rule.

                                                                 

                                                                I do agree with a discount for repeat renters who were hassle free. I do not view it as unfair to first-time renters, I view it as an incentive to someone who is a proven low risk to me. I would much rather have a smooth experience for a 10% or even 20% discount, even on a special event or holiday week, than deal with the "wildcard" of a new renter.

                                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                  sophie Senior Contributor

                                                                  desertdweller wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  As a frequent vacation home renter, I would like to chime in.  I often ask for discounts, or exceptions to the rental policy (AKA will you take a pet, or will you consider a 5 night rental versus a week.)  I don't do it all the time, but when it makes sense I do so.  Typically I will do this for the following types of scenarios:

                                                                   

                                                                  1) When I see a gap in the calendar that looks odd, maybe a 5 day gap, when the rules say week rentals only

                                                                  2) When the rental says no pets, but their calendar looks sparse.

                                                                  3) When there are several open properties in the area that are being offered at a lower price, for seemingly the same ammenities, etc.

                                                                  4) Or if it's an area I am not familiar with, or perhaps its not quite in the area I want to be, or perhaps I have to make some concessions like taking a 2 bedroom with a sofa bed versus a 3 bedroom.

                                                                   

                                                                  On the flip side, I am also a very good renter.  I pay quickly and typically leave the unit cleaner than when we showed up.  As such, I think I'm worth the occassionally discount, but its understood that you as the owner don't know that in advance.

                                                                   

                                                                  On that note....why you guys don't provide a discount to previous renters, I'll never know.  The easiest customer to get is an existing customer.  Ask me if you can place my email on your email list, send me a note if you are offering a seasonally or short notice discount.  Even better, give me a TBD% discount if I come back in the next TBD months!  Each time I go to repeat location, I look at all the units in the area.   If I had a discount in hand, I probably wouldn't think twice and just book the place I had stayed at previously.

                                                                   

                                                                  I don't think you need to shy away from discounts, but you certainly need to think them through to make sure they make sense. 

                                                                  ....to desertdweller.......

                                                                   

                                                                  Why should I as an owner lower my rental fee because it doesn't fit YOUR criteria? My suggestion would be to move on to a property that fits your needs instead of insulting the owners by asking for discounts because it's something you really don't want.

                                                                   

                                                                  I would much rather have someone in my property that will enjoy the amenities, upscale furnishings and the fabulous customer service I provide than someone who is just looking to save a buck. Inevitably, these are the worst renters as they don't start off the stay with a respect for the property or the owner, they are just looking for the cheapest thing they can find. This is not a idea, it's a fact that I have seen played out  numerous times over the years.

                                                                   

                                                                  A common misconception is that owners would rather rent the property for pennies on the dollar rather having it sit vacant.  Or that owners WANT long term renters.  Wrong! Not me. I would rather it sit vacant any day than to have someone who doesn't appreciate the value of my property.

                                                                   

                                                                  I'm become so irritated with renters wanting me to lower my rates because:

                                                                   

                                                                  1. It's not in their budget

                                                                  2. It's not the right part of town

                                                                  3. My calender is open

                                                                  4. They don't want to pay the posted rates

                                                                  5. They are in town for business and won't be using it except for sleeping

                                                                  6. They are celebrating a special occasion and want to have a memorable time and can't, if they pay the posted rates.

                                                                   

                                                                  This is not my issue, it is the renters.  My rate are what they are.

                                                                   

                                                                  Also, in my years of renting numerous properties, I have NEVER had one renter leave the property cleaner than when they arrived. NEVER.

                                                                   

                                                                  And...I require ALL my renters to pay quickly or they run the risk of loosing out on the property.

                                                                   

                                                                  With that being said, I do offer the occasional discount, ie: waiving cleaning fee, $10 off per night, waive the deposit if they are repeat visitors, etc. if you bother to call me and speak to me a nice tone and build a rapport.

                                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                    trish Active Contributor

                                                                    Hi, Desert: When you say "why don't you guys give return guests a discount" as if NONE of us do, you're mistaken.

                                                                    We do and always have, giving our return guests a discount. Sometimes as much as 20% if they've stayed with us for two previous visits. We know them, we trust them, they cared well for the property, etc. We do offer this ONLY to guests we WANT to have back, however. I don't list this as a selling tool, because there are some folks we wouldn't want back in a million years.

                                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                    New Member

                                                                    We have a 3-night minimum at our condo and often rent to travelers for long weekend or a week at a time.  We recently had someone who wanted to rent our 3-bedroom (sleeps 6) unit for 3 weeks.  We offered a slight discount over our posted rates because A) we didn't have any other requests for that time period and B) it was an "extended period" longer than our usual rental.  That wasn't good enough for potential renter.  He was insisting that his budget was XXX dollars and couldn't I work with him?  Also, when I asked how many people would be staying, he hemmed and hawed, that it would be himself and maybe a few employees who would be working at the State Fair.  He was downright rude, insisting that he would be doing me a favor by renting "almost a month" (no, 3 weeks is 3 weeks, not a month).  I had visions of a dozen people being crammed into the unit.  I refused to lower the price down to the $62.50 a night he wanted.  Yes, my unit remained empty, but I'm not sorry!

                                                                      • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                        msdebj Senior Contributor

                                                                        Dancer, Good for you!  I've had some great guests who where vendors for local events, but they were honest & staright forward. Trust your gut!

                                                                        • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                          wiffle Contributor

                                                                          Dancer, you probably made the best decision. There very well might have been a dozen or more people in your condo. Not only would that be rough on your unit, but the neighbors would probably not appreciate it.

                                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                              msdebj Senior Contributor

                                                                              WOW! Desertweller has some odd ideas.

                                                                               

                                                                              Renters need to know that most of us, as stated, would rather NOT rent at huge discounts just because we have an opening. They forget ( or don't understand) that we have expenses- some that increase when guests stay, such as:

                                                                              Utilities ( water, gas, electirc, etc.)

                                                                              Cleaning services

                                                                              Repairs, even normal wear and tear adds up

                                                                              Sales tax

                                                                              and we have standard expenses such as:

                                                                              Property taxes

                                                                              Insurance

                                                                              (some have mortgages, as well).

                                                                               

                                                                              I don't give my place away, am competitive in my pricing and offer great personal care to my guests. I DO offer discounts to returning renters WHO PAY FULL PRICE initially. I've heard quite a few stories from those wanting discounts, and even when I didn't offer one and they rented- yes- they were the most troublesome guests.

                                                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                  One thing iIl generally live by is the fact that every  night of vacancy is a night of lost revenue that can never be reclaimed, therefore, as it gets closer to the vacancy, i will always lower rental rates significantly (the closer it gets, the lower price will be).  I never lower rates months ahead unless renter is talking longer term than the norm.  I would rather have someone in the house for half the normal rent that have it vacant for that time.

                                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                              otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                              Hi,

                                                                              I take the middle ground.

                                                                              I will offer discounts to repeat guests if they are booking at a time that I otherwise wouldn't have booked (e.g. I wouldn't offer a discount over the Christmas Holidays since I can book them at full price and need to do so to help cover costs).

                                                                               

                                                                              I like when guests make reasonable offers.  It gives me the opportunity to better guage the market.  On occassion, they have informed me that the going rate for similar properties has gone down and I've adjusted appropriately.

                                                                               

                                                                              The final decsion is always mine and is always based on many factors (possibility of renting at full price, length of rental, how the rental "fits" my calendar, my 'gut feel' of the guest, etc..) 

                                                                               

                                                                              In general, renting to a low-baller is asking for trouble but some people make reasonable offers that I will consider especially if it fills an 'odd' gap in my calendar.

                                                                               

                                                                              P.

                                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                New Member

                                                                                In the beginning, we had probelms with negotiators too but we put a stop it by posting a sign where the clients register, "Prices NOT Negotiable!"  We have had no problems since.  Now we do offer some other options.  We have a guestroom attached to the house for 1/3 less or if they stay two or more nights, from Monday thru Thursday, we give 10% off.

                                                                                 

                                                                                It is funny how those who try to negotiate drive the most expensive cars. (?)

                                                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                  I, too, have had too many requests for discounts.  I've never given one because:

                                                                                   

                                                                                  1.  My property is in a prime location and has amenities that a lot other properties in my area don't have.

                                                                                  2.  I've spent many, many hours researching and determining my rates, so they're as low as I'm able to offer.  My rates already include some discounts.  I charge $50 for cleaning when it really costs me $70 and I don't charge for cleaning or security access if you rent for a week or longer.

                                                                                  3.  I've owned my condo for two seasons now and I haven't increased the rates in that time.  As a matter of fact, the rates have gone down.

                                                                                  4.  I've heard too many horror stories about "discount renters" to make me want to provide a discount.

                                                                                  5.  I believe that you get what you pay for or attract.  If you offer discounted rates, you usually attract those renters that can only afford discounted rates.  Not to sound like a snob, but they are usually the sort of people that are not used to the type of accommodations I provide and they will not give the appropriate care that my property needs and deserves.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Yes, hotels do give rate concessions to frequent lodgers and I belong to a few hotel loyalty programs because of that.  However, the discounted rate or free night are rarely realizable upon my next stay and every stay thereafter.  You usually have to accrue a large amount of points before you can cash them in.  Even then, most of the time you're subject to black-out dates or places.  Once you cash them in, you have to start accruing points again before your next discounted or free stay.  I don't know of very many hotels that provide what my property provides.  I know of none that provide what my property provides at the price I'm asking.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Here are some tips to renters:

                                                                                   

                                                                                  1.  Respect our asking rates.  They are set at that amount for a reason.

                                                                                  2.  Don't be rude - you cannot bully me into renting my property to you.  I will blackball you and let other property owners in my area know about you.

                                                                                  3.  Your profession, marital status, personal trials, prior rental experiences don't really mean anything to me.  I don't know you and I don't know if you're telling me the truth or just making up a story to pull at my heart strings so I give you a discounted rate - I won't.  I've been through many tough times too.

                                                                                  4.  It's usually easier for me to "leave it empty" then to rent it out.  As a matter of fact, my Winter rates do not cover my actual expenses.

                                                                                  5.  You can't realistically expect to stay at the Hilton and pay Motel 6 rates.

                                                                                  6.  My property is in a gated community where we have year-round residents and vacation renters.  All of us owners talk to each other about our experiences and people who are staying or have stayed on the island.  If you cause problems during your stay, chances are you will not be able to rent in our community again.  If Security gets involved, you definitely will not stay on our island again.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  I know it sounds like I'm a crabby person, but I'm really not.  I've just had too many rude people looking for ridiculously low rates take up too much of my time.  Like someone else said, I'm renting my condo to assist with it's costs, it is not a business venture for me.  I purchased it primarily as a vacation home for me.  I'm renting it to share my good fortune with others.

                                                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                    New Member

                                                                                    We do get some requests for discounts and once in a while I'll honor one.  We've had exceptionally good renters, no damage, early and ontime payments etc.  The requests I detest are "we're a family of four/six coming through the area and would like your best rate for one night".  What??? Our home is not a hotel!

                                                                                     

                                                                                    I actually upped our rates and changed to a four night minimum so that hopefully I'll actually get the 3 night rentals that we will agree to.  We offer a 3 night "Getaway for Two" special during the week, not the weekends.  That's been fairly well received.  This is just the end of our second season and we are finally getting some return guests so we are happy to reserve them without a damage deposit.  That's our main concession.  We have encountered the military discount thing but so far they've always been a 2 night reservation which we have not agreed to.  Another thing I hate are the generic e-mails that you know have gone to 30 other homes in the area.  Depending on what they are asking for I sometimes don't even respond to them because I know they have not even read the first sentence of our listing.  Also on this same "hate" list are the e-mails asking for your best rates and availability.  DUH!  I  will not answer them.  I love the phone calls I get because they are serious and usually rent right away.  No problems with them, for the most part.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    We are protected from dubious renters because our VRBO is the lower level of our home!  Yes, we actually get people who rent from us and they love it.  But because we are here all of the time, they know that they can't get away with being abusive.  Our listing is #258017.

                                                                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                      Contributor

                                                                                      My experience with hagglers is that they are generally not the class of people that I want to have stay in our cottage. We are not in a resort area so, we do not get as broad a spectrum of renter types as those who have a beach house or a home at a ski resort.

                                                                                      I have made concessions to folks who enqiure about available dates which are only days away. I never reduce my rates if there is still plenty of time to get other enquiries for specific dates.

                                                                                      • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                        New Member

                                                                                        The "request for discount" practice is definately on the rise.  And it can be very frustrating, not to mention insulting.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        We have had similar experiences to others and have learned that the bigger the discount, the bigger the loser who is renting your home. 

                                                                                         

                                                                                        We have actually spent some time figuring the cost per night, per person for renting our home.  This includes utilities, cleaning, toilet paper, wear and tear, etc.  Then we know exactly what our costs are and in no way are we willing to lose money, even if we are just trying to cover the mortgage.  Subsudizing someone's vacation is not the goal for us.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        We do what alot of others have done; we kindly say that we are sorry we are not able to offer the rate they want and perhaps LaQuinta Inn would be a more affordable option. 

                                                                                         

                                                                                        I have even gone so far as to outline the cost for putting up 10 people in a home (our home sleeps 10) vs. renting out the hotels rooms that would be required to sleep 10.  In some cases, our home is actually a better deal for 10 people than a hotel would be.  Some people see this and immediately book and others still say that it is too expensive.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        I have to say that there are people out there that have not gone to the trouble of determining costs.  If you are not looking at that it can seem as though any amount of money is better than no money.  And if you are feeling desperate to have your mortgage payment met I am sure it is tempting to offer too low a rate.  We have decided that we are not willing to compete with those folks.

                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                            otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                            Hi ken-taunya,

                                                                                            Maybe true in some cases but those are some pretty broad-based generalizations of owners (ref: the last paragraph).

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Speaking for myself, I've done meticulous tracking of my expenses and operating costs.  I also do a market analysis several times per season.  Even so, sometimes it is appropriate to consider a discounted stay.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            There are many valid reasons for this including:

                                                                                            • filling "odd" days between longer bookings (2-day minimum in my case)
                                                                                            • word-of-mouth advertising
                                                                                            • revenue (to me some amount is better than no amount -- as long as it covers costs, wear'n'tear, cleaning, isn't a "low-ball offer", is worth my time, doesn't devalue my property, etc.. and I have personally qualified the guests.  Given some simple precautions and conditions, I can think of no case that zero money is better than some.)
                                                                                            • once in a while hosting lower-income families in my property (it's a win-win.. I get some revenue and they get to experience a quality place in a world-class resort)
                                                                                            • repeat customers

                                                                                             

                                                                                            ...and on and on -- there's nothing wrong with offering discounts per-se as long as we owners are fully engaged and fully aware of the situation.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I think that it's equally important for the majority of our rentals to stick to the posted rates.  I wouldn't want to be responsible for depressing rates in the area, devaluing my property or creating an atmosphere of competition with other owners.  That would not serve anyone well.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Just an additional note... sometimes if asked (and the criteria above are met), I'll offer a very small discount and then ask the guests to please leave the unit very, very clean to help offset my cleaning costs.  It doesn't actually offset my cleaning costs (they are fixed) but I find guests do live up to their side of the bargain and that helps keep my property in excellent shape and keeps my cleaning staff happy.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            P.

                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                            Contributor

                                                                                            On the most part I don't discount except to loyal repeaters.  I often give away free nights for fund raisers so I don't feel guilty about not discounting to the general public at large. However, that's not to say I don't give a special rate at a moment's notice to fill a slot.  I will do it if we're having a good season and we've got an opening during a mostly booked month.  It's good p.r. and I thoroughly enjoy making the guest(s) happy.  When a rude haggler contacts me and wants to know why I won't negotiate, I tell them that when I'm traveling I don't ask for a special rate so why should I give one?  If they feel they deserve special treatment while traveling they should join a travel club.  It usually silences them and tends to make them a bit more respectful before we end the conversation.

                                                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                              Contributor

                                                                                              One thing I do which garners much appreciation: If I do not have guests checking in the same day as my current guests are scheduled to depart, I tell them that they are welcome to stay another night, free of charge. They rarely take me up on it but, it is much appreciated and it is great PR.

                                                                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                  anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                  I do a similar thing ALWAYS:  if my guests have a late flight out, and I do not have anyone arriving to check in....I always invite them to stay the day {no charge}. Then, they can choose to either stay "home" to rest...or have a last day at the beach, then come home to shower, etc...eat something...even take a nap before carting off to the airport.  It's a long, long journey home for my guests...there are time zone issues... and having the place to relax is a big convenience.

                                                                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                                  People who write and initially ask for a "best price" automatically get under my skin. If I answer, I simply tell them the price is what's posted. These people think they're entitled to a discount without any communication.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  On the other hand if someone in their initial inquiry tells me something about themselves, indicate they like the house, and ask to confirm rate and availability, I'm open to negotiation on a second e-mail.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  I agree about no point in posting discounts. My experience has been that the people who respond are royal pains. One man, who wanted a discount for his 5-night stay, also wanted me to spend a few thousand dollars to install a heater in my pool so that his 2-year-old would be comfortable in the water.

                                                                                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                      anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                      I completely agree with you, fortlauderdalehome.  On the very first mail, the initial inquiry, nothing could irritate me more than someone asking me for a "best price", a "discounted rate", or the like....when they do not even have the manners to tell me who they are.  They ask for "availability" and "best price"..."discounted rate" while they withhold key information any property owner would need before we even disclose that we have an opening, if we are not using the calendars.  And, what REALLY gets me out of my seat every time is when I get an inquiry from someone who states they want a "cheap" place to stay.  Why are they contacting me? They can easily see my rates.  I do not deal in "cheap"....my place is not a "cheapskate's" dream....getting everything for nothing!  There is a fundamental MISUNDERSTANDING which has been, in my opinion, encouraged by travel writers and travel website portals that private vacation rental owners want to negotiate!  I know a few dozen private vacation rental home owners in my area and none of us want this behaviour. We are so irritated by the people who think it's the "thing to do" to request a discount, on the fly...first communication.  Pigs will fly coast to coast before I "negotiate" with anyone...especially anyone who starts our contact with this behavior.  They do not even read the ads any longer...another very BAD behaviour, encouraged by HA/VRBO's "spam" feature to shoot one message to dozens of Owners.

                                                                                                      In my humble opinion:  I believe that HA/VRBO should put somthing about this in a guideline for Travelers using their websites. The Traveler should NOT request "best price" or "discounts" in the first communication! Period.  Trust has to be nurtured between the Owner and the Traveler and that does  not happen on the very first contact by a Traveler who is not even interested in taking the time to read our ads...but they immediately expect that we will reduce the price ...for them!  They are looking in the wrong places for accommodations.  They can go to any "cheap" Inn  or Motel for a cheap place to stay.   The HA/VRBO  "inquiry forms" already have "fields" for the Travelers to complete...but they are not forced to complete all the details. Sometimes I don't even get a full name. Today, I got one from VRBO from "Zack S".  Who the flipping heck is Zack S?  Now, why would I be interested in giving the keys to my house to anyone who will not even give me a full name, on the VRBO inquiry form? It just so happens that I do not have any availability for Zack's need for "housing" for 61 days...my calendar is marked "unavailable"...but Zack S got his "incomplete"  inquiry form to me, anyway.  I can not accommodate...but I honestly would not have done so when the person will not give  me a full name, up front.  It's a behaviour that is so common these days...I get dozens of incomplete inquiries...but they ask for that "discount"!   If HA/VRBO  wants to do at least one good service to the Owners that pay for the listing, they should MANDATE that the entire inquiry form be completed....full details, up front of anyone using the portal. They can easily programe the 'inquiry form' so it can not be sumittted unless the entire form is completed, full name, etc... and no phony tel. numbers, like 555-555-5555 should be possible, either. And, they should really inform the "free-using" clients {the Travelers} to use better inquiry strategy to begin to develop the essential "Trust"  when first approaching an Owner.  Start with full identity, and then the Owner just might be nice enought to offer a discount!

                                                                                                        • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                          New Member

                                                                                                          Yes, it would be nice if VRBO/HA would put a "Negotiation Tips" tab up for renters. It would benefit all parties if renters understood the basics of negotiations. I think these people who drive us crazy are the ones who walk into a car dealership and immediately say "give me the best price" on this model, and think that's all that's involved in getting a good buy.

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                          Would also be nice if VRBO/HA could improve their search formats so potential renters could get a more tightly focused list of rental properties they wanted.

                                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                            trish Active Contributor

                                                                                                            Whooo-ee, Anja! I'm just now reading this (my day off to go back and read postings from long ago) and this is so SPOT ON!

                                                                                                            Yesterday I got an inquiry from someone who wanted to stay in my condo in Roatan for 3 full months. They asked if there would be a lower price for that long of a stay. We are fine with a longer rental during the time she wanted to rent, as it's the slowest season of the year and it was just her, according to her inquiry. HOWEVER, I noted that her email was from luxuryrentals.-something. I investigated and found a ton of the condos on Roatan "listed" on her luxury rental site! And I know some of the folks; and doubt that she asked them to put the photos of their condos on her site. Apparently, she 'lists' the places on her facebook page, people inquire about them to HER, then SHE negotiates with the owner!

                                                                                                            I caught her and asked her about it and all of a sudden (in addition to her name changing from what she used on the inquiry), she didn't write English or read it well enough to understand what was going on, and didn't know what I was talking about. I'm going to send it to Homeaway spoof just in case; as I know at least 2 of the rentals are listed on homeaway. She also said "your condo is way too large for me and when my husband and labrador retriever come at the end of the stay, it will not be good for us" So all of a sudden, there was a husband and big dog (no pets allowed in our building, period) involved as well. You just never know what they are going to request or when someone is trying to con you, cheat you, or phish you.

                                                                                                        • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                          New Member

                                                                                                          Personally, I expect and welcome negotiators.  During these difficult times, I always expect it and it doesnt bother me at all.  If someone is rude about it, then i probably dont give them a discount, but if people are polite and ask, i will usually accomodate them unless its peak season which is always booked 100%.  Dont forget, a week with no renters is lost revenue that will never be recovered. 

                                                                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                              New Member

                                                                                                              I agree. I don't mind at all when someone asks for a discount in an appropriate way. But, as I wrote earlier, I don't respond favorably to someone who's initial e-mail just asks for a "best price." I also generally ignore people who request huge discounts, like more than 25%, and people who say things like they're seniors citizens on fixed incomes and need a big discount. If I do respond, it's pretty short, just pointing out that there are less-expensive properties out there if they don't feel they can afford mine.

                                                                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                wiffle Contributor

                                                                                                                That's where there is a difference between different types of rentals. We would rather our home not be rented than to deal with difficult people.

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                And unfortunately, all our discount seekers have been difficult, at best. Mostly they have been downright flaky and disrespectful.

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                It's our home away from home, our getaway, and we like to share it with respectful travelers. We don't look at an empty week as lost revenue.

                                                                                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                    lynn.gallimore New Member

                                                                                                                    I agree 100% with you, Wiffle.

                                                                                                                      • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                        anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                        We're venting, again....and I'll top that.....I agree with you 1000%, Wiffle.   There is nothing more disrespectful than someone asking for a discount on first communication...and then not respecting my home, if I let them in. It only happened to me a few times before I wised up about the dos and don'ts of giving discounts. I do give discounts...when it moves me to do so.  And, I just turned away 6 nights only because the guy was being so obnoxious {after I already gave a discount...on my own initiative}....but his follow up communication was trying to get me lower {i.e. "Could I do a little better on price?" ...why....because they found the airline tickets too expensive so they want to save money on accommodations.  So, I gave them the name of a "cheap" lodging that is on the other side of the island {2 hours from the beaches that I am 10 minutes from}, to "help them with their tight budget". I am out those 6 nights but I am so HAPPY that I do not have to put up with those two characters in my home {the wife called me, too}. They were retired teachers, she said.  So.  Here's my opinion: I do not subsidize vacations. If you can not afford a week in Hawaii...there are 49 other States in this country + Mexico and Canada to drive to.  I do not run a flea marke or a garage sale. No bargaining...no haggling.  I give very generous discounts when it "moves me to do so"...and I have given many discounts to many people who where great guests....but NONE of them asked me for the discount!  I honored them with one. I do discount for returning guests of whom I am blessed to have many every year - all seasons in Hawaii.   Like I said, I already reduced the price by 10% to the guy I ended up turning down this week simply because of his obnoxious style. He and his wife NEVER even thanked me for the initial 10% reduction on my rate!  They just asked if I could "...give a better price."  He blew it...I don't want this behaviour in my home....and I'm not worried at all that I have to find someone else to fill my 6 night gap.  And, if I do not....then I will enjoy my home, myself, that week.

                                                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                            wiffle Contributor

                                                                                                                            I totally agree with what you have posted and good for you (IMO) for turning down the rude people.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            I am very jaded to discount seekers. The ones claiming to be teachers have actually been the worst. It just isn't worth the bad feelings. Many of these people are used to getting away with treating people poorly and they get indignant when they find out their patronage is neither needed nor welcome.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            I too offer unsolicited, generous discounts to good return guests, even during the most peak rental times (festivals, holidays).

                                                                                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                              anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                              As I stated in a different "thread" on this Community....I believe it is the 'Travel Writers" and "Travel Websites" that have made it "okay" for Travelers to request "discounts"  from private vacation rental Owners.  This is wrong headed of them to do that.  And, it would please me, very much, if HA/VRBO would perform a service to their advertisers, that's us...The Owners....by writing an article on their portal, addressed to their other, 'free-using' client, The Traveler, that it is NOT a good strategy to ask  for a discount, in first communication with an  Owner. This is very demeaning to this Owner {moi}.  I  hate being told, again, in the first contact inquiry, that a "cheap" rental is sought, that a "budget is very tight", that "a school teacher's salary ...or a senior on a pension....or a single mom...etc.., needs a "discounted" rate for my place. There are 900+ rentals on my island....some are multi-million dollar homes and some are lower-cost Inns...and some are "Hostels".  They do not have to book with me. There are more affordable choices if they can't afford to pay me what I rightly know is in check with the market rates in my category of rental.   But, they have obviously read in magazines, on blogs, travel sites, that it is 'okay' to go ahead and ask for a discount...or negotiate like we're in a flea market.  I LOVE to make people happy with their choice in selecting my place for their valued vacation {and I really value the quality of their vacation --- I want them to spread the good word about their experience}....but I make The Offer and it will be based on my criteria....not whether someone can really afford to come to my State...or afford to pay to stay in my home ---- with an abundance of amenities, comfort, convenience, lovely furnishing, ....I have modeled my place after the many quality places I have stayed in...while I make it quite affordable.  I am a seasoned traveler,  myself....and I go to places that I can AFFORD....I stay where I can AFFORD....and I would never approach anyone and LOWER my dignity to ask for a "cheaper rate:...because I can not afford what I was offered.  How embarrassing and undignified I believe that is.   I'd just find a place that I could afford.

                                                                                                                      • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                        New Member

                                                                                                                        A rental price too low and you get every Tom, Dick and Harry.  A price to high and you loss business.  You have to find the right price in between to not have the problem of people wanting a different price.

                                                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                            otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                                            Hi Wenny,

                                                                                                                            While I think your comments are succinct and correct; I also think that they over-simplify the matter.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            I do market analysis in our area and I still get offers and low-ballers.  At times my market analysis is out-of-date (and this can take only a few weeks to happen) so people who make offers can sometimes actually help me to adjust my rates to be competitive.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Also, shouldn't HA/VRBO be assisting us owners by clearly summarizing our carefully posted rates to potential guests so that the majority of them doesn't ask me: "What is the price?"  I do my part of the work -- it's VRBO/HA and some guests who do not do their part.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            I do find that there is a  number of guests who say that they want to book and then proceed to bargain.  It is clear that this behaviour has been learned from somewhere -- perhaps from travel writers, perhaps encouraged by previous success bargaining with other owners, perhaps due to many factors.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            When faced with someone wanting to bargain, I carefully consider the offer:

                                                                                                                                 - are my prices out-of-date according to the market?

                                                                                                                                 - are they potential problem guests?

                                                                                                                                 - is there a possibility of me booking my unit without a discount?

                                                                                                                                      (e.g. sometimes a last-minute guest at a discounted rate is better than no booking)

                                                                                                                                 - would a very small discount secure the booking?

                                                                                                                                 - etc.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            I must say that there are two questions (maybe a few more) that raise alarm bells:

                                                                                                                                 1. What is your cancellation policy?

                                                                                                                                 2. What is your 'best rate'? or Will you offer a discount?

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            The first is a sure sign that they want to treat me like a hotel and that there's a good chance they haven't firmed up their plans yet.  The second is a warning bell that they may be a problem guest; however, this really needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  In my experience (6 years, 2 owned properties that I rent), bargain seekers are not necessarily bad guests and often offer up flexibility, gratitude, repeat-business and referrals in return.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            P.

                                                                                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                Contributor

                                                                                                                                It really is all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T, isn't it?  People who don't respect us as business people will most certainly not respect our property.  I, therefore, want nothing to do with people pinching pennies.  There are, as everyone has mentioned, thousands of alternative options for these sorts of guests.  Just because those places happen to be already booked does not mean that I need to lower my prices and standards to suit a needy client.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                Just another thought - when they do manage to get to VacationLand, would they think even once about haggling with a waiter over the price of their restaurant meal or try to talk the manager into discounting a shopping cart full of groceries?  See how far they would get with their "strict budget" routine, in those cases!

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                If another person mentions "Well, Rick Steves says..."  to me, I swear that I will go ballistic...

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                And no, before anyone chimes in - I am not picking on people travelling on a budget.  I am only speaking about those who expect the heavens to move for them so they can save some money.  People have a right to a vacation, but they need to be realistic and for once, think inside the box.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                Message was edited by: manouche

                                                                                                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                    anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                    I completely AGREE  with "manouche'.  I have been thinking exactly as you do in this matter.  It's about being "respectiful" to business owners -- the Owners.  Who walks into any any boutique or restaurant...and haggles?   Owners are "business people"...with a huge responsibility to provide service...and goods.  It is about *respect*.

                                                                                                                                      • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                        amyg Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                        A vacation rental transaction occurs mostly by internet or telephone where it's easy to ask for special consideration.  At a boutique or restaurant, you have to do it face-to-face and I agree that not too many of us would be brave enough to do that in public ;0)

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        I have had a few inquiries where the tone of the person is quite cavalier--kind of a take it or leave it attitude. When someone is just working you over to their advantage, that's a big red flag.  If they are cocky to begin with during initial contact, they will likely be that way during their stay.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        But you can't label everyone who asks for a discount/deal/best price as someone who doesn't respect you as a business owner. This is how an open market works.  While we may not haggle for the best price on a 42-inch TV...most of us probably compare Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Amazon.com sales and then spend our dollars where they go the farthest. 

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        Some of my best guests are those who get a discounted price and come back for 7-8-9 day rentals.  They also fix things, alert me to potential problems, leave great online reviews...even post lots of warm and fuzzy entries on our Facebook page. Heck, one is right now putting new weather stripping on my entrance door.  He's an HVAC guy and couldn't stand to see the dollars floating out or door.  They get a reasonable discount every year and I get a nice, long shoulder season rental that pays the mortgage.  Everyone walks away happy. 

                                                                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                            New Member

                                                                                                                                            Thank you for your well written post Amy.  I agree with you 100%.  If you are so insulted as a "business person" because someone asks for a discount, my opinion is that your not much of a "business person" but rather someone who has a home they are trying to get people to assist them with paying bills.  Nothing wrong with that, but people have every right to ask for discounts and we shouldnt be insulted by it, just treat it like you would any other transaction - weight the risk/benefit, run the numbers and do what you feel is the right thing for you at the time.

                                                                                                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                "naplesfirent:........Many of us Owners are "business people"....  experienced business people.  I am not someone you broadly described with a "home trying to get people to assist with bills"...but I know your comment was not  directed at me.  I am VERY experienced in running a business....as other seasoned  Owners are, too. I'm really good at my business.  My only point:  it's not very nice to read generalizations and judgements by one Owner about other Owners who have a different "business practice" or opinion they've expressed. I know you said, ..."...in my opinion."  But, every Owner has their "practice" "methods" and their "gripes" .....and some chose to express them here..... but, I would not assume that someone is "not much of a business person"  based on anything anyone has written in this Community Forum. It just sounds a bit harsh, in my opinion {someone else  will think differently, for sure}.  If an Owner says that they do not like to be asked,  in the first contact inquiry, about a lower rate....please do not think / assume they are a "bad business person".

                                                                                                                                                • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                  wiffle Contributor

                                                                                                                                                  I think you are off base in your post, naplesflrent.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  First of all, the reason I started this topic is not that the discount seekers merely ask for a discount. It is because the discount seekers, in my experience, have been a royal pain in the rear. As in flaky, hard to deal with, aggravating. It was a trend I had noticed over time. The discount request became a harbinger of difficulty to follow.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  You are right, I do not run my second home stictly as a "business person". If I did, I would be making a lot more money off of it, as I am intelligent and know how to keep it rented. But that's not my goal.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  But you are wrong about me being "someone who has a home they are trying to get people to assist them with paying bills".

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  Years ago, we started to rent vacation homes during our own travels, for the experience rather than a great cost savings over a hotel. We do sometimes stay in very nice hotels, but we like the charm and individuality of a vacation home. And, we prefer to rent to people like us (out for the experience), rather than the person trying to get the cheapest nightly rate without regard for the actual property, and often using a questionable sob story as discounting "leverage".

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  If I wanted to be the cheapest nightly rate, just to get my "bills paid", I would lower my listed price on the website. I am well aware that I am not the cheapest, and that is intentional.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  Discounting to a friend of a friend, or to a family in town for a funeral, or to people fulfilling a mission, is worthwhile. We hear about these situations through word of mouth. Hagglers, IMO, are just pains in the neck.

                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                      anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                      'wiffle'....you expressed yourself better than I did.

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                          New Member

                                                                                                                                                          We tell them that we do not negotiate price because I cannot bargain with my workers and bills but we have a smaller room option for 1/3 less or camping for 75% less.  That usually works.  What I find interesting is the ones who want to negotiate the price rive the most expensive cars. (?)

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2011 16:05:33 -0600

                                                                                                                                                          From: community@homeaway.com

                                                                                                                                                          To: dnnswnthld3@hotmail.com

                                                                                                                                                          Subject: - Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

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                                                                                                                                                          Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers? created by anja in Interacting with Guests - View the full discussion

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          'wiffle'....you expressed yourself better than I did.

                                                                                                                                                           

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                                                                                                                                              • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                amyg Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                This is one huge thread!  But it clearly shows how much of a problem this bargain-hunting attitude has become for us. I'm just as tired of the low-ball offers as the next owner.  I respond to inquiries for 7 cabins 7 days a week so I get my share of insulting inquiries, too.

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                I personally don't blame people for doing it because look at what technology, travel writers, news stories, etc. have encouraged the public to do in this embattled economy.  You can use your cell phone or home computer to research prices; news/travel shows tell people exactly how-when-where to ask for discounts; and of course our economy has forced many people who never would have bargained for anything to now join the ranks of hagglers. 

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                Personally I would rather someone ask me for my best price up front--not after I've gone to all the trouble of preparing a detailed quote.  If they say they're on a budget and XXX is what they have to work with, I can at least say yes or no and move on.  Sometimes, I can work with them but for those that I can't (at their named price), I give them a counter offer if I want their business.  For the really bad ones (I'm offering $300 for 5 nights, etc.) I've gotten over the idea that I need to write someone back with all the reasons why our property is worth more than they're offering--it's going to fall on deaf ears, I'm sure.  Just reply "no thanks" and let them figure it out.

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                Not everyone who asks for your best price is asking for a ridiculously low rate.  My guess is that most of us have been conditioned to do that because it's what we see and hear in advertising and news stories.  If you reply in a professional yet personal way, the good ones will follow up with you and continue the conversation.  The bad ones will move on.  I've had a number of people where my rate and their budget were actually very close and through negotiations we were able to make it work for both of us.  Sometimes it's a free pet stay...two pets for the price of one stay...$10 off per night to help them cover a tank full of gas.  When everyone walks away from the table feeling they got something, it's a win-win. 

                                                                                                                                                  • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                    New Member

                                                                                                                                                    If a renter wants to negotiate, it's up to him to make the first offer. How many homebuyers have a realtor contact a home seller to say "give me your best price"? The realtor would look at that buyer like he's crazy, and say the best price now is what's listed. If you want to get a better price, make an offer.

                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                    This is essentially the same. I'm open to anyone who makes me an offer, as long as it's done in a respectful manner, it's not ridiculously low, and I know the renter is genuinely interested in my home.

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                                                                                                                                                      New Member

                                                                                                                                                      Very well put, Amy!  The person who phones me to discuss our rental unit and then perhaps asks if they would get a discount for staying two weeks instead of one, gets my attention.  I had my first one this summer and I gave them a nice discount.  They came back two months later for another week (I offered them a discounted price without them saying anything) and said that if I'd had vacancies for that month they would have booked it for the whole month.  But they are coming back next year for personal time and also to have a family vacation and will book cabins close by for their family.  They were great renters and we look forward to them coming back. 

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      The ones who ask for a discount in the e-mail from the website and whom I know have sent it to lots of others in our area I don't even respond to.  I hate that feature (from an owner's perspective) but I know that renters love it. 

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                                                                                                                                                          otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                          mountainmomma>> hate that feature (from an owner's perspective) but I know that renters love it.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          How do you know renters love it?  I am both an owner and a renter and I deplore receiving SPAM from HA/VRBO for properties that I didn't research.  It wastes my time.  Speaking for myself, I do not love it at all.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          P.

                                                                                                                                                            • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                              New Member

                                                                                                                                                              I guess I'm saying that renters love it because I get so many of the blasted things.  They fill out the form and just blast away.  Someone usually replies to them because once in a while I've answered one of those e-mails within 30 minutes of getting it and they've already booked with someone.  I always research which property I want to reserve but obviously not everyone thinks like we do and they just blast away.  I care about which property I reserve, they most probably don't.  We have so many homes to choose from in our area which normally aren't on the market in a good economy.  Many places have been put into rental programs because they aren't selling. 

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                                                                                                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                                                                                                  I think so many people use the blast feature (I know I have when I've wanted to rent someone else's place) because VRBO's search engine is so poor. For example, many people who rent in warm weather winter climates only want a heated pool, but they can't search that way. They have to read every single listing to learn that. Even the calendar option that tells them if there's availability doesn't eliminate those that aren't -- it only allows to you scroll down the list and visually see their availability.

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                                                                                                                                                        anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                        Hey 'wiffle".....this was a good topic for discussion you raised!

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                                                                                                                                                          victor.nawrocki Contributor

                                                                                                                                                          If they ask for the best price that is fine (especially at the last minute) but if the continue to chew on the price I usually say, "Sure but without pool heat."  That makes them realie you have expenses.   HOMEAWAY has done so much to dwindle the respect guests have for us owners. That damage is far and deep. When you tell guests to reply to mutliple owners and that the only way to feel secure that the home is legit is to BUY THE CRAP INSURANCE they sell what would you expect.

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                                                                                                                                                              lynn.gallimore New Member

                                                                                                                                                              I am listed on both VRBO and HA. Until about 1 year ago VRBO inquiries  usually asked for discounts. HA inquiries were higher quality. Now, they're both about the same. I've definitely noticed a decline in the quality of leads from both listings - I'm not sure if its the economy, the fact that HA seems more interested in acquiring every other listing service in the market than keeping the rental owners happy, or both. Whatever the reason - it's becoming a very disappointing experience.

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                                                                                                                                                                  amyg Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                  Not to change the subject, but since we're talking about things that contribute to poor quality inquiries...

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  VRBO's date search feature drives me bananas.  If a guest wants Dec. 23-27 and the location they are searching in has SOME or ALL of those dates available, it shows up in the list for prospective guests to contact.  How many times have you gotten an inquiry that you don't have all their dates but you feel obligated to respond because that's the professional thing to do? 

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  I can appreciate that Homeaway is trying to give us every possible advantage and if travelers can be flexible, your property might be an option for them even though you don't have their exact dates open.  And yes, I could use Homeaway's generic "sorry it's not available" reply in their system but I absolutely loathe the wording and lack of personal feel to it.  So I'm stuck responding to all these inquiries that I don't even have all their dates available which the vast majority of the time is a total waste. 

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  If Homeaway could change their email blast feature that defaults to only the properties that have ALL dates available and then if the inquirer wishes to have the listings with SOME of their dates available they'd have to click on a checkbox to opt in, it might save owners a lot of time and effort.  Plus inquirers would get much better quality responses--not a slew of "sorry our property is not available" emails.  As a traveler, it would be easy to surmise that this means owners don't have their calendar or act together because their listing showed up in the search as available, even if only one night!

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for letting me vent...

                                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                                      New Member

                                                                                                                                                                      A very good suggestion Amy!  I hope they take notice of it too.  It really bugs me also.  When I did a search for our own vacation it took me a minute to figure out that all the listings that came up under my search dates were not all available.  Some only had one day!  I had an e-mail inquiry for a quote for 4 days when 3 of them were already booked and noted on the calendar.  I keep it up to date constantly.  Then I remembered what had happened to me and realized that a lot of these people don't look at what's "X" ed out from the dates they put in.  Waste of my time. 

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                      By the way you can edit the message in your auto reply.  I do it all the time.  I've actually gotten to like the new dashboard management system the more I use it. 

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                                                                                                                                                                          New Member

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree that people don't look at the "X"s!  My unit has been marked unavailable for the entire month of February for months, but I still get requests for 4 nights in the middle with "our dates our flexible, if that helps".  THE UNIT IS BOOKED FOR THE WHOLE MONTH!!!!  What part of "unavailable" do they not understand?  The answer is they don't bother to look.  And, yes, it's a waste of my time but I do reply to be professional just on the very rare chance that they mis-typed the month of the dates they plugged in, which actually happened once.

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                                                                                                                                                                              otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                              dancer>>The answer is they [potential guests] don't bother to look [at the calendar].

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              True; and this is another example where VRBO & HA are failing us owners.  These systems are automated with backend databases that can access our calendar information (child's play for any web developer). 

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              VRBO / HA are doing us a great disservice and wasting our time by not properly informing guests when our properties are booked!(**)  This is a solution to this problem that would cost HA/VRBO minimal web development effort. 

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              We need to collectively lobby VRBO/HA for these necessary improvements.

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              P.

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              (**) Note: Yet they encourage us to keep our calendars up-to-date by offering better listing rankings if we do...

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                                                                                                                                                                            anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                            Good suggestion, amy......that "bulk-inquiry'"...especially the way the 'date search' is programmed, should be tweaked, as you've described. It's been a very unproductive feature, for this Owner.   {Together with the entire *new/improved* inquiry System....performance is suffereing, for the Paying Client...it seems common among us.} Well....you/we  have made  suggestions....but I have lost confidence that the  HA/VRBO company cares what Owners think about the NEW VRBO.  Our client group finds aspects of The System unhelpful in carrying out our business efficiently and effectively.....no response from The Company as of yet....and I do not expect any, in future.  Their silence is deafening.  I once worked in the advertising field for several years when I lived "back east" in NYC....and I never, EVER, imagined an advertising company that would {or could get away with} ignore it's ADVERTISERS!  We pay for advertising....we are Clients of this Company. There is a HA seminar coming up...in the not too distant future, I've heard.  An Owner delegation should decend upon it to speak frankly....we pay them!   I wish I could go.

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                                                                                                                                                                            New Member

                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with you Lynn.  The economy has a lot to with it.  People have learned that lots of owners are getting desperate and will cave just to get a rental.  In certain areas where there's not a high demand it can definitely be a plus to that owner to get a rental no matter what.  I have a good friend who is a really good RE agent.  She told me just a few months ago that she's noticed how nasty people have become, and how demanding they are.  When it's a buyer's market they know they can turn the screws on sellers.  It works the other way around when it's to our advantage tho.  In a seller's market we keep our prices high and ignore people trying for discounts.  However there's no excuse for people being rude, nasty, verbally abusive or having other equally distasteful behavior.  I personally think our world of e-mail, tweeting, texting etc has made people think they can say anthing they want, however they want and not suffer the consequences of other people being hurt.  It's become a very un-social world in the so-called social networking era.  The word polite isn't in their vocabulary.  I believe the word RESPECT has been used in the previous replies to this thread and it's absolutely appropriate.  Parents have a duty to teach their kids what it means.

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                                                                                                                                                                          thaxterlane Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                          See new concept being touted by a Canadian company, holiday rentals.ca (I'm not certain if this company is affiliated with any other vacation rental sites):

                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                          www.cottagecountry.com/auctions

                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                          If this link does not work search vacation rental in google news, it came up on a search minutes before I posted.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Re: Share your experience on negotiators/discount seekers/hagglers?
                                                                                                                                                                            New Member

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm actually on the other side of the equation. I’m a renter and a spontaneous traveler, and I like booking nice properties with the last minute discount. What is wrong with that?

                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                            I always prefer to rent a nice condo or a house over a hotel, mostly not because of the price, but rather because it gives me more local and unique experience.

                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                            Some luxury penthouse may have $300-$500 daily rate posted on the web site, but my daily budget is only up to $200-$250. I will offer this to the property owner and totally fine with getting “no” as an answer. But this sounds silly to me, because why keep your property unoccupied, when you can get $1000 for 4-5 days.

                                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                                            I probably rented about 20 properties like that through VRBO in past 5 years. And I came back to some properties several times, always with this last minute booking and a discount.

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                                                                                                                                                                                amyg Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                                nysubmarine, thank you sharing your insight.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                I would much rather drive a $40,000 SUV than my $21,000 Pontiac Vibe.  But I don't think I'd go to a dealership and offer them half price for a new car just because I know they need to move that car off the lot to pay the bills.  I'd probably ask for their best price and shop at the end of the year, but I wouldn't go so far as to push for a price that know is not going to help them keep their doors open. 

                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                If everybody asked for deep discounts, who in their right mind would want to own a vacation property?  Since you have a taste for luxury properties, did you ever stop to think what the mortgage, taxes, utilities, furnishings, housekeeping, maintenance and other ancillary expenses cost for those high-end abodes?  You may think that offering $1,000 for 4-5 days is doing someone a favor, when in reality you are tossing out a crumb to an owner who is absolutely desperate or doesn't have a clue how to run their business.  With either scenario, crumb-tossing is very opportunistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                If you read my previous posts, you'll find I'm somewhere in the middle on asking for discounts.  I have no problem with people asking for my best rate or if we offer any specials.  If I can offer someone a 10-15-20% discount depending on the situation, time of year, availability calendar, etc. I will gladly work with travelers.  It's a win-win situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                Sadly, there's nothing wrong with what you're doing.  It's the poor economy, an oversaturated VR marketplace (in some areas) and people with more money than a moral compass who see it as open season. 

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                                    amyg, you hit the nail on the head - the collective moral compass has been tossed out the window, thanks to a few travel writers.  As for someone "doing me a favor" by offering to take my rental off my hands for a few days - at a price convenient to his/her needs - that is no favor, thank you very much.  In a way, the Renter is our boss, but how would he feel if he were asked to work several hours for free, just so the company could keep within a profit margin?  It's a ridiculous premise.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    I like the comparison to an auto dealership - business is business. My prices are carefully crafted and I offer excellent value for the money spent.   Everything is explained in my rental listing (like the price sticker on a car), so there is no room for negotiation.  But if I choose to run a sale or offer a discount, that is my perogative, and my pleasure.  If I choose not to offer a discount, it does not make me a snob or unsympathetic to the vacationing masses. It's my ball, so I make the rules.  It's not personal, it's just business.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Repeatedly lowering  prices on demand, just because someone can't afford a rental fee, is simply bad business, as it devalues the product.  Sure, everyone would like to drive a luxury automobile, but most of us can't, so we buy what we can actually afford - or we take the bus.  The vacationing public needs to get realistic about planning its budget.  Bargaining has its place in a flea market, not the rental market.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Many prospective Renters - and readers of Community - seem to think that we Owners just lie back and count the money pouring in from our "little hobby".  They have no clue about how much physical, mental and monetary effort must be put into this enterprise - and this includes the Owners who only rent occasionally.  They don't care, because they read and hear stories leading them to believe that we are nothing more than rip-off artists out to ruin their hard-earned vacations.  It's a shame, really, as in the great majority of cases, nothing could be further from the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Bottom line - no, there is no harm in asking about discounts - but be reasonable about it.  Be respectful if you feel compelled to ask, and be prepared for a polite "Sorry, no discounts" - or for your request to be completely ignored.  The goal is for everyone to have a good rental/vacation experience.  It's not a competition to see who can out-smart the other.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't offer discounts. I have a nice, well maintained property with high end furnishings, bedding etc and I offer it at a reasonable price, right in line with my competitors who may have a little less to offer than my place. If someone doesnt' want to pay the going rate, they can rent one of the other properties. I'm fine with that. I'm not desparate to rent.I can see if you need the rental income to cover costs, you may be more open to offering discounts but I think you should set a fair price and stick with it. I'd rather rent my place at the full rate for a shorter time than a discounted rate for a longer time - more wear & tear, electric & other expenses...

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm with you.  When it comes to discounts, we simply don't offer them.  We do offer a 10% discount for second weeks, and always offer returning guests last year's rate, but beyond that, when asked if we would consider renting the property for less than advertised, we politely refer them elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    We've heard plenty of stories of people renting on a discount damaging the property, being very demanding, and leaving the place a real mess and then complaining because additional cleaning fees were deducted from their security deposit.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Like most owners, we rent for a couple of reasons:

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    1.  It helps defray the expense of owning a vacation property;

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. We enjoy sharing what we have with others, just not for free:)

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    We rent at a reasonable rate.  We're one of the best values in a very nice area.  We're fortunate enough to have guests who post great reviews, and return in subsequent years.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Our policy is:  if it's within 60 days of a rental, we need to receive the check in five days.  The post office delivers first-class mail within 4 days to anywhere in the continental US from anywhere in the continental US.  We've never had a check 'lost in the mail', and we do offer a credit card option for those who are getting close to their arrival date and wish to settle their account that way.  We also do not accept rentals within two weeks of the arrival date.  We just use the place ourselves, or with friends and family.  We get this opportunity about one week in every three rental seasons, so we never really lose any significant money with this policy.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Best policy for those when confronted with someone wishing to negotiate a discount:  give them a regretful no. 

                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                    Jim Van

                                                                                                                                                                                    Avondale Properties

                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.avondaleri.com

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                                                                                                                                                                                      academianut New Member

                                                                                                                                                                                      I am not personally offended by hagglers, but I also do not rent to them either. They fall into the category of 'unhappy' people I don't want to rent to...those that I think at least are more likely to be unhappy: they question the deposit, or disagree with some clause in the contract, or want to nickle and dime things. I'm looking for the happy-go-lucky on vacation types that will love and appreciate what we provided, not look for reasons to whine.  I always remind myself I don't have to rent and I would much much rather it be empty than not really comfortable with our guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                      On the other hand, I do offer discounts of my own making, either spontaneously (e.g. I really want this couple for a week in off season), or as a posted deal.