Airbnb is bloody great, but when you’re trying to get a bargain, you don’t have winter sales and promo codes to help you get the price down – or do you?
What many people don’t realise is that whilst Tara has stated that her flat in Knightsbridge is £290 a night, she – as an Airbnb host – has an option to send potential stayees (yes that’s a real word) a ‘special offer’.
I.E. IT’S TIME TO GET YOUR HAGGLE HAT AND YOUR BARTERING BROGUES ON LADS
Before we get into this, if you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet make sure you do so with a referral link as you’ll get money off your first stay. Here’s mine if you want to use it!
You could give this a go in any situation, but here are the two scenarios where bartering can be particularly successful:
- You’re staying a decent amount of time – there’s a lot of work that comes with checking people in and out so if you’re looking for a place for a week or more, owners will be much more open to having you stay rather than 7 different people across 7 different nights
- They haven’t filled their room/home and time is running out – this is riskier as it could mean you’re left without, yet you could always book a back up hotel room with a great cancellation policy so that you’ve got something to fall back on
I decided to go with the latter whilst plotting a UK break and realising just how bloody pricey staying in the homeland can be.
Here’s what I did:
STEP ONE – Compile
One week before, I searched for available rooms and homes in a whole host of places within a 2 hour train ride of London – notably Oxford, Brighton and Margate.
By saving the properties I liked (look out for the heart in the top right of the listing), I created a ‘wish list’ – this is a great tool as it automatically updates what’s available.
I found 40 places in total.
STEP TWO – Wait
Whilst checking and then seeing the place you were secretly lusting for get booked up is THE PITS, it’s worth checking in a couple of times over the next 4 or 5 days to see how things are shaping up.
STEP THREE – Pounce
Two days before you intend to go away should be a good point to put some feelers out there.
When I clicked back on, I saw that just 10 places were still available – I said it was risky, didn’t I?! – and the next step was to schmooooooze.
Done in the form of a ‘oh me? I’m just super casual this is helping you more/oh god please house me’ message:
Your place looks absolutely beautiful!
My boyfriend and I both work in radio in London and after a rather hectic week at work (and we’re only three days in!), we’ve decided to try and get out of the city, get some of that sea air and hit ‘refresh’.
Our plan would be to explore the area and sample whatever delights the local restaurants and bars have to offer!
Our budget for staying 2 nights is £XX including Airbnb’s service fee which I understand is under what you’re currently looking for, but if you’re wanting to fill your place with respectful guests who you wouldn’t see much of – then look no further!
I look forward to hearing from you.
STEP FOUR – Wait again…
All my messages got a reply (thank you, kind Airbnb brethren).
- 8 said they were actually booked but they hadn’t updated their calendar (bahhh)
- 1 said ‘can you check back in tomorrow?’
- and 1 said ‘yeah sure!’
So how much did we save?
My bartering meant that we were able to get a place in Margate down from £105 to £80. Not too bad?
It’s worth saying that the ‘can you check back in tomorrow?’ place would have been an entire house in Brighton for £90 down from £180! So there’s definitely some massive deals to be had.
As it’s always me doing the booking around here, this was James’ FIRST EVER BOOKING on Airbnb meaning he had a £30 welcome offer from a friend, bringing our final cost to a mere £25 each.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can also get some moola off by being referred to by a friend.
Fancy seeing what the place we booked was like?
James is the greatest
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