Both Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) have become online fixtures for travelers looking to book their next vacation home directly from the owner. You can often save a lot of money compared to booking a hotel or resort. But did you know you can typically negotiate an even better rate, especially on “last-minute” travel?
I actually manage my parent’s beach condo via VRBO and occasionally get savvy travelers using this hack to save a little extra money on their lodging costs. I’ll happily give them a “last-minute” discount to avoid the condo sitting empty, not earning a dime. Keep reading as I’m about to spill the beans on how best to make this hack work for you.
The “Last-Minute” VRBO and Airbnb Hack
Most VRBO property owners aren’t a big fan of having their vacation rental sit empty on any given weekend. Go figure, huh? Use this to your advantage and try this last-minute VRBO and Airbnb hack to score a deal.
- Just Ask: In your initial email inquiry about the vacation property, ask about the possibility of a “last-minute” discount.
- Have Good Timing: I’ve found the happy spot for a successful last-minute discount to be in the 2 weeks leading up to your arrival date.
- What Discount to Ask For: I like to start the negotiating by asking for 25% off the original nightly rate and be prepared to meet somewhere in the middle around 10-15% off.
- What if They Won’t Budge?: Sometimes the owner just won’t budge from their normal nightly rate. When this happens, it works really well to ask for the last night free if you’re staying more than 4 nights. I’ve had a lot of success nabbing a free night this way.
- Other Perks to Ask For: Also, ask if possibly the cleaning fee could be waived, or reduced by 50%. Keep in mind that many vacation rental owners do their own cleaning and are often willing to remove, or reduce, the cleaning fee so their place doesn’t sit vacant. This perk alone could save you $100 to $250 depending on how big the property is.
- Always Be Polite: You always attract more bees with honey than vinegar. (Is that how the saying goes?) Anyways, in your email and phone conversations with the vacation property owner, always be polite and cordial, and NEVER demanding. You’ll find your success rate quadruple (or more) by doing so.
- BONUS $35 Coupon for Airbnb: Before you book with Airbnb, be sure to use this $35 off coupon on your next $75+ booking.
Odds of success using this hack? In my experience I’d guesstimate that about 60-70% of my last-minute inquiries have resulted in a discount of one type or another. Not a bad way to save money on your next family vacation.
Ask the Reader: Do you use VRBO or Airbnb often to rent a vacation property? If so, have you ever considering using this hack to save some money?
By Kyle James