Is a guest who asks for a discount always going to be trouble?

Level 4
London, United Kingdom

Is a guest who asks for a discount always going to be trouble?

I'm very sad today, we've been 5 star since we launched and today we just received a 3 star rating.


The guest asked me for a discount before booking because "they would only be there from late and be leaving early and would be very tidy" and I very politely explained that accommodation for one night still requires a full clean, especially in these COVID times.


Everything was going well and I was in communication with her the day after and asked how everything was going with her ferry, which I had helped her with information.  Then, boom - a bad review which, in fairness she kept as private feedback but only 3 stars.


It was a one-nighter and I was able to accommodate her very last minute request (sub 24 hours notice)


Yes, our rates are up a bit (£150 for a whole house that accommodates up to 😎 we're in a tiny tourist town and everything is booked solid and our cleaning fee is up a bit (£75) because we've chosen to fog the place for COVID after each visit and a proper full-on safety clean down. 


We're new to all this so my question to you experienced people is "Is a guest who asks for a discount always going to be trouble?" and should I just always decline them? 




28 Replies 28
Level 10
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia



This is an old thread, but the situation is continuous and constant.  This past January we had guests whose lifestyle is to leave the cold harsh winters and travel to several different countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America.  They are not wealthy people, and must adhere to a budget for these trips.


The guests asked if we could offer a discount, and I offered them an energy saver rate, which was a discount in exchange for no air conditioning (AC isn't absolutely necessary because each suite has a ceiling fan, windows, and a balcony door).  They accepted the offer, and their fantastic review reflects that they  greatly enjoyed their stay.  

Level 10
Jersey City, NJ

@Mark1340  I might also follow up a 3 star review with a message asking them why they gave you such a low star rating.

@Mark1340 Not sure its worth asking why. It achieves very little and just prolongs your sense of hurt. Also be careful if you reply to their review. The reply is critical and it would be unnecessary/wrong to reply to any private feedback the guest left as future guests will not see the previous guests private comments.

@Mike-And-Jane0  @Mark116   Yes - it’s also good to remember that the guest you are responding to may not see your response, and often never does.  This makes the predominant audience of your response future guests deciding on their stay. Therefore, a host’s response to a guest comment should actually be geared towards these future guests. 🙂

Level 10
London, United Kingdom

I generally find those who've had to suck up what little remains (in terms of listings) are rarely going to be happy (and that's without a £75 cleaning fee). While I understand many hosts do charge a cleaning fee, it's hard to justify for a one-nighter.

You should have plenty of bookings this summer (and hopefully no one-nighters) so this review will be a distant memory before long, @Mark1340.

Level 4
London, United Kingdom

Yea, it's a tough one to swallow for a one-nighter and I was even tempted to put myself out as two night minimum.  It costs me £45 (3 hours at £15 per hour) for my cleaner and about average £20 for all the laundry - I used to just do that at cost of £65 but I added an extra £10 to scratch at least a little back from the £500 I just paid for a disinfecting fogger.

Still learning the ropes and thanks for your reply Gordon.

@Mark1340  And don't forget that Airbnb gets a piece of that cleaning fee - I increased mine a bit to try to make up for their percentage.  In 6 years of hosting I've had virtually no complaints about the fee.  But I switched to a two-night minimum because I found that one-nighters just weren't worth it, and many of them didn't leave reviews. 


Discount-seekers - or the ones who book in the off-season when I send out promotional discounts - almost always leave lesser reviews.  I came across this article awhile ago -

- and asked the author for his take on what I see as a paradoxical phenomenon that appears to be “the more people pay, the less they complain.”   I thought his answer was interesting!  See the comments below the article.

Level 10
Kendal, United Kingdom


Just my observation on hagglers.. I think it depends on your place and the availability of similar places in an area. If there are lots available, then haggling is a good way to save some money and the guest does have a bit of an upper hand and a choice of where to go next if the answer to their lowballing is 'No!'. They don't  always go elsewhere - as @Pat271 said previously. Only today I tried haggling with a telecoms company, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It didn't today - but I wouldn't know unless I asked.


I have had guests who have stayed with us before 'request' a discount, which because they are known get a token of appreciation - which they're happy with. Only one attempt this year - and because they procrastinated too long over deciding to book their dates were already filled... Karma. 🙂


Also, us being an IB property helps I think. There is very little opportunity for price negotiation with IB.. Dates > Prices > Book.. Easy for me to say having separate accommodation, as I don't have to live with the guest(s) but circumstances will vary between each listing, and even location for same type accommodations - so experiences will vary on that one with IB. Vetting guests is very important to some hosts, not as much to others.

Level 10
СПБ, Russia

Last time I ceded and gave a guest who was pleading hard times a discount during off season - the guest arrived and cheerfully announced she had bought a ticket to the Mariinisky Theatre. Only for the top price rows near the front of the stage, which cost more than booking my room then. To rub salt, she asked if I could then babysit her 12 year old kid while she swanked off to the Opera. Custard pie in my face.

Level 10
Daylesford, Australia

Happened to me as well, gave rare discount, when they arrive they tell me their plans. Most expensive restaurant in the entire region, plus all day spa treatments. Felt done over. I have never eaten there myself... 

Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Mark1340  I generally think it's pretty disrespectful to ask for discounts. It's basically saying that your place isn't worth what you are charging. And most posts I've read here on the forum over time lean heavily towards the guests who ask for discounts turning out to be bad guests in other ways.


However, as another poster mentioned, there are some cultures where you're considered foolish if you don't try to get a bargain on just about anything. And some individuals outside those cultures who were just taught to always try to get the best deal possible.


I also think it depends somewhat on the price point of the listing. If it's an entire home that sleeps 8 and rents for $400/night with a cleaning fee, and the guests, who have a string of good reviews saying they left the place immaculate, etc., want to book for a week, I can see them trying to get a bit of a discount.

But if it's a private room for 1 or 2 in someone's home, with use of shared kitchen, and other common spaces,  that's listed at $25/night, the host is making such a small profit, that asking for a discount is pretty rude.

Level 10
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Yes. Decline. 

Level 10
Albany, Australia

@Mark1340, it is generally considered a red flag. I have given discounts before (albeit rarely), but it totally depends on the context. If someone approaches me with a very good reason, then I might consider it. But if someone just asks for a discount for the sake of it, then absolutely no. And yes, in many cases, asking for a discount up front is often a bad sign. As you say, a night's stay is a night's stay, regardless of how late they arrive or early they leave. It is still the exact same amount of work for you.


Regarding the review, I wouldn't worry about. The bad review isn't public and your ratings are still good overall. You'll always get the odd one here and there that brings your ratings down. It's frustrating, but that's just the nature of it.

Level 10
Toronto, Canada

In my experience, discount seekers are usually less than ideal guests.


My worst experiences were with those who seeked ADDITIONAL discounts when they are already discounted to the max. Those guests are basically ones you would want to avoid.


One of them even turned out to be homeless xD