How to 'Handle' Best Price Requests

People are looking for the best deal possible for their vacations so it is likely you will be asked at some time for "your best price" or “what is the best deal you can give me?” In areas where there are a lot of properties for rent and changing levels of demand depending on season, you’re likely to hear more of these requests so it’s a good idea to take a pragmatic approach to pricing particularly in periods of rental ‘drought’ – the low and shoulder periods where demand is lower.

Often, these requests are accompanied by an explanation of why they should pay a different price than quoted on your listing, such as: “Our budget is $1000 and we have only 6 in our group so won’t use all the beds. We won’t be using the hot tub and will clean thoroughly before we leave. Do you have any flexibility on price?” Do you ignore these inquiries, or respond with an indignant email that states your rates are as posted and there are no discounts? Or do you have some flexibility to be creative on pricing and special offer rates? Here are a few tips:

  • If you plan on offering a discount for last minute bookings, work out the bottom line price you will accept and create a rate schedule according to that.

  • Don’t be bullied into accepting a lower rate than you’ve decided on. Some people have developed the art of bargaining to the point where they can be very persuasive and convincing, but if you will end up losing money because your costs are not covered by the rental rate, it’s just not worth it.

  • Go with your gut feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable with a request for a discount or the way the prospective guest is demanding a lower rate, stick to your principles and rate schedule, and refuse any further negotiation.

  • There is some anecdotal evidence from owners suggesting that discount hunters are less likely to respect a property than those who pay the published rate.

  • If you refuse a discount request, do it politely and with a brief explanation. This often results in a booking. Articles, blog posts and media features often focus on how to get a discount rate for a vacation rental, so it’s little wonder why your potential guests continue to ask. Having a plan on how to deal with them will reduce stress and protect your bottom line.