What's up, Leonidas here.
I'll keep this short and sweet.
It's also great when you don't want to stay in a hostel room with other people snoring in your ear.
As a ‘digital nomad', I travel alot. I've done both hostels, and hotels, extensively. But sometimes I decide to stay in a place for longer than 4 days (sometimes up to 3 months like in Brazil, Colombia, Thailand, etc).
Yet, it seems REALLY strange when a 1 bedroom apartment in a place like Cambodia, or even Ukraine, can end up costing $1200 per month.
So let's get you a discount on airbnb:
I rented a place in Medellin, Colombia (think Pablo Escobar) with a friend of mine. Before getting there, my friend had negotiated a pretty sweet deal for a 3 bedroom apartment, in the heart of the ‘safe zone' (Poblado).
The asking price was $1600 USD for 1.5 months. My friend, through effort and negotiation, lowered the price down to $1000 USD for 1.5 months, which was amazing (37% discount)!
He told me that he was negotiating for many years for different things, so AirBnB was just another frontier.
After 1.5 months, we did 2 weeks of traveling within Colombia, and then did 1 more month in Medellin, Colombia afterwards. This time, he got the place down from $1400 USD to ~$900 USD for 1 month. It was another amazing place.
So how do he do it?
- Find the area you would like to rent in. Ensure it meets your criteria – wifi, laundry, location, etc
- If you are only willing to pay $15/day, then set your price range up to $45/day.
- Message ALL of the Hosts – learn how willing the Hosts are to lower their price.
- Once again, message as many hosts as possible – with the scripts below.
- Negotiate back and forth for a reasonable price.
- Don't settle too early. Wait a bit.
Scenario 1: Vilnius, Lithuana for 1 month
Hi, my name is Leo.
Based on the photos and description of your airbnb, you have an amazing place! You also seem like an amazing host!
I would love to rent your location for 1 month.
Would you be willing to negotiate for $18 Euro's per day, for a total of $540 euros for 1 month.
In exchange, you can relax because the apartment will be fully booked for the next 30 days.
I will also write an amazing review for you, and if you like, take professional photos with a good camera!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you 🙂
The place was in Vilnius, Lithuania, located in the heart of the old town (central for tourists, bars, things to see, etc).
The asking price was about ~$900 euros per month. I asked for a steep discount down to $540 euros, and she gave a discount of about $300 euros, down to $600 euros for the month.
- I messaged as many hosts within the area that I wanted with the script.
- I mentioned I was interested in a long-term rent (even 1 month is long), which gives leverage to discount the daily price.
- I mentioned a low starting point, to which the host provided a counter-offer.
- In exchange, the host get's a booked calendar (no need to have empty dates in the calendar)
- I offer an extensive review for the place – in english. This can be offered in whatever language you speak in.
- I also offer my camera skills if they are interested.
I stayed 1 month, and the place was great for a 2 bedroom apartment in the center.
Scenario 2: Rio De Janeiro, 1 Month + Cash extension
Olá, my name is Leo.
I'm interested in renting your place for one month.
You seem like a great host, and your house looks good.
Would you be willing to negotiate for one month, $600 USD (~2400 reais).
In exchange, I can offer you an amazing review in English, and you will have someone paying the rent for one full month! Let me know what you think.
Date of interest: Feb 25 – March 17
This place was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The host happened to be out of town, and she just wanted to fill the place with someone, so she took the steep discount, from $900 USD per month, down to $600 USD per month.
- Once again, I messaged as many hosts within the area and criteria that I wanted with the script.
- I mentioned I was interested in a long-term rent, which gives leverage to discount the daily price.
- I mentioned a low starting point, to which she accepted right away.
- In exchange, she get's a fully booked month.
- I offer an extensive review for the place – in English – lots of English-tourists in Rio De Janeiro right now.
- I didn't offer my camera skills this time because she has great photos already.
I stayed for an additional month after, and offered to pay with cash. AirBNB takes a 3% commission from the hosts, and adds a tax of 12% to the renter. Thus, paying with cash will give the host a few extra dollars, and save you a huge chunk as well.
Unfortunately, the Host wanted more cash the second month, saying I was underpaying for the average market price. I ended up paying about $100 USD more the following month, simply because I really liked the apartment and the location (2 minutes from Copacabana beach).
Scenario 3: Rio De Janiero, Bad Experience
My first apartment in Rio De Janeiro, I did the usual steps as listed previously. But, just for added mental insurance, I said:
- I will rent for 1 month, and received a discount.
- The contingency was that I would only pay for 1 week up front.
- If I did not like the place, after 1 week, I would leave.
So, I rented the place for 1 week.
Long story short, in the day time, it was a great location, small place, very central. Unfortunately, it was on top of a night club, so at night, my entire floor was shaking with music. After 2 weeks (I paid for an extra week, in hopes that the Host could change something), I left, and found the location in Scenario 2.
Scenario 4: Makati, Philippines Penthouse
My friend and I decided to book a place in the capital of the Philippines, in Knightsbridge – an upscale, hotel-like apartment complex. I did the usual messages, and after many offers from different hosts, I managed to score a sweet place.
The host wanted $153/day, and I negotiated it for $60/day (divided between 2 people).
This video pretty much summarizes the process of this entire video:
So, you give a ‘low-ball' offer, and the host gives a rejection, or a counter offer.
- You give a ‘low' offer
- The host responds with no
- then you try to increase the amount, if you really want the place
- the host asks for more
- ask the host if they can provide full details if the place is perfect for you. I usually ask if it has laundry, location, wifi speed. If something isn't 100%, then you can renegotiate
- If they list as $45/day, you message with $15/day. They might match from $25-40/day.
The prices on Airbnb are super inflated. The hosts are typically trying to make a 200-500% Return on Investment. For every $100 they spend, they want $100-500 in profit.
This is fine, if you want a place to stay for 1-3 days, but you can see why paying $1800 for a 1 bedroom apartment, in a 3rd world country can be REALLY OBVIOUSLY overpriced.
Quick Story Conclusion
That 2nd apartment my friend and I had in Medellin, Colombia has an interesting ending. After 1 month, it was time for me to return to Canada, but my friend decided to stay for another month. But instead of paying $1400/month, he was going to pay only $200.
Well, the host accidentally mentioned that her rent, and utilities per month weren't more than $200. So my friend took the opportunity to say:
Look, I will pay you the minimum $200 for staying here, because it looks like no one is going to take it for the next month (according to the calendar). If someone decides to take it, I will move out within the next day.
Long story short, prices on AirBnB can be incredibly inflated, which means you can get a sweet discount if you simply ask and negotiate.