How to get an amazing bargain on Airbnb

There's never been a better time to explore Australia - and Airbnb is a great place to find affordable accommodation, especially if you're planning a last minute getaway. 

But don’t get stuck paying top dollar.

The secret hack you need to know before committing to a rental is that ALL prices on Airbnb are completely negotiable. Don’t be fooled by the "Instant Book" option and never accept the stated rate on the website. Instead take some time to shop around and use the messenger service to contact hosts directly to request a lower rate.

It’s an easy, simple trick but incredibly effective, and one that often results in significant savings.

Here’s what you need to know to make it work:

1. Always be respectful

The number one rule for getting a better deal is to always take a polite approach with any Airbnb host. While negotiating a better rate is always an option, you need to remember that hosts are under no obligation to offer you a discount and are highly unlikely to do so if your request is rude, demanding or unreasonable. Play nice and the host probably will too. For example, if the stated rate for a particular stay is $685, gently explain to the host that your budget is a little more limited and would they be willing to accept $600 instead? Keep your request friendly and courteous, and you are much more likely to get a good result.

2. Play the numbers game

Don’t restrict your search and consider a wide base of options if you want to secure a bargain, especially if time is an issue. Try writing to at least three or four different hosts requesting a discount and you might be surprised by the results.

3. Leave it to the last minute, if you can

Sometimes circumstances leave you searching for a place to stay at the last minute, or maybe you just like living on the edge. Either way, approaching hosts a couple of days out from your intended stay can be a great way to score a top deal. Many hosts would prefer to have someone staying in their property for a reduced rate rather than having it sit empty, so they’ll be more likely to be open to negotiations if you are close to the dates in question.

4. The longer the better

Getting a deal on a one or two night stay can be tricky, as hosts might not consider it worth the effort. But if you are looking to book a longer stay (for example a week or even a month) then you might find the host will be more open to offering you a 10% or 20% discount on their usual rate.

5. Take a chance on the new

All super hosts have to start somewhere, so focusing on newly released properties can be a good option for bargain accommodation, especially if you tell the owner you will write them a good review if you enjoy your stay (be sure to follow through on this). However, you should always take care to ask lots of questions and make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting with a new property so that you don’t get stuck with a dud.

6. Work outside the season

Another good approach can be to look for properties that are available in off-peak seasons. For example, you are much more likely to be able to negotiate a great deal on a property located in a ski resort during summer rather than during their peak snow season or, if you’re planning ahead, look at beach houses during wintertime.

7. Be open about yourself

Your Airbnb profile should already contain some useful information about you (depending on how much you want to divulge) but it is also a good idea to provide your potential host with some further persuasive details about who you are and why you want to rent their property. Let them know if you are a responsible homeowner or a tidy family, explain to them that you are looking for somewhere more to sleep rather than a place to party, highlight your maturity as a guest and assure them that you will take good care of their property. A few additional, comforting details about you and the reason you want to stay can make all the difference.

8. Be absolutely honest

Whatever you do, make sure you are always completely truthful with your future hosts. Nobody likes a liar and a bad review from your host can ruin your chances of another good deal down the track.

(All images supplied by Airbnb.)