The 8 Best Tips For Negotiating A Summer Vacation Rental

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Photos: Twitter\Veronica Hamilton

A place to stay while you’re on vacation is often the largest expense of the trip. With hotels sometimes costing an arm and a leg, vacation rentals are worth considering to save on your spending. To gain even more value, you can negotiate with the owners of vacation rental homes for better deals.

Here’s how.

Take time to research

Before you haggle for a vacation rental, take the time to find out as much information as possible about vacation rentals in the area you want to visit. Search for prices on different websites like:

Airbnb

Tripadvisor

HomeAway

Booking.com

Once you get the picture of the average prices, you can decide on an attainable discount to ask for. Remember, if you shoot for an excessive discount, the owner might think you’re negotiating in bad faith, throwing the discussions off track.

Besides the price, look at other factors like how far the rental home is from the main attractions or whether it’s peak season in the area.

When you’re armed with information, you increase your chances of steering the discussion your way.

Set a price anchor

Echoing what Negotiation Experts teach, you can secure a price very close to what you want to pay by setting a price anchor.

How does the price anchor work? Typically when haggling, the first price offer made by either side becomes the negotiation anchor point, which means the final price will fall not too far away from this figure.

When you’re haggling for a rental, the owner will usually set the anchor when the property is listed on a website. That’s why you typically need to present your own counter anchor to avoid getting tied down by the owner’s price.

Using the information that you gather during research, shift attention from the owner’s anchor price. You can highlight why you think the price is too high, for instance, when it’s close to an off-peak season. Then proceed to mention your offer.

Look for price-matching opportunities

One of the simplest ways of landing a substantial discount is to take advantage of a price-match offer. First, check on different vacation rental listings to find the ones that offer a price match. Then, once you find a few options in the area you want to visit, hunt for lower-priced vacation rentals within the area.

When you see something cheaper that’s comparable, reach out to the vacation rental owner you’re interested in to ask for the lower price.

If the vacation home you’ve set your sights on doesn’t explicitly make mention of a price-matching offer on their website, you can reach out to ask. The owner might be willing to hear you out rather than lose you to a cheaper competitor.

Get evidence of the lower prices you find by screenshotting or clipping the information so you can be more skillfully present a stronger argument.

Get the timing right

It’s easier to score bargains if you look for a rental for your vacation when it’s an off-peak season with fewer people taking vacations. In addition, most owners of rentals are willing to earn less than to not earn at all, so you stand a better chance if you go against the usual flow of visitors.

With the information you gathered during the research phase, you can figure out when the vacation home usually has an off-season.

Look beyond the price

Sometimes, the rental owner will hold fast on their pricing. In those cases, it pays to train yourself to look beyond the price to see how you can get the most value in other ways. Consider negotiating for other vacation perks, such as:

Free amenities like free Wi-Fi or complementary meals.

Fees slashed on extra services like room cleaning.

A lower rate if you pay a larger deposit.

A discount if you book a second stay.

Don’t drag out a negotiation

One of the main skills that expert negotiators teach is to know when to walk away. Dragging out the talks for longer than you should can frustrate you. Plus, you’ll waste a lot of time and likely get nothing in return.

Sometimes, a vacation rental owner may not be willing to lower prices or give out any perks no matter how hard you try. If it becomes clear that you’re not making any headway, it’s best to try elsewhere.

To make it easier for yourself, earmark a few rental homes you like and rank them. Then, start haggling with the one you like the most. If it doesn’t pan out, try the next place on your list.

Connect with the owner

Excellent communication abilities come in handy during negotiations. Train yourself to boost your communication techniques to help forge a connection with rental owners.

Once you click with the owner, it’s easier to settle a win-win outcome. As research has shown, in a negotiation, when you show the other side that you want the best for everyone involved, you tend to curry more favor.

Show the rental owner that lowering the price for you won’t be a loss of value for their business. For instance, you could highlight what the owner stands to gain by lowering the price or throwing in extra perks, such as, for example, how you can offer them repeat business in exchange for a lower rate or how you will give the owner more cash upfront.

Talk to the right person

Only decision makers can give you a discount. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re dealing with the right person before you move on with the negotiations.

Whether you’re reaching out online or in person, establish who you’re talking with first. If the person you’re talking to isn’t able to make decisions, ask for someone who can, so you’re negotiating with the right person from the start.

Finally, remember the techniques you need to score bargains on vacation rentals can take time to master. You might not win right off the bat, but with some practice, you can train yourself to land cheaper accommodation deals for your next vacation.

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