Try This Genius Airbnb TikTok Hack To Find The Most Budget-Friendly Price

Remember back in the day when booking an Airbnb was cheaper than a hotel? Yeah, us neither! Those days are gone, and Airbnb prices for just a room in someone's house or apartment can now rival the cost of a hotel room. CTV News reported on a data survey of Toronto Airbnb prices and found that while hotel rooms cost around $247 per night, an Airbnb was $214. When you do the math, that's only a $33 difference. That's not exactly the deal we were hoping for.


Enter viral TikToker Anna McKitrick who shares an Airbnb price hack she says feels "illegal to know." In her video, which has been liked more than 554,000 times as of this writing, she says she's saved "literally thousands of dollars" doing this trick. What is it? She says it involves saving the names and phone numbers of every Airbnb host you've ever stayed with, putting it in your Rolodex (remember those? ...  okay, you can just save it in your phone), and leveraging that connection the next time you return to a city. So, is this the Airbnb booking hack we've been waiting for?

Major savings could be had if you book an Airbnb directly with the home owner

In a video shared with her over 75,000 followers, Anna McKitrick says when she's traveling, she asks herself, "ok, who do I know there?" She goes through her saved Airbnb host contact information, then messages them directly, asking, "'Hey, can I pay you ... 70% of that if I pay you in cash?'" She continues, "If it's off-season or last minute, you can even go lower. I've done like 50%. [This] has never not worked for me, and I think I've saved $500 just this month." Business Insider reviewed her receipts and confirmed that for her two-month stay in Mexico City, she only paid $1350 per month, amounting to a $1500 discount had she booked via the Airbnb platform. 


She's not the only TikTok user boasting Airbnb hacks. Frank Niu shared with his over 947,000 followers a similar hack for staying at an Airbnb. Niu says when you find a listing you like, use Google to find out which property management firm operates that building, then book directly with them rather than Airbnb. He suggests if you can't find the property manager, try using Google reverse image search on the featured photo for the listing. By using this trick, "I've gotten as much as a 50% discount," he reveals. However, there are some drawbacks to these hacks that you should be aware of. 

Getting a refund might be difficult or impossible

Travel expert Joshua Rasia broke down all the potential disasters waiting to happen if you book directly with the property owner rather than on the Airbnb platform. Speaking with accommodation booking platform Cottagely, Rasia told the outlet if you eschew booking on Airbnb, you also forgo their checks and balances. He notes the host can cancel your stay at the last minute or alter the booking. For example, you may share the space with someone else without prior knowledge. Getting a refund if you've prepaid or paid in cash might also go up in smoke. 


"Paying with cash can lead to some dodgy situations out there," he states. "Nobody can confirm to have received cash for the accommodation." If you have any issues with the property during your stay, you may not get assistance in a timely fashion, or any assistance at all, he noted. For those worried about personal safety when staying in a stranger's home, especially in a foreign country, your safety could be compromised, Rasia says. 

An Airbnb spokesperson told Business Insider that this viral TikTok hack won't result in your account being suspended, which is good news, but the platform does have its own suggestions for saving money. The Airbnb blog recommends booking accommodation off-season and months in advance to score the best deals.