Many B&B guests don't realize that they perhaps could have paid less for their room than they did. All that it would have taken is a little bit of friendly negotiation.
A B&B isn't a chain hotel whose prices are firm. Large hotels have the technological capability to change prices by the minute depending on vacancy levels per night. Small lodging establishments that dont use revenue management software are much cruder with price maximization strategies. We'll put discounts on rooms on nights that appear to be slow, but we don't always keep up.
The first thing you should do when trying to get a good rate is to review the website to see what specials are in place. When Hill House is keeping up with its vacancy rate, we post "upon request" specials for slow nights, and many guests, believe it or not, don't see them and don't ask.
If you do look however, and don't see any specials posted, start to book your reservation online and see how much vacancy there is. If it's Tuesday and you want a room for the weekend ahead, and you see only two (out of our ten rooms) vacancies, forget it. But, say, there are five vacancies. Make a call.
The two things to do to get a discount on the phone are to say how much you like Hill House and to be direct and upfront about wanting a discount. Something like this... "You're inn looks beautiful and I'd really love to stay there, but your rack rates are a little high for me. I see you still have 5 rooms available this weekend. Would you be able to give me a discount."
Innkeepers always want guests who want something more than a bargain. We really do want people who appreciate what we have to offer. Show enthusiasm for the inn and the room, and, trust me, you'll get a discount.