Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

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You asked: How can Airbnb help protect me from guest cancellations?

 

Guest cancellations can be frustrating. But life happens, and sometimes guests have unavoidable reasons for needing to change their travel plans. As a host, this often means that you end up missing out on expected earnings.

 

Many of you have asked for Airbnb to help protect you from these unexpected cancellations. We listened, and now have a solution.

 

New non-refundable cancellation option

Based on feedback from hosts like you, we launched a pilot program featuring a new Non-refundable cancellation policy as an optional add-on alongside the Flexible or Moderate cancellation policies. During the pilot, more than half of eligible guests chose to book non-refundable trips, so we’re introducing it to all hosts this month.

 

With this new non-refundable option, you can offer guests a 10% discount, but you keep your payout no matter when they cancel. By offering this discount,  you may see more bookings from guests who are confident in their travel plans.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the benefits:

  • Protected earnings and peace of mind. If guests choose this option and cancel, you’ll still get paid.
  • A more competitive (and attractive) listing. The discounted base price will appear in search results and will increase the appeal of your listing compared to other similar listings.
  • More money. Hosts in our pilot program who offered a non-refundable option earned an average of 5% more with a listing price that was more competitive.

 

Try it out today

Update your cancellation policy, and remember that the non-refundable option is only available for Flexible and Moderate policies. If you have a Strict policy, this new feature offers a great reason to re-evaluate your existing cancellation policy.  

 

We’re excited to offer you this new feature to manage your listing and better match you with the right guests for your space. Feel free to leave us your feedback in the comments below. Happy hosting!

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25 Replies

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

Okay - let me tell you what is wrong with this. Airbnb needs to CHANGE it's algorithm. My current guests were booked months ago by their company. I had no problem with the booking because the company has 24 positive reviews. So they booked for 10 days for three employees.

One week before the men were due to arrive, the company submitted a reservation change to request their "non-refundable" booking be reduced from 10 days to 7 days. Airbnb showed them an anticipated reduction in price - which should have never happened since the booking was - wait for it! NON REFUNDABLE. They're computer generated new rate included not only the weekly discount 10% but the non-refundable discount of 10%. So instead of $125 a day the guest was paying close to $100 a day and expected to get a $300+ refund for the unused days.

When I declined saying the rate - as agreed - was non-refundable, the guest said "that is unfortunate. I'll see if another host I booked close by will work with me." I told her "you can do that, but it's against Airbnb policy and non-refundable is still non-refundable."

I called Airbnb to alert them and the man who answered the phone said "Well giving them a refund is up to you?"

I explained that they put hosts in the bind by showing the guest a substantial discount they aren't going to get. The CS rep said, "that's what the system does."

So I declined the reservation change but it put me in a bad light. The host ultimately moved staff around, then put someone new in the apartment to fill out the remaining days (but offered to pay an additional cleaning fee for us to change out the linens.)

Days laterl- Airbnb followed up to ask how my call went with the (female) CS rep. I didn't speak to a female CS, I spoke to a male and he didn't even attempt to solve the problem.

Someone needs to get the internals fixed before rolling this stuff out. I've been beta testing non-refundable for quite a while but this was the first time I knew that Airbnb doesn't abide by its own policy when the guest attempts to make a change only days before the reservation is due to start.

😞

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Airbnb This is just another ploy to pressure hosts to lower their rates.  I don't want to be forced to offer a discount.  Yet I have the strong feeling that the next time someone cancels and I abide by my strict cancellation policy, I'll be pressured relentlessly to change my policy to this new one.  "If you have a Strict policy, this new feature offers a great reason to re-evaluate your existing cancellation policy" is actually a veiled threat.  

 

These strong-arm tactics wrapped up in language that pretends to care what hosts want are alarming.  Just say that you got more bookings with this thing and stop pretending it's about hosts.

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Christine615 this is against airbnb policy anyway so you can report the company for a third party booking.

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Not necessarily true, @Mike-And-Helen0. Those with business accounts can do so. See https://www.airbnb.co.uk/third-party-booking

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

I know. But Airbnb talks out of both sides of their mouth and allows companies to do it. This one stages museum exhibits and has a long list of positive reviews. I was professional and held my ground. She needed three bedrooms and knew what she was paying even without the discount was going to be less than one hotel room let alone three. She apparently booked several hosts for the crew and thought she could get a favor from another host and didn’t. So she backed down and apologized. Even offered to pay an extra cleaning fee for me to change linens when she had two leaving and one coming in. And paid promptly when I submitted the fee request.

 

i have had several like this which I accept. Usually hosting conference speakers.  I don’t do it if it’s regular people booking for a friend or relative.

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gordon0 oh Gawd!

Is that just if you're in the work collection?

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

I'm not sure if you need to be in the work collection or not, but a local business park has used this feature when booking my place. 

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
Dublin, Ireland
Level 10

@Airbnb 

 

Many, many reports circulating from hosts during the testing phase, that their "non-refundable" bookings were over-ridden by the Extenuating Circumstances policy. 

 

Just so we're all 100% clear on this - and we have it straight from the horse's mouth, for future reference - can you please categorically confirm or deny whether the Non-refundable cancellation option is still subject to the Extenuating Circumstances Policy? 

 

Thank you. 

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

@Airbnb   Clarification about what is meant by cancellation.  As @Susan17 asks, does this new policy protect with the extenuating circumstance policy, which is the most troublesome cancellation?  As Christine mentions, is a reduction in number of days considered a cancellation?

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
Dublin, Ireland
Level 10

@Airbnb 

 

"Many of you have asked for Airbnb to help protect you from these unexpected cancellations. We listened, and now have a solution"

 

Well, you mustn't have listened very well, because we've all been suggesting a much fairer, more effective, more ethical solution to hosts being shortchanged and left out of pocket by guest cancellations, for the longest time now - how about Airbnb doing the right thing and offering trip insurance for the guests to purchase? That way, guests can take their own responsibility for safeguarding against their own travel mishaps, rather than hosts being forced to act as their unofficial - and unpaid - travel insurers. 

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
Dublin, Ireland
Level 10

Oh well. Bit late now... 

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
Santa Rosa, CA
Level 1

You are so correct outlining Airbnb cancellation practices! Thank you!  Do you think they will ever do the right thing for their hosts or are we all biding out time until something better comes along.

It is obvious to me that most people that work for Airbnb do not own properties and can not understand the owner perspective.

Damages are treated as wear and tear, I have never been successful in that category either.

I had a professional set of analog pans that hang on a pan rack on display put in the dishwasher  by a guest that stayed a month and the finish came off of them. "wear and tear"  It cost $700 to replace.

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
Polson, MT
Level 10

Right?!?  Agree 100%.  Thank you for stating this so perfectly.  

Re: Airbnb Answers: Protecting you from guest cancellations

in
İstanbul, Turkey
Level 2

Honestly it wont work ! Guest cancels reservation easily pink stories 🙂 Insurance ? It wont work! But if it works I will be happy for all of us !

 

 

 

 

Let me share a funny story 🙂 There was a guy came to istanbul. He texted me, I accepted him directly. I am export expert I travelled many countries, I like indian culture, food ..etc. 

I offered him a cup of coffee; he told me, hosts  didnt answered even to his messages on airbnb ..

 

Me: It is normal, they afraid from refuges pls dont misunderstand  !

 

Guest: Thank you very much, for accepting me to your apartment !

 

Me:  Pleasure, what are you doing ? 

 

Guest: I am working for international organization like UNICEF ``he is director of department, it means he makes 5-10 K $ monthly ``

 

Me: God bless you; it is perfect ! How long will you stay ? ``he reserved for 2 weeks on airbnb``

 

Guest: I am waiting for position from organization , maybe I will stay 3 month or more !

 

Me: It is ok ! Feel like you are at home. 

 

After 6 Hours ....At Night ! `` I refused one group same day, because i didnt have place to give them``

 

Guest: ``He is happy dancing`` Look , Look I got position I am going as soon as possible ! ``As soon as he starts gets his Big Money ``

 

Me: It is ok ! I am happy ! ``I dindt think that he would call airbnb cancel his reservation or smt else ``

 

In morning .... He texted me told me that he is leaving ! Cancelled his reservation took his money back with pink lies, giving me stars between 3-4. `` I have 5 stars from all guests except him``

 

END:  I got my lesson: Choose people !  No more instant bookings ! Dont depend on AIRBNB, otherwise you can get upset !  

 

 

@Daon
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