Hello! I paid for an agreed booking and the host now says via airbnb support that a weekly discount was incorrectly applied by the system. I feel it wasn't because I have booked for more than a week. I feel that because of the agreed booking and price and that because of a supposed system error, I should not have to pay the extra cost required. If I do not, can the host cancel my booking? Or do they have an obligation to uphold the agreed price and booking?
Many thanks for your help.
@Luke281 It may well be a system error, there are many such glitches on the platform. Or the host could just be saying that, you really have no way of knowing.
Hosts don't just cancel willy-nilly, unless they are new and don't understand the repercussions of cancelling a confirmed guest. The penalties for host cancellations are extensive- the dates they cancelled will be blocked on their calendars, so they can't accept another booking for those dates (they may be able to reverse this if Airbnb does confirm to the host that it was a glitch on their end), they are fined $100, "Host cancelled this reservation XX days before check-in" appears on their review page, which makes guests wary of booking with them, and if they have Superhost status, they will lose that for only 1 cancellation.
It's a good idea for guests to read all the reviews, pay attention as to whether or not it is a "new" listing with a possibly inexperienced host, and if so, communicate with the host before booking through IB to ascertain that they answer quickly and seem keen to take your reservation and that there are no pricing issues. Also as Superhosts will lose that status for cancelling, you have a better chance of not getting cancelled if you book with Superhosts. But a non-Superhost with a history of great reviews and no cancellations should be fine as well, and would be experienced enough to know that if the pricing was wrong, whether that was the host's fault or a system error, it's a better idea to take the loss than to cancel.
To answer your question simply, both hosts and guests are allowed to cancel for whatever reason. The host runs the risk of the penalties mentioned, the guest runs the risk of losing some of their money if they cancelled after the free cancellation period. Airbnb can't force a guest or a host not to cancel, all they can do is institute policies which discourage that.
If I were a guest, I'd be inclined to look for another listing to book if I thought the host was being unfair, rather than insist on staying with a host there was already an issue with.
The host is responsible for setting up the right prices (and discounts) in the listing. A weekly discount is applied to a booking of 7 nights and more. It seems unlikely to me a "weekly discount was incorrectly applied by the system". The host can cancel the reservation, but will penalised for that. If Airbnb supports the host's so called "system error", then they can cancel the reservation also. But for now you have a confirmed and payed reservation and the hosts smply has to fullfil his offer
@Emiel1 I have read posts here that make it evident that there are indeed pricing errors that happen from time-to-time affecting many hosts' listings. But it's also true that it's more likely to be that the host forgot to update their pricing, or that they are new and didn't know that a discount was automatically applied to a new listing unless they change that setting. They may have set a weekly discount but didn't notice that there was a 20% discount on top of that for the first 3 bookings, for instance. Of course, that's still the host's responsibilty and they shouldn't be cancelling on that basis.
@Luke281 Sometimes a host is caught by surprise with a booking at a less desirable price, but it's really bad form to say a word to the guest about it. If they uphold the booking, they're obligated to stick to the price. If they cancel your booking because they don't like the price, the dates you booked will be blocked on their calendar for awhile - this is done partly to prevent hosts from canceling in an effort to get a higher price. If they say one more word about it to you, if I were you I'd get another place. I wouldn't want to stay at a place with hosts whining at me about the booking price.
The host should suck it up. If it’s a ‘system error’ then it’s up to the host to take it up with Airbnb. The guest booked in good faith.
There are times when errors are made and if the price is not right, it is not right. The host can and should cancel. Good example, when you post a new listing, airbnb gives you the option to provide the first 3 guests who book your place a 20% discount. This is only a temporary incentive to get bookings and good reviews since the first 3 guests got great deals.
On top of this, there is also a 20% discount that we had set up for bookings of 30 days or more. So I had an inquiry by someone for a 3 month stay. Because she would have been the second guest, she would have received a total of 40% off for 3 months. After 40% off, the price was far below what we could have rented it to a long term tenant for a standard 1 year lease. On top of this, this guest would have received a fully furnished home with all utilities included for a lower price then what a 1 year tenant receives having to buy their own furniture and pay their own utilities. Did not make any sense at all because we did not set up the first 20% discount for long term tenants.
So sometimes mistakes happen but it is not your property to determine if they have a right to cancel or not. If there is no incentive and the host is losing money having you stay there, why would you even want to be there when there is that tension?