Hello Fellow Airbnber's! I would really appreciate some help with a very odd cancellation and refund request I've just received and do not know quite how to respond to.
On Wednesday this week, 6 November, the guest booked a last-minute 4-night break with her partner. Due to arrive this coming Monday, 11 November.
Last night, 7 November, she contacted me to say she had been "dumped" and although "the refund policy means I’m to late but is there anything you would do?".
I advised the guest to contact Airbnb directly to discuss cancelling her booking or changing her travel dates. Shortly thereafter, the guest then advised she would be coming alone to have some "me time". I responded by saying it sounded like a good plan and I would look forward to meeting her on Monday but if she still wanted to cancel or change her travel dates, it would not a problem i.e. check the cancellation policy, I still get paid.
I have now just received a cancellation notification from the guest and request for a refund of £185 (50% of her stay, as I subscribe to Airbnb's Moderation Cancellation policy) stating "Partner has left me without any notice I got home to find a note Obviously I’m extremely upset and do not want to stay in that was meant to be a romantic getaway Financially any extra refund would be very helpful and appreciated at this stressful time I only booked the break on weds and found out I couldn’t come on the Thursday."
Due to our rural location, last-minute bookings are highly unusual and there was something about the guest when her booking came through, a gut reaction I suppose, that I wasn't surprised she cancelled.
However, as this is my business and the cancellation policies are clearly set out on my listing and the Airbnb website, I do not see why I should refund her any monies. I just want to make sure my response i.e. to decline her request, is fair and final. Note, I haven't yet spoken to Airbnb about this.
I am very sorry you hear this (in response to her partner issues) and that you have cancelled your booking.
However, per Airbnb’s Moderate Cancellation policy, to which I subscribe and is clearly explained on their website and you agreed to upon booking - unfortunately, you are not entitled to a full refund.
@Sarah327 Your first response to direct the guest to Air BNB is the appropriate one as Air BNB is charged with payment and refunds, not you. I usually sweeten the pot for the guest cancelling by advising if I am able to book any or all of the days, I will refund for those days. Encourage the guest to initiate as soon as possible to allow time for someone else to rebook.
I avoid pointing out to a guest "Airbnb’s Moderate Cancellation policy, to which I subscribe and is clearly explained on their website and you agreed to upon booking - unfortunately, you are not entitled to a full refund." It only belittles the guest. The sooner the guest cancels the better chance you have to rebook.
@Sarah327 Certainly you have every right to stand by your cancellation policy. These kinds of guests expect hosts to be sympathetic to whatever personal issues lead to a cancellation, yet do not acknowledge to themselves that they are creating problems for their host, and couldn't care less.
If she booked a non-refundable airline ticket I highly doubt she'd get her money back from the airline on the basis that she split up with her boyfriend.
How do people go from booking a romantic holiday one day to splitting up the next, anyway?
I concur with Linda that it's always a good idea to let the guest who cancelled know that you'll be happy to refund the rest if you can get a booking for the cancelled days. Makes the host come across as reasonable, rather than hard-nosed.
@Sarah977 the boyfriend agrees to the trip in a cowardly way because he doesn't want a fight and then realises 4 days together is something he can't or won't do and this triggers the realisation that for him its over.
@Mike-And-Helen0 Love it! Or she's in denial, thinking that she can save the rocky relationship by secretly booking a romantic weekend. When she tells him about it, it's the perfect opening he's been waiting for to break the news that he's in love with someone else.
Send a sweetener to her @Sarah327 and tell her she's welcome to rebook at a later date if she agrees to a "change/ modification" of booking, or has it been completely"cancelled" in her part?
One should not overlook a little "Good will" where it may be appreciated and appropriate.
Best to stay in good terms as she may have friends or family who could or may book your place in future for a get away.
Look at the future flow on impacts for your betterment.
All the best
Beware that it is a known scam for a guest to "change/ modify" the booking to a timeframe which falls outside of the hosts cancelation policy. The guest is then free to cancel for a full refund. I understand that it is a kind and generous thing to do but it can and will come back to bite you.
It's certainly all very odd! Well, I sent the message proposed, declining her request for a refund and haven't heard anything further... just yet.
I'm not sure if it's just me or other people get a funny feeling about certain guests when they book? I can't explain it but almost every single time I'm right about them. This guest was no exception. Although I do wonder how genuine her "man troubles" are.
Thank you all for your responses and suggestions.
If I hear anything further, I will let you know!
@Sarah327 According to the many posts I've read here, hosts do generally have pretty good intuition when it comes to guests. For sure,if a guest says something (or seems to be avoiding saying something) in a message that makes you wary or sounds"off",best to listen to to that inner voice. However, I and many hosts have sometimes been surprised that a guest we weren't sure about due to the fact they had no reviews, were young, stuff like that, have turned out to be wonderful guests. It's mainly communication I go on- a guest who sends friendly, articulate, informative messages, doesn't ask for special treatment, discounts,etc, and answers messages in a timely fashion is usually a good one.