If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3
782 Views

Hello All-

 

Would so appreciate any input on this situation-

 

Had a very sweet couple book my house for a 3 night stay. Mid-day on day 2 I got a text saying they had had a medical emergency that morning and needed to leave and would not be back (the stay was not cancelled, they just left)- I felt so badly, offered them 2 nights stay credit in the future or a partial refund. Some time later they responded saying that, on consideration, coming back would be traumatic, so they would like a refund. I gave them a partial refund (around 50% of the booking), but got the sense that was a disappointment as they never acknowledged the refund. I had sort of thought I wasn't obligated to refund them (so, you know, a brief 'thank you'), but maybe I am wrong?

 

So curious how other hosts have handled emergency guest departures after a portion of a stay has been used. Trying to find the balance between being kind and running a business.

 

So appreciate any input!!

 

many thanks, pamela

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Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

It sounds like they stayed one night and a day and a half. Refunding them 50% of your own volition, without being asked, seems generous- they blocked your calendar and it was most likely not possible to rebook the dates.

 

Don't overthink this. And be aware that even guests who seem really sweet can make up bogus reasons to leave and demand some refund. You have no idea if they really had a medical emergency or not.

 

@Pamela853

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12 Replies

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

It sounds like they stayed one night and a day and a half. Refunding them 50% of your own volition, without being asked, seems generous- they blocked your calendar and it was most likely not possible to rebook the dates.

 

Don't overthink this. And be aware that even guests who seem really sweet can make up bogus reasons to leave and demand some refund. You have no idea if they really had a medical emergency or not.

 

@Pamela853

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3

@Sarah977

 

Thank you SOSO much for your response; yes, definitely not possible to rebook with just a few hours notice, and in fact, you nailed it. I do tend to overthink pretty much everything (newer to hosting, steep learning curve). I did read somewhere that early check out refund of 50% of each early departure night is fair, so feel clear.

 

So fun seeing Sayulita next to your name. We travelled there when our kids were young, and I know a few Californians with houses there (Connie and Barry Dumont, Liz Uribe). Sweet spot!!

 

Many, many thanks for taking the time to respond to my inquiry-

 

all my best, pamela

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

I don't think I know Liz, but I definitely know Connie and Barry! Small world. 

@Pamela853

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3

Small world indeed! It's been maybe 20+ years since I've seen Barry and Connie (we were friends when we all lived in Santa Cruz many years ago), but I remember them being all in on creating the rental villas- they seemed very happy in Sayulita. Wishing you all the best, and thank you again for your input! pamela

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Pamela853 

that's why guests should have some travel insurance and why we have a cancellation policy.

 

If the guest want's to shorten his stay he can send you an alteration request to shorten his reservation from 3 nights to 1 night for example. You can decline or accept. They would be refunded according to your cancellation policy or you can agree (but you don't have to) to refund for nights you are able to rebook.

 

But, they didn't alter their reservation and they blocked all 3 nights on your calendar. You were under no obligation to refund anything, I wouldn't.

 

 

 

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3

@Branka-and-Silvia0 

 

Thank you so very much for your suggestion of travel insurance; I actually put this recommendation on my listing as a result of this experience. And, I hadn't even thought about suggesting they change the reservation, thank you for that insight. I think I get a little caught up in wanting to be a 'perfect' host, which at times has made me over-accommodating. Sort of beginner mistakes, and, through the advice and input from experienced (and generous) hosts like you and the others that have commented, am learning how to handle extenuating circumstances.

 

Thank you so very, very much for your comment and time. It is so appreciated! pamela

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, @Pamela853, but the whole 'traumatic' thing is a bit wide, assuming they didn't have this so-called medical emergency in your listing that is.

 

Not sure I'd have refunded anything. 

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3

 

@Gordon0 

 

Indeed it is! I find the speed with which I offer concessions is just a hair faster than that which I regret them. Community input is so helpful in reminding me that we operate businesses, and input like yours will help me put the brakes on reactive generosity. Your experience and input SO appreciated. Many, many, many thanks for weighing in. In appreciation, pamela

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Pamela853 

I had a guest once cancel 2 days before arrival. No message or explanation just a cancelation, which really doesn't bother me but she was within the cancelation period so no refund. I felt bad so I clicked the button to refund her in full with a message that I hope she can visit another time. No message in return, no thank you. I'm never doing that again.

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3

@Emilia42 

Ouch. It's so disappointing when true generosity is met with silence. I think many people 'get' that Airbnb is a community, we aren't the Hyatt Group, that hosts are making all kinds of accommodations in order to make a living. And some people just don't. They think because we earn money from our homes that somehow makes it okay to expect or ignore our kindness when it comes to refunds.  Here's hoping that was a rare experience for you. I'm in Northern California, and between power outages, wildfires, and covid guests are as skittish as cats on crack. LOTS of cancellations. Upside is that i am getting a good master class in how to deal with them. So appreciate your weighing in, thank you for your time! pamela

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

Good post and discussion, @Pamela853 .  Many hosts vacillate between being "hardened business people" and "mushy nice people".    I think each situation should be reviewed individually.  In order to render a good decision, we may need to allow ourselves a bit of time between learning of an issue and reacting to give the solution.  I think this forum is a great buffer to use.

Re: If a guest checks out early due to a medical emergency do you refund?

in
Occidental, CA
Level 3

 

@Linda108 

 

Thank you for taking the time to weigh in! Am really so VERY grateful for the amazing host community- you all make such a difference in the world of hosting; especially for we newbies. And yes, I think we do have to make room for exceptions, as long as we are sort of clear on the general rules we establish (and you hosts are helping me find this). Hosting, I'm finding is just like pretty much everything else we do in life, we sort of establish parameters that work for us, our personalities, our tolerance thresholds, our circumstances, etc. But it is so helpful to know how others handle extenuating circumstances.

So appreciate your comments! best, pamela

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