I just had another guest who chose the non-refundable policy and now trying to cancel and demand a refund. I told him he chose the non-refundable option so he's not eligible for any refund beyond the cleaning fee and he said he never noticed the option of the cancellation policy.
This is the 2nd guest in the past couple months told me this. I'm not sure if it's simply those two guests are not telling the truth or the Airbnb booking page made it not clear about the 2 different cancellation policies guests can choose from? I'm now putting a statement in the welcome message explaining the difference between the two cancellation policies (10% off to trade off the flexibility) so they have no ground to argue that they are not notified about this, but I feel Airbnb should improve the booking page a little bit so guests are well aware of it.
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@Emilia42 That's absolutely true. I guess this would be a suggestion I have to all hosts with the non-refundable option, that to remind the guest in the welcome message about the cancellation policy. Otherwise there will be some guests who won't admit they were given the choice.
@Nanxing0 I think it's a good idea, in the initial message sent to a guest, while they still have time to cancel with full refund, to make sure they fully understand the parameters of your cancellation policy, no matter which policy you have. As Emily has shown, it's all there for a guest to read when they book, but like a lot of things, guests may just not pay much attention.
If you can get a guest to acknowledge in a message that they have read and understand the policy in place, that could help if they try to claim a refund later on.
I would guess that there is a pop up message when a guest tries to cancel that reminds them the reservation is non-refundable. The guest then calls into CS, and are told that if the host agrees they can get a refund, minus the service fee. Of course, the guest is going to contact the guest with some type of story either demanding or pleading for a refund.
BTW, suggesting that guests purchase travel insurance may not be the answer, either. I purchase an annual travel policy from Allianz, because we spend a lot of time abroad. The following is on the very top of their home page:
If guests cannot rely upon an insurance policy to reimburse them for canceled or interrupted travel plans, there will more instances of them requesting refunds from hosts.
@Debra300 That's understandable that's why I'm offering the flexible/moderate or non-refundable options for my listings. If guest is unsure about the plan he/she can simply pay the extra 10% and get the flexible/moderate policy instead of the non-refundable. Nobody forces them to select the non-refundable option and I feel they have to be responsible for their own choice...
@Nanxing0 That is a good approach. It is the one reason why I don't use the non-refundable option. You want to give the guest the benefit of the doubt but at the same time, you are trying to run a business and offer a slight discount in exchange for a stricter policy, and they usually just end up trying to take advantage of you. It leaves you in a difficult position.
@Nanxing0 Bear in mind that even with the 'non refundable' option guests can still claim Extenuating Circumstances' and get a refund.........
As a result we don't offer this as we see it as a way to lose 10% on most bookings and 100% on a few.
@Emilia42 @Nanxing0 @Mike-And-Jane0 Relatively new here and late to this post but seems to me that if you have opted for the moderate or strict version of the discounted non refundable option and the guest uses it and later cancels, unless you agree to go ahead and refund them, they are locked into the reservation correct? With that being said after there reservation is completed, doesn't that expose you to them leaving you a horrible 1 star review. I mean is the risk worth the reward?? Just asking for a friend..... LOL