Change Fee for Alteration Requests

Status: New
by Micah Monday

Feature Request: Change Fee

 

Hotels and airlines charge you a fee for altering your travel dates. This helps offset revenue lost from last-minute vacancies, as well as income lost to lower, closer-to-the-date pricing.

 

We ought to have an option to charge an alteration or change fee, either a fixed rate like $200 or a variable rate based on the average cost per night, like "as per the host's policy, you will be charged a fee equal to one night's stay if this alteration request is accepted."

 

Rationale:

 

I had a regular guest book an entire month, 5 months out. A few weeks before her arrival, she sent an alteration request saying she wants to stay just two weeks in a totally different month instead. I'm doubly screwed: 1) anyone else who wanted to book those dates in the last few months saw that they were blocked. 2) Even if I get another booking, the rates are lower because it's much closer to those dates.

 

If I say no to the alteration request, I lose a repeat customer and I get a bad review. (And maybe she cancels her credit card to avoid the cancellation charges and I don't even get paid.) That's not an option. I have to say yes.

 

Since there's no fee involved, she can do this as much as she wants. In fact, after I accepted her alteration request, I got another one a few days later saying she wanted to shorten her stay to 6 days, and she totally changed the dates again.

 

There ought to be a penalty to discourage this kind of behavior, and to offset host losses in the event of an alteration request.

Comments
by Michelle
Monday - last edited Monday

I agree absolutely. The dates are blocked offfon our calendars and when it gets closer, it can be nearly impossible to fill. Why should the hosts have to eat the costs?

by Andrew
Tuesday

Is it not possible to use the Resolutions tool to append the fee as a condition of accepting the alteration request?

 

 

by Micah
Tuesday

No, using the resolutions tool is not an acceptable solution.

 

1) An unexpected and unlisted change fee would be arbitrary and capricous without prior notification and agreement on both sides. If it were part of the official platform, then the guest would be notified and would agree to any change fees prior to booking.

 

2) In the proposed scenario, a host would have to explain everything to the guest, get their agreement for the fee, send the resolution request, have them accept that request, then complete the reservation alteration. That's way too complicated and would be more trouble than it's worth.

 

3) A guest is likely to have a problem with a change fee requested via the resolutions tool. They might see it as a possible violation of the Airbnb TOS, and it might create a headache for Airbnb customer service, bad blood between the guest and the host, and would likely result in poor reviews on both sides.

 

An official change fee would avoid all these issues. Travelers are already used to change fees from hotels and airlines, and it would be a boon to hosts who would no longer be screwed by late alterations.

by Kelly
Tuesday

@Micah no, I disagree, you did not have to agree to this alteration request. A review can fall where it may. Agree to an alteration as you wish or don't or propose your own alteration request at whatever fee you feel is appropriate. If you think you are out $ bc of a change then make the alteration fee equal to what you are due. If the guest doesn't like it, then they can either honor their origianl terms or face the consequences of their own cancellation.

by Micah
Tuesday

You may be fine with having bad reviews and letting "a review fall where it may", but I happen to care about my reviews and they are fundamental to success on Airbnb.

 

Sure, if you don't give a crap about being a decent host, you can just say no to people when they can't come on the original dates requested. You can force them to cancel instead, so you can pocket some of the reservation money without actually providing any services. The terrible review they left on your page describing the incident will haunt the listing and drive away future bookings.

 

Sure, you can try to charge them more money for the new dates. Nevermind that the guest will see the real costs if they try to put in a new booking request, and ask you why you are charging them more than someone else for the same dates. They probably won't like that much either, and they'd likely leave a bad review. But if you don't care about your reviews, then screw the guests all you want.

 

Or Airbnb could add a change fee field, which could be set at zero for any hosts that disagree with this approach.

 

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