Don't penalize hosts for declining illegitimate reservation requests

Status changed to: New

Guests occasionally request stays for dates they don't actually want in order to reach me about blocked/reserved dates.  When I decline them, my search rank drops about 20 places.  


Just today, I had a guest request a reservation for a night that he didn't actually want, hoping I could free up a blocked date for him.  I couldn't, so I declined his reservation request, then got an admonishing message from Airbnb to keep my calendar up to date. 


Even if I were willing to unblock the night for him, he had zero reviews and only an email verification. That's too flimsy for me.


This seems unfair. My calendar was in fact up to date, and I use "instant book" for guests with two reviews and some verifications. I shouldn't be penalized for declining a guest who tries to work around your booking system, who I can't ultimately accommodate.

Wendi6 in
San Diego, CA
Level 2


Im new to Airbnb. I accepted a reservation for a guest and within the hour they asked if they could cancel the booking and not be penalizing, Im set up with Strict Cancellation Rules. I agreeed for them to get the full refund and cancelled them. My calander will not allow me to free up the dates for someone else to book. Does anyone know how I can open up the dates on my calander. Thank you in advance.

Ryan63 in
Packwood, WA
Level 9
Oh yeah, that'll hurt you. No good deed goes unpunished, alas. The algorithms that generate the finger wagging messages and ding you in search results can't consider special circumstances. They're robots, after all. A human might be able to help, but good luck getting one at Airbnb who can correct things for you. In any case, it sounds like your guest made a mistake that s/he, not you, should suffer for. Indeed, nobody should suffer at all, but good luck explaining that to the algorithm. In the meantime, leave it to your guests to contact Airbnb to seek a remedy.
Level 10

If a guest were to contact you abour cancelling pre-existing reservations because they want those dates, you could start with "Report this message" and report them immediately to AirBNB. I've had guests contact me about direct payments to bring down the price and not pay the AirBNB fee. I report them and decline. Make sure you have proper evidence to show you did nothing wrong and report people who try to take advantage.

Amy38 in
Nashville, TN
Level 10

Just reply explaining why their request is not possible.without accepting or declining...this keeps your response rate up. Then go back the next day and accept them, just not the reservation.


NEVER  cancel


Wendi6 in
San Diego, CA
Level 2

Thank you for your helpful advice. 

John-and-Heather0 in
Portland, OR
Level 10

@Ryan63when we decline, there is a drop down menu that says "the guest is requesting other dates." We've never been penalized for declining when a guest is just using an inaccurate date to get to talk to you. Not sure if that is only available when you have instant book turned on, or not.

Tracey53 in
Queensland, Australia
Level 1

My calendar was up to date but the AirBNB system allowed a guest enquiry and hence a guest reservation even though my calendar displayed as the dates unavailable - I then had to cancel the booking (I also messaged the guest to notify them) but I've been penalised both by a bad review and by money being withheld from the next booking because I cancelled a booking that the AirBNB system allowed (ie:  double booked my calendar) - AirBNB are very pro the guest and the Host gets penalised - AirBNB, to accommodate your travellers please remember you need good hosts and quality properties and from everything I'm reading in the Host comments is that you are VERY PRO the traveller - can we at least have a call centre we can talk to about specific issues - I have contacted AirBNB with the above issue in writing several months ago and am still waiting for a response.


Norma47 in
San Antonio, TX
Level 1

Hi, Yes please .We need a call center open.I very hard sometimes whe just systems do it by itself .We are humans and we need somebdoy listen/help  us. I love airbnb and I love to be a host.Please help  me to continue doing my best.

Rebecca292 in
England, United Kingdom
Level 2

I am a new Host and also been a Guest, my experiences thus far, have been okay. However, very quickly, I have come to the realisation that there are unfair principles used in this Company that favours Guests. Many of the problems commented above, I have already experienced within a short period of time (a month). 


The algorithms used (your computer working out good/bad) do not take many circumstances into account for Hosts. To allow the Algorithms currently used by this Business also allows an imbedded inequality, it is not altogether fair and not intelligent enough to understand further nuances and important differences between "good Host/bad Host". 


I may be wrong but, to allow the current system to continue is reliant on multiple new Hosts, whom, without absolute compliance, are subjected to a strict set of rules, with a possibility of being "struck off and/or penalised for any day to day reasonable circumstance.  


This Company is reliant on Hosts, I do not think the reality, due to the principles and software (computer programmes), takes important needs and difficulties into account. I keep reading about the same problems Hosts have and I have experienced (your comments above are very interesting and I agree with many of them). 


I hope that there are good changes afoot that make this experience I enjoy, better, fair and rewarding for each party, Guest/s and Host/s equally, with a fairer look and change to software to help with problem's Host/s and Guest/s encounter. Yourselves need us, the Hosts, as much as you need Guest/s. I would like to receive and/or send relevant data on each platform that takes further human problems into account.


Penalisation should be reasonable and fair, not Strict. It must allow for circumstances beyond the Host/s control and the lifestyle of the home and/or Accomodation Offered. Also, unreasonable lawful/legal onus of response to and with Guest/s should not be unfairly given to the Host/s. 


thank's very much for reading,



Level 3

Just a heads up that simply responding via chat and not hitting pre-approve, accept or decline doesn't count as "response" to keep you from being dinged for not responding within 24 hours.

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