So, recent situation:
guest booked a while ago.
The building community, that is to say the people who run the building, decided to refurbish the building.
They only told me about it 3 weeks ago.
Gues booked several months ago.
I informed the guests, they decided to cancel.
I have a flexible cancellation policy, so guests can cancel no questions asked upto 24 hrs before they arrive.
i have this policy because life throws people curve balls all the time.
Now, the guests apparently refuse to cancel because if they do so, they forfeit the airbnb service fee.
So Airbnb have asked me to cancel it.
I asked if I'd assume any penalties, and they said I would, such as
Now, I aked the airbnb lady who phoned me why I would agree to this, considering I am already losing the money for the week's stay.
It seems to me this is most decidely Airbnb's issue, because they are the ones who withold the service fee.
The guests position is that as the listing is not as they booked it, they should have to pay the service charge. My posiiton is that I changed the lisitng when new information was received, AND I messaged the guetss ot make sure theyw ere aware of the situation.
Wow. Plenty of responsibility to go around. Quick fix: If this is your first cancellation, ask an Airbnb supervisor to review their decision. You didn’t do anything wrong and the standard policy can be overridden.
If that doesn’t work, pay the service fee for your guest. It will build goodwill at a fairly low price. Ask Airbnb if any of their fee goes to pay taxes. You shouldn’t have to pay taxes on income you’re not getting!
It'd be the 2nd csancellation, the first one was done by Airbnb under identical circumstances, because of the same refurbishments, which I find very confusing because it this current situation is literally a repeat of the previous.
In the previous, airbnb said they'd handle the cancellation, with my approval. This time they are threatening me with all the negative stuf that comes from cancelling.
I've checked the itenerary. The service fee is 14.07 euros.
In theory i could pay that, but the refurbishments are likely to go on for a long time and affect several guests, and I can't be losing money every time, ontop of the lost earnings.
Incidentally, I think the guest is being a bit out of order creating so much fuss over 14 euros, but doubly so for Airbnb, who are worth how much?
Much more than 14 euros...:S
You didn't say what will be refurbished - the roof, staircase, facade...? I suppose the noise will be during working hours and not at night. What other inconveniences would they suffer?
As @Beth said maybe it would be the best if they cancel and you refund service fee to them. My friend has the same situation, she didn't tell the guests so they arrived and staid and left her bed reviews ( noise, dust...) so her rating dropped . I don't know if she delisted willingly or Airbnb delisted her but she is not on Airbnb any more
If I would have many bookings and if I could not refund service fee to all of them then I would inform my guests that the building will be refurbished BUT I CAN STILL HOST THEM. So, if they want they can stay or they can cancel and lose some Airbnb fee.
.... or I would ask them if they want me to relocate them. I know a few hosts in my neighborhood and they would accept my guests for the same price.
It's a tough one, @Andrew, and I feel for you. You have an amazing listing, and your guests clearly love the spot, but I'm imagining "the only noise you hear is the hypnotic rhythm of the sea's waves' might be a key selling point, which is pressumably a bit redundant if works are going on.
What would I do:
a) try offering a discount to the people already booked (assuming they didn't know about renovations). If that doesn't work, try;
b) sucking up to the future guests, asking them to cancel but paying their booking fee
It'll be hard to win in your situation, but I wish you well.
@Andrew It would seem that this could fall under the extenuating circumstances policy. The work that is going to be done is beyond your control- it's not like you personally contracted renos to be done and decided to cancel the booked guests. I'd get a letter from the building managers or whoever, and submit it to Airbnb with request for cancellations under extenuating circumstances policy.
@Andrew You are in a difficult situation but you have done the right thing by informing your potential guests. I agree with @Gordon comments but I would also go back to AIRBNB and explain what you are doing and put the "ball back in their court" . Make sure that BNB are aware that you will refund the booking fees but you feel that it is unfair when you are doing your best to empathise with clients.
@Andrew You mention that this is the second time you have had to cancel for the same reason; with short notice building renovations. I can see why Airbnb might be getting wierd about it. What exactly are these “refurbishments”? If it’s redecorating or repainting, then I would have thought the extenuating policy would apply.... but if it’s construction to repair something safety related... then I expect that’s why Airbnb aren’t being terribly supportive.
@Branka & Silvia I let the guests know. It's the external facade, and it's long overdue.
@gordon I will lead with the discount I think. Most guests are actually very okay with it. They still get one balcony and all the intereior of the flat.
@sarah what you say regarding paperwork makes alot of sense, but trying to get hold of any is challenging here. Things just aren't all that well organised!
@ben, I did push back on airbnb, because I am happy to let a guest cancel but I am not going to take the punsihments for it (they even ask that you pay some $50 if you cancel!)
@ all, airbnb resolved the issue, and recognised that I have informed all the relevant guests with enough time and been professional enough.
RThey have agreed that if there are any more cancellations due to teh current reservations, and the guests have understood the change in situation, then they will follow my cancellation policy, i.e. flexible.
"Victory" I guess, but honestly I can't say I agree with airbnb's stated policy of witholding the fee like this.
i wonder how many people get affedted.
Thanks everyone for your help and advice.