I am fairly new to Airbnb and need to cancel about 7 books for next summer. I have a family member in need of a place to stay. They are all over 6 months in the future and all booked on insta booking. What do I do? Will I be penalized?
@Erica381 in short, yes, you will likely be penalized. Your best bet is to call Airbnb and try to get them to cancel for you for "extenuating circumstances."
FWIW if you are booking that far in advance you might be underpricing.
@Erica381 It's possible that Airbnb will be lenient in light of the fact that the bookings are so far in the future, but your situation doesn't immediately appear to satisfy the "extenuating circumstances" criteria, so be prepared for the possibility that you'll be heavily penalized. If it's a priority for you to build on your reputation in hosting beyond next summer, you might consider making alternative arrangements for your family member during the booked period, rather than cancelling all these bookings. Otherwise, you might as well de-list altogether.
I agree with @ONERüF , it's best to open up dates only within a time frame you can fully commit to, barring a genuine emergency. The host is fully in control of the calendar, and the choice of whether to use Instant Book, so it shouldn't really matter that those factors come into play here.
@Erica381, yes, you will be penalised. Airbnb takes cancellations without good reason pretty seriously (understandably). The dates will be blocked (which will be fine in your case because you don't want to book them anyway), but it will also show up in your list of reviews to prospective guests that you have cancelled 7 bookings, which will not look good on your profile (I wouldn't want to book with someone who had previously cancelled 7 guests in case I got cancelled too).
Personally, I would honour the bookings and get your family member to stay somewhere else. In future, as others have said, have a shorter future booking window because you don't know what will happen in 6 months. I have mine set on 3 months and even then I can get caught out sometimes. One of the downsides to hosting.