I received my biggest booking on my 10th month of hosting - a family of 6 from Sweden booked for a month. For 3 weeks I excitedly anticipated their arrival by planning what welcome surprise to give and how to make their family holiday extra special. With my hosting experience I was ready for this..or so I thought. .
Two days prior their arrival I received a notification saying the guest cancelled – my shoulder dropped. The money I was to earn would’ve secured months of mortgage payment. The header on the text message was such a downer that I didn’t want to read the rest. But I thought it can’t get any worse so I might as well and boy was I glad I did. It said, ‘As you have a Strict Cancellation Policy you’ll get to keep the whole amount. Also, we opened up your calendar for the cancelled dates’. I jumped for joy! It was the closest thing to winning the lotto. The dream guest who pays big but didn’t show up.
Later, a message from the guest, whom I will call “Angel” came apologising for the last minute cancellation.
Big money it was but it didn’t felt right to keep it under that circumstance. Plus they will need it I thought. So as soon as I finished reading Angel’s message I refunded her the money straight away. Unfortunately, in a rush I have included the commission deducted by ABB so I sent more than what I should have. I rang ABB and they commended my decision but was sorry that they cannot return the extra money I sent. “You have to ask the guest for it and they have to agree to it by sending it back to you.” the CS rep replied. Not really the answer I was looking for. As awkward as it was I had no choice but to ask Angel for a bit of my money back and her reply came as a total surprise...
It took me a while to realise that Angel wanted to send me half the money back. Although I read it, it didn’t sink into my head straight away because who does that? Apparently they are Hosts themselves and so they know what it takes to prepare for an incoming guest and they do honour an agreement. I didn’t argue about it and accepted the offer.
Nothing happened. No money returned. Since Angel is not booked with me anymore the ‘Request for Money’ wouldn’t work. I rang ABB again but still no luck. I was told to just wait as they’re still “working on it”. Angel sent me more messages and I cannot believe how great she was dealing with the issue despite their family situation that she's dealing with.
Angel messaged me again to say she was assured by ABB that money should arrive to me soon. So I made a follow-up call. A long and arduous call it was. The conversation I had with the CS rep didn’t sound nowhere near like what Angel told me. The CS was helpful alright but due to Angel not being booked was the problem. I understand their hesitation of taking money from an unbooked guest so I decided to give up. It was my mistake. An expensive mistake. This could have been all avoided had I talked to Angel first before sending her all the money.
Not long after that call, I received another booking. I was happy again. I told myself, the dates will slowly get filled and whatever was lost will come back. And just like that I found the peace I lost. Resilience is a blessing.
It was my birthday and the first thing I saw on my phone was an Airbnb notification informing me of the money transferred to my account. Not half as Angel said but the whole amount!!! If there is a Guest that deserve a gold star from Airbnb, it’s got to be Angel for honouring the cancellation policy. To date, without a doubt, it was my happiest birthday.
Host or Guest, stranger or not, may we be an Angel to each other all the time.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and may your 2019 calendar be filled with bookings from great and wonderful guests!
Don't worry about the gaps Marie, thanks for being a host in the true spirit of being a host!
You have struck a lovely guest but, you in turn have been a lovely host!
The platform needs more like you Marie.....all the best!
SImilar thing happened to me a guest booked my room for 2 weeks and she sounded really excited about coming with her daughter.
around 2pm on the day of check in I received a cancellation message and she said she had an emergency so she had to return to London. I was very annoyed . I received the cancellation email from airbnb with the option to refund in full and I refused. I got paid full amount
But somehow I did not have peace and I wrote to her 4 days later telling her that she can come and stay her days whenever she visits again. She replied thanking me so much and immediately I felt better. But I haven’t heard from her again. Maybe she will come one day.
@Marie So nice to read a story of a guest who is a really good person. I've had a couple guests miss the first day of their booking because of flight issues, and one who just decided to leave early because she said she was homesick. In all cases I offered to refund the money for the missed days because they were lovely guests and they all refused.
BTW, Even though it turned out perfectly for you this time, you should really never refund a guest until after you get the payout for their reservation according to your cancellation policy. A lot of hosts have refunded guests, because they are good-hearted and fair, like you, only to have a scammer guest apply to Airbnb for a refund as well, so the hosts were out the $ twice.
Such a far cry from the bogus inquiries that i have been getting from young people in Atlanta GA. Sarah, it has happened to me, i refunded a guest his money, and two days after his friend called to book and within a few hours he wanted his money back and its been a trend since. I have been getting a lot of inquiries from young people who does not want to book ... but they made an inquiry and when i asked a question they never respond. However, i denied a guest last night , within a few hours another young girl came on here to inquire i answered her question from after 7: am this morning and she has not responded. AirBNB need to do something to protect the host from scams.