Your a great host. You've delivered a high quality home with great service. Still, you have a guest who, for whatever reasons beyond your control, wants to cancel early during their stay. This will leave an unexpected hole in your calendar that you may have trouble filling as a result. Here's what I recommend you do based on my experience.
1. Stay calm. Remind them you have a no-cancellation policy and your policy is to enforce all terms and rules consistently.
2. If you decide to offer a refund, inform them any refund will be calculated and issued about 3 weeks after checkout.
3. Make the guest CANCEL. DO NOT accept a "Reservation Change". See below...
4. Use the "Send or Request Money" feature to send the refund amount that you deem appropriate and after the review period has ended.
5. Leave an honest review to politely give future hosts a "heads up". See below...
We where thrilled when we received a corporate booking for 12 days in January. The booker has over 30 reviews, so clearly they are familiar with the various Air BNB cancellation policies and chose our home with our Strict Cancellation policy (no refunds).
On the second day of their stay I was told they "may" finish 7 days early, and if so, asked if we would give them a refund. 2 days later I was told they would in fact check out on day 5 and they requested a refund again. I told them I would "consider" a refund only if we are able to re-book this last minute hole in the calendar.
So, they submitted a "Reservation CHANGE". I started to accept their change. While doing so I noticed that there was no option for me accept the change without issuing a 100% refund for the cancelled dates! So, I DECLINED the change request. Instead, I required that they actually CANCEL their stay. By doing so, I was able to keep the money and free up my calendar for more bookings. I can then send a refund for any amount I deem appropriate.
They continued to pressure me to issue a refund. They said they've done cancelled early on more than on occasion and NEVER had anyone say they would only refund if they could re-book the dates. Clearly they have a habit of intentionally over-booking a property, cancelling early, leaving the host with a hole in the calendar, and getting refunded anyway. So, now here I am, a super host who works hard to provide high quality accommodations now being put in a position to "disappoint" my guest by not refunding them.
They subsequently sent a follow-up message listing the reasons why they felt I should issue a refund including: You would not have booked those days anyway, and, we cancelled with sufficient notice for you to re-book. Clearly these statements are ridiculous. If you don't think we would have booked those dates a week in advance, what makes you think we'll book them now that you cancelled and we have even less time to re-book? And in what universe is cancelling mid-stay "sufficient notice"? Sufficient for what? My argument - an experienced booker like you knew what you were doing when you booked my home with a no-refunds policy. You knew your schedule was subject to change and you booked a home with a strict cancellation policy anyway. We both agreed to the same thing. I held up my part of the deal. You need to hold up yours.
I informed them that I would issue some kind of refund about 21 days after they check-out. This gives me time to reflect on how well they treated the property, whether I was able to book any of the days they cancelled and for how much, and factor in how fairly they treated us throughout the entire process.
I left a fair review that alerts future hosts about this issue in a way that is a nice and fair as possible, given the circumstance. Reviews are for the hosts benefit. We can't let habitual overbookers like this go without any notice to other hosts that they can expect a problem. Hopefully this review will prompt the booker to think twice before trying to get around the no-refund policy.
The crew left our home in very good condition and we would host them again. 5-Stars for the guests! XXXX, the booker, was communicative and professional. Hosts Be Advised: the nature of their work schedule is subject to change and they may have to cancel early as much as half of their stay or more. Even if you are a host with a Strict cancellation policy (like we do), be prepared to discuss refunds anyway.
Overall you are in the right for sure but I don't get the 3 weeks wait for a refund other than to hold them hostage incase they leave you a bad review.
The waiting period gives us time to consider the amount, if any, we decide to refund. Since the person is simply waiting to receive a possible refund that they don't deserve anyway, referring to this as "hostage" situation is simply inaccurate. This time period also serves as a "cooling off" period. Remember point number 1 - stay calm.
Thanks - since we have a strict cancellation policy, our guests are not entitled to a refund, so our position is that we will consider offering a refund. The 3 week period gives us time to re-book any of the dates cancelled, evaluate the condition of the property they left (no damage, nothing missing, etc.), and assess how the guest treated us throughout the entire process from booking to review. You can't be held hostage for something you aren't entitled to in the first place. Also, this waiting period may serve as a further incentive to avoid intentionally over-booking and then cancelling properties, especially those that have a no-refund policy like we do.
I've issued a refund only once, and never again.
The guest booked a couple of months in advance, and a week before check-in they realised they had the got the dated wronged it was the next weekend, which already had been booked (turns out they were both going to the same event). Strict cancellation policy, but Airbnb support requested I offer a refund anyway. I said I would if the place was booked, which I thought was unlikely. Surprise, it was rebooked for 2 weeks!
Two days before the booking started the new guest requested to change the booking from 14 to 3 days (my minimum stay). Obviously they really wanted to cancel. I rejected the request. Then I get messages from the guest saying they were coming for work and work has changed their mind and sent them somewhere else and I need to be a good bloke and give them a refund. I spent hours on the phone to Airbnb support. Guest eventually decided to stay after convincing their work to keep the original work schedule. They ended up bringing in extra unpaid guests, slept in every bed, ruined a couple of towels. I requested the extra money for the guests and got it (and put the towels down to wear and tear). All the time the original guest is asking when they will get their money back. After the refund they were disappointed they didn't get it all, they lost the Airbnb fees.
Hello, I’m a new Host and this ABB community has helped me immensely.
I have to agree with Magic3. If they initially agreed to the ‘strict’ policy, than it’s understood. The feedback you left was well said. As a host, that would make me think twice.
A&V- if you were to run into that situation again, would you accept the original cancellation request to save yourself the drama?
I recently had a reservation for 34 days. A couple of hours after the guest arrived, I was contacted by Airbnb telling me the guest decided to leave because there are no locks on the door, and the agent asked me to change the reservation from 34 days to 1 day. When I protested about the absurdity of the complaint, I was told that alternatively my listing would be locked for a formal investigation. I was totally caught off guard when I received the call and agreed to the change. However I asked Airbnb to request pictures of the alleged problem to substantiate their claim. The next day I followed up with Airbnb and questioned the decision of the case manager. Since the guest never contacted me about any issue, I assume she was just looking for a way out of a 'strict' reservation. The Airbnb representative was apologetic and said the original case manager would get back to me about this matter. After not hearing back for the next two weeks I followed up and was told (by yet another person) that the case manager's decision is final. When I insisted that Airbnb should provide me evidence of the guests claim (or otherwise refund me the lost revenue) I was told their documentation is confidential and they cannot share with me. This is absolutely infuriating on so many levels. After 10 years of hosting without incident, I've been let down by Airbnb twice this last month. I'm curious if anyone else had a similar problem?
Hi we just had the same case last year, this couple booked about 35 days many month in advance. So the dates were blocked for their stay in Oct. of course. However after one day stay (I was there checking with them if everything OK, and dropping off wine, etc. they said all good), without any notification from the guest or any complains from them , the next day, I received call from airbnb, saying the guest has cancelled the stay and left, and we must give them full refund. Apparently he is doing us a favour, as he said I cleared up your Calendar so now you can accept other bookings now. When asked why he said because your neighbour is doing some construction work, it was shocking as I did not see that coming, so I went to the site straight away, by the way, the neighbour is not the one next door,its the one next to our further backyard (its1000 sqm land and we only rent out the house, far away from our house), then found out there is a digger to remove some rubbish, but there is no any noise inside the house or at side of the house, only when you approach to that far and right next to the machine, yes you can hear the noise, but they said it's only one day work. So I took video and show that case manger (Lloyd), meantime asked him if possibly please provide any evidence from the guest if thus work impacted our house in any way. Lloyd said no, can't give us anything, that's the decision he made. Guests will have full refund and you just have the bad luck.airbnb said I could even get penalty on that, because I did not report any neighbours around would have done works during guests stay!! I was quite upset with this treatment, as I was super host at the time, and just had a few nasty guests left low rating reviews due to reasons like asking their unpaid guests to pay, etc. Then I had this guy who we believe, most likely they might have got accept a rental application, as they have stayed in our town for a while then moved into our house,they booked our house while they still in south Africa. I lost my super host title after this dispute with airbnb. Nothing was done for our interests so we just have to forget about it. Hope you have more kind guests coming in.
I feel very let down by Airbnb. We have a flexible cancellation policy, and when a guest cancelled 5 days into a 14 day stay Airbnb refunded 8 days based on 8/14ths of the amount they had paid. But the guests had qualified for discounts by booking 14 nights, which would not have applied if they had booked 6 nights. Airbnb are currently refusing to charge the guest the normal daily rate for short stays. I am not going to get another booking in the remains of the booking. And the guest has had 6 nights at a discounted rate they didn't qualify for.
I had an interesting situation with a work group reservation. The guest booked for 16 days 1/21 to 2/6 I had already planed to do a mid visit cleaning at no additional charge.
Yesterday he contacted me wanting to push to 1/28 to 2/13. The problem I had was the property was already booked for 2/7 - 2/9. I also have a smaller property next door to this one that was available for 2/7 - 2/9. Then he asked to add another day extending reservation to 2/14.
The solution we arrived at was to do a reservation change on the first reservation but not refunding any money. So that reservation date changed to 1/28 to 2/7. He then did an inquiry on the next door property and I sent him a special offer equal to one half the extra day he requested. Next he sent an inquiry for the original property for 2/9 to 2/14 and I sent a special offer equal to the other half of an additional day.
This work around did cost me an additional cleaning fee but the additional day will cover that. Airbnb customer support said there was no way to change the reservation, that it had to be broken into three reservations.
Just sharing this for you and others who might run into this issue.