I cant find anything in the forum on this subject, so I thought I would start a new thread to share my experience.
Those of you that have been hosting a while may have had a guest who has booked for a long period request a change to your minimum number of days. This of course allows them to cancel most of their booking, even when terms are 'Strict' without losing the 50%.
I have had several of these, and in some cases it has been for hardship reasons so I have further helped by changing my minimum to one day for as long as it takes them to request a change to one day, I accept, and they only lose one day.
After a while you get a sixth sense whether someone has just found somewhere cheaper and is using this strategy to cancel.
I just had a 15 day booking request a change to 4 days only (my minimum) and it did not feel right. The booking is 2 and a half weeks away so unlikely I would get another. This guest autobooked and has never answered any of my questions regarding his group. So first I asked for the reason and was told that his group of 4 adults could stay in a spare room at the Homestay his sister was at (she is an international student). Now to me this is not hardship, although I suspect, if true, it would have been hardship for them squeezing 4 adults into one room insted of a 2 bedroom apartment. First I spoke to Airbnb support to tell them how I intended to respond, then I declined the requesst where the rate had been calculated by Airbnb to normal rates. I sent the guest a message explaining that the new rate for 4 days would be 50% of the cancelled 9 days plus 4 days without the weekly discount plus cleaning fee. I then sent a new Change Request to them with their new dates and my calculated fee. There was no response for a day then I received a message to say that they could not stay at the Homestay and therefore would like to keep to the original booking of 15 days. They thanked me and apologized for any inconvenience caused. Who knows what he situation really was, but trust your gut.
I would also like to thank Cristina from Airbnb Support. I read this forum regularly, but so far I have not been let down by Airbnb Support.
That's very interesting @Wendy117 and it certainly sounds like you are on to something. It's interesting how people gradually find and exploit loopholes to achieve their ends. I think what you have done is a very logical response and I'm glad it worked out for you. I have some long bookings approaching so I will remember this in case I get caught by the same tactic.