We’re a little bit late this week with our Ask an Ambassador (so sorry about that) but here we are with a very interesting edition. Today we are talking to @Frank1211 , a Host Ambassador from Newport Beach, CA, USA on the often debated topic of Airbnb Cancellation policies. Let’s read!
Can you share the story of when you decided to become a Host?
I have owned rental property since I was 25, and have had years of experience managing rentals. I live at the beach, and we have a studio apartment attached to our house. I had a long-term tenant in there that was starting to cause problems: an unpermitted dog (her dog bit my dog), unauthorized AC (studio includes utilities), complaining about my kids, asking for rent reductions and so on.
My neighbour was short-terming her two units and it sure seemed that she was making a lot more money than me, and I just did the math, got the permit from the city, and asked my tenant to leave (she was on month-to-month).
After about a month of renovations, my unit was ready for short-term, and I went through the Airbnb wizard with all the photos, and descriptions: within a week I got my first booking! Nice young guy who just wanted to stay at the beach for a few days. It was great!
I just kept getting bookings, people loved my unit, and the beach, of course.
One of my nicest surprises using Airbnb was how nice the unit stayed. Since the unit gets cleaned much more frequently, my unit stays spotless.
I have tripled my income from a standard rental.
I love meeting all the nice new people from around the world.
Overall, this has been a great experience for me, and I would do it again in a second without hesitation.
What’s your favourite part about being an Airbnb Host Ambassador?
I must say that my favorite part of being an Ambassador is helping people: Sometimes people get frustrated, and just need a simple push, or need to find an answer quickly. I have helped many, many people and they are very grateful, and that makes me feel good that I can help them along their Hosting journey.
How do I know which cancellation policy is right for me?
Myself, I use the moderate cancellation policy, which allows “5 days prior to stay to cancel with no penalties”. I like this one, as 5 days is enough time to rebook the unit for someone who actually wants to stay there.
Personally, I think flexible cancellation policy is too easy, and it may leave a gap in your calendar which would mean a loss of income.
I think strict may be too strict as you may be risking a bad review: if people wanted to cancel, they can’t, and stay there anyway, or don’t show up at all, you risk a disappointed client, which we never want.
In the past if someone wants to cancel, I tell them that they can cancel, and if the unit re-books I will refund their money, but only if it re-books. This strategy works out pretty well, and everyone seems to be happy.
Have you thought about changing your cancellation policy recently?
Please share your comments and any more questions you may have for us to put to the Host Ambassadors!
*Ask an Ambassador is an educational series designed to let Ambassadors answer questions and provide suggestions for your debut listing. The views and opinions expressed in this series are the Ambassador's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Airbnb. Stays and Experiences on Airbnb are always evolving, and the information discussed in this series is subject to change.
I moved in high season (now) from "moderate" to "hard' (most recent introduced policy), as i experienced too many cancellations.