Hi I’m quite new to hosting and looking for advice. A couple were meant to be checking in today but when I messaged last night to check their arrival time, the guest informed me her boyfriend’s father was in hospital with a heart attack and they won’t be able to make it. My cancellation policy is moderate ie 5 days but she’s asking if she can have a refund. It’s a busy time for me so I would have been able to fill this space with more notice. I feel a bit mean though! Any suggestions?
@Valerie998 Tell her to claim off her travel insurance policy.
She’ll say she doesn’t have one. Ask her to cancel the booking and say you’ll refund for any nights you can rebook.
if she’s unhappy with that tell her to take it up with Airbnb. I believe under their new extenuating circumstances rules, any refund is at your discretion. You don’t have to, she should have taken out travel insurance.
@Valerie998 I think @Jane563's advice is good, and what I would probably do-- except that your listing is new and since the check-in date has arrived the guest will be able to leave a review. Since you only have a few reviews, one bad one is going to sink your average substantially. Because of that, in this particular case I would refund. Others will disagree, I'm sure.
I've only had this happen once when a guest's mom had an health emergency. I messaged him that ABB handles all the cancelations. This would not qualify under their cancelation policy, as its not the guest traveling with an emergency, so its up to the host. As it turned out with mine the guest did manage to stay, and I was able to patch up things with him. Other guest I've let cancel if I felt they were being honest. One was in town for daughters surgery and her surgery got canceled that morning, and didn't even ask for refund but I issued it anyway for unused night. The other was lady who feared being issued a ticket during covid and it was just hectic time with snap lockdowns and restrictions; she also didn't request any refund but I did it anyway because it was true and at least she tried and gave things a chance.
Thank you @Lisa723 @John5097 @Jane563 for your responses. I didn’t realise that under the moderate cancellation policy the guests receive a 50% refund, so when I was told this I thought that seemed quite fair. Airbnb then told me that the guest was requesting a full refund, and I said no. I didn’t realise that she’ll be able to leave a review and now I’m worried she will leave a bad review!
A lot of ABB policy like this puts host at disadvantage for retaliatory review.
I agree half the payment is more than fair. Ideally you would also want to stick to your cancellation policy, and other host might advise you to do. But ABB has recently changed their policy to allow host the option to issue full refund that puts host at even more risk for retaliatory review.
In the past, even a few months ago, guest who canceled before checkin same day have gotten a request to review. This happened to me, guest never messaged, had booked the night before, I got payout, reservation canceled before check in, but thankfully guest didn't leave a review.
If you get a request to review, and decide to leave a review, do so at the very last minute on the 14th day after the reservation, if guest doesn't leave you one. You are hoping this guest doesn't leave you a review. So if you do before he/she does, she will get a message that you left a review and can only read it if she leaves one also. So if you are going to leave a bad review where there was an issue, host try to do it at the last minute so once they get the message, time will have already expired for them to leave one.
You can use the search feature for more info in past discussion also, or how to challenge a review. There are quite a few landmines host have to navigate.
If the guest never physically arrives at your home and steps inside, they are not allowed to leave a review. If they do so, AirBNB is required to remove it as an improper review. Also, as harsh as this sounds, a lot of guests will tell stories about same day or last minute cancellations in order to get refunds.
I've had this happen only twice, and both times the guest was not being honest. The first was an "emergency reservation" to arrive on the same day and then it was cancelled the minute the guest found out I also lived in the house. He repeatedly sent requests for a refund over the message system to which i replied we didn't offer same day refunds since our housekeeper is paid whether or not the guest shows up. That case I think he was scoping out places to rob as he was a local guest who has had no reviews before or since then and cancelled when he found out the house would not be empty.
The second guest lied about showing up, stating they "stopped by and weren't satisfied". They never actually set foot in the house (or even came by, I think), that was for certain, but that was very early in my hosting career and i gave them a refund. Since then, I don't refund guests who go against the cancellation policy and just tell them to contact AirBNB. I am also very wary of same day reservations now and scrutinize them closely.