Unhappy with instant booking

Answered!
Daljit4
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Unhappy with instant booking

I’ve hosted over 300 guests at two properties over the last 5 years. I normally allow guests to book ‘instantly’ as it saves me time.


i was under the impression that if I was ever uncomfortable with a booking I could cancel it within hours if it being made. However, this no longer seems to be the case, and wondered how others feel about this?

Some details: a guest booked for 45 days two months in advance. On booking, guests are automatically asked to outline the reason of their visit. This particular guest didn’t tell me anything, which does happen from time to time. When I asked for some information what followed was an exchange where I was having to explain my reasons for wanting this information. By the end I just felt this guest wouldn’t be a good fit for me, so I tried to cancel their reservation. However I discovered I couldn’t, not without incurring a financial penalty, so I let it go. 

I thought the whole point of encouraging hosts to use instant booking while giving them the reassurance that they still have control over who comes to stay in their place was this ability to say no?

 

I’m now considering switching off instant booking but reluctant to as it does save me time. 

any thoughts appreciated.

 

Daljit

 

1 Best Answer
Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

@Daljit4  the policy for IB cancellations haven't changed. You can't just cancel for any reason, it needs to fit one of the critieria below.

 

If a Host uses Instant Book, they may be able to cancel for additional valid reasons without consequences under certain circumstances. Some examples include:

  • The guest makes it clear they are likely to break one of the Host’s house rules, such as bringing a pet or smoking
  • The listing doesn’t fit the needs of the guests – for example, if it’s not suitable for families or pets
  • The guest has several unfavourable reviews or a lack of profile information that concerns the Host

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16 Replies 16
Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Daljit4 I don't believe the rules have changed. You should be able to do this online with no issues or fines. I would contact Customer Service again and ask them why, if you are uncomfortable with the booking you can't cancel. It should then get sorted.

Daljit4
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

thanks for the responses. 

I’ve definitely not cancelled more than 3 times in the last year, so not sure why I was given this advice by CS when I called. 

I had tried to cancel the reservation on my phone but saw the option for ‘not feeling entirely comfortable’ was no longer available. Hence the call to CS. 

As it happened, the guest cancelled yesterday. Just over a month before her stay was due to start, so full refund given (I have a ‘firm’ cancellation policy for long term stays - I’ve now changed this to strict). This is a pain, as I now have a window which will mean more than one booking / changeover to fill completely. 

if anyone else uses  instant, you might want to check you still have the option of declining a booking within hours of it being made. I can’t see it still being available. 

daljit

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

That's because there never was this option @Daljit4  😁😁😁

@Daljit4  Changing firm to strict doesn't help in your case

 

Strict Long-term

If you choose this policy, it will apply to all stays of 28 days or longer and it overrides your standard cancellation policy for those stays.

  • To receive a full refund, guests must cancel within 48 hours of booking, and the cancellation must occur at least 28 days before check-in
  • If a guest cancels after that, you’ll be paid 100% for all nights spent, plus 30 additional nights
  • If fewer than 30 days remain on the reservation when the guest cancels, you’ll be paid 100% for all of those remaining nights
Firm Long-term

If you choose this policy, it will apply to all stays of 28 days or longer and it overrides your standard cancellation policy for those stays.

  • To receive a full refund, guests must cancel at least 30 days before check-in
  • If a guest cancels after that, you’ll be paid 100% for all nights spent, plus 30 additional nights
  • If fewer than 30 days remain on the reservation when the guest cancels, you’ll be paid 100% for all of those remaining nights

I did not know the rule's changed and I got penalty by canceling a guest booking within 5 hours of IB. This is definitely the 1st time of my cancelation within 3 years. Airbnb support refused to waive that by repeating their policy.

 

My suggestion, turn off instant booking, everyone!

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

The rules haven't changed @Kuanling0  why did you need to cancel the booking?

Helen744
Level 10
Victoria, Australia

@Daljit4 you still have three free cancellations with IB as far as I know, but nevertheless you can cancel with penalty as you have discovered. Some people take IB as meaning you do not care about checking id or in fact any other thing that may upset them ...I would cancel and take the penalty . I also understand that you may cancel without penalty on IB in the first 48 hours. .. Ring Cs again but I would cancel and let the chips fall where they will and then open up for other guests... H

It also depends if you are in the habit of cancelling . If you cancel too many times it affects your super host status and is discouraged by Airbnb,.. H

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

@Daljit4  the policy for IB cancellations haven't changed. You can't just cancel for any reason, it needs to fit one of the critieria below.

 

If a Host uses Instant Book, they may be able to cancel for additional valid reasons without consequences under certain circumstances. Some examples include:

  • The guest makes it clear they are likely to break one of the Host’s house rules, such as bringing a pet or smoking
  • The listing doesn’t fit the needs of the guests – for example, if it’s not suitable for families or pets
  • The guest has several unfavourable reviews or a lack of profile information that concerns the Host
Daljit4
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Hi Helen

 

That’s v useful, thank you. 

The scenarios you list are the ones I came across on the site. As mentioned, some years ago, there was an option to cancel if you didn’t feel entirely comfortable inviting a stranger into your home. That no longer exists. In my case, a guest booked providing no information about their stay, we had an awkward exchange, I didn’t feel this would be a good fit for me. So looking at the choices for cancelling the booking, none of them applied - which I found odd. 

I think it must be 18-24mths ago when I last cancelled an instant booking, and it was straight forward to do then. I do remember the warning about max of 3 times a year. 

I’ve now switched off instant booking for this room. 

Daljit

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

I've been hosting for seven years and don't remember seeing this. @Daljit4 

 

Yes you can cancel penalty free up to three times if you feel uncomfortable  with a guest but only if the booking relates to the conditions I quoted from Airbnbs IB policy above .

IB has either changed or there is a glitch in the code. A guest with zero reviews, no profile, and no payment method was able to IB my home yesterday, and Airbnb Support has yet to explain why / how that was possible.

Guest had no profile, but was able to IBGuest had no profile, but was able to IBGuest had no reviews, but was able to IBGuest had no reviews, but was able to IB

Guest also wrote, "Hi, I wanted to let you know that I used paypal for the deposit. If it doesn't go through please try again."

 

I have been off the Airbnb platform for a few months. Have the standards been lowered recently?