What do i do when a guest does not show up for his reservation and they are asking for refund

Level 2
Sandton, South Africa

What do i do when a guest does not show up for his reservation and they are asking for refund

What do i do when a guest does not show up for his reservation and they are asking for a refund?

13 Replies 13
Level 2
Mumbai, India

Nothing! They should have been responsible enough to either cancel the booking in advance or realistic enough to understand that you’re running a business and not a charity. 

Level 2
Maryland, United States

Agreed. It hasn't happened to me very often in 15 years but they have taken the unit off the market and you are owed the money.

@Love223 It all depends on the motive. If they can prove a legit excuse for having blocked  your dates and  not showing up, I’d refund 25-50%. 
If something serious has happened it could happen to anyone including you. How would you like to be treated if it was with you? 

Good point! I've only had  a no-show a couple times. One didn't reply to my messages, and didn't seek a refund. The other didn't show up, but they called Airbnb and whined. Airbnb called to relay the request, and I said no. It was a popular weekend, and I would have lost money because the cancellation wasn't timely enough for anyone else to book the space.

So, no sympathy for those people, but I could see there might be times when I would issue a partial refund.

@Love223 They have canceled a day before to receive a refund and by not canceling on time they all cost lost of income because someone else could have book the date. 

Level 1
Athens, GA

@Love223 There are three approaches.

1) If you wish to be very courteous: Ask the guest to cancel their stay. Explain that unfortunately you have no way to get the nights totally 'back' and recover their value, as other guests have been unable to book them since he/she made his booking. But as a courtesy, let them know that if you succeed in getting any replacement bookings that cover any of the same nights as their original booking, you will be happy to refund them any 'replacement' money you earn that way for those same nights, after you have received it and covered your expenses.


This phrasing is very careful. You are offering to give back the money from the new bookings that applies to any of those same original nights. You are not offering to send back all the money from any reservation that covers ANY of those nights. Why not? Well, imagine the original guest had booked for 2 nights. He cancels. A new guest books for a week STARTING on the original guest's 2nd night. You should not be on the hook to return the entire week's new rent for the sake of that one recovered night. Instead, you'd be returning just the portion of the new rent (say, one seventh) that applied the night recovered from the first guest.


2) As an alternative, you could make it more like a mutually profitable business deal: "Unfortunately, even if you cancel now, I likely cannot fully recover the revenue of the period you had booked for, since those dates have been blocked for other guests. But if you will cancel your reservation now, that would open up my calendar. I'll try to get some replacement bookings for the nights that opens up. If I do, then I'll refund you half of whatever rent I receive for those nights from any new bookings I receive."


This approach is a kind of win-win. It splits the difference between you and the guest. The situation remains profitable to you, since you will definitely get to keep the original guest's rent and may also keep half of any replacement rent as well. But it also gives the guest an incentive to cancel and open up your calendar, since only if he does so does he/she stand to get back some of what he paid.

3) Of course, you could just acknowledge that it was an understandable mistake and offer a full refund if they immediately cancel. This means you very definitely take a financial hit. But maybe it is worth it, for the chance to be gracious.

Most recently when I was in this situation, I personally took approach #1. The guest declined the offer and it turned into a bit of a kerfuffle, because of course the guest (who then actually showed up!) was not happy to be in the property. But I was very careful to document things with AirBnb Support, as they happened, and other than a lost hour or two of my time, nothing else bad came of it.

Level 2
Fairbanks, AK

I will wait 24 hours from check-in date before I consider it a  no-show. Cancellation policy is in place and I will adhere to that. At the end of the reservation date and they still haven't show up, I will refund the cleaning fee. 

Level 2
Encinitas, CA

Call Airbnb and explain the situation.  It’s possible that everything might depend on what limits you put on cancellations.


I act like a hotel.  If the guest cancels within 24 hours of check-in, I don’t give a refund.


When the guest is booking, he or she or they should be able to see your cancellation policy.



Level 2
Mishawaka, IN

Just say "no".

Level 2
Edmonds, WA

No refund. The dates are reserved and have been unavailable for some time. With a no-show, I have notified my housekeeping service to skip the cleaning, and refunded the cleaning fee to the client as a cleaning is not necessary.   I have then removed the scheduled reservation from my calendars. It has only happened a couple of times in 40+ years of renting out our vacation cabin.  No one has ever even asked for a refund when they did not show up.

Level 2
Malvern, Australia

I strongly recommend always communicating with your guests before their arrival. It is a great habit to have as a business operator and a great sign of customer service. Reach out to your guests several days before arrival, simply sending a short welcome message with some small tips and asking if you can be of assistance. This encourages early communication and prompts guests to communicate any last-minute changes or alter bookings. Sometimes, guests schedule bookings too far in advance, forgetting their scheduled getaway, amongst other life challenges that might have taken priority. I have always allowed a full refund with cancellations, allowing my business to differ from those around me. Be understanding and kind; customers will respond to that much more than hard-set rules and book alternative dates in the future. Remember, your business thrives on word of mouth as your primary marketing tool and the relationships you build with your customers. What makes your company different from thousands of competitors is simply up to you. 

Community Manager
Community Manager
Suffolk Coastal District, United Kingdom

Hi @Love223 👋


This is a great question! Did any of the answers below help you resolve the issue? If so, it's always a lovely gesture to mark it as the best answer. It's like a big virtual hug to the member who supported you but also to support other Hosts who may have similar questions in the future. 😊



Please follow the Community Guidelines

Level 10
Toronto, Canada

@Love223 You could ask them to cancel and then refund them for any nights that you re-book.


This is what I would do to entice them to cancel and free up the calendar. This is the best case scenario imo, since you don't lose any money.