Guest Cancellation Policy Update

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager
8,331 Views
Computer

Hello Everyone,

 

A few weeks ago Airbnb made changes to what guests see when they book and what happens when they cancel a booking, those changes were discussed here on the CC.

 

You can read more about the changes in this Help Center article. We also want to open a thread here on the Community Center, to continue the conversation. We appreciate how important it is that our host community is informed when changes happen on Airbnb, even when those changes are for your guests.

 

What changed for guests?

The names of the cancellation policies themselves haven’t changed, so the policy you set—Flexible, Moderate, or Strict—will still show up for your guests. However, now when a guest makes a booking, they’ll see more information explaining the terms and refund cut-off dates for the policy you’ve chosen. We also changed Airbnb’s existing policy so that we now refund Airbnb guest service fees for cancellations, up to 3 times per year. This way, if a guest cancels within a fully-refundable window, the reservation—including guest service fees—will truly be fully refundable.

 

How will this affect me as a host?

This additional messaging for guests is meant to eliminate confusion about our cancellation policies and, ultimately, to encourage more bookings—especially for more flexible listings. The changes won’t affect refund cut-off dates, your payout, or your host fee. Guest cancellations are rare and we’ll continue to monitor this rate in light of the new changes.

 

Why did Airbnb make this change?

Through feedback and research, we’ve seen that guests often overlook the cancellation policy terms of the listing they book. This leads to confusion and frustration in the rare event that their plans must change. This added education is meant to help align guest and host expectations going into each booking.

 

I hope you find this information useful.

 

Thanks for your time.

 

Lizzie

 


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148 Replies

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Cape Town, South Africa
Level 5

This is great for the guest but now the host has to take all the risk.  I celebrate making the policy clearer and ensuring that possibly there is a separate step in the process where they have to tick that they agree on the cancellation policy.  But it is rough on the host who has now lost out on the opportunity to book those dates because someone was holding abooking that they were not really committed to because they knew they could get their money back.  I had someone who booked at a premium time for a local event and then decided at the last moment she had changed her mind.  Under those circumstances I would have lost out on the booking at the highest premium time of the year with little possibility of rebooking because people book months ahead for that.  I wonder if there isn't a middle ground?  Make the guest much more aware of the policy, but don't make the host take all the risk?

many thanks!

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Cape Town, South Africa
Level 2

Totally agree with Jean. Where are the host protections? We have strict cancellation rules. Over the years, we had two cancellations which were within an acceptable range and we reimbursed the guests. In one case, we did not manage to fill the listing. Having said that, we have had numerous guests who have missed flight connections or did not comply with visa regulations and wanted us to foot the bill. So question to airbnb: Does this change mean that guests with missed flight connections (and I'm not talking of 'force majeure') now have the upperhand if we choose to comply? And is it true that airbnb plans to increase host fees according to guest cancellation policy (up from 3 % to 5 %)?

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Aurora, CO
Level 2

With all the complaining you people do, you need to realize that it is limiting your options, because the media hears all this and then government steps in and continues to chip away at your rights until there is nothing left to complain about, and everyone has the option to use another platform if this one is not working, and if you did not agree with the policies then why did you sign up and agree to them?????

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Tyler, TX
Level 3

I totally agree, Aurora, CO. It seems some people are trying to use AirBnB as their full-time job instead of what it was intended...an auxilliary income option. If you want to run your place as a full business, set up the proper accounts with your local and state entities and claim your expenses on your annual taxes. It also gives you the ability to bill someone direct. I use AirBnB as an aside to my full-service Bed and Breakfast business in my home. It helps fill the vacancies. Yes, we have run into the inconsiderate guest prospect who cancels for some bizzaro reason...or worse, leaves the door open upon vacating while the AC is full on for their comfort and we are out of town.  Both scenerios cost us; but I would rather some **bleep** NOT show up and lose the income, than show up and be a **bleep** anyway. That said, we also use AirBnB when we travel and have had great experiences while being consciencious of how we treat our hosts.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Katikati, New Zealand
Level 2

 

I am a host and a traveller. This time I have booked a nice little sleep out in Melbourne.

I booked online and I had trouble with the online payments. When I submitted the payment button, I got a message to "due to internet problems", I had to resubmit again. This happened 2 x . Finally the payments went through but to my ashtonishment, Visa charged me 2 x too much. I saw 3 payments went through, all of the same amount. One of them was the amount for the 5 days I was going to stay there. The other 2 amounts are problaby the resubmitted ones.

I am trying to find an email address so I can alert the HQ that they have received too much money from me. I have cancelled the stay and received a refund of the original amount but not the doubling up amount.

Is there an email address? I tried to phone them but that took forever. I haven't got all day to listnen to music. There  MUST BE an email addrees that I can use. To be sent to the same page over and over again( help center) is not helpful!!

GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN SEND THEM PROOF OF THE DOUBLE UP PAYMENT.

Thanks everyone.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Sydney, Australia
Level 4

AirBNB is very poor at responding to phone calls and emails when they don't want.

I phoned them numerous times over a bad guest over a number of days and followed up with emails.

After waiting for ages listening to music or their stories (luckily internet and not the cost of a phone call) I would get through to someoone who would (i) check and confirm that my complaint had been logged and (ii) confirm that the person I was calling was 'busy'. Rarely or never did this person return my call. Every time I called they were 'busy'.

If AirBNB wants to stuff you around ... they will.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Katikati, New Zealand
Level 2

I contacted them through their twitter account and got an immiddiate actiona nd result was they refunded my accidental 3x payment on my creditcard, all totally refunded. I think twitter is the best way to go. 

Then they also emailed me through: response@airbnb.com and got answers straight away. So here goes :twitter is the game!

Cheers,Marianna.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Vienna, Austria
Level 2

 I totally agree. I had a problem with a booking and needed help. So I called Airbnb but nobody ever picked up. I feel like Airbnb is caring more about the guests than about the hosts...

 

Shouldn´t hosts and guests have kind of the same rights? For example the same cancellation policy? What do you think?

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Katikati, New Zealand
Level 2

Yes, but don't forget that Airbnb now are a MULITI MILLION business by taking all the commissions from everyone that has signed up.

When I was still trying to do up our little cottage for Airbnb, I had a phonecall from Headquarters ( I was riding my horse at the time) as to why I had not yet submitted my listing. I had numerous emails from HQ and asking if I was ready to list ,my cottage. We still weren't ready yet, and then I got that phonecall, all the way from San Francisco! But now, I have been hosting since January, and now I have a problem and I can't get hold of them, or at least a person I can talk to about a payment I made for a place I had booked to stay in Melbourne. How is it that he( whoever it was) can ring me on my mobile while I was riding my horse, but I, can't get hold of him( or whoever)

This is my problem:

I am a host and a traveller. This time I have booked a nice little sleep out in Melbourne.

I booked online and I had trouble with the online payments. When I submitted the payment button, I got a message to "due to internet problems", I had to resubmit again. This happened 2 x . Finally the payments went through but to my ashtonishment, Visa charged me 2 x too much. I saw 3 payments went through, all of the same amount. One of them was the amount for the 5 days I was going to stay there. The other 2 amounts are problaby the resubmitted ones.

I am trying to find an email address so I can alert the HQ that they have received too much money from me. I have cancelled the stay and received a refund of the original amount but not the doubling up amount.

Is there an email address? I tried to phone them but that took forever. I haven't got all day to listnen to music. There  MUST BE an email addrees that I can use. To be sent to the same page over and over again( help center) is not helpful!!

GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CVAN SEND THEM PROOF OF THE DOUBLE UP PAYMENT.

Thanks everyone.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

@Marianna53  Here is a guide for contacting Air BNB.  I find using Twitter is effective, but most hosts report that email is slower.  Also, a trick for reaching Air BNB by phone is to do it very early in the morning.

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Contact-Airbnb-A-Community-Help-Guide/m-p/16165#M728

 

Also, can you contact your credit card company and contest the Air BNB charges?  Just a thought.

 

BTW, sometimes it is more effective to start your own conversation rather than jumping on an old discussion thread.  Many time hosts will not look at old threads and you will not be able to get the host support you want.  

 

Good luck.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Katikati, New Zealand
Level 2

Hi Linda,

Thanks for those great tips. I have actually started a conversation yesterday, but I don't think anyone has relpied yet.

I thought I also jump in here. I have had a couple of good responses. Thanks so much.

Yes, I will also talk to my credit card company if the refund isn't there.

Cheers, Marianna.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Katikati, New Zealand
Level 2

Thanks for the tip about contacting them through twitter! They responded straight away, put my problem staright to theur management team, and within a few days I was refunded the 3x accidental " overpayment" and they also emailed me to see how everything was going on response@Airbnb.com so I am most impressed. It's all been refunded and they are most helpful in this way.

Thanks for your help, but now, at least, know how to go about thing, if a problem happens, I tweet them.

They are @Airbnbhelp twitter account.

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Stockholm, SE
Level 1

Yeah it is a cool one 

Re: Guest Cancellation Policy Update

in
Montreal, Canada
Level 4

I've learned lately that AirBnB doesn't care for middle grounds, at least not regarding the Host Experience. This policy comes to no surprsie, and I wont be humouring it - especially not for Major Events and peak season which are essential to making my BnB's sustainable year round. So I'm really not playing around with these dates and future bookings, and will now be updating my listing and booking procedures to protect myself from this terrible new Policy. 

 

After having booked a 10 day stay for Christams and New Years, my guest requested a visit from their family to the property before they arrived to see the place, which I obliged, but said nothing about cancelling if they werent' happy with it. And sure enough they tried to cancel because its not what they thought it was (didn't go through pictures or read details i dont know, maybe language barrier but i cant be held responsible for that and they fully disregarded Cancelation policy when booking). --- AirBnB calls me telling me of the guests cancelatioin request to which i asked AirBnB if i was in the wrong here and if it warranted a waiving of the fee, to which they said "No" - So I said i can meet the guest almost half way but would require they pay at least 30% of the Cancellation policy before his Arrival Dates; which turns out IS possible by simply Requesting Payment (like a damage claim) - A Requested payment will go through Instantly. <-- Everything in this situation was Green Lighted by the AirBnB Service rep who contacted me, and instructed me on how I could arrange all of this. 

 

So that being said, I'm going to be requesting all my guests in the future who are looking to book these Major Events to pay the 50% via the Payment Request, after which I will adjust the reservation costs to reflect the payment already made. It's a total shame that I have to go through these petty steps to ensure the security of my business let alone having to explain to the guests that are enquiring that I dont trust them or AirBnB enough to let them hold these dates at 0% host guarantee up until 1 week before cut off. Its just not happening, and though some guests might feel weary about it or flat out refuse, I'm not about to risk the sustainability of my business for what I deem a money grab change to policy by AirBnB. 

 

As of now Hosts are not only helpless to unreasonable guests when it comes to the review system which allows any guest to list terrible star ratings even when openly addmiting they haven't read the listing in detail, but now a guest can cancel up to 3 times in one year without penalty regardless of cancellation policy ?!? Yet we lose Business Satus Ready and Super Host eligibility for 1 full year should we ever have to cancel just 1 time... sorry but no thanks. I'm done chasing Super Host status and I am definately not renting peak season without a 100% guarantee on my policy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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