Big Bear Lake, CA Level 9
I’ve been a Superhost for many years. I am generally, but not exclusively, in the house with my guests during their stay. I’ve always used a Strict cancellation policy, which has actually (as you likely know) changed over the years to be more accommodating to guests.
Here’s the thing: twice this month I’ve had guests who booked quite a bit in advance decide to cancel. Each of them contacted me and asked me to refund their money. Each had a reason: Guest A had not read the listing; when I wrote with additional info a week prior to their stay, he said the size of the space and size of the bed would just not work for them. He said they simply hadn’t read the listing AT ALL. Guest B booked for Christmas, saying she would be visiting nearby family. Tonight, she said they told her she could stay with them, so she wanted to cancel and get a full refund.
I use Airbnb because I don’t not WANT to discuss money with guests. THAT is what I pay Airbnb to do. I cannot assert myself in that capacity with people begging for a refund. I’d prefer to let Airbnb take that heat. I’d prefer being able to say that my contract with Airbnb requires them to discuss refunds with Airbnb, not with me.
Do I pay a bigger fee for my Strict policy? I’m thinking I should just stop using it, since it never stops people from asking for refunds anyway. It puts me into exactly the position I don’t want to be in.
I’d love to hear how others deal with guest cancellations. I definitely don’t want someone staying who doesn’t want to, and most of the time, I’m going to cave if someone asks for a refund. I’d like to at least keep a “cancellation processing fee” of some kind, because it ends up taking me an hour of speaking, texting, and screwing with an Airbnb or guest phone call or two and the website or app stuff.
I let them know they have booked the Strict policy, and then I do not answer them after that. I have been threatened etc etc, and 1 star review put on my own google website. Its not fair that after a certain time they are still able to receive a 50% refund if they have paid in full. My guest today had booked 8 months ago for the peak week over new years eve. I have lost over $4000 if I don't receive another booking.
There is a Strict cancellation policy for a reason,
Over the years we have not had many cancel but recently we had two,
Most of our guest book well in advance so the chances of us getting last minute bookings I think we would have more chance of landing on the moon.
Both of them cancellations were for similar reason, "The Weather is Bad" it's not my fault you booked in the monsoon season, I just told them to refer to airbnb's T&C that you agreed to when you booked, One of them didn't give up I did have airbnb contact me, so I just told them the same, Im just playing by your rules, I did get a load of abuse from the guest I also think we should be able to Block them in the message system.
One of the nice ladies in here passed on some good wording which I did add to my info,
"There will be no refunds given for unfavorable weather, interruption of utilities due to weather or minor maintenance problems. Travel insurance from your own carrier is recommended."
@Deborah175 Using Strict does garner you a "cancellation fee" if the guest cancels within 7 days of arrival. They do not receive a refund of any kind for the service fee garnished by AirBnB. I have no idea if AirBnB returns the taxes either. Which is why they call begging and pleading for you to refund in full.
A guest who is going to cancel needs to handle it themselves. Period. When I have a guest who texts, calls or emails that they need to cancel, I send them the "how-to" cancel via AirBnB back via email. I do not converse or further engage because there is no point...they want to cancel, I will never have them as a guest in the future, and it is the responsibility of the guest to understand the contract that they have entered into with AirBnB.
Go to Trips and select the trip you want to cancel
Tap Show more trip plans, then tap Show details
Tap Change or cancel
Tap Cancel reservation
I do not cancel guests. Ever. The penalty that AirBnB imposes on hosts who agree to cancel a guest so the guest can receive a full refund is egregious.
if this photo uploads, you’ll see that when a guest asks for a refund through the Resolution Center for the 50% contractually agreed to upon booking, Airbnb issues a subtle threat that “Multiple unresolved requests may be subject to review.” Whatever that means!
@Deborah175 That is bizarre. I have Never received a resolution center request for the return of money when a guest cancels. All I ever get when a guest cancels from their traveler profile is an Airbnb automated message that so-and-so cancelled and that my payout is zero or x dollars.
I never do the canceling either. What I’m getting at is that they call, text, and bother me to make an exception and get their money back. They also file requests for a full refund through the resolution center.
when I’ve contacted Airbnb, they tell me that IF I chose to give a “Full Refund,” the guest will receive 100% of what they pains—INCLUDING the taxes and fees paid to Airbnb. I looked it up, and guests can do this up to 3 times a year. SO—Airbnb puts subtle pressure on hosts to accommodate as well, by creating the system that way, and by telling guests that it’s totally up to hosts if they want to give a refund. Encourages guests to try their best to get to you. And—if they get no refund for canceling, why bother? It behooves them to just keep the reservation and give you a revenge review.
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The CS rep didn't share all of the info about the guest penalty free cancellation policy. Since many CS reps are poorly trained they frequently make inaccurate statements. Guests have three opportunities to receive full refunds, including fees and taxes. for cancellations that occur within 48 hours of the booking and more than 28 days before arrival. It appears that the time period for the guest to get a truly "full refund" has passed based upon the fact that the guest has submitted a refund request and CS has contacted you. So, the CS rep gave you some misinformation, because if you did agree to a full refund, Airbnb would still keep their service fee and they don't care if they encourage you to break your stated cancellation policy.
As you can see, from the image I posted above when answering @Lorna170 that Airbnb apparently did refund the guest all of her fees and taxes. The $160 was 1/2 of the payout, per my strict cancellation policy. She cancelled 4 days after booking, but more than 2 weeks before her scheduled arrival date. She asked via the Resolution Center, on the advice of Airbnb, to request the remainder of the money she had paid. When I agreed to refund the $160, Airbnb refunded all remaining fees and taxes. That surprised me. The email I received showing the request also had language on it that appears to indicate that Airbnb was urging me to override my policy to honor the request in the Resolution Center: “Multiple unresolved requests may be subject to review.” Again, this guest canceled because her family offered her a free place to stay.
It's generally not easy to get replacement bookings where we're located so we tell guests that the cancellation policy will be applied as stated in their itinerary, be we will refund any dates in their reservation that are included in another reservation. We don't feel any obligation to be a guest's default travel insurance. Especially for cancellation reasons that wouldn't be covered by an insurer.
@Deborah175You ask some really 'uncomfortable' questions. 🙂
Absolutely, it is no fun dealing with guests wanting (yes begging for) a refund, specially your two who are offering the flintier of careless/selfish reasons: 'We didn't read the listing careful enough' and 'We found someone that will give us a free place to stay now'. You didn't say if your Strict policy covers you or not. If it does, I would give some thought what is fair to you. I am also with Airbnb not to play the collector of money, which to me is no fun either.
It took me some time to start asking myself the question: If these people had not booked and I had ended up with somebody else, in all likelihood I won't be out the payouts for these bookings after holding them for months (even a year+ in some cases). It made saying no to these types of requests a lot easier then.