Accept or decline? Or let expire?

We are on IB, but received a reservation request this afternoon asking if they could book our home with a 2-year old despite our “not suitable for under 5” description. They assured us that they will watch the child 24/7 (we’re a vacation location, so I’m not 100% sure they’ll actually live up to that).

We really aren’t suitable for toddlers (fragile items in the house, 240 V outlets 18 inches up from the floor, chemicals under the sink, pool isn’t gated, and a 30-foot fall from the deck, although it does have a good railing on it).

I replied “No” - that we really aren’t a good place for that young a child.

But I didn’t decline or accept. My husband is telling me I should accept but tell them the issues, but it’s within the 14-day no grace period (strict), so it’s a pain to cancel if they agree we’re not a good fit. I don’t want to keep their money for a stupid mistake, but it’s huge hassle for us all to get an “admin” cancel.

The clock is ticking, and AirBnB is nagging me that I have to decline or accept. I don’t want to be penalized for declining when they should not have put in a request (they should have inquired).

Advice? Accept, tell them the situation, then tell them THEY have to do an admin cancel within 12 hours if they want a refund? We don’t get lots of ABB bookings, so I really don’t want to decline and hurt our ranking.

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Is it a booking or just an inquiry?

For inquiries I just answer their question and then leave it alone. Yeah, Airbnb sends lots of ‘reminders’, but they don’t mean anything.

It’s a reservation request, not an inquiry.

you can tell them no and to withdraw their request or risk losing the money.

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This. You’ve told them the risks and you’re not willing to accept them. Tell them to withdraw the RTB and remind them an inquiry is far less hassle.

I thought they counted towards the algorithm, but then again, I don’t pay much attention to that.

Just. Say. No. “uncomfortable with this guest” is your reasoning.


I’ve never turned down a reservation request (don’t get many, being on IB) - is that one of the penalty-free reasons for declining?

Yes. I’m only familiar with IB cancellations but since you have IB and they didn’t use it, it seems it would work the same way.

It might be a good idea to look at a couple of worst case scenarios.

If you decline, you may be ‘penalised’ by Airbnb. I’m not sure what that penalty might be but imagine the very worst - you’re delisted. That’s not the end of the world. Airbnb is fabulous and the current industry leader but not the only way to run your STR business successfully.

If you accept, the worst case scenarios are that the parents turn their backs for a moment and child falls the 30ft from the deck, or it drinks chemicals from under the sink or it gets into the pool… now they really are a worst case scenarios. And the consequences of those aren’t things I could live with.

Even if a host has the very best liability insurance, the problem would still be sleeping at night.

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I don’t believe that is the case- there are no penalty-free cancellations or declines for requests, regardless of whether you have the IB option unless it falls under EC. policy.

The whole point of letting IB bookings be cancelled by the host simply by stating that you’re uncomfortable with it is that when guests IB, hosts don’t have an opportunity to communicate with guests before the booking is confirmed.

But the rules for requests are the same for everyone.

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What is the reason for not simply declining the reservation? Just that you don’t want your acceptance rate to be too low? Is it already poor?

BTW, I thought there was a reason you could give that was something like “This guest intends to break the house rules.”

This is a PERFECT time to call Airbnb support and (very) politely ask THEM to cancel the request due to the fact that the guests are asking for an exception to your clearly checked box "“not suitable for under 5” rule.

I have had several situations where someone has IB my place, but clearly were intending to either bring additional people besides 2, or smoke, or have a party, etc. Each and every time I have called Airbnb and they CBA (Cancelled by agent) rather than by me. I think this would indeed fall under the same classification.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes…


We’ve had to cancel a lot of bookings over the last 18 months (through admin cancel) because of COVID regulations in our country. The last one was three weeks ago because the guest that IB’d didn’t realize he needed a visa (US green card holder) in order to go to St Lucia.

We’re finally going to meet the Superhost requirements (we get most of our bookings through Vrbo), and I was frustrated about this since it’s not our fault the guest sent a request to break a house rule! And I did not want to take the time to do yet another admin cancel.

Outcome - the guest withdrew their request about an hour before it expired. No communication from the guest, just a system notification. Bullet dodged!


Nice to see you back mucker.



But you are talking about a cancellation for an inappropriate IB, not a decline on a booking request. A host could certainly try that with a request, so as not to get dinged for a decline, but I don’t know that Airbnb would go along with it.

I made it perfectly clear what I have done, and what I (hope to) expect Airbnb to do.

A cordial conversation with Airbnb has provided me (mostly) with satisfaction in a similar situation. This ia an “inappropriate: request” , given their circumstances; exactly the same as I have had success with in an IB…

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No, respectfully, you didn’t make that clear. You said you have been successful getting Airbnb to do admin cancellations on IB bookings, not requests.

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Yes, I did make it clear, respectfully.

Not sure why you feel the need to challenge me on this, as all I am trying to do is to help a fellow host, but what you have contributed is neither helpful nor needed.

@bigappledude -
I appreciate the help, but as @muddy said, you didn’t give evidence that there is such a thing as “decline” by admin.
Anyway, it’s over and I did not have to decline. So we’ll have to wait for someone else to figure out if there truly is a penalty-free decline.

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As I mentioned in my first post:
“I think this would indeed fall under the same classification.”

You want guarantees? Death and taxes. Guaranteed.

I gave you my advice, NOT a guarantee.

Good luck in the future @PitonView .