Advice requested: Strict bookings and dates alteration request

After being a host with over 2 hundred successful bookings I recently changed my booking status from moderate to strict based on comments from this forum. It made sense and has been working well so far.

Now I have strict booking set I have an alteration request to dates. I am aware this can be used as a defacto way of cancelling a booking by push the dates to the future in order to get a full refund.

The current trip dates start in 4 days (no refund). The alteration request is for 2 weeks time (full refund).

I suspect the guest is pushing the dates into the future to be able to get a full cancellation. For those hosts with strict bookings how do you deal with this airbnb loophole that is fair and reasonable for guest and fair for the host given the strict setting ?

Thanks in advance for any insight offered.

I would start by asking questions.

  1. Thank them for contacting you

  2. Explain the reason for the strict policy is because at this late date, it is unlikely you can rebook those nights HOWEVER you want to be helpful

  3. How does moving the reservation two weeks address whatever is keeping them from coming now? You may know of an Airbnb policy something else that can help.

  4. They respond. The ball is in your court. Depending on the reason you decide to accommodate or not.

  5. If you can’t accommodate, if you wish, suggest if you do rebook, you will refund all (or portion) of rebooked amount.

Best wishes with a smooth resolution

Thanks Annet3176 for your response. All great advice here.

Guest has already told me trip is postponed due to disruption of flights. I am uncertain as to whether to take this at face value or if this is a tactic for a refund.

Also if I choose not to accept the alteration to dates and original booking goes ahead this will then give a disgruntled guest the opportunity to leave a one star review if I have got this right ?

Depends on what airlines and the from to route. I don’t know about all Airlines but in the USA Southwest Airlines has/is/will cancel many flights. I doubt Southwest will be stable in two weeks.

Any flight going through a connection in Florida or Atlanta in the next couple days will be affected by the tropical storm.

However the new extenuating reasons policy specifically denies coverage for travel interruptions.

Personally I would go with the, “I can’t do a date change at this short notice but I will refund if rebooked option”.


Agreed, thanks Annet3176 much appreciated.

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Well, if it’s true that it is because of flight disruption, then the original booking wouldn’t “go ahead” if they weren’t coming, in so far as them actually showing up. And if they don’t cancel it, then you wouldn’t be able to rebook the dates, in which case they wouldn’t get any refund for dates that got rebooked if you offered that.

So if the dates don’t get cancelled, whether they show up or not, then yes, they would be able to leave a review.

As suggested if I felt they were being honest after a conversation then I would accept the alteration request and hope for the best.


This is a Valid response too. Decisions are not always easy.

Every host has a different risk tolerance. It’s hard to get a gut reaction to a message. Personally I would probably accept it. I have strict policy and have yet to be burnt.

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I had one person try this. Their reason was “My aunt has terminal cancer”. Two weeks probably doesn’t change anything on that… I let them cancel with a full refund anyway - we were under lots of COVID restrictions and I didn’t want them to have a bad vacation.
BTW, this was a fellow host.

Well it kind of does-it gives time to go see her & have loving words before the inevitable. Waiting two weeks for the visit may not have been an option. You gave them a kind gift

I recall she rescheduled for exactly two weeks later and said “My dear Aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has exactly two weeks to live”
It smelled fishy. She’d already made comments about not being able to afford it, or having to work during the vacation.


I guess she didn’t know that is not how it works….

But the power of suggestion is strong. My ex-mother in law circled the day exactly six months from the day Hospice care was approved and said, “that’s the day I die.” And she did.

Regardless of the reason, you gave her a gift

I would simply decline the request to change the reservation. I am sorry my policy does not allow for changes on such short notice (or at all really)

I thought I had this in my rules, just checked and it looks like I took it out.


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My understanding is, if the guest never checks in, but does not cancel, that you can get their review removed, assuming they leave one. My gut is they are looking to leverage the “free cancel” exploit.
I agree with @Annet3176 - the “can’t do an alteration at short notice but will refund if rebooked”. So, the guest needs to cancel and roll the dice. Her other thoughts are also nice!


If a guest cancels day of, but doesn’t check in, they can claim that they did. It’s just the guest’s word against the host’s, and we know how that flies with Airbnb.

So, that they didn’t check in doesn’t mean you can get the review removed. Even if you could prove they never arrived with camera footage, they could claim they drove there, but there were drug dealers hanging out in front of the house, or the yard was covered in garbage, or whatever else scammers seem to be capable of inventing these days.

“Out of 100 customers, if one cheats you and the other 99 are honest, don’t worry about it.”

Savvy business advice from our family matriarch not to over-invest in trying to control for everything.


Personal business policy? We all have ways we do business whether it’s in our house rules or not.

Yes, my business policy. I do not allow changes in a confirmed reservation, I do not allow more than 1 dog in my pet friendly listing, I do not allow any other species of animals (that one is in the rules) .

I once had a booking come in that was “awaiting verification” and airbnb blocked the dates. I called them and asked what was going on and they told me that the guest needed to update the credit card and that Air’s policy was to hold the dates 24 hours.

I told them to kindly point out exactly where in the TOS I agreed to that and they could not, told me it was policy. I told the CS agent it was my policy not to hold dates for unpaid reservations. I prevailed.



This is good advice also thanks.

While I generally do concede to this as a sensible option, I am torn when guests abuse the system mainly because it is deceitful but also becuase it enables a pattern that will eventually become widespread abuse of the system and as hosts we have to stand up and say NO !

The tricky thing about this date alteration tactic is - is it a valid alteration request or is it a tactic for circumnavigating the privacy bookings policy ? Herein lies the issue.

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