Altering or Cancelling a Booking as a Superhost

I would be grateful for any advice on how to handle the following situation to avoid losing Superhost status or antagonising a guest:
Stupidly, I failed to block off my calendar straight away for a particular weekend when my wife and I were invited to attend a very important family function in another city which we have to attend. A guest then booked for these exact dates using Instant Book so I now have a problem.
I can arrange for a friend to check the guests in and out and have the pet carer keep any eye on them while we are away. However I am uncomfortable having guests stay in my house while we are not present especially as we have 5 pets living on the premises.
I don’t know if the house sitter will be as attentive as we would be that the guests don’t let dogs out into the street, etc.
My initial thought is to send the guest a booking alteration request for the next weekend, explaining that we will not be on hand to host him and offer a very reduced rate for the new dates. That might not suit the guest though and could annoy him.
I am scared about cancelling the booking altogether and losing our Superhost status.
Any ideas on how to handle this ?
Many thanks

Instant book you have 3 no penalty cancellations a year. Use one - just call CS and ask


Thanks for your reply Debthecat.
Does this 3 cancellations per year concession override the Superhost qualification requirement that cancellations must be less than 1%.
I also can’t seem to find the AirBnB definition of the period on which the 1% measure is applied. Is it the number of all bookings since becoming a Superhost, the last 12 months, the last calendar year or the previous quarter.

Failing to block off the calendar doesn’t fit the airbnb guidelines for penalty free cancelation.
Better explain the guest and ask that they cancel and you will refund them.


I would send a note to the Guests and truthfully explain the situation. I find most guests to be very understanding and things always seem to work out. Ask them if they would like to choose another date and if not would they mind cancelling and assure them no penalties will apply. If they agree to cancel but don’t no how – contact Airbnb and say both parties agree and Airbnb will help cancel without penalty.


If you can’t cancel, another option (not ideal) would be that only one of you attend the family function and the other stays home.

I too have 5 pets (cats) and my biggest fear would be that guests would leave doors or windows open and that my strictly indoor cats would get out and get lost or run over by a car.


Have someone else take the pets for the weekend.


It is the 12 months preceding the cutoff for Superhost, which will be the beginning of October.

I canceled someone last summer to accommodate a guest who needed to extend their stay. The potential penalties were a $100 fee, immediate loss of Superhost status, and the dates blocked, all of which I was willing to accept.

I used the online cancellation process, and after submitting all the details, the only penalty was that the dates were blocked, which was fine by me.

I did end up losing Superhost after they reinstated the requirements after Covid— my stays are longer, so there was no possibility that I could get back below 1%. The cancellation rate reset after a year.

1 Like

I would worry more about the review that’s gonna say host canceled the reservation than the super host status, I would never book with someone with that review.


I’m looking at my listing and I don’t see this. I think Airbnb recognizes that things happen, and penalties are applied to people who abuse processes, not to people who are doing their best to provide a good place.

Again, if I had to have the note “Cancelled by host” in my reviews, I’d accept that, even if it meant I potentially miss someone’s business. My reviews show what kind of place I offer and I can’t worry about making the decisions that work for me. But, as I said, it doesn’t show in my reviews.

1 Like

I agree, that is ine of the things I look as when booking as a guest.
Perhaps see if you can get a trusted friend to stay at the house?


Stop worrying about 1 reservation ruining SH status unless you’re in the habit of canceling.

Contact the guest on the Message board and tell them you’d like them to cancel and you’ll approve a 100% refund as you have a family emergency.

If they won’t cancel, even though you’re in home hosts, call CS. I tried this myself and got turned down by CS for 2 reservations I had to cancel and lost SH. I’m not worried. I’ll get it back.

Anyway, the 3 cancelations are “free” and don’t count towards the 1%.

Also, some guests seem to think canceling on their side dings them. I tried to tell them it didn’t, but didn’t make headway.

Good luck.


There are no 3 free cancelations, there are rules under which you can cancel:

  • The guest makes it clear they are likely to break one of the Host’s house rules, such as bringing a pet or smoking
  • The listing does not fit the needs of the guest
  • The guest has several unfavourable reviews or a lack of profile information that concerns the Host

The host forgot to block the calendar, there is no way CS will allow it be penalty free.

1 Like

I was using free as in penalty free.

Guests lie all the time to get out of reservations.

Host can actually cite family obligation and get a penalty free cancelation. I’ve done it when IB has hit before I can block. BUT it has to be done FAST.

1 Like

Sure the host can also lie and make some better reason, but the one he mentioned won’t be penalty free, and honestly it wouldn’t be fair to the guest, there should be penalties for hosts like this, public review and losing SH seem fair to me.


Thank you to everybody for your thoughtful and informative replies. I need to think this through carefully. At this stage I am leaning towards going to the function and relying on my friend and the house sitter to keep things in order at home.

It’s a calculated risk.

I have a great housesitter who has gamely climbed over the junk in the basement to reset an overloaded circuit in the Airbnb suite, and who took care of my (now late, sniff!) doggos while guests were present.

If the guests can accidentally let dogs out, they can do it with or without the housesitter present. It was a constant worry – I had signs plastered all over the yard. “Keep gate closed. Dogs run free.” But that worked for 5 years.

Once I chanced an overnight stay out of town and the A/C went out while I was too busy partying to catch the first two guest messages. Thank goodness they were laid back about it.

1 Like

it does ding them if they are past the free cancellation window, as they won’t get their service fee back. If the host is willing to cover that, then it’s fair to ask the guest to cancel, if they aren’t, it seems wrong for a host to ask the guest to cancel for something that was a result of host inattention to blocking dates.

To me, it would depend. Things can happen once that mean a host really can’t accommodate the booking. The host could get really ill and have no one to co-host, they, or close family could have a serious accident, there could be a new noisy construction project next door that the host had no warning of. (although I agree that hosts should be willing to take a hit if they simply forgot to block unavailable dates). None of us are perfect and even things that seem like Airbnb should consider to be grounds for a penalty-free cancellation, they don’t always agree to.

So if a host only had one one cancellation showing, out of many, many good reviews, I would give them the benefit of the doubt. More than one, no. Or if I saw a small cluster of cancellations in a short time frame, I might ask the host why that happened.

The reason I have this attitude is that I once read a host post where the host had needed to unexpectedly go in for surgery and had to cancel some bookings. They tried to get Airbnb to agree to cancel penalty-free, sending a doctor’s note, but Airbnb would not agree, saying she could get someone else to host in her absence, as if that’s some simple matter that can be easily arranged.

You are allowed 3 penalty free cancelations if you are “uncomfortable” …and you certainly are uncomfortable. No need to say more.