Another cancellation with my strict cancellation policy. How lenient would you be?

So I had a software engineer book my place for 25 days. We are superhost and have been for the last couple of years. After the 2nd night, he requests to cut his stay to 3 nights doesn’t say why. So I text reply to him on the AirBnB system, “Is there a problem with the room or has your work days changed?” He replies,“My schedule has changed, room is fine thanks.”

How lenient with you be a strict cancellation policy? I let him off the hook and accepted his shortened stay. I was actually in the hospital having an unexpected procedure for a week. I didn’t really want to deal with it and figured ok, less to deal with when I come home to convalesce. My wife hosted when I was away. In the future, should I hold these people to my strict cancellation policy as they are tying up my calendar with a low chance of replace ability on my calendar? Thanks.

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First, I assume you chose the strict cancellation policy for a reason.

Second, if you want to be lenient (but why?), then I suppose you could offer some amount of refund, provided you get the dates booked.

But I keep going back to “First."


Did he ask for the refund? Or did you just accept an amendment instead of requiring a cancellation?


For me, I always do what @RebeccaF second suggestion is; let the guest know that IF I get booked for the portion of the reservation he/she wishes to cancel, I can offer a partial refund. NEVER refund any monies until you are PAID by Airbnb for any replacement reservation booked.

Guests will take advantage of you (every time!) if you let them. Don’t let them!


“Sorry – no refunds. I have a Strict Cancellation policy for a reason. This is one of them.”


I’ll echo what others have said. At the most, only refund the guest any days that get re-booked by other guests, and issue the refund only after the guest’s original check-out date.

If you just want to be nice, then you can do whatever you want, but purely based on policy, this is the most fair to both you and the guest.

@Allison_H recently pointed out to me that there are other reasons for strict cancellation.

Hi, I would have gone with enforcing the strict cancellation. Aka dont refund him for the unused days. Get the money you deserve. Say that you are in the hospital that things are not easy for you and you were counting on that money and if he decided to cancel it’s his choice and if it is for work than his company should reimburse him for the loss, not you.


I would not have refunded anything. I do understand though that you are in the middle of a health issue so that came into your decision. If this happens again do not accept a change, tell the guest they need to cancel. IF you are feeling generous you could offer to refund any nights that get re-booked.

I hope you recover soon, take care of yourself.



Thanks for all the input. So if they cancel rather than change the reservation, they don’t get a refund unless I issue a refund?

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Correct. If the guest cancels, the guest must abide by the cancellation policy.


There’s no point in having a policy at all if you’re not going to stick with it. Guests know about your policy at time of booking, after all.

And if a guest ever asks about a refund, refer them to Airbnb. Let Airbnb deal with them rather that you. Why take up your own time?


I have strict, and have had to deal with a cancellation twice (?) so far. First one, I didn’t refund bc the guest and the situation was so difficult (long story, but to make it short, she messed up a day of MY vacation and that is not cool, haha). The second one, is still pending … I told him to refer to the policy and ABB and that I’d refund IF, and only after, I got a completed reservation for the full time. That isn’t going to happen so he isn’t going to get a refund after all. I have strict bc I rely on my caretaker and do not want to cause him any undue trouble. He takes time from other jobs for work at my house. If people cancel, that isn’t just money from me, it is from him as well.


Did he book or did his firm book?
If you are ‘lenient’ does it mean you will get more bookings from his firm?
Is he likely to book with you on other occasions?
I would look at these ideas first and then decide on my own way of dealing with it. Rules are made by you and can be changed by you to suit the happening.

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Dont refund. Full stop. I have had so many grandfathers on deaths bed in the past 12 months it is a global phenomenon.

First is I point them to their travel insurance. They will refund the cost in an emergency; and an insurance company will be able to discern if the truth is being told.

Second, I say I will refund them the replacement bookings I get - if and only if the guest has been pleasant about it. And then I do. Then I offer the cancelled days at a discount.

A hotel is not going to refund.


Just a reminder that hotels have various refund policies just like Airbnbs do. But from what I’ve seen the standard in hotels is still the option that is fully refundable typically until 3 pm the day before check in. This is the same as the Airbnb flexible policy.

Maybe you meant to say an airline is not going to refund.

You are very galant KKC. No I meant to say hotel (right or wrong), my last one wouldnt refund a week before. You are also correct about airlines. I think with the hotel I booked the cheaper, non refund. My insurance covered it.


Last hotel I stayed at was The Jane Hotel in NYC. It was refundable until the day before and I was able to change my reservation from 3 days to 1 with less than a week advance notice. I was essentially using it as a form of insurance, knowing I had that cushion.

Was it a resort? Most hotels have a policy of 24 to 48 hours. Only from my experience.

I’m noticing more hotels (but not all) are going with a non-refundable option with a lower rate. I never choose that because I’m usually not buying travel insurance for the whole trip. So by paying more for the room I’m “insuring” my accommodations.

The most recent reservation I made has a 48 hour policy even for their room at the best rate:

Maybe they have a non refundable rate for special events.

I find this to be true as well. There are often cheaper, non-refundable rates available too. However, part of not being a hotel is that hosts don’t have the “cushion” that a big hotel would have for cancellations as late as 48-hours if they don’t re-book. If I were going to have a flexible policy, more inline with hotel policies, I would have to raise my rates to cover the risk but I don’t really think it would work in my market. The variety of refund policies allows us to offer a better deal than a hotel - more like their non-refundable options, IMO.

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