As a guest, would you cancel if requested?

I have a trip planned for two weeks from now, and I just got a note from the host saying that they can’t accommodate us because the city is coming down on STRs. They asked me to cancel. It’s a flexible policy, so I guess I’d get my money back, but I feel a bit cranky about it and I am inclined to put it back on them. WWYD?

The host is canceling- so they need to cancel the booking.
If you cancel- you are unlikely to get the Airbnb fee’s refund


I agree- the host should cancel. Of course we know why they asked you to, and if it weren’t for the service fee you’ll lose, I’d cancel as the guest since it’s flexible cancellation and out of sympathy for the host, if they really are getting shut down by new local regs, but unless the host cancels, you’ll lose the fee. (I suppose you could look up the area if you wanted to know if the host was telling the truth, to see if there have been new regs brought in. For all you know, “cracking down on strs” could just mean the host has been operating illegally and is no longer able to get away with it)

It has been mentioned here recently that if a guest asks for a refund and the host approves it, the guest service fee apparently gets refunded, but since it’s a flexible policy, there probably isn’t any way to ask the host to refund.

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Something similar happened to me (host) in which I had to cancel a booking due to failing inspection because I didn’t have my fire extinguisher mounted on the wall 10 feet from the range. I had to move it and get reinspected.

I contacted Airbnb and they cancelled on my behalf without penalties. Therefore, your host should contact customer service and not ask you to cancel because you might still end up paying Airbnb service fees.


No, for all the reasons listed.


Ok, I dug in my heels. She is still asking me to cancel, because she would get a penalty, while I can cancel and get a full refund.

But I actually think she should get a penalty. This is the kind of thing that puts people off Airbnb. I have fewer options available to me now, and I have to start hunting all over again. It’s annoying.


Does anyone know what the actual policy is on guest cancellations and service fees?

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I agree with you.

You’re inconvenienced without any compensation.

We keep coming to this question of who should bear the burden of any costs, including the cost of inconveniences? Should it here be the Host, who chose to be in this business (and might even be skirting local STR regulations – we don’t know, the Host doesn’t explain) or here the guest, who has simply made a reservation?

If it were me I’d not want the back/forth and seek to end it sooner by contacting Airbnb by writing (reference reservation #) and saying that this appears to be a Host cancellation trying to persuade the guest to make it a guest cancellation.


Yep, ask the host if she would prefer that you call Airbnb to tell them the host is insisting you cancel when it’s her that wants to cancel the reservation, or whether she’d prefer to call Airbnb herself to see if they’ll give her a penalty-free cancellation. Because the cancellation is going to end up in her lap either way.


As a guest (and a host) I would cancel for this host** Sh*t happens and as a host I understand this. It would be a bummer to find somewhere else to stay, but I would suck it up so this host was not penalized, including the cancellation being forever memorialized on their page.
**UNLESS they had a history of cancelling, that is

Checking my listing guests (I’m flexible cancelation) can cancel for FULL refund up to 24 hours prior to check in. (That includes fees)

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I’d just call Airbnb get the ball rolling because if I recall correctly, you can’t make two reservations at the same time. So @mica555 can’t book another place on Airbnb until this one is off the books. And one option with a refund is that it can be applied to the next reservation. If someone were in a tight financial situation, that could be critical.

But if I wanted to really ream this host I’d probably tell them (not ask them) that if they didn’t cancel immediately I’d be calling Airbnb and the city where they operate.


But city regulations don’t appear overnight like a power outage or a broken hot water heater. This is on the host. They probably disregarded them, and now are sweating it for some reason.


True. I think it’s situational. For my homeshare listing anyway, if, for example I came down with the flu, would they want to stay with. me anyway?

My post was mostly referring to OTHER hosts being empathetic. I don’t expect this from the average guest.


That’s what I figured. It’s why I suggested that the OP check to see if there are brand new regs there. The host could also just be using that as an excuse.
If there are brand new regs, if I was going to also get the service fee back, I might be willing to cancel as the guest.

But really, it’s on the host to cancel and I would never ask a guest to cancel if I couldn’t host them for some reason.

You might ask her why she’s worried about getting a penalty if she is having to shut down her Airbnb listing because of the local government regulatory crackdown. I call bullshit on her excuse.


Well, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, maybe she has other listings in other places. Or she applied for a permit but the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly. Or she’s one of those hosts who pays no attention to local regs and didn’t realize new regs have been brought in (I’ve read posts like that on other forums- “Help! I just got a letter from the city planning dept. saying I need a license but they are now only allowing 30 day or more bookings. And it can take 2 months to get a license. I have guests booked! What do I do?” Of course, these hosts should have been paying attention, as these things don’t happen overnight, but some don’t)

In any case, this is clearly host cancellation territory.
I think I read that they are no longer putting “Host cancelled this booking…” on review pages anymore. If that’s true, then the penalties are only monetary and losing or not being eligible for Superhost for a year.

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Yes. The guest will receive the service fees back if they cancel within the “free cancelation period” for the cancelation policy on the listing. The free cancelation period is different for each cancelation policy but for the flexible policy, it is until 24 hours before check-in. So if a guest cancels within 24 hours of check-in on a flexible policy they will receive a full refund including the service fees.

Years ago, guests had to cancel within 48 hours of booking to get the service fees refunded but they changed that nearly 3 years ago and since then only one cancelation policy, the strict, requires cancelation within 48 hours of booking.

In this same situation, I would cancel. I have nothing to gain by not canceling and nothing to lose by canceling.

I wouldn’t want to waste my time or energy arguing about it with the host. It is not my job to punish or train the host. I do not gain anything by arguing about it nor do I gain anything from the host receiving a penalty. Being a spiteful guest would not make me feel better about an incompetent host. It would only make me feel spiteful.

The only reason to not cancel would be out of vindictiveness and vindictiveness serves no one and it is contagious. I am sure I would be pissed off but I would regret spending even one second longer on it than necessary when I could cancel and move on in less than a minute. Life is too short for stupid games.


If the OP isn’t going to lose the service fee, I would also just go ahead and cancel if I were her. Not really any skin off her nose. I didn’t realize the service fee is refunded according to the free cancellation period of the host- I thought it was 48 hrs for all policies.

The only reason in this case to try to force the host to cancel is if the guest can’t find a comparable listing at this point that isn’t much more expensive, because if the host cancels, Airbnb may give the guest some extra money to book another listing.

That’s possible, I’d forgotten about that (Aircover). It may be a crapshoot two weeks out though. They do promise to help with rebooking but from what I’ve heard it’s just a list of available listings. Sometimes people get a credit towards the new booking though but not always and they don’t say how they decide. Word on the street is that is 20% of the original booking so it could be worth the hassle depending on the cost of the booking. Definitely worth considering. I was only thinking of the refund and saving my own time.

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I haven’t got a clue how Airbnb decides how much extra to give a guest to book another place or whether they have time lines, like offering compensation if it’s a last minute cancellation but not if it’s two weeks til check-in. I know I’ve read posts from guests saying the host cancelled on them a day before check-in, everything else in the area was now hundreds of dollars more than they had originally paid, and Airbnb only offered them an extra $35.