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Blizzard - Modify/Cancel


Have any of you had to cancel or modify bookings due to snow or other weather issues? Is there any flexibility from Airbnb on the cancellation penalties for hosts in this situation?


I did. A woman came for a funeral, and most of the family were gathering at an aunt’s house, but it was full, and she wanted the space so booked our room. When I heard that all public transportation was shutting down I found a friend in the same neighborhood as her aunt to house her. However, by the time we got over there she got the word that other family had had to cancel and she could stay with the aunt, so I moved her over there.

It didn’t look like I could modify the reservation (24 hours after check-in) so I just gave her a partial refund through the resolution center. Seemed like the right thing to do, and now my family is nice and cozy being snowed in. She was lovely and we would have been happy to have her join us, but, are thankful for the quiet.


I had to turn a 2-night stay into a 1-night stay. They wanted to leave early in order to not risk getting stuck in/delayed by the storm. I gave a full refund for the second night, as I think that is the right thing to do.

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I had a guy snowed in, in London, literally on the plane texting me regarding delays when they decided not to take off at all.
He was so disappointed to miss his holiday in Italy and there was nothing he could have done.
I gave him a full refund.

(what’s not on is airbnb always encourages hosts to give refunds, yet they, themselves NEVER refund the airbnb fee to the guest)


Yeah, we have someone scheduled for checkin tomorrow and there are close to 4 feet of snow on the roads. They didn’t balk at the road closures and warnings about the snow. I’m just curious to know if there is any leeway in such a situation if you have to cancel due to reasons beyond control.


Well, I’m confused.

Instead of just accepting my offer of half a refund, my guest wrote and said “airbnb says I should request all of it”. Then there was a second message that said “I think 3/4ths is fair”.

I felt that refunding her half was more than fair.

Then I got a notice from air saying that the guest had cancelled the reservation.

Then I got this message from airbnb

"My name is Jordan and I’m a Case Manager here with Airbnb and I hope this email finds you well. I have been in contact with “guest” regarding reservation

Thank you for going over and above to assist this guest. I closed the resolution center case with her and you do not need to refund her anything for this reservation. We want you to keep the entire payout.

We ensured she was refunded because the storm classified all canceled reservations in your area for that time period to be considered an extenuating circumstance."

I’m very confused and asked for follow-up. Who cancelled? Did she?

Has anyone else on the eastern seaboard had similar exchanges?


It looks like the request came from the other side. She probably cancelled and asked about a full refund in light of the circumstances. Since neither you nor she could control the weather, there is probably some flexibility. I’m sure they have insurance against these situations.


Yeah, except she actually stayed one night and didn’t ‘check-out’ until mid-afternoon.

Well, I just gotta let it go…


I had a guest who wanted to alter her reservation after her flight was canceled due to the recent blizzard that hit NYC.

I offered to split the difference for the days she wouldn’t be staying since the weather was no more my fault than hers, but she refused.

To make a long story short, Airbnb initially told me (2x!) that my cancellation policy would hold but ultimately sided with the guest due to “extenuating circumstances” and gave her a full refund.

While of course I have sympathy for the guest, this behavior on the part of Airbnb is abusive of hosts—not to mention the unprofessional customer service that I wasted hours on as part of the process.

I too have to let it go, but something should be done about this!


No mater what the reason, airbnb has always pressured me to give my guests a full refund;
I usually cave in and do it - but the last time it was for some lame reason (changed their minds about coming, etc)
so I said"if I get another booking I will refund the money - or if you, airbnb also agree to refund her your booking fee I will meet you halfway."

No comment from airbnb after that!


I iknow this was several days ago, but it sounds like she requested first before going through Air, she wanted you to refund so she wouldn’t face the cancellation fees/penalties? Did the request come through resolution center?

Simultaneously, though, It sounds like Air cancelled it themselves and paid out anyway on the blizzard reservations? Which is rare. Normally they want you, the host, to eat it and “generously” give you a break on the cancellation punishments such as the fees and penalties.

When we’ve had hurricanes threaten, they write and generously (haha) offer to let us cancel without a fee and refund the guest. I ignore and let the chips fall where they may. No one can predict hurricane landfall accurately until it’s right there.

Odd though, since you had her stay one night. And then she dug out.

I’m with Felix… they probably have insurance for that kind of weather situation.

I just had a guest with a family illness (oh sure) wanting to cancel a reservation for Feb 3… She’s already past her week-long window and so I said no. I can’t re-rent those days. I already lost the cleaning, which is partly why I even do the short reservations in the first place. Plus I have to pay tax on it still, tax I can’t collect from her. She didn’t seem like she would fight it and I don’t want to have to ask for proof like a death certificate or hospital admittance form. No answer from either her or Air (sometimes they call you and ask you to consider a refund.)

After six years hosting, I’ve heard my share of sob stories. I hate to be a harda** but guests have taken me on a ride too many times. I’ve lost thousands due to their stories. No refunds.

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But you DID get paid, correct? Even after you issued the 3/4 refund? If not, contact Jordan at Air and ask to be paid in full as promised!


You know, this is nice of you, but not necessary and falls outside of the window of being able to refund. Why should you? You held the room for her and you only have one to sell. You are not a hotel with 100 rooms and a flexible refund policy. Strict is strict. No refunds. They know this when they book. Hold the line on this in the future. Also it is worth noting, they can’t leave you a bad review. Reviews can only be left on completed trips. That knowledge always helps me not to cave.


Wait! You didn’t get the same deal as DC? New York had the blizzard conditions just as badly or worse than DC!


I had a guest before Christmas who had to cancel due to tornados, flooding etc. in the south and was unable to drive to New Mexico. I felt like he shouldn’t lose his money, as he was already losing his vacation. We didn’t go through Airbnb so as to avoid the cancellation fees; I just sent him a check for his payment, less the Airbnb fee that had been deducted. Seems fair to me, and just part of the cost of doing business.


I said it “symbolically”, as to make them understand that the room was held for them,
but yes, by some miracle if I get another booking at the last minute, I’ll refund them.
(and also to get airbnb to stop pressuring me to refund EVERYONE.)

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Actually you need not have incurred any cancellation fees. I think you could have refunded everything about the stay by using the alteration feature. Certainly you were well intentioned, but writing a check and sending to them outside of Air “technically” violates the TOS. In the future if you have this happen and want to refund all or a portion, simply go to the Guest reservation and click Alter.


Thanks for the feedback. I thought the alteration feature was for changing dates, etc. Cancellation seems to have rather harsh penalties. Thanks again!


Yes, Kona, it was so odd, and I still don’t know what really happened. She and I BOTH got all of our money (sans the fees). Since she slept at our home, I had already given her a deal, and I spent a bit of the next day getting her to my friend’s house who was going to rehouse her, and my friend had prepared, I thought refunding her 2 out of 4 nights was generous. She told me that air told her she should ask for all of the money back! So I’m not happy because I don’t really understand what the what. Air later told me that they did it this way, in part, because she was here for a funeral. Which, very sadly, had been rescheduled anyway. At least she had a pleasant weekend snowed in with family, instead of with us. And we had the house to ourselves. So,I gotta let it go.

It was a fun blizzard; sorry you missed it! But at least you got photos and continuous updates!

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That is so typical of Air!!! they just want a happy guest… you know? Whether or not you refund is immaterial to them, they get to keep the booking fee. So they bug you to refund so the guest is happy. Not fair!

See what I mean, after you did those nice things for that guest, she still wasn’t happy! Those are the things that get us jaded. I wouldn’t have been as nice as you, because business is business. When I screwed up my OWN DC hotel reservation (long, embarrassing story), I was so lucky that the hotel honored the original reservation, but I still had to eat one night and was glad to. MY mistake!

Funeral or not… you had the room ready, blocked your calendar and what happened with the weather was not your fault. Why should YOU eat anything?

But you DID get your whole payout? Or part?

Yeah, I know… I was jealous I couldn’t be there for the blizzard but in the end it would have caused me to miss sightseeing for several days, and worse, big travel nightmares, especially since I have to come so far back. I am glad my son got to experience DC’s second biggest snowstorm on record!

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