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Last night a guest booked last minute without reading house rules. After discussion it wasn’t a good match and they agreed to cancel. If I try to cancel as a host, ABB says its too late, must call 800# to cancel. That has taken 20-30 minutes the last time I had to call to cancel. So I asked guest to cancel, which he did, and airbnb refunded all but the booking fee. I never know if ABB will refund that fee or not and have no control over it. Maybe if I had called ABB, they would have refunded it. But I think they don’t by default. So this morning guest asks why he didn’t get a full refund and I explained everything and told him to request ABB refund that fee.
I had an idea last night while talking with guest to ask the guest to change the reservation to 2 weeks into the future and then one of us cancel. We have heard this method used by guests to get a full refund from naive/too nice(?) hosts, but can we use this trick to our advantage as hosts? This would avoid the last minute cancel hassle of calling ABB for me as a host.
Do you think ABB would refund guest booking fees automatically if its 2 weeks out?
Do you think this would be a better way to cancel last minute stays if both sides agree?
Any other tricks to cancel and get the guest their fees back?
Airbnb walked my through, on the phone, how to cancel a guest (not last minute) without getting any dings on my record. I wish I had documented it. But it boiled down to choosing a valid reason host was uncomfortable with the reservation. (maybe covid concerns or something like that).
If the guest cancels Airbnb won’t refund their service fees, you can forget that. It being 2 weeks out has nothing to do with it, it is dependent on the terms of the cancellation policy. It’s all there in black and white to read- “full refund minus service fees”.
So I guess I either have to cancel as a host and assume they would get the booking fee back. Or call Airbnb. The reps have been really great in the last year explaining how to set house rules very specifically so that if anyone books and doesn’t meet your house rules, ABB will back you up if you need to cancel them. (no not due to discrimination… we love everyone) And the CS reps definitely have the power to refund the booking fee. They want guests to be happy.
It’s really not a loophole unless the host doesn’t understand it.
If a host is willing to let a guest move out their reservation by 2 weeks with no penalty. Then the host must think they can rebook those dates. Otherwise don’t allow the change. I tell guests they are welcome to cancel and I will refund if the dates get rebooked. And they can make a reservation for any future dates they want. If you explain it, they get it.
I’m not sure you understand the loophole. If a host accepts a reservation change request (any change), as long as the reservation start date is more than 14 days away, the guest can cancel without penalty, regardless of the cancellation policy. E.g., simply adding a day to the end of a reservation will open up a 48-hour window for the guest to cancel penalty-free.
In this case, the host wants the guest to get a refund, so it’s not a problem. In fact the host is telling the guest to move the reservation more than 14 days so that the loophole will work. However, that would teach the guest about the loophole, and the more guests that know about the loophole, the more it will be used on unsuspecting hosts.
That’s the right solution, but it’s not a feasible solution. The only entity with the capability to notify every host in the world is Airbnb, and given that nowhere on the Airbnb website explains how or why a cancellation window automatically opens up when a change request is accepted, I don’t see AirBnB providing the education. The best solution, assuming the system behavior is what Airbnb wants, would be a message presented to the host before they accept or submit a change request, and the same for guests.
The reason I don’t think it’s fair for more guests to learn about it is that there are a lot more guests searching the internet for ways to weasel out of a host’s cancellation policy (and advertising their success) than there are hosts that are researching all of the ways they can be fooled by guests.