Cancel or Risk Bad Feedback?

I have a guest booked for one night 9 days from now. She sent a message the other day asking if she can check in early. I said I would check with my cleaner (I am abroad and I arrange everything remotely). I responded to let her know that the cleaner has a busy schedule and so unfortunately she cannot check in early. That I was very sorry about this. She sent a very angry reply telling me how VERY disappointed she is as she has arranged an event at my house 3 hours before the check-in time stated on the listing and will now have to cancel all these important people. She is full of anger and is telling me off. I can just tell that this lady will be the type to leave me a bad review. I have had hundreds of guests stay and none, save one, was rude to me prior to check in. That person was the only person to ever leave me a bad review. Now I want to cancel this lady as: i) I never agreed for her to use my house for events ii) the stated check in time on my listing should be taken into account when booking - so why arrange a ‘Luncheon Party for all her friends from Poland’ 3 hours prior to this check-in time, especially as she had agreed to wait for me to check with my cleaner iii) Even if the cleaner did not have a busy schedule there would not have been time for the previous guest to leave and the house to be cleaned and prepared in time for her desired 12 noon check in, and iv) she’s being rude and unfriendly. Should I cancel and avoid the negative review I am pretty sure will ensue but then have to have a cancellation notice on my listing? How would you deal with this?

Hi, Claire, I don’t know what to tell you to do! I just wanted to say that it is very rude and unthoughtful of her not to have discussed with you about having an event at your house before booking! That’s just crazy. My guess is that she is going to cancel since she can’t have her event there.

Hi Claire,

If I were you I would ask Airbnb for help on this reservation. I think they will let you cancel without penalty as the guest insists on checking in early and didn’t tell you that she was planning an event.

Her behavior doesn’t even make sense. There is a box that you can check : suitable for events. If you had this box unchecked, then no one can have any parties at your house.
Her booking a luncheon at all and also before her check in time and then demanding early checkin tells me she is an inexperienced traveler, and she doesn’t understand how Airbnb works.
That’s of course not an excuse for her reply to you. I would contact Airbnb and tell them the story. If you messages each other through the site, they can go there and read all your correspondence.

I wouldn’t want this looney tune staying at my property. I always always ask this question before accepting any kind of booking: “Will there be any visitors during your stay?” - Don’t ask if they “plan” to have visitors because they will come back and say at the time you asked they didn’t plan on anyone coming. But ask if there WILL be any visitors. I can’t believe the things people will disclose after this question is asked.

I would contact Airbnb and tell them she already had intentions of violating the max occupancy. Even if she “claims” that they won’t stay overnight, Air should see from the correspondence that she will not be a good guest and will hopefully cancel and waive any penalty. Just confirm that they don’t leave a review on your page saying that you cancelled. Future guests will then think they can’t trust you.


And to add - I do not believe she has already invited all these people to a luncheon 3 hrs. before she can even check - in. She is trying to put a guilt trip on you so that you go out of your way to get the place cleaned. No one is that stupid to send out invites to guests when you haven’t even asked if it is possible to check in.


I would not allow her in my house. Cancel and deal with the consequences.


Call Air immediately and ask them to intervene. Have them cancel it. Or allow you cancel it without the penalty. The nerve of some people! Just when you think you have heard it all!


Oh my goodness Claire. Please heed EllenN and Cabinhosts’ posts asap, and get Airbnb onto this disaster. You should not be responsible for any kind of penalty. If planning any kind of event, or indeed inviting any group of strangers onto your property, a guest needs to check with you if it’s ok. I would immediately put it in your house rules ‘no unregistered guests on the property’.

I agree with Cabinhost that she doesn’t even have an ‘event’. Who in their right mind would be so loony to plan an event at a place they have not yet secured? Well, unless she was so highly confident in her skills of manipulation that she might be able to get you to let her in that early. It is truly so absurd to not be able to consider that if guests were there the night before, and checkout was any kind of time she is probably hoping for (not first thing in the morning), that the place is not going to be cleaned by 12. But some people can think only of themselves and their powers of imagination don’t even stretch to what is a physical impossibility. Thankfully Airbnb will see that this demand is beyond ridiculous, especially if you are booked the night before.

Another rule to add: No early check ins. Unfortunately if you set these precedents in reviews Etc, everyone starts wanting one, and when they don’t get it, you get little tantrums like this lady is having.

But as you said, you’re an experienced host, and you know as well as anyone that letting this nightmare into your home is a recipe for disaster, and if behaving like this because she can’t get a 12pm check in, I can only imagine what kind of delights would be in store during the stay, and for the review.

Please let us know how it goes with getting Airbnb’s support on the cancellation. Make sure they don’t let you be penalized.

Georgygirl - if she just cancels then on her site Air will leave a review saying the host cancelled so many days before check in. That does not look good to potential travelers as they will feel they can’t count on her and she is flaky. She needs to save the one freebie in case a real issue happens and she must cancel. It may be an option if she can’t convince Air to cancel but best to try to convince Air first.

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I agree with the others. You must call Air BnB and ask for an intervention. This guest is demanding things not allowed, like early check in for one!
We are not door mats. We list “House Rules”. If she won’t follow them, then ask Air BnB to cancel her. I am sure they will.

Thanks so much for all your support and advice everyone:-) I contacted Airbnb support by phone yesterday at 4pm and I was told to wait for the ‘escalation team’ to contact me. I have finally received a reply.
'Hi Claire,

My name is Ramona and I am a case manager with the Airbnb Trip Experience team. Thanks for writing us about your reservation with B+++++. My colleague, Cristian, let me know that you needed some assistance.

I’m so sorry to hear that there’s been a misunderstanding between you and your guest. I can imagine that it’s a bit stressful on your end so I’m more than happy to address your concerns. I understand that your guest requested an earlier check-in time, but you weren’t able to change the set 3 pm time. I can see she has written in the message thread, “Well that is VERY disappointing and has completely scuppered my plans to host a luncheon party for all my friends from Poland :(”

In this situation, you have two options. The first would be to explain your check-in process and the terms of your home as agreed to at the time of booking. Many guests to Airbnb are new and aren’t aware of the process for booking a space or expectations that come along. It can also be tricky to identify intent via text so it’s possible that your guest didn’t mean to upset you. That said, you are entitled to have guests check-in at 3 pm because this is the time that you’ve listed on your page and a different time wasn’t set up prior to her booking.

If you’re no longer able to uphold your reservation with B++++, the other option you have is to cancel this reservation on your behalf. There are several penalties that are applied when canceling a reservation though, so I recommend reading throug our Help Center to fully review the policies before canceling: As cancellations inconvenience traveles and the reliability of our community, we do take them seriously. Even so, I understand that situations can come up. If you have to cancel, start by contacting your guest to explain, then cancel the reservation in the Airbnb system by going to Your Listings > Your Reservations > Alter or Cancel. You’ll find the cancelation button at the bottom of the Alter or Cancel page.

I understand that you’re worried about a potential negative review and completely understand this concern as a former host myself. Since this isn’t a sure-fire outcome, the phrase “kill 'em with kindness” seems to be the best advice. As a host and traveler I’ve had experiences that have started on the wrong foot only to end in positivity and though this misunderstanding on your guest’s end may be causing some unsettling feelings, it doesn’t guarantee a bad overall experience.

As soon as you’ve decided which option you prefer, please let me know so that I can reach out to assist your guest with rebooking if needed. Additionally, if you’d like, I can also reach out to your guest and explain some of the general Airbnb guidelines to her.

I look forward to your response.

Best Regards,

Ramona B

Are Airbnb are basically telling me to host her and risk the negative feedback or cancel and face the penalties and consequences? I was hoping for a more flexible, supportive reply. I meet all the criteria for a superhost and have never cancelled before. I have only ever contacted Airbnb for support once. I’m not quite sure what they’re saying here. Will I still be penalised for cancelling and have a notice of cancelling a guest put on my listing page? What do you think I should do? I don’t feel at all convinced that AirBnb phoning her about the issue will reduce the risk of bad feedback…If anything I think it would increase it.

I am so disappointed to read this. Thanks for sharing with us. I am reading that they are saying you will be penalized for cancelling.

I would email them back and state their new conditions for people who sign up for instant book. They get three freebies if they are uncomfortable with the guest behavior and they won’t get penalized: Did you get that email?

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You can always ask the guest to cancel with a full refund. On your email to your guest, state that you want to work with her and because you can’t do an early check in you feel your property will not be the best fit.

You then agree to give her a full refund if she was to cancel within an x amount of time. Like this you look like someone that is working with your guest, the guest is the one that cancels and you avoid a bad review. Make sure you give her no more than 24 hours to cancel with a full refund.

Are you ok giving your guest a full refund? Also remember, if your guest cancels your listing goes up in the search.


What a completely lame-ass reply. This company needs to realize that our homes are the crux of their entire enterprise and if we bail for a viable competitor that is more host-supportive (which will surely come along soon, how hard is it to set up an attractive and user-friendly internet platform…) they are screwed.

Kill em with kindness? So basically, guests who have the most unreasonable demands and aggressively unpleasant dispositions ought to be the most catered to and rewarded? Yeah, that’s not how my universe works, no thanks, AirBNB.


Hi there, I asked AirBnb to to reconsider my position but they will not help me. So I have sent the lady this:

"Dear B++++++,

I am so sorry for any inconvenience in planning your time in C+++++; But I no longer feel my house is a good fit for your needs. I do not feel confident that you are showing respect or adherence to the house rules and listing details. I was trying to do you a favour by asking the cleaner if she could clean the house early for you, but then I found out that you had planned an event with several visitors in my house unbeknownst to me 3 hours prior to the check-in time stated on the listing.

Your last message makes me believe that my house is not a good fit for your needs and I would not want to disappoint you any further. Therefore after giving it much thought I would like to work with you to resolve this: I can offer you a full refund if you cancel the booking in the next 7 days. I can also arrange for an AirBnb Manager to assist you with finding and rebooking a more suitable property. After this 7 days I’m afraid I will have to cancel the booking myself. I’m so sorry for this.

Best wishes, Claire."

lease let me know your thoughts…

BRAVO! I wouldn’t have allowed so much time so I could try to rebook - but I see in your initial post it is a 1 night stay so if you don’t mind losing the income for one night then it works for you.

I think it sounds excellent and I think if she does end up staying then she will be less hesitant to leave a retaliatory review. It’s better to put her in her place now so that she knows you are onto her.

Why are you giving her 7 days to cancel? and why are you offering to cancel the booking yourself?

But you already sent out the note so lets see what your guest states.

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How do you allow the guest to cancel with a full refund if you have a strict policy? Won’t it automatically say they will lose 50%? Or do you just write the full refund offer in the message system and then tell guest to call and direct the rep. to the conversation so rep. can waive policy?

Just in case I ever want to use this I want to be prepared.

Also, will guest still lose their booking fee?

When a guest cancels, on the reservation part of the site you get the option of giving back the full refund. But Airbnb doesn’t refund their part.