Canceling a reservation


I have a reservation for 3 weeks ahead that I need to cancel due to a family emergency. Before I notify the guest, I wanted to check here. I realize this is my fault and have questions about canceling: I’m guessing it will negatively affect my rating. Should I call airbnb and see if they can help resolve this given that this is something that showed up unexpectedly? Also, how badly does a cancellation affect your ratings? ( this will be the first time I’ve canceled and I have superhost status so far)

fyi: this was not an instant-book reservation and my cancellation policy is moderate.


It really depends on the emergency. If it fits within the “extenuating” circumstance clause, then definitely call before hitting that cancel button. In fact, that is what I would do, regardless.

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Have a look at Airbnb Help Centre under extenuating circumstances to see if your circumstances fit.

If it matches one of those circumstances. Or even if ti doesn’t really, call Airbnb! I have had good luck when that happned to me and I had to cancel a booking. Or if that doesn’t work you could message the guests and explain the situation and see if they will cancel the booking.

thanks for your replies. I will call airbnb. One question in the meanwhile: if I request the guest to cancel the booking, will they pay any service fees given that they’re canceling outside the moderate cancellation policy window? I will offer them a full refund, obviously, and also make a special offer for a free future stay (if they want to), but would like to make sure I understand the terms correctly, so I can tell them something like “you will get all your money back, if you cancel, including airbnb service fees…”

i am not sure about that to be honest, as i have never done it. I am sure you can call airbnb and say you want to give a full refund to this guest .

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Any idea how to get the guest to initiate the cancellation so I’m not charged with the penalties etc? The guest kindly agreed to cancel the request from their side. I got a request saying “Cancellation pending: John requests that you cancel”. When I click on ‘cancel reservation’, I get the note saying that I will be getting all the penalties etc. I thought there was a way that a guest could cancel w/o the host getting impacted by the penalties?

Who needs the cancellation- you or the guest and why?

I need the cancellation (see my initial post for why) but the guest agreed to do it from her side vs. me initiating the cancellation in the hope that I would not be charged with the host penalties.

Then if you need it, call Airbnb, explain your situation and they may cancel on your behalf. I understand that you may have 2 penalty free cancellations…you can only ask or wear the penalties.