Cancellation penalties when someone books in violation of house rules?

My house is “not suitable for children”. If someone adds children to a booking, the option to instant-book disappears and they can only request to book.

Yesterday at 1am an instant-book came through for only 1 guest (adult) with a message saying that her family (2 adults) plus two girls ages 2 and 4 years are coming to visit. It’s precisely this toddler age that I’m most worried about in my old house. (Laundry chute in the suite drops a story).

I used to give my reasons for marking my place as “not suitable” and let the parents decide whether to go ahead. But given that Airbnb won’t cover their stay**, I’m no longer willing to give exceptions to this house rule.

Yesterday morning I messaged her that I’m unable to host her family and if she cancels within 48 hrs from booking she’ll be fully refunded. No reply. At 1am tonight her reservation will switch over to my strict cancellation policy.

In recent weeks I’ve called CS more than I ever have before (TEAMS permissions not working correctly, 2x calendar rules not working correctly, 2x canceled a booking that ignored calendar rules for minimum days). I’m not willing to call in AGAIN requesting they cancel a stay. I won’t risk being flagged as some needy host because this lady didn’t book correctly, read my house rules, or take action when I asked her to cancel.

So how does this work?
I won’t host her stay as she intends, but I would host the one adult she contractually booked. To what degree am I responsible for further intervening? I’m not keen on refunding her if she comes back days or weeks from now for a refund after holding a prime weekend hostage - all my summer bookings are happening right now.

**PSA: Reservation with added infants not covered by AirBNB insurance

She broke the rules. She didn’t say exactly who was coming, and probably still hasn’t officially added the two children to the people coming. You have to ask Airbnb to cancel her immediately so that you can rebook. What a mess!

I would just direct her through the ABB system to cancel if she comes back after the deadline for full refund. You messaged her already. It’s out of your hands anyway unless you want to override your cancellation policy. And you said you would honor the original agreement. Does it cost the same for 2 guests as 1? If so, then if the guests persists just tell them they can alter the reservation to 2. It’s up to them to use the reservation if they want. The other members of their party are not of your concern.


I know calling CS is the fastest resolution, but I’m not willing to do so.

I’ve had to cancel 2 stays in the last couple weeks due to calendar issues (Airbnb’s error). I don’t trust that they won’t hold another cancellation against me in some way, or otherwise flag my account for having ~6 CS tickets in the last 3 weeks.

My question is - if I’ve told her “I can’t host you” and she hasn’t replied or canceled, what else am I duty-bound to do?

Only other thing I would do is if possible is text her to let her know that you sent her a message through the ABB system and she needs to check it blah blah and respond to you through there. Then you’ve covered everything.

Grrrh, I so hate this type of booking on IB. In your shoes, I think I would send her a final message on the platform to ensure you have a good audit trail regarding your inability to host her infants/child for real safety reasons etc etc, and that it is up to her to cancel if she wants her money back to book an acceptable place to stay for her kids.

Keep us posted. A truly annoying situation for you, and I wouldn’t want to then have to deal with them arriving on the doorstep.

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Sorry for the hassles… One of many reasons I refuse to use IB!

They are not going to cancel, they have a confirmed reservation and she didn’t indicate that on the reservation because she was attempt to go around your “no children” rule. Cancel the reservation due to not a good fit for your home and then list it against your policy to accept children. No you won’t you paid for any portion of the reservation but then you have to choose, the money or having kids in your home. You are not going to get penalized for not booking correctly. A party of 5 is a lot more than a party of 1 that she booked.

I think you’ve answered your question yourself, reject the booking (as in “not comfortable”) and it’s highly likely you’ll fill the dates with one’s that don’t break your house rules.


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