Cancellation Question

We had a guest make a reservation for 3 months during our prime season. He cancelled a week later. Per our refund policy, he’s being charged for one month. We do have the option of giving him a full refund but aren’t sure what we should do. I’m leaning towards not giving a full refund because we probably missed several reservation requests during the week it was “booked”. Would appreciate any advice.

Only refund if you rebook the time he cancelled.


What many hosts do is to provide a refund for any dates that rebook.
But wait until you get the payout for the rebooking - some clever guests have a friend rebook then cancel (for a full refund) as soon as the host pays out the first person.


I would let the cancellation policy stand. Presumably the person was an adult, who read the policy and again was warned when they cancelled that they would be charged according to policy.

I am in the minority here, many other hosts would offer a refund for nights booked but I see it differently, the contract is there for a reason.



Frankly, I’m with you, too, RiverRock - the guest should have known the cost of cancelling with the stated cancellation policy. But the OP seemed to be undecided about whether to refund or not based on the loss of booked nights and not based on the contract.

Now I only offer the “refund if rebooked” benefit to returning guests. It’s a perk to help soften the higher rates we have now than a few years ago.


I don’t give any slack with AirBnb bookings. The AirBnb cancel terms are clear to the guests when they book and reserve. AirBnb will rarely ( if ever ) give a guest back a service fee so why should we hand back money and allow them to profit? In the long run, AirBnb will eventually take some money from you also, or deny a legit claim, or disagree with a guest cancelation, or apply an extenuating circumstance to a booking, or take away SuperHost, so any possible guilt about abiding by the written and stated cancel policy should even out. That all being said now I will lecture…AirBnb does not have an optimum safe system for long term bookings. Whenever you take a reservation, but especially when the booking is 28 days or more…you should have a signed contract executed between you and the guest. My 2 cents.


I’m in the “refund any nights that rebook” camp but, as PitonView said, only after those nights are paid out.


We use the moderate cancelation policy so I only have to deal with this when it’s less than 5 days before the stay. And guests only lose the first night and 50% of the following nights so it’s already more than fair. However, I have given full refunds, at my discretion, when it felt like the right thing to do.

I’ve even given some money back for dates I rebooked but I’m not a huge fan of it because I’ve had poor experiences with it and because guests have become very demanding about it. I’ve been sent rude messages telling me that I’m obligated to re-book their stays for them. Stays that were to start in 30 hours. And hosts and other guests are commonly telling guests (on other forums) that they should tell the host to re-book the dates and give them more of a refund.

Maybe there should be a cancelation policy that includes the refunds for re-booked dates. I can’t help but think that it’s having a negative effect on hosts and possibly society in general for it to be a widespread, unofficial policy. And I bet that hotels are not amused with it, lol.

The last time I offered to refund what I rebooked, both the guest and CS were incapable of comprehending how the moderate policy works and I ended up losing a lot of money on the deal. The guests had already received 50% back on 3 of 4 nights and CS paid them 100% back on all 4 nights out of my payouts. The guests made a profit. Ugh.

Anyway, your guest effectively signed a month-to-month rental agreement and in the world of long-term rentals, you do not get your deposit back if you decide not to move in. It’s not a good idea to give guests any sort of refund on a long-term rental for so many reasons. You don’t owe them the extra trouble of re-booking and keeping track of it for a month and then refunding them. It’s not okay for anyone to rent an apartment, take it off the market and then change their mind a week later and they need to know that so it would only hurt the guest in the long run. And you would be doing a disservice to other hosts as well as landlords all over the world.

If you decide to do it then at least keep a penalty fee for your time because you will hear from them over and over again while they wait for their refund that they have no right to have. I’ve never had a guest take up more of my time than a guest waiting for a free refund.

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Agreed 100%. It lowers the incentive to buy travel insurance. And it’s become an expectation even though it’s not official. I believe owners do it because they think it’s “unfair” to keep money for doing nothing if someone books the dates. But hotels don’t do it - can’t you hear the Hilton rep laughing if you would say “I’m cancelling my non-refundable room, but I expect you to refund me in full if you rebook my room”?


I’ve seen a variety of conversations like this on other forums recently: (abridged and amalgamated version, lol):

Guest: My girlfriend and I booked an Airbnb a few months ago for next week but now our friends got an Airbnb somewhere else and they invited us to go. But when I tried to cancel it said I woudn’t get any money back. Is there anything I can do? It’s so unfair.

Forum: Tell the host to get busy re-booking the dates so that she can refund you more later.
Forum: Yeah, if she re-books with another guest then she needs to give you that money!

Guest: Thank you, I knew there must be a way!

Guest: The host said she’s not refunding anything. I even told her about my friends and she doesn’t care. Now it feels like she’s ghosting me. But I’m going to keep sending messages! This is so wrong. I’m never using Airbnb ever again. Besides, hotels are cheaper.

Forum: She has to!! Call and report her to Airbnb! They’ll give you a refund. I can’t believe she’s treating like that.
Forum: Don’t cancel. Show her. Make her cancel!!! She’ll get penalized!
Forum: Make her lose superhost!!
Forum: And then you can leave a one star review too!!

It is out of control.

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The problem with having a cancellation policy that would refund for rebooked dates is that hosts might block their calendars for reasons other than bookings.

Guests would see the dates no longer open, take that as meaning they were rebooked, and accuse the host of being a liar.


Had exactly that!
Guests that canceled a family weekend due to the virus. They had booked direct with me, haunted my calendar. I gave them all the options according to my cancellation policy.
The emails and phone calls were relentless after I booked one day of the 4 day booking.
I gave in at the end, I didn’t want them to stay EVER!

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That’s the crux of the matter. “Fair” is supposed to be what you agreed to when you made the deal. If it was not “fair”, you should not enter into the agreement. Now, “fair” has become “get what’s best for me” (and I hear echoes of my son whining “It’s not fair” when he was eight and didn’t get what he wanted)

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When I refund a rebook, it’s not what’s best for me in terms of $$. But it’s still what’s best for me. It’s not what is “fair” in terms of a dictionary definition of “going by the rules” for fair. But it’s what I think is right.

All that said, it’s partly based on the kind of rental I have. It’s also based on how much work such a policy is costing me. After multiple book and cancels in Dec I switched to a moderate policy rather than flexible. Bookings slowed, cancelations slowed and the one cancel didn’t get refunded based on his messaging, timing and how much work I put in for nothing. I only had about 4 hours to rebook, it’s didn’t rebook and in that situation I didn’t lose any sleep or money.

Count me in this minority.

I do my best not to offer refunds.

I have been forced to provide enough extenuating circumstances refunds that I don’t want to provide any more refunds that I’m required to. Guests have been trained to come up with sob stories to extract refunds out of hosts. Some of them may be accurate but it’s not my fault whatever caused them to cancel their plans.

I once offered a guest compensation if it rebooks. He messaged me so many times and then wanted to book again. I found that it was too much work.

If guest wanted a refund, they should have booked a refundable rate that’s usually two to three times what I charge.

It’s not unfair. It’s a policy they agreed to. I’m so tired of these overly sensitive idiots.

Yes it is!

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I thought that was what what a deposit was for i.e that is what is immediately at risk for a guest. TomB24 did not say how far out into the future that the arrival date is, which should surely make a difference. Collecting the rent for an entire month seems a bit over the top for a booking that took place only a week earlier. The point about incentivising guests to take out travel insurance is a good one though.

It isn’t over the top unless a host can manage to rebook the dates, and it isn’t over the top even if a host can rebook as it gives guests the idea that the cancellation policy they agreed to doesn’t matter.

I couldn’t, in good conscience, not refund something for dates that got rebooked, but I wouldn’t fault other hosts for adhering to the cancellation policy even if they did rebook.

One of the problems I see with telling guests you’ll refund if you get rebooked, is that hosts sometimes decide to bloock cancelled dates for some other reason that the guest wouldn’t know about or believe.

Maybe the host thinks, well, since that booking got cancelled, lets just go on a little holiday ourselves for a week. Or use that time to do a major deepclean, or some fix-ups. Or some rellies want to come visit, so you tell them they can use the Airbnb.

All the guest sees is that the dates are no longer available, so assumes they were rebooked. Telling them you blocked them to go out of town yourself for a week is just going to likely be viewed as a lie.

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It is a bit hard to make a judgement here because I have no idea how far in the future the booking is. Our policy, if someone changes their mind within a few days of booking, is not to penalise them heavily if the booking is 3 months or more in the future. One week earlier we had no booking but we will most likely get one elsewhere if we still have 3 months or more. Goodwill goes a long way. We would charge for 1or 2 nights to cover our time and leave it at that. The other thing that struck me is that it is a 3 month booking. To be able to take a 3 month booking means that the owner had no bookings for an entire 3 month period during the premium season. Why is that? Is the property new to the market? If so, then slamming a customer who has made a mistake does not seem the best way to go.


I just re red the original post, the guest cancelled a week later. The only mistake I see is not reading the policy.

@TomB24 is the guest asking for a refund? Can you add any context?