Cancellations with first timers?

We have been a Superhost for a couple of years. Recently we had a guest that was booked by a local business for 2 weeks. Both the local business person and the guest are first timers. After the first night we get a text from the business owner that the guest said the place was dirty had a bad odor and the stay was uncomfortable. So I said I had pan fried salmon last night so that may have cause the kitchen smell and anyways she could cancel and only be charged for one night which she accepted.

Over and done with. We have a strict cancellation policy and have never had a guest wanting to cancel a stay after one night due to uncleanliness in 5 years of AirBnB hosting. So we lose money as the calendar was blocked out for these 2 weeks and was only able to book another person for 4 of those days.

My question is would you also offer to cancel in this circumstance or negotiate a longer penalty to cancel? I’m thinking first timers with no reviews can be problematic. We tend to have the rooms constantly filled year around. Thoughts?

Firstly if it was a business booking I hope this was done through Airbnb at Work rather than a third party booking. Third party bookings as you’ll know are against Airbnb’s T&Cs and also create problems with a mismatch between the guest and the host as the guest often hasn’t seen the listing before booking.

Of course I wouldn’t have offered a penalty free cancellation in these circumstances. From what you say there was no need. I would have just confirmed that my place is spotless and apologised for cooking fish. I would have had a chat with the guest directly too and apologised. I wouldn’t have offered a penalty free cancellation if nothing was wrong with my listing.


I am booked year round, this year running at 86% of available days. I don’t have a record of how many first timers total but a look back at the past 6 weeks shows 15 guests, and 7 had no reviews when they booked with me. I’m guessing over a year I have at least 30% first time guests and no major problems. I recently had a somewhat problematic stay but the issues weren’t so much related to it being the first time the guest used Airbnb.

That said, your problem here seemed to be the third party booking, not that it was a first time user.

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This doesn’t really sound like a first-time user. It sounds like someone who knows the system. Could be a new profile.

Like @KKC I have a lot of first timers and have been doing this seemingly forever with hundreds of great reviews so no, first-timers aren’t a problem. They are just as keen to get good reviews as hosts are - probably more, in fact.

So please, any new or potential hosts reading this, don’t be prejudiced about first time users. (Unless you are in direct competition with me of course. If you are then have as many so-called red flags as you want and I’ll have the guests).


I refer all cancellations back to Airbnb and my cancellation policy (Strict). Also, I send a message when they check in that they need to communicate with me via Airbnb app if there are any issues. I don’t give refunds, especially if I haven’t been given the opportunity to rectify the problem.


I second what @Lynick4442 said.