Changing Dates to Cancel With No Penalties?

I received a booking at our cabin for a boyfriend/girlfriend meetup for the first time in her home area. Our cancellation policy is strict. A week before their arrival she messaged me and said her boyfriend’s mom is sick and due to the circumstances can she receive a full refund for their upcoming stay. I let her know our policy on completely canceling her reservation so close to their stay but told her she could adjust her reservation to a later date to accommodate the unplanned for circumstances. She changes her dates to a couple months out and then 24 hours later cancels the whole reservation with no further comments or explanation. She received no penalties since the new dates fell without the penalty cancellation time frame. It felt like possibly the relationship was no more and she was trying to get her money out of it but that’s really besides the point…… Anything I could have done differently or do to prevent something like this happening in the future? What good is the cancellation policy if guests can adjust their dates and cancel with no penalties?

This is a well known guest hack.
The cancellation period resets and they get all their money back and the host is left in the lurch….


nothing you can do, I’ve had it happen a few times. I’m kinda tempted to msg the guest and tell them their name is now on a blacklist. :sweat_smile:


Yes what you could have done differently is not offered a change of dates when the guest wanted a last minute cancellation @MontanaMom

If you go to Airbnb Help website and look under host cancellation policies you can see how the various cancellation policies work .

I don’t want guests to be able to cancel at the last minute without penalty so don’t use the more flexible cancellation policies @MontanaMom .

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As stated above, this is a well know work-around to get the free cancellation.

I have it in my house rules that we do not modify reservations once booked and past the 48 hour free cancelation period.

I have also written to Airbnb about this hack and have never received a response.

If a guest wants to add a date, I sent them a request for payment (less cleaning fee) and then block the date once paid.


Yes. Treat all date change requests as a “cancel and rebook”. Tell them THEY can cancel and you’ll refund them (be careful about how you say that and how you do that, too) if you rebook the dates they cancelled. Then they can rebook for their new dates.


I would say something like “If you cancel and I am able to rebook the dates I will refund fees paid me after that re-booking is completed.” [Even then the Host takes a risk that the subsequent guest makes some complaint that Airbnb agrees with and awards some refund.]

The advantage to my formulation is: 1) It clarifies that I am refunding fees paid me (not Airbnb fees, of course) and 2) I am refunding not upon the rebooking (which could be cancelled) but at the end of stay when I will have received the funds and am likely to be on notice of any refund claim by that subsequent guest. Suggestions?

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You made two posts about this so I’m going to close the other one.

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I would have treated the stays separately. You reserved a specific time for her, at her request. She wanted to cancel/change outside your stated cancel period, which puts the risk completely on you about whether or not it gets rebooked if you accept.

In this case, it’s a local first meet-up. To put it off for 2 months would have made me suspect she was planning to cancel the second booking because they likely don’t want to actually wait that long.

It’s a loaded subject, but I would give a full or at least a partial refund IF the night(s) are rebooked. (Actually, if hosts are willing to do this, it would be a good thing for Airbnb to offer, so that the listing can be reopened on their platform, and give the guest a refund IF rebooked.)

If nobody books her time, and only after receiving payment from Airbnb, I might be willing to have all or part of that amount go to another night in the future when I’m between bookings, at my discretion.

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