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Covid cancellations - refund policy


First post here and wish it was for a better reason.

I have a rental that is pretty much only occupied during winter(snowbirds). The income from winter rentals cover the bills for the full year so I try to keep it close to 100% occupancy.

We have a very strict cancellation policy so once the pandemic started I have been recommending guests take out travel insurance just in case.

I now have a renter asking to cancel and demanding a full refund due their trip MIGHT be interrupted due to covid. They are entitled to a 50% refund which I have no problem giving. I’ve offered them a credit for future use but they are not interested in that.

They booked last July so they were well aware there was a pandemic going on.

I depend on the income and the chance to find another renter is slim at this point.

What are other hosts doing in this situation? I feel like the guest is being unreasonable.

Stick with your cancellation policy and refer all further inquiries to Airbnb, let them earn their fee which they will be keeping regardless. If Airbnb pressures you to give a refund, just say no. If the guest continues to harrass you, report them to Airbnb. Besides, truth is, you have nothing to refund. Airbnb has had their money all this time.

Now just hope they follow through and cancel instead of keeping the reservation and inflicting further misery on you in addition to probably giving you a bad review.


The bad review issue did cross my mind. We have perfect reviews so far so it would bother me more than the overall score.

I feel like I have offered more than required already but nothing seems to be good enough short of a full refund. It would be a month of lost income which is about 20% of what we take in annually.

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Stick to your policy. YOU do not give refunds, period. That is handled by AirBnb – one of the reasons they get their cut is because they handle the money… The Guest doesn’t like i? Refer them to Air.


Don’t do it. I have had 2 week long cancellations for January which is our peak Summer month. I reduced my cancellation policy from strict to 2 weeks notice and would have easily filled the bookings several times over a few month back when the end of lockdown 2.0 was announced. My choice but I wish Air would flag bookers who are recidivist booking cancellers. It was the main reason I got off BDC so many people cancelled. I am sure many are cancelling for legitimate reasons and are within their rights to do so but I suspect some just book and then a couple of weeks out decide which property they like the best or if they get a better price go somewhere else or maybe they are all just sick of their family after Xmas. Guests need to understand there are consequences and if you are within your policy you should lose no sleep over not fully refunding them. And I separately say I will refund people, no matter how late, if there is another lockdown. And I have done so several times in the last 2 years.


Don’t worry about a bad review if most of yours already are good ones. And no it doesn’t matter if 99% or 100% are good its not a competition. You will eventually get a bad review that is unjustified so just move on. Just say they tried to get a full refund when only entitled to 50% and ask potential future bookers to read the T&Cs to make sure they understand the Cancellation policy as you don’t want people to be disappointed. Turn it back on them for not having done their homework.


I thought there was some kind of threat they would give. I thought it was an empty threat but still… maybe not. Remember they do lose airbnb fees and if they are booking and then canceling on a whim or shopping around, it is costing them around 15%.


Omnicron very well be running rampant during my peak season. As always, there may be a hurricane.

Since Airbnb now has a relationship with Travel insurance seller for rentals in the USA & Canada, I’m setting up a message to auto-send after a booking is confirmed.
I’m fine-tuning my verbiage so this isn’t my final form.

Hi xxxxx
Thank you for choosing my home for your stay.

Airbnb now has a relationship with Insure My Trip Travel Insurance.
Here’s the link to the information.


The article contains the Airbnb dedicated link to My Trip Travel Insurance.

Since you booked under a Moderate Cancellation policy and Airbnb refund policies changed in 2021 to be more restrictive, if you cancel your trip close to check-in, you may not receive a refund.

To protect your vacation investment, I encourage you to consider purchasing travel insurance.

There are several options available, providing different levels of coverage. Prices range from $60 to much more depending upon level of coverage.

I’m looking forward to hosting your stay. Your trip will be here before you know it.


In the cancellation policy, Airbnb said they will refund the Airbnb fees associated with the first 3 cancellations in a year. The 4th & greater cancellations will forfeit the Airbnb fees regardless of host’s cancellation policy.


I keep is short and simple. You will be refunded based on the refund policy posted when you booked. If you have any questions, please contact Airbnb since they are the company that processed your payment.

You will get a message from Airbnb asking you to refund the other half but just ignore. Keep in mind that they are not refunding their fees so why should you.

I have one unit. When people book the unit it blocks others from renting my space. They held up the real estate.

ALSO, you are probably aware of this but if they request to move the dates or alter the reservation, that will reset the clock so that they can cancel and get a full refund if it more than 14 days out.

I plan to use a modified version of your letter. about trip insurance. Thanks for sharing.

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Don’t give any refund, I had 2 cancelations each around 5000 USD last year where guest made up stories they were sick begging Airbnb CS to get back their money…

Airbnb contacted me few times trying to convince me to give the refund try make me feel sorry for them, same person even had different diseases each time they contacted the CS- ridiculous.

Lucky I didn’t give any refund, the first guest booked another villa near me (saw his review a month later near me) and the other went to Thailand instead of Bali (try to scam me by sending 3rd party bookings to my place also)- both didn’t even cancel their booking because they knew they wouldn’t get a refund.

And they can’t write you a review if they never checked in.

We have had a few folks who have said that they or someone in their party have tested positive for COVID. I went and looked for the Airbnb policy regarding this and have found conflicting statements of policy. I have not found the publishing dates for the policies posted below. Yikes!

Reservations made after March 14, 2020

Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after March 14, 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 related circumstances not covered include: transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates—like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.

Our extenuating circumstances policy is intended to protect guests and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking. After the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the extenuating circumstances policy no longer applies because COVID-19 and its consequences are no longer unforeseen or unexpected. Please remember to carefully review the host’s cancellation policy when booking and consider choosing an option that provides flexibility.

If you booked after March 14, 2020, your reservation is eligible if all of the following are true

  • Your check-in date is within the next 14 days
  • and you haven’t already canceled it
  • and you haven’t already checked in
  • and you or another guest in your traveling party is currently sick with COVID-19

If all those things are true, you can cancel by contacting our community support team. We’ll ask you to verify this with documentation (such as a COVID-19 test result), where legally allowed. Your account will also be temporarily blocked from making new reservations, and any upcoming reservations within the next 14 days will be canceled.

Just to close the loop on this. The guest cancelled and will get 50% back. I offered them a credit for the amount I will receive after taxes/fees are paid. They rebooked using that credit directly with me so sort of a win/win.

I do feel they were being unreasonable but I didn’t feel right about keeping all of the money for nothing. On the other hand, I now have a full month open with potentially no income.

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