Do any hosts request reasons for cancellations?

[EDIT: Changed Title do be more direct.]

[EDIT 2.0: I have read all of your replies, and thank you for your candor and for setting me straight. My wife called it. Any moderator may now close this thread.]


We just got a cancellation for a booking over Thanksgiving that had been made a couple weeks ago. I found myself really curious as to the reason. We have only had a few cancellations and this was the first one that happened without the guest sending a note about why, or just, “sorry our plans changed.” I came up with a way I think I could get someone to respond and possibly provide helpful info, without being pestering. Does anyone else do something like this?

What do you all think? This is the “Quick Response” I’ve created and am considering using:

Hi [Guest-First-Name],

We are sorry to see that you have cancelled your reservation at [Property-Name]. We completely understand that plans & circumstances sometimes change. We hope our flexible cancellation policy has made the cancellation process easier.

Without asking you to provide any personal information, we would like to ask if any part of your decision to cancel is related to our listing specifically, as we are constantly seeking to improve our property.

There is of course no obligation for you to reply, but we would be grateful for any insights you could provide and hope you will consider booking with us again in the future.


[our names]


I’ve been doing Airbnb for 7 years and have never contacted a guest as to why they are cancelling. I guess for me it just isn’t important. Could be a better place, could be plans change but overall for me, I really don’t feel like it’s any of my business. If they they are beyond the full refund states and cancel and then Airbnb send me the “Won’t you consider giving back all money” I just ignored.

If there were extenuating circumstances Airbnb would let you know why you weren’t getting any money or the guest would write to you to explain and ask for money back.


I never ask. The ones quite a bit in advance rarely say anything. Those canceling within a few weeks usually message me with a reason and sometimes even an apology.


I let the guest take the lead. It’s been very rare that someone has canceled without sending a message but if they do then I leave it alone, generally don’t respond at all. I can’t imagine that it would have anything to do with my listing other than max occupancy which I can’t change. And it certainly isn’t my business nor do I really care. If they don’t want to explain I’m not going to hassle them.

But most guests will say something. And I’ll respond with a quick, friendly thank you, a validating I totally understand and usually a we’d love to host you at another time. So many of the guests I get will be returning routinely to my city, at least a couple of times a year so I like to keep it open with them. It’s not uncommon that they’ll re-book later.

And to be completely plain, as a guest, I would find that message that you’re suggesting annoying. I would probably respond, because I was raised right, but I likely would resent it.


I have “strict” settings as well as the “10% discount for no refunds” and I STILL get requests for overriding these. Excuses are all outside the allowable airbnb reasons. Fun to read but never allowed.

If they cancel without a note from them, I assume that they play by the rules and are adults who understand their roles as good guests.


I’ve only ever had 2 cancellations. One cancelled within my moderate free cancellation window, saying she had come down with a bad case of flu and apologized for cancelling, the other wasn’t answering any of my messages asking her to confirm that she had received the map I had sent. I asked Airbnb to try to contact her and it was another 2 days until they were able to. She sent a message apologizing profusely, saying a close family member had died and she was not paying attention to anything else . She never asked for a refund beyond what she was due.
In both cases I messaged back, thanking them for the explanation, saying I hoped they might be able to come in the future.

A third booking, in March 2020, I encouraged to cancel, as Covid lockdowns had just been coming down, which she did. She was coming from SF, and in fact they locked down 2 days later, so she wouldn’t have been able to travel anyway.

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I’ve never asked a guest the reason for their cancellation. I think that @Tranquility_Base 's letter is polite and well-considered but I don’t a) feel the need to know and b) have the time.


I found out that if a guest pays with the discount for no refunds, they can still get a refund for extenuating circumstances so I decided to get rid of this option because it didn’t really seem to be any better than strict (without a discount).


I’m sorry, but this is none of your business.

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Have you ever tried to plan a trip for Thanksgiving? (I don’t recommend it). It usually involves numerous people in different locations and lots of different needs/wants/compromises and changes.

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My time is valuable even if it doesn’t show up on my STR business expense spreadsheet, so I don’t expend it asking for cancellation reasons.

But I think every one of my cancellations over the years (except one no-show), has voluntarily provided a reason and even apologized! Which is nice but not necessary. I must say it does reassure me that my guests think of my place, and my hospitality, as distinct from a hotel lodging service.


I’m going to pile on and add that I, too, find it none of my business why someone cancels, @Tranquility_Base . I don’t spend time worrying about it.
However, I do remember writing to one cancelled guest awhile ago. He was having trouble understanding the system, asked question after question, couldn’t figure out guest count, how the dates worked (nights not days), etc., then, bam, up and cancelled. As I had been holding his hand throughout the process, I did write something like, “Just making sure you meant to cancel your booking here, as that’s what is showing on my side. No worries if you indeed did.”
I don’t remember getting an answer, but I had done what I considered my due diligence.
As you asked what we all think of your quick response, can I say that as a guest (I am often a guest) I would find it a little “Is it me? Say it isn’t me!” I might roll my eyes. I know you don’t mean it that way, but there really isn’t any way to ask why someone cancelled without it looking like that.
That said, when I need to cancel as a guest, I always do tell the host why. A sort of “It’s not you! It’s me…” :wink:


IMO, just because something is none of someone’s business, i.e. you don’t have any “right” to know, doesn’t mean that there is necessarily anything wrong with asking. It’s how one asks that can make the difference between a question being perceived as intrusive or offensive or not.

I know I have sometimes asked someone a question, but prefaced it with something like, “Of course if you don’t feel comfortable answering, I understand and I realize it’s none of my business, I’m just curious as to…”, which has never seemed to cause offense.


Thank you for the kind words. But I’m feeling the consensus, and my wife is happy that she was right. :wink:

I’ve deleted the draft “quick response” and put it out of my mind.


Never cared to ask why guest decided to cancel.

It’s not important to me.

Almost all our guests tell me the reason for cancelling. But I had one once that we communicated back and forth a few times before he booked (questions about the area, etc). , then he cancelled about a week after booking with an apology that they decided against St Lucia as a destination. That one I did ask if he wouldn’t mind sharing more information.