Guest asked to cancel on check-in date 01-01-2020

On 31-12-2019 we had guests coming to celebrate new year, they left the place really dirty.

Usually my wife does the cleaning but she had to be away on 01-01-2020 and we called our cleaning lady, she had to spend around 3 hours to clean up the mess.

Now, we did all that because we had a reservation for 01-01-2020 for 1 night, the guests even during the exchange of messages asked if he could extend to 2 nights but we told him it was already booked (the entire week was booked by different guests, 1 night each, quite annoying but managable).

He arrived around 5pm in our place, and he said he wasn’t aware the place is located a bit far from where he wanted to be … he thought our place is in another city (because the street name shows up in both cities) … I explained to him that the location is provided pretty accurately, and if he hadn’t booked our place (booking made 22-12-2019) then we for sure had someone else booking the place.

Eventually I didn’t want to fight this with him and I gaveh him a 75% refund of what he paid, my wife who was still away was a bit upset with me saying he shouldn’t have received any refund and he should have worked this directly with AirBNB, the thing is the guest was staying outside the property and wanted to clear this with me before he left, he insisted about it… in a way I felt a bit bad for him but on the other hand I feel bad perhaps I made a mistake here and perhaps the refund should have at least been 50% (and not 75%) of what he paid.

What do you think about this situation?
What can I learn from this for next time?

Welcome to this forum and happy new year : )
It sounds as though you are experienced hosts by the description of your bookings.
I’m surprised that you felt you had to refund your guest. What settings do you have your bookings on? I absolutely would have got them to go through Airbnb, otherwise will this not look like you cancelled it? If that happens ,I think it’s more than twice, then you will end up being penalised by Airbnb.
I would definitely always get your guest to go through Airbnb in future for any changes or cancellations, just to make sure it doesn’t reflect on how they treat you.
I’m sure there are other posters on here who might have some good ideas too. I’ve always felt very supported when I’ve had issues !
A lovely generous group of people :heart_eyes: they’ve helped my sanity on previous occasions !

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We have the most flexible option for guests, but cancelling within 24 hours of checking in means no refund basically, I think the guest knew it.

In fact he came to see the place initially and said something vague about the windows (as if he was looking for an excuse why he doesn’t want to stay) but eventually he realized that honesty is the best policy so he was very straightforward explaining he made a mistake in the city he wanted to stay in.

The guest said he cannot cancel and that’s why he asked for a refund face to face, I felt bad about this confrontation, I don’t want to force people to pay me, but I did explain him the date he booked 01-01 was a date with high demand, if he hadn’t booked the place someone else would have booked it for sure (we had high demand and many inquiries for this current week).

The reservation wasn’t cancelled, I used the “Send or Receive Money” option in AirBNB to send him 75% of what he paid, so the reservation would be treated as a normal reservation by AirBNB (as one that wasn’t cancelled), in the note I put “Mutual Cancellation” for the refund that I’ve given him.

Okay, well that at least won’t get you penalised by Airbnb. But you’ve basically been paid 25% of what you would have earned by feeling bad. Guests don’t get penalised for cancelling in the same way as hosts and sometimes if you ie as a guest,screw up with a booking, you just need to suck it up.
I’m sure if you made a booking with a hotel and then said actually you’d made a mistake, by turning up in person ? ! You would not be refunded and would learn to check things out properly beforehand so you wouldn’t loose money again.
Which rather brutally, is what you’ve done to yourself.
I’m sorry, you sound like a nice person and maybe it would help you be a host that’s not taken advantage of , by learning some boundary setting techniques.
Have a look on you tube for tapping ,EFT, Emotional freedom technique, videos.
There’s a fantastic man called Brad Yates who does lots of free ones. But there are others that might resonate with you too.
Just a suggestion but it might help your self confidence when dealing with these issues in the future.

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You wife is right! You should NEVER give discounts or refunds foir any reasons or under any threats of action by a guest. That’s what Airbnb does to earn their service fee.

ALL communications must be through the Airbnb message system – not verbal, not texts. You should have told the Guest to call Airbnb at his expense and if they decided to give a refund, then OK. It is NOT OK for Guests to do what they did to you. If he cannot figure out how to contact Air and get a refund, that’s too bad!!


Always tell them to call Airbnb. You don’t get paid for a stay until at least 24 hours after the guests scheduled check-in. Do not give them a refund before you’ve been paid, ever.


Never, EVER, accept a one night booking for New Year’s Eve.



I’ve done it 3 times without a problem I haven’t done it more because I had friends staying or too many dogs and I blocked the date.

The length of stay and date isn’t the issue. It’s the kind of rental and kind of guest, and even then it can be managed by the right kind of host.

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I agree. We’ve had one-night stays on New Year’s Eve and never a problem. We’ve had two one-night stays on NYE by locals, and still never a problem.

For us, being resident hosts tends to prevent most problems.

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Let’s hope he was satisfied with 75% and doesn’t leave an awful review.


An awful review on top of a refund would be the worst way to learn this lesson.

[Edit: Well, the worst way would be of the guest cancelled by EC and the host never got paid any of the money that he got refunded.]

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What a load of hogwash. Why on earth could the guest not cancel himself? There’s zero reason for that, of course he could cancel. He just didn’t want to lose any money by cancelling himself.
Coming over to ask you face-to-face for a refund was underhanded. This guest knows how to play the system and was a scammer. He probably had another place to stay for free and his objections about the location, windows, etc, were just a cover story.
Please don’t refund like this again- it gives these kinds of guests license to keep doing things like this to other hosts.

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I have to disagree based on experience! We had a young guy booking - NO reviews, joined in Oct 18 - for his girlfriend and himself for a night away. And yes, it did cross my mind that this could be a mistake because I’m old and judgemental (not necessarily in that order). Our place is an entire property (sleeps 5) in the centre of a market town. It was left spotless. Love these youngsters.


Thanks for all your comments.
In regards to the review, the guest was happy with the offer so he promised me to leave a 5/5 review, he said he would do that and he won’t leave a negative review - been about 8-10 hours since the checkout time and he hasn’t left anything yet, should I leave him a review from my end? or just ignore it and let the 14 day period pass without leaving him a review.

The guest has 10 reviews, 5.0 rating, I’ve never had the impression he would be like this but I guess there is always first time … my wife is still a bit upset with me over this, she will get over it and I feel like I’ve learned my lesson.

Regarding 1 night booking for New Year’s Eve - we allow guests to receive instant confirmation upon booking, we are thankfully always prepared for more guests (if not we block the dates), so whoever booked the 31-12-19 booked it for 1 night, at least they paid for this stay in full and left a 5/5 review - with this guest we got peanuts money paid (not even covering the full costs of the cleaning lady).

This sounds like some sort of review extortion. Was this on the Airbnb app. Promising a good review in return for a refund is a violation of Airbnb policy.


I am not sure if it was on the App - all I can tell you is the facts given in this thread. Should I leave him any sort or feedback or just ignore it and leave nothing at all?

Okay. Thanks. …

The question was if this guest promised the 5* review if you refunded him (clear extortion and not allowed nor to be condoned) via Airbnb messaging, or in person. Whether it was through the App or the desktop version is immaterial, the question is whether there was a record of the extortion or was it verbal? I can pretty well guess the answer. As I said, this guest is a scammer who knows how to play the system and you’ve just added one more piece of evidence as to why this is true.

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@KenH is right. Now you run the risk that he called into AirBnB and was able to use the EC excuse and they might refund him, too. Then AirBnB will keep the refund amount from your future payments.

I smell a rat. If you were in the wrong town, why did he drive all the way to your place? Why didn’t he just call you?

Scammers always know just what you want - you wanted a five-star review (we all do). He was smart, too. He didn’t tell you he would give you a bad review if you didn’t refund him - he turned it around so it was far less threatening and he was the good guy.

I hope this turns out well for you and you at least get to keep the 25%.

I have never ever refunded a guest. I’ve had cancellations when the guest has asked for a refund but I’ve simply explained to them that I don’t have their money yet, Airbnb does. Therefore they need to talk to Airbnb about it.

It’s never been a problem.

The whole story is a bit strange. I don’t see what the first two paragraphs have to do with the rest of the story.

When the guest said that about giving a 5 star review I would have gone crazy.

The wife was right to be ‘a bit upset’. I’d have been bloody furious. No refunds.