Guest asked to cancel on day of check-in

My guest that was scheduled to check-in after 3pm today sent me a message at 7:30pm saying she would like to cancel. She drove from Las Vegas with her husband and was meeting 4 additional family members that were flying in from Omaha. The 4 family members had their flight cancelled due to a winter storm, so they aren’t coming at all. She asked me if she can cancel. I have flexible cancellation policy, but I don’t know if that matters at this point. I told her she can cancel but that she probably won’t get a full refund because it’s so late and also sent her a link to the Airbnb’s cancellation policy info.

I got a message a few minutes later saying that she was keeping the reservation because she looked into cancelling, but the refund and the amount was too low.

I talked to her when she arrived and she told me that what she wanted to do was to cancel my listing and try to book a cheaper hotel room for 2 only people (I don’t blame her). But when she started the refund process, she said that Airbnb would refund only a little over $300 out of reservation total of slightly less than $800 (she didn’t say the exact numbers).

This was a 4-night stay at $141/night (host rate). Does that seem right? I thought that if she hadn’t yet checked-in, Airbnb would refund all but one night stay, so the refund should’ve been over $600.

Of course, keeping the reservation works out better for me, and I also think it would’ve been difficult to find a last-minute hotel on a weekend and save money even if Airbnb had refunded them $600, but it sure seems like Airbnb is somehow lowballing the guest on the refund.

Possibly due to either cleaning fees, taxes, or air service rates they charge the guests? Did the guest show you what Air said they’d return or just taking her word for it?

It is kind of cool she stayed anyways and was upfront. Show them a good time! Maybe a bottle of something good to say thanks?

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Base on my own research, I know that the total price to the guest should be about $790 after Airbnb’s fees and local occupancy tax, but I’m taking her word for it on the amount Airbnb would’ve refunded.

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I understand that they would only get 100% of the rest after the first 24 hours after cancellation. Since she would cancel AFTER checkin TIME (3pm and it is now 7:30) that would mean the first 2 nights 0% and the second 2 nights 100%.

Please feel free to verify though as I did this from memory.

I have also found though that very often Airbnb does not refund the cleaning fees even though a guest hadn’t checked in. When the cancellation was from what seemed like a decent and respectful person I may bring their up to the guest so they can try to get it back.

Don’t try to second guess Airbnb refunds, just accept what they are. If the guest doesn’t like it SHE needs to take it up with Air, not you.

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That’s got to be it. Charging the guest for two nights, cleaning fee, and Airbnb fees would probably come to a refund of a little over $300.

But, it makes me wonder if they would’ve only paid me for 1 night and no cleaning fee since the guest would’ve never actually showed up.

I just had a guest cancel on the same day, she made the reservation because her father died and came in the next day. Her cancellation was legitimate because her brother also decided to bring his family from a totally different location. One family was from California, the other Alaska. Both were military families and they found the military would pay their transportation and hotel bill and they wanted to all stay in the same location. The max I can handle is four and they had six.
AirBnB took the cancellation and paid me one-night’s fee and no cleaning fee was necessary because they never stayed.
Now, AirBnB keeps asking me to rate her stay!
That really hurt because she had booked for 10 days and I did not pick up anyone for those nights.
I am thinking about going for AirBnB’s offer of guaranteed payments for people who cancel their reservations if I sign up for a 10 percent reduction in my rate–does anyone have any experience with that?

Airbnb doesn’t really guarantee anything. That guarantee that goes with the 10% off doesn’t cover extenuating circumstances and Airbnb probably would have classified this case as EC.

Thanks, I had not checked the details of that offer, cause had not had any cancellations. AirBnB says it is one of their TRIAL (don’t remember the word they used) plans.

I have never heard of this. Is it basically insurance where the price charged to the guest is actually the same but Airbnb keeps an additional 10% of the host payout? If so, that seems crazy expensive for the host. Surely much less than 1 in 10 guests cancel where Airbnb would pay the guarantee.

The Guest pays 10% less too.

OK, so they’re trying to see if they can make up for it in additional bookings. In that case, though, I expect they will treat it like the Host Guarantee and do their best to avoid paying out.

Exactly. They still try to get hosts to offer full refunds. If extenuating circumstances void any payout for hosts then it is stupid for hosts to do it.

This is what the offer says:
Protect your payout with non-refundable reservations

Add a non-refundable option to your Flexible policy to secure your earnings—guests get a 10% discount, and you keep everything but the cleaning fee if they cancel.

Attract more views with a 10% discount

Your lowest price will be featured in search results to help your listing get noticed.

Appeal to more guests

Guests can choose the option that best fits their trip, whether they’re ready to commit or need the option to change their minds. If they cancel before check-in, they’ll only get a refund of the cleaning fee.

Get a competitive edge

Be one of the first hosts to offer this feature to guests. Keep in mind that this feature is an experiment right now, so may only be available for a limited time and is subject to change.

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Oh, I get it. The guest can choose the non refundable option, somewhat like buying airline tickets. It’s cheaper for them, but they don’t get a refund if they cancel. This doesn’t cost Airbnb anything, in fact, it makes them more money because they would keep cancelled guests’ money and not pay the host for any days that get re-booked (just like airlines would do with seats).

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@MissSwan , as a gesture of goodwill, my wife and I decided to offer our current guests a refund of $75 from our normal $100 cleaning fee since they will be using only 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and doing only minimal cooking. More practical, but less personal, than “a bottle of something”.

This is my first time sending money to a guest. Will it show up somewhere on the reservation? I can see it in my Transaction History under Upcoming Payouts, but it’s not (yet) attached to the reservation.

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Hopefully they only use one bedroom and bathroom, I doubt they will not use both bathrooms unless you can lock one.


You are right, I may still have to clean the sink and the toilet and the floor, but I’m OK with that. They won’t likely use the formal living room and dining room either. Hopefully, the gesture softens the impact of paying more than they needed to for only 2 people and at the same time allows them to have a better guest experience than than they would have received at a cheap hotel.