Guest Cancelled Last Minute - With Excuse

Hey there! I had a guest cancel late last night. He was supposed to arrive today. He said it was because his wife had a miscarriage which, if true, is terribly sad. But I have no way of knowing if this happened or not. He sent me an e-mail saying he’d be sending supporting documents for a full refund in a couple of days. How should I address this? Should I contact him directly or let Airbnb deal with it?

Is he a seasoned ABB guest or a newbie? If he has stayed at ABB before and generally good reviews. Refund the guest w/o issue. If a newbie I would wait a couple of days and then see what happens. You didn’t mention what your cancellation policy is but I generally go with instincts on these matters.

Tell the guest that they need to get in touch with Airbnb customer service to cancel under the “extenuating circumstances” policy. The guest will send their documentation to Airbnb and they’ll review it and issue a refund if it qualifies. It’s essentially out of your hands at this point.

FYI, the guest can pretty much send an excuse note signed by a 5 year old to qualify for EC. Airbnb has no problem taking money out of your pocket and they don’t do much due diligence to ensure things are valid.
A host on the community boards had a guest cancel due to death in the family for a visit 6 MONTHS from now. Guest submitted a hand written note signed by a Dr. that doesn’t exist at a clinic where the guest does work. Policy says it’s supposed to be an actual death certificate.

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He’s a brand new user. No reviews.

I’ve read things like that. I know I’ll probably lose the entire amount, I just don’t know how to deal with him. Whether or not I should reach out and extend my condolences, or let him deal with Airbnb.

Always remember, negative feedback to your guests will result in them “bad mouthing” you and your rental property to others.

I would say, “I am sorry for your unfortunate circumstances and hope you will return as a future guest.”


Can he leave negative feedback if he didn’t actually stay with me?

I doubt it. I believe guests may only post their comments AFTER they have checked-out and you have received their payment.

I found this on Wikihow: You can only write a review within 14 days after you’ve checked out from the place or after the guest has left .

I’m wondering though that, after the date he was supposed to check out, he’ll get an e-mail prompting him to submit a review. The dates are open again on my calendar, so I’m thinking this won’t be an option. I know I sound like a heartless creep but I spent A GREAT DEAL OF TIME with him, since he’s new to Airbnb and only had an e-mail in his profile, so there were many back-and-forths between us so that I could get an idea of what kind person he was. I’m new to hosting so maybe I’m to worried about such things, I don’t know.

Guests only leave reviews for places they’ve stayed or when they cancelled on the day of check-in (the idea is that a guest could arrive and find a total :poop:-hole…they should be able to leave a review).

So long as he cancelled the day before, neither of you should be able to review. (Of course I’m having a hard time finding that on their website, so take it with a grain of salt).

EC cancellations are pretty frustrating for your lost income and time spent preparing and conversing with guests - all unpaid. As you get comfortable with hosting you’ll find you need less interaction, so hopefully it doesn’t feel like you invested SO MUCH next time.

Whether you believe him or not, it’s always kind to express your condolences. Obviously if you get the sense someone is lying to you, you don’t need to volunteer information about the extenuating circumstances clause. In this case it already sounds like he’s aware of it.

In your shoes I’d message “I’m so sorry for your loss and the events preventing your stay! Airbnb handles refunds in this circumstance, so please contact them. They’ll check your documents against the requirements of the extenuating circumstances policy. Again, I’m sorry we won’t be seeing you this weekend. I hope you’ll be able to visit in the future under happier circumstances.”


This is so well put @Allison_H :ok_hand:t4::ok_hand:t4::ok_hand:t4:

I agree that the guests needs to contact Airbnb and they are the ones to handle any documentation if needed.

If you’re new to Airbnb, you need some experience and some practice. It takes some time before you have it all sorted out but def worth it @GigiSuvari


I would deal with it through airbnb.

I like the wording of this. My only concern is that if Airbnb doesn’t give him a refund, and he has something from me in writing, he might use it as “proof” that I’m a heartless monster who “refused” to give him a full refund. Maybe I’m just overthinking it. Like I said, I’m not 100% he’s being honest with me, and I kind of need to money.

My wording promises no refund. It says that Airbnb handles this and they’ll check his documentation against EC policy. If he doesn’t qualify for an EC refund then he won’t qualify for a refund at all (unless you’re a flexible cancellation and he gave at least 24hr notice before your check-in time).

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Nope, you are running a business. Don’t fall victim to the “every guest is just a good friend you haven’t met yet” nonsense.
I had a guest cancel a few weeks ahead of time saying “lost job”. We have a strict cancellation policy, and I replied “my condolences. I wish you the best of luck finding a new job. I’m happy to send you any documents you need to make a claim on your travel insurance”


It doesn’t sound like the guest actually DID cancel the day before if he only contacted you telling you. If that’s the case he will be able to leave you a review. Definitely contact Airbnb.

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EXACTLY. You have a cancellation policy or not. I would never point them to Airbnb which gives out extenuating circumstances freely, that cost you money like toilet paper. They can buy travel insurance but chose not to. People with excuses are no more credible than everyone crossing the border has now learned to claim asylum, whether needed or not. I would just say that you are willing to provide information to their travel insurance provider.

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If he is offering to send documentation I would err on the side of support.

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He cancelled using the Airbnb platform, and he also sent me an e-mail with an explanation.

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All is good then. Support the guest and express condolences.

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