Guest cancelled with no communication on Strict Cancellation Policy

A few weeks ago, we had a guest book our place for late April. Total cost of around $4200 US. She was pretty communicative at the time.

Yesterday, I get notification that she cancelled. Nothing from her, just the automatic AirBnB note. We were notified that our payout was being adjusted to the 50% as per our policy.

I want to get back to her and tell her we will refund the forfeited money for any nights we rebook, but my hubby says to just “lay low”. Even if I don’t tell her, I’ll still refund any nights we rebook.

Here’s my question, though - is there any conceivable way that she does not realize she is out over $2000? About the only reasons I can think of to cancel more than 2 months in advance (other than an extenuating circumstance) is: found a lower-priced place, didn’t like the airfares, or just decided to not go or go somewhere else. All of those are reasons that might change if she realizes she is out $2100 if she doesn’t go through with the original plan.

Our last AirBnB guest didn’t realize booking for seven nights meant seven nights, so my opinion of people’s attention to things like this is pretty low.


Why? Would the Hilton refund on a non refundable rate?

I cannot imagine they did not get multiple prompts telling them they were about to lose money if they went through with the cancellation.



I tend to think that I’m a reasonable and fairly nice person - I really do - but I can’t see why anyone would want to refund her. She’s an adult person who entered her details (including financial details) onto a website to book accommodation. No one (okay, as far as we know to be accurate) was pointing a gun at her head telling her to do it.

And it’s not as if this booking was for April 2020. If that was the case then I would probably refund but to cancel a booking after two weeks had passed, a booking that’s in the near future, then I don’t see why I should go against my own cancellation policy. Why have it and not stick to it?

In the two weeks since her booking, I would have arranged my April schedule around this guest and, of course, missed out on two weeks worth of potential bookings. So I don’t like the idea of someone cancelling after two weeks with no explanation.

If she doesn’t realise that she’s lost $2000 then she’s dumb.


Since it was yesterday I would wait to make any decisions about refunds until a bit of time has passed. You may receive a request thru Airbnb directly or thru the guest in the coming days. For me personally, I don’t like to gouge my guests, if they cancel within a few days of the arrival then I hold on to the money but 8 weeks out…I would have to give serious consideration of refunding if I rebooked. Yes I am in it to make money but if the guest comes back to me with a reasonable explanation of the cancellation I usually state… I am refunding XX back to you out of courtesy but there is a XXX cancellation fee. (usually 15%) of the total even if I rebook the nights. Along with a nice message, saying I am refunding XXX to you and hope that you can stay with us in the future. One this doesn’t leave a sour taste in the guests mind, I may get business from this person in the future and word of mouth to other people. Look, she refunded XX back to me when she didn’t have to spreading the word to other people that may stay with you. If the person is being an absolute turd and cancels last minute that is another story or like one gentleman who booked, never cancelled, never showed up and then wanted a refund (10 days later) because he said it was made in error. You get notifications from Airbnb, I sent you messages etc. That is my humble opinion but do what you feel is right.


Sure; never underestimate how clueless some people are. But it’s unlikely. I agree with River Rock that I’m sure the guest is alerted. To give an example I went to an upcoming reservation I have as a guest and clicked cancel. That place is moderate policy so I could still get a refund but you have to click one of the reasons they provide on a drop down menu (you have to click one) and there is a warning box at the top. If this were a reservation where I only got half my money back it would have the orange alert box. Also the amount refunded is clearly shown. The guest also has a box to give Airbnb more details about why they are canceling but it says it is only for Airbnb. But you should at least get what they provided in the drop down box.

I agree that you should lay low for now and wait. If she can’t be bothered to tell you why she’s canceling maybe she just can’t be bothered right now. I can imagine someone thinking “no point in throwing good money after bad” if they found out it was too expensive to come they are still saving thousands by not making the trip. However I think what is most likely is some sort of emergency and he or she is just trying to take care of as many things as they can right now and they canceled and will get back to you later. Or maybe they bought trip insurance and they are going that route.

And for the record I would probably also refund if I re-booked because of my personal belief system.


Breaking with the group on this one… I’d message “so sorry to hear your plans changed…I hope you’ll be able to make the trip another time…you should have your 50% refund now…if the dates re-book I’ll refund X additional amount.”

Not knowing their situation, I want the guest to feel like they’re being treated fairly by me so they won’t go to Airbnb. If they have so much as a hangnail I feel like the wrong CS agent will give them an EC refund.


DO NOT GIVE THIS PERSON ONE CENT MORE THAN THE 50% Airbnb has already given her. It’s her decision to cancel. Airlines won’t give you 100% back, Hotels don’t either. It’s not you place to do anything except keep the 50% and go on with life.


I would not refund anything unless she asked. If you do decide to refund if you rebook, I would tell her that you will refund the amount of your payout, which is less than a “full” refund due to the Airbnb fees. I’ve had a couple of people thinking they’d be out nothing. I also might say I’d only refund at the rate of the new booking, because I recently had to lower my rates considerably to get a booking after someone cancelled, but I’d agreed to refund if I rebooked, so I ate the difference; lesson learned.

1 Like

And don’t forget that we Hosts still get charged Airbnb Service Fees, even when it’s the Guest that cancels. So we are still out that. I never refund that part. I withhold it, and enough to cover my fees and wasted time (like $25), from any refund I may or may not give. Same service fee plus $25 when I get a cancellation that I oh so graciously refund when I don’t even have to (only in extenuating circumstances do I do that nowadays. Too many scammers trying to get free stays, sadly.) Does anyone else charge guests who cancell for the Airbnb service fees???

Absolutely. Any refunds are only in the amount of my payout or less. Service fees aren’t ever received by me so I certainly can’t return them. Plus based on cancellation policy guidelines, any refund is due to host kindness.

I respect that you are trying to treat others as you would like to be treated.

How people act when no one is looking or not being “made” to do it, speaks volumes.


Yes, I mentioned it in my post just above that I never tell guests they’ll get a full refund, only the amount of my payout.

If a guest cancels they get what Airbnb gives them, I don’t get charged anything. That’s because until recently I was using flexible cancellation policy. I can’t recall a single time a guest asked me about a refund. I’m experimenting with different prices and policies. Now that I’m on moderate I may get asked about refunds more often but up to this point it was just automatic. I don’t think I’ll charge them anything “for my time” either.

I wouldn’t rule out cluelessness.

In August, I had a guest who didn’t show up or respond to any of my messages. I finally called him at 10 pm to ask if he was lost. He said he’d booked another AirBnB. Turns out he had two AirBnB accounts and couldn’t find my reservation, so he booked another. I called AirBnB and asked them to cancel my guest because I was worried his reservation would pass and then they’d force me to give a refund after, when I had no chance of getting another booking during the peak tourist season. AirBnB agreed, then called me back and begged me to refund him. I said I’d only refund him if I got another booking. They refunded him anyways. I got another booking for a few of the nights but not all of them. I spent a week complaining on social media and AirBnB comped me the rest for the nights I didn’t get another booking.

This was about a $500 booking so it wasn’t two-grand, but this guest had no idea he’d double booked and owed money for both listings. The guest was clueless, but I mostly blame AirBnB for allowing guests to create two accounts.


Hi If I was booking a stay somewhere and it cost me $4,200 I would have taken out travel insurance. This may be why she isn’t concerned for a full refund as what ever has happened for her to cancel has been covered by her insurance. Just a thought.


Don‘t do anything until they contact you.
Maybe they have travel insurance and have claimed it at their imsurance already.

Now you are handing them your money too…
They will have a big lough… cancel a trip and end up with an extra $2k.


The amount of times I’ve had Airbnb CS ring or message me begging me to refund the guest against my cancellation policy is a bit of a joke. The last one I refused I actually asked why doesnt Airbnb 20 billion corporate entity refund the guest if you are so sorry for them. This was for a completed booking that the guest did not turn up for 2 weeks previous!
I’ve learnt keep everything you can get because it’s only a matter of time till they screw you with an “extenuating circumstance”

Had 2 in the last month.

To be blunt Airbnb can go fuck themselves


Which other platforms are you trying out?

They do refund many of them which has the effect of rewarding the undesirable behavior.


Unfortunately they have a monopoly so none ATM. It’s only got to be a matter of time until an alternative comes along that at least give hosts a little consideration. Even that would be leaps and bounds ahead of them. If I get a chance I’ll post some if their recent “customer service”
The most appalling I have ever experienced in my life. They don’t seem to even speak or understand basic English

1 Like

They have market dominance, not a monopoly. They also have first mover advantage and the brand name is already a proprietary eponym.

Any alternative will put hosts first at first. But once they build inventory the script will flip I suspect.