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Young lady arriving today from New York, agreed to her dropping bags at 10.30am. At 10am I get a text saying ‘coming from the airport I realise that the Airbnb is way too far from my work. SO sorry to do this last minute but I’ll have to cancel. I’ll write you a great review for your excellent communication’ etc. No mention of refund. Either she’s heard that Airbnb give out refunds Willy nilly, or she’s not fussed about losing £550… or waiting to hear…
In the meantime I called Air to ask if she’d contacted them yet (she hadn’t). Couldn’t help but notice how quick they are to ask if I want to refund. It really seems like they volunteer almost this possibility to the guest, ie something like ‘host has a strict cancellation policy so you are not due a refund. But you can reach out to the host and ask’… it’s as if they go out of their way to ensure guest knows it’s host decision and not theirs
Hopefully you’ve already messaged the guest on the platform confirming as you mention in your text response that if she needs to cancel she does this through via the Airbnb platform and the cancellation will be processed under the cancellation policy she booked under. @Bosty64
You would know if she cancelled the booking through Airbnb as it would show up on your messaging on the app, so don’t need to call Airbnb to check @Bosty64
And it is your decision as the business owner to choose to refund over and above your cancellation policy. Just say no if Airbnb or the guest asks you.
I took a slightly different approach. I was busy at the time so I waited til I got home to see how it would play out. I then messaged her to check whether she was sure here was too far from her work as she didn’t come from the best airport for this address, so it may have seemed like further. I didn’t discuss refunds or cancellation policies as I didn’t see any need to. She then sent me a screenshot of a message she sent to Airbnb with her true reason for cancelling (so refreshing not to have someone make up reasons) and saying nice things about me. And that was it.
Everything you say is true. I went to check/ have a convo with Airbnb as I was so curious and wanted to double check that I’m due a refund. Also, she may have called them but then decided not to cancel after hearing what they had to say, so the call was helpful to get a better understanding
Yes paper trails are important. I had everything we discussed in writing, and didn’t take her call. Although as I say there wasn’t much discussing, and she just dealt with Airbnb once she’d let me know. I wish it was always like that
I’ve had to cancel several Airbnb reservations over the last 10 years and I’ve never asked for a refund I wasn’t entitled to under the policy I booked. Of course, that’s also why I look for fully refundable first.
It could also be that this guest gets reimbursed by the company she works for and so isn’t out the money the way some of us would be.
Like @KKC I’ve never asked for a refund that wasn’t automatic/part of the deal. I don’t how common it really is or not. Most of my cancelations come before a penalty would apply because I use the moderate so they have until 5 days prior. I haven’t had to deal with it much as a host or as a guest.
I may have learned about life’s uncertainties at a younger age than usual which is why I never ever assume that anything will ever go as planned. So I also tend to try to ‘plan’ for that, (and the universe laughs, lol), by not committing too much, either booking something that can be canceled without much penalty or booking at the last minute.
And maybe I’m sort of fortunate that I’ve not really been in the position where losing the money would have put me in a bad spot. I say sort of because it’s not as if I didn’t work for it, I did. It always sucks to spend earned money on something that doesn’t work out but I know I’m fortunate to have it be extra money, beyond what my necessities cost.
There’ve been times that I would’ve really appreciated being offered even a token amount of refund but not as many times as I’ve just been very relieved that I didn’t really ‘need’ it.
The last time I canceled it was right before Christmas on a new host, maybe 3 reviews, very underpriced for what she was offering and a very nice and very young woman. Her listing was super cute and well put together but it was in an out-of-the-way area. The location hadn’t bothered us because we weren’t planning to travel on a direct path anyway, but that’s not typical of travelers a few days before Christmas. I can’t imagine that she would’ve rebooked our dates with only two days’ notice.
I canceled and sent my apologies. She wrote back and politely but hesitantly started explaining her cancelation policy. She felt really bad about it and I could tell she was getting ready to offer me at least a partial refund (I think I would have done the same, especially as a new host). And it made me happy to be in the position to be able to cut her off and just say, “I know, I’m totally aware. Thank you and Merry Christmas”.
This was a positive experience I wanted to share about a guest who kindly did not try to give fake reasons (or excuses as some might say), but instead chose to be truthful, admitting she hadn’t payed proper attention when checking the area. She also simply followed the cancellation policy on my listing, and did not request or even hint at a refund.
That’s good to hear, @Bosty64 . I am in Canada, 1 to 2 hours from the US border depending on lineups, crossing chosen, etc., and had a US guest furious with me for “advertising in the US”, as if I had any choice how large she set her map view. I had already agreed to the refund because she booked same-day and only a few minutes had elapsed between her IB and me advising her I was a few hours and a border away from the hospital at which she would be working.
She was a busy doctor with no time for sneaky Canadian hosts luring map-illiterate Americans to their listings. CS helped her find something in the city she wanted and sent me a keychain for being so quick to refund.
In your boots, I would do as you are. Follow the cancellation policy and be happy your guest is reasonable and responsible.
I’m not sure about now but much of the problem used to be with the way Airbnb showed listings. I’ve had people tell be Airbnb said in a search result that my listing was in Mexico. I’ve also had people book my listing who wanted to stay 50 miles away in NM. Problem is Airbnb zooms out so that guests see hundreds of listings.
But at least they gave you a keychain for putting up with their BS.
Yes, fair point. She entered “Port Huron, Michigan” and my nowhere-near-Port-Huron-Michigan listing might have been shown to her first for all I know. That was a thing for awhile. And she was indeed busy and stressed.
I was professional and polite in the messaging, but annoyed to be blamed, and I appear still to be carrying some unresolved snarkiness. Thanks for a place to release it.
When you input my little Mexican beach town in the search, it shows listings as far away as Guadalajara. It’s a five hour drive inland, a big city, and nowhere near a beach. No one looking to book in Sayulita would be interested in a Puerto Vallarta listing, an hour from me, let alone a listing in Guadalajara.