Guest Cancels Mid Stay and Wants Refund

I’m relatively new to hosting (since January) and could use some guidance/advice. A guest made a booking last Sunday for this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (tonight) nights. When they made the reservation, they asked if they could have an early check-in. I quickly responded that it shouldn’t be a problem and asked what time they were hoping for. I didn’t get an answer, so the day before their arrival, I sent my standard blurb about directions, parking, etc. and again asked what time they were hoping to check in. It took them 12 hours to respond. Noteworthy is that they ended up checking in an hour later than my default check-in time (4 hours later than they asked) but didn’t communicate their change of plans. When they arrived, they asked for linens so they could make up the sleeper sofa. I live above the studio apartment that is the Airbnb; it has a queen bed and a queen sleeper sofa and accommodates a maximum of 2 people. In my listing I stress that the sleeper sofa will only be made up if requested in advance – my way of insuring that the 2-person max is adhered to, something I learned the hard way with my very first booking. I quickly brought down the linens, and they seemed pleasant enough in my 10-minute conversation with the couple. Last night, the second day into their trip, they sent me a text that something came up and that they had to leave a day early. They asked if they should cancel on the Airbnb app. I quickly replied that nobody has ever cancelled mid-trip before and wasn’t sure how they were going to handle it. I suppose I should have taken that opportunity to reminded them that my cancellation policy only gives a refund 5 days in advance. Airbnb contacted me next wondering if their was a problem with their booking. I told them that their early departure was a surprise to me. The couple left the place in good order, and on the standard feedback form I leave, they gave me glowing praise; but on their way out, they texted me letting me know that they put in a change request for the reservation – which I assume I can either approve or decline. Or ignore? I already told Airbnb that they were free to leave but that I expect to be paid for the time I set aside for them. It is a Saturday night! I ALWAYS have someone here Saturday night! If the couple had been smart enough to come to me – remember I live here! – with an explanation of a possible hardship, I would have been more inclined to entertain their refund. I assume I’m under no obligation to refund them; but I’m also wondering why Airbnb, who wants their money too, even gets me involved. I have a cancellation policy. The couple didn’t adhere to it. Period. Right? Then there’s always the threat of a bad review. Just wondering if this is something that happens frequently and if there is any way to avoid it in the future.

I’m just getting started with Airbnb again after doing it for 3 years in another state. I have never had anyone do what you’re describing and in this case I would not refund their money. I have a strict refund policy and did before.

Because that’s what they do, they are guest centric. So you have to look out for yourself.

There is? There really is? Or it’s just what you’re conditioned to expect. In my hosting over 1000 people, with 618 reviews, I’ve never had a retaliatory review. I think they are rare enough that maybe “always” isn’t the right descriptor. Anyway, it’s a mutual blind review process. They should be afraid of the bad review, not you.

Not in my experience but I have a lot of one night stays.

You can’t avoid people changing their plans. I wouldn’t give it too much worry.

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NO REFUND. Just. NO. You never give refunds anyway. If someone wants a refund tell them to take it up with Air. Air will then call and try to ‘badger’ you to giving them an unwarranted refund anyway. Just say NO.


Hello! Few things :wink:

  1. Don’t allow a “change” in reservation as this gives them a chance to cancel all together. Not sure if that will be the case since their reservation already started but I had this happen with someone that hadn’t stayed yet and learned the hard way that it started the clock over for them to fully cancel.

  2. ABB will always (yep, always :wink:) contact you to see if you’ll refund. Cancellation policy doesn’t matter to them. They are :100: guest centric. You have the right to say no, even though they make it feel that you don’t. Stand by what you want and be clear and calm. They are just customer service going thru their standard script, yadadadada… :roll_eyes:

  3. Reviews be damned. In the beginning, it is scary because the ratio is low but that will even out (if you don’t already have enough of a cushion).


Airbnb loses nothing by refunding guests. They don’t refund their service fee, only the host’s share.

Hosts who live in dread of a bad review end up being hosts who act like doormats and let guests take advantage of them.


Reality with most of us

No refund. You honored the spirit of the original reservation. They cancelled. You did not have an opportunity to open your calendar to rebook

Every time I’ve had people leave mid-reservation (it’s always been some sort of emergency on their part) they’ve paid for their unused nights, and didn’t expect that I would refund them.

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