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Guest can't make it

So a guest booked 24 hrs ago under strict policy and the bookings for this friday (tommorow) till monday.

Hes just messaged me that his mum has taken a turn for the worse as she has pancreatic cancer.

He has no reviews and is a new member.

I read the policy can be overridden by Airbnb under extenuating circumstances.

He hasn’t actually cancelled the booking yet and I’m scared to reply. Not sure if I should just respond tommorow as its nearly midnight now.

I really need this money :frowning: and I just have a feeling hes lying.

Hopefully he doesn’t cancel.

For your sake, I hope she doesn’t cancel.

These are difficult situations.

I can’t say what Air will do in this situation if they make a call. Did the guest mention a desire to cancel, or just that they wouldn’t be able to make it?

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I hope it works in your favor.

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Booked yesterday for tomorrow and come up with this sentence? I think he is lying too.

If it was me I would tell him that I am sorry to hear the news, and that he can go ahead and cancel. All in a very good tone. Then he might either directly cancel and after that ask you for a refund, or not cancel and still ask you for a refund before cancelling.

If he asks you for a refund before cancelling, you can tell him very nicely that you will refund him fully of you get another booking for the same night he booked, but he should cancel it ASAP so the chances are higher for you to rebook it. It will make you sound as if you are trying to help him. (Remember that until he hasn’t cancelled he can write you a review like any other guest)
If he asks a refund after cancel you can remind him of Airbnb cancellation policy that he agreed with when he book.and then you can choose to refund him fully, partially or nothing. Since was a booking yesterday I would refund him fully. He didn’t block my calendar for a long time, so I would just let it go.


Thanks guys.

Basically he just said he can’t come to my citynamehere anymore and thats hes sorry. But its been an hr now and no actual cancellation has taken place. Maybe he is being truthful and doesn’t care about the expense. He did say the trip was business related.

I think I will message him back now. We shall see what happens.

I don’t know what I would say. This is a tough one. Maybe just let him and Airbnb handle it.


Just wait it out and see if there is ever an actual request. It may end up being a non-issue.


I’ve had those too, where suddenly someone takes a turn for the worst. Yah sure. Sorry to sound jaded…but I think he’s lying also. He found another place to stay and wants you to refund.


If you decide to be super nice and offer him a refund IF you rebook, be careful to word it to indicate that the refund will be based on the new booking funds received. He may have booked at $100 per night, but now the replacement booking is for only $80 a night. It’s easier because it’s coming up soon, but this gets trickier when you have a booking further into the future. Imagine a scenario where a guest cancels, you kindly offer them a refund if you rebook, and voila, you rebook the dates. So you refund the money to the first guest, and now your rebooked guest cancels. You’re out of pocket.

In your case I would do as others have said and let the guest cancel and then stick to your policy. If his mother is sick he would have secured trip insurance to cover this eventuality. If Airbnb decides it’s an extenuating circumstance, you’ll have to abide by their decision.

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Having been the caregiver for my father during his final years I find that I view this a bit differently. A last minute reservation could be an escape from a difficult situation- and I experienced many emergency schedule changes. That being said- You can suggest that the guest change the reservation to a different date rather than cancel.

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Thanks guys

I messaged him last night saying that I was sorry to hear and hope that his mum gets better. Its been 14 hrs and no reply or cancellation. Its 2pm and originally he said he would check in at 3pm. So I’ll keep you updated.


Why on earth would you be afraid to answer the message? Take emotion out of it and handle it like a business.

I’ve heard too many sob stories that turn out to be lies that it’s hard to even care anymore.

Also, when a guest reserves a space that has a strict or moderate policy, that’s the risk they’re taking. As a host you are entitled to those funds as you set aside your space specifically for them.

When I make travel plans for myself and there is a chance my plans might change, I would never reserve a space with a strict policy. Yes life happens and so does business.

If AirBnB wants to make the guest happy, that’s their business. They can issue the refund and still pay you the normal host fee. They do this all the time.

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Well its Sunday now, still no reply or cancellation. So he definitely is not coming as check out is tomorrow.


He didn’t ask for a refund and didn’t expect one since it was a last minute cancellation. All the worry for nothing. Sweet. The fellow’s mom probably is sick.


Can you imagine a hotel worrying over guests who don’t show! Hello this is the Ritz Carlton, we are worried about you! Bet they’d just process the payment and fugeddaboutit!
But we hosts are human and care!


This is so very true! Good points you make!

To me it’s simple, whether they want to cancel or change, I say sure just contact Airbnb. I let the guest sort it with Airbnb rather than me. You win some, you lose some. If they cancel maybe someone else will book, and maybe not.


My next guest isn’t checking in today due to traffic. They will check in tommorow night instead.

Haha. Whats going on. I’m being paid for nothing.


Enjoy!!! …

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