Guest couldn't show up for check in day

I have had my first difficult guest and will appreciate your opinion.
I have a 3.00 to 12.00 PM window for check in and a strict cancellation.
My guest was arriving the next day of the check in in early morning (00.50) but I have agreed of receiving his friend and co-guest for check in, so everything went well until he write to me the same day of the reservation saying :" bad news, my friend lost his plane" and couldn’t be there for check in time, and I will be arriving very late, what we can do?"
I’ve responded that unfortunately I could not be waiting until 02.00 AM or more, and suggest he must find a place with 24 hour reception, he insisted heavily, but I really could not make it.
After a few minutes he sent a message saying: "I have made other reservation, could you cancel the reservation, please?"
I refused to cancel the reservation, because It was not my fault.
And when he discover that cancellating at last time minute means paying all the reservation, started an awful arguing and accusing me in very bad manners. And started asking for making the check in next day.
I replayed that in this case, he must change the reservation. new arguing and accusations.
Finally he didn’t change or cancel the reservation, I didn’t receive him at my place and now is asking for a full refund.
What I have done wrong? I think since he had done other reservation, he was just pretending to check in at my place to cover him up for not having managed his situation properly.

All these messages are in the Airbnb system I hope. If you didn’t message through the system, that is what you did wrong. You are right not to cancel and you are not the cause of the problem. Don’t give in and make them fight with Airbnb. Good luck.


Yes, all the messages are at the AirBnb thred. Tomorrow is my deadline to answer to the complain for the refund and I will expose the situation in a similar way that I did here. Thank you for your answer!

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Mirtha how long were they booked for? Usually a good compromise is to suggest they check into a hotel for the first night (at their expense, no refund from you either) and then they check in at yours the next day during your check in time.

Airbnb should suggest this as an option to your guests too (the idea actually came from them when a similar problem came up at my listing).

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He booked for 4 days. And yes, what you said would been the best solution, but he decided to make a new full reservation for the same days we will spent at my apartment, and asked me to cancel the reservation, was his own decision, when he realized that I will not cancel on his behalf the problem began…

not your problem…
don’t refund

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The only issue I would mention, is that I think you confused things and caused extra angst by asking him to change the reservation when he was delayed. There was no reason for him to do that. All he needed to do was check in a day late.


I agree with Helsi -if you were feeling generous you could have offered to give him the first night in a refund - or a small discount for the first night - but I would not have confused matters by asking HIM to change the reservation. Maybe what I would have done was call Air immediately yourself and explain that you can’t wait until 2AM for his arrival. Not sure, though.

Honestly, folks should understand that the reason they are traveling so cheaply is because they do not have the flexibility they would otherwise have if they were at, say a hotel. And frankly, a hotel would not refund them either! Not for that first night, for sure.

People, man. I just can’t sometimes.

No, I did not do that when he was delayed. At that moment I tried to help him suggesting that he must find a place with 24 hs. check in… but he did that for the full period, asked me to cancel, and when he realized he must pay me anyway, he began to pretend we will want to came to my place, just at this moment I asked him to change the reservation then…

He did that because the solution you offered suggested your place was no longer available because you don’t do 24 hour check ins.

The answer would have been to say; 'sorry I’m not going to be able to check you in. I’d recommend you book a hotel for tonight and I very much look forward to welcoming to you tomorrow between x and x times.

Don’t worry, there’s no need to modify your booking further as we’ll treat this as a late check in. ’

And I know I’m speaking from the voice of experience but only because when this came up for me, the first thing I did before even replying was call Airbnb and see what they suggested.

It’s still not too late to call Airbnb now.

It’s hard but as hosts we often need to try to find solutions for guests, even when the first instinct is to be irritated (and trust me I’ve definitely suffered irritation with guests).

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Yes, Zandra, I understand, And was that what I have tried to do, but he wouldn’t want to come next day at check in time, he just tried to force me to let him in at 00.50 leaving the keys unattended at some place for him to pick up…

Ah your post suggested that he suggested checking in the next day as an alternative and that you told him in that case he needed to change his reservation. Did I misunderstand what you wrote ?

Because there’s a difference between saying ‘if you check in tomorrow you’re going to have to change your reservation’ and ‘I’ll be happy to check you in tomorrow what time will you be able to come.’

In any case it sounds like the matter has progressed further and you really just need to call Airbnb at this stage.

If it happens again you’ll hopefully be in a better position to minimise upset on both sides. All the best!

Ah your post suggested that he suggested checking in the next day as an alternative and that you told him in that case he needed to change his reservation. Did I misunderstand what you wrote ?

Yes, but not at the beginning of the issue, just after he have done the other full reservation, this is the tricky part of the situation, he begun to act as if he had not done this other one and just try to get along with me…

Thank you Zandra for your concern and advise!

I am going out and buying a lockbox today. They can let themselves in under these circumstances. Thinking outside the box (lockbox haha), a 24 hour 7/11 or another late opening local establishment would have handed the keys over for a few $$. Without a lockbox, I would hide the keys and take the risk. Would have earnt a super 5 star review.

Yes brokersite… If they ask for the moon we must hire a rocket, just for the stars!!


I agree and think ABB may now give him at least a partial refund as you have not communicated this well. Hindsight is great but I think in addition to not asking him to change the booking as @Helsi said, you should have been very clear with him in writing on initial contact that you would be happy to check him in the next day between X and y times but that he would need to make arrangements for that night & even suggest a local major hotel that would have 24 checkin etc. I would also end it with a “please let me know tomorrow by X time what you decide to do and please cancel the booking, at your own cost, if you are not coming and contact ABB if you need further help tonight. I hope this information is helpful to you”- otherwise you’ll be messaging with him until past 2am anyways

This way, you are offering a solution, covering your arse and actually helping the guest in a stressful jam.

That’s what sets us apart from hotels.

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Though in this case a hotel would have said: no problem !

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I did that, perhaps my resume was to short…