Guest is requesting for alterations in reservation

Guest just checked in. We gave disciunt for 10 days stay. Along with waiving a pet fee. I woke up this morninv to an alteration request. From 10 days to 2 days. We have a Moderate refund policy.

Not sure how to handle this.

Decline. And don’t waive your pet fee ever in the future. If you did this and also agreed to a discount at the guest’s request, please be aware that guests who ask for discounts beyond any discounts you already offer, or for you to waive pet, extra guest, or cleaning fees are red flag guests whose booking request you are better off declining at the outset.


To take the immediate pressure off of you, I can tell you that you don’t have to respond to the alteration request. It’s not like an inquiry or booking request in that you don’t have to respond to it at all and there is no clock ticking.


Just. Say. No. Or ignore if you can.

It’s a published trick to book for long enough to get a discount, then make an alteration for a shorter stay to end up with the discounted rate for a shorter stay. They are trying to trick you!


I suppose it depends on whether a host is really desperate for bookings, or wants to encourage longer stays, but I find it curious what some hosts consider to be long-term stays that should warrant a discount. My average stay length is a week-2 weeks, and I have a 3 night minimum. I have never offered nor given anyone a discount. A long-term stay that might warrant a discount, to me, would be someone who booked for more than a month. And if they got a discount, they also should not expect the same level of amenities that a full-price guest would pay.


Booking has been very low for me this year. So the discount.
My only concern here is bad review from a disgruntled guest.

Although you don’t have to respond to the alteration request, the guests do otherwise have to be dealt with.

My first recommendation is to call Airbnb and report it as a status update. Right now. Don’t delay.

The first party to report an issue is usually the ‘winner’ so it doesn’t hurt to get out in front of it in case it becomes an issue. It will also help your case if the guest later leaves a negative review.


But did you put a weekly discount on your listing, or did they ask for a discount and waiving of the pet fee? It’s one thing to offer a weekly discount on your listing to attract more bookings, but like I said, guests who try to chisel you down doesn’t bode well for them being good guests. And when guests ask for special treatment and the host acquiesces, those types tend to see you as a pushover who they can continue to take advantage of.


I do agree with you.
I already called Airbnb.

Thank you guys. I always have a clearer head whenever I come here with any issues that I encounter.


you can try to get it removed by asking Airbnb to remove it as that would be a retaliatory review. That’s what I did recently. Hope that works out for you.


I hope so. I am willing to go that route. I already informed the guest about my decision after he casually poked about accepting his request. I see that I have another notification about a reply. I will just ignore it in my quest to get good night sleep. I will attend to it tomorrow.

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Send them a special offer for the two days they want for a total of 50% of the original booked rate.

EDIT: You could message them that you can change their dates but that at the new rate of [$xxx] the shortened stay would be $xxxx.

OR, their pet may have damaged something already and they just want out. Make them pay for that, rather than grant them a monetary savings.

Curious if they gave any reason for shortening their stay? If they didn’t, that’s lousy etiquette. But people DO have legit reasons - and you should ask what that reason is before accepting. But I don’t think not responding to an alteration is a good tactic. I also think the suggestion about booking for a longer stay to get the discount and then bailing is unnecessarily suspicious. There’s not much to gain. You still can leave review that it was not a particularly good booking for you for those reasons. But assuming the worst and not responding can backfire. Sometimes people DO take advantage, and it’s annoying, but unless there’s a clear travesty of trust, it’s best to write it off as unfortunate, accept the alteration and move on. You certainly wouldn’t book them again!

What do you mean there’s not much to gain? Guests who do this are usually scamming and think they will get some refund equal to the days they cancelled at the discounted price, meaning they got to stay for 2 nights at some ridiculously low price.

Yes, they can have legitimate reasons for cutting their stay short, but they would normally mention why. And regardless of whether they are scamming or not, there’s no reason they should get a refund after they have tied up the host’s calendar, preventing other bookings.

I do agree that I wouldn’t just ignore the alteration request, though. I’d just tell them they are free to leave whenever they choose, but they aren’t getting a refund.

“We have a major change I have to be in Atlanta by Monday so we can only stay until Sunday now”.

That was the reason given by the guest.From my understanding, this might be work related and his job might be paying for the stay.

I communicated with the guest about not being able to accept their request at this time. I did this timely too. Reasons being very clear. I also made sure to be in communication with Airbnb support. I also declined the request for change on Airbnb app. I asked the guest to defer all cancellation questions to Airbnb support to avoid any misunderstandings on their end. They finally cancelled the booking and got a partial refund as per my policy.

My worry now is if they are able to retaliate with a poor review? I tried to research what is the updated policy on Airbnb regarding reviewing a host after a guest cancels. Didn’t get much information on that.

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No point worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and may not. If his workplace is paying for his booking, there would be no reason to leave a bad review. And if they legitimately have to leave because of work, maybe they just thought putting in an alteration, as opposed to cancelling, is what they were supposed to do.

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By “not much to gain” I meant, despite losing some income, the potential bad review or reduced rating - might make the refusal to alter the res, not worth it. But …we’re all different in the way we respond to these things. I wouldn’t have assumed the worst and that he was lying or trying to scam me. Though I wouldn’t accept it without some discussion, I likely would have gone with whatmy cancellation policy allowed and requested that they at least pay full price for the dates they stayed. But that brings up the question - if the alteration is reduced to a # of days that wouldn’t qualify for the weekly discount, would the system automatically only refund the balance from the non-discounted stay? I suspect it might but I’d love to know! Maybe epadat already asked that question of airbnb?

No, that’s why soneone upthread said to sent them a special offer at the full price.

I suggested ignoring the alteration request, e.g. that is not accepting or declining it, but not suggesting to ignore the guest or ignore the fact that the guest sent the alteration request.

Probably not. The math is very inconsistent and usually incorrect when a guest sends an alteration request. That is precisely why I suggested not responding to it (e.g. not accepting or declining it).

It’s not possible to send a special offer to a guest that is already staying, so that’s not an option.

I’ll explain why I recommend that hosts don’t accept or decline an alteration request from a guest:

The most pervasive Airbnb glitch that I’ve come across is that when a guest sends an alteration request to a host the difference in the cost of the stay (whether subtractive or additive) is not calculated correctly.

Sometimes it’s a glaring glitch that calculates a difference in price that makes no sense whatsoever. For example, hosts will report that it changed their rate to something like $78/night even though their rate has never been less than $200/night at any time ever with any combination of discounts. It’s a seemingly random calculation. I’ve had it happen a couple of times myself.

Sometimes it’s merely a subtler glitch that calculates an incorrect difference in price by not integrating the addition or subtraction of a discount that is based on length of stay. This seems to be the most common issue and, in my experience, is almost always a glitch.

I have a lot of different discounts for different lengths of stay and the system never accommodates the discount difference when a guest sends me an alteration request. It is true in either direction, whether a guest qualifies for less of a discount by decreasing their length of stay or whether they qualify for more of a discount by increasing their length of stay.

I don’t know why the alteration request system bungles it up so often but it does. So I suggest that hosts don’t accept or decline alteration requests sent from guests, but rather that they confirm with the guest what alteration they desire and then send an alteration request to the guest (from the host).

Because a host, and only a host, has the ability to manually enter the correct number (e.g. amount of price change) into the alteration request before it is sent. It is the only way to make sure that the change in price will be correct.


I’m curious how this ended up playing out.