Guest leaving early issues

I have a pattern emerging with guests booking several weeks, or even months of time in my calendar, usually well in advance. They a night or two then want to cancel because they found a place to move. I’m happy for them, housing is very tough in my market. This is why I have a moderate, not strict, cancellation policy. I take half of the risk, and the guest does as well.

When they try to cancel (so they can get their refund) Airbnb gets them on the phone and tells the guest NOT to cancel but submit a request of reservation and they will get all their money instead of half.

It is terrible situation to put a host in, and it happened again today. Thent guest is now livid** with me (staying 3 nights out of 22) because I did not accept her change and now saying I’m a thief, a horrible person, a liar, and on it goes because “Airbnb told me”. Furthermore she won’t tell me when she is leaving so I can schedule cleaning, because “Airbnb said the reason you are keeping my money is you can’t rent it last minute so I can’t IMAGINE why you need to clean.”. Now, I have this angry woman at my home who thinks I’m an a$$#01e.

It is not fair that guests block huge blocks of my calendar KNOWING they will NOT keep the reservation in all likelihood.

The good part is you can insist they cancel and they can’t review you. Bad part is they now have a tainted opinion of you and had a bad experience, which I genuinely care about (review or not), or worse – an angry person still in your home, doing who knows what to your property.

I’ve had guests not expect any refund at all, I remind them they get 50% back - they are excited - only to have Airbnb tell them they could get MORE. Then the expectation is I should refund everything. Why turn a happy guest into an angry one?

Seems to me Airbnb should talk to me first, BEFORE the guest. Otherwise the expectation of the guest is that I SHOULD. Why have these cancellation policy settings if Airbnb just tells guests it doesn’t matter?

Anyone else have this experience? Any ideas how to get Airbnb not to do this with your guests?

Yes and to be honest I kind of avoided the situation to make living with the guest bearable for the last few days. I just said you will get your money back when you leave and it takes a few days. What is a request of reservation? do you mean change of reservation?

If Airbnb is showing guest how to game the system so you do not get paid at all then that is grounds for lawsuit. I am filing suit for similiar reason please read my post.

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yes, request to change reservation - sorry looks like auto-correct tried to help me out there…

I thought you can only do that within the first 24hrs though ? so has a guest stayed at yours one night then decided (for no good reason) that they want to leave?

I would also change your settings to strict by the sounds of things! then there is no leeway for argument.

I have a strict policy because that way the booking is serious, the city I live in has a low vacancy rate and I am a Superhost so what you see, you get, plus more. We had a guest cancel and I did not offer a refund but a credit to book within a year, since they stated they fully intended on visiting, just later. I don’t go back on that policy because as Hosts we occasionally get burned financially & when someone books strict, it is for a reason. Good luck with your listing!


I would agree that if you have these dates booked out several weeks in advance, that you need to place a “strict” or “super strict 30 days” policy on your listings. If people don’t like it, then they wont book which means you should weed out the kind of people you’re describing. The reality is guests want a great place to stay along w/ a gracious host, but it has to go both ways. IMO you need to do a better job of protecting yourself from these types of situations. Best of luck!


How do you guys handle guests who want to check out early or cancel at the very last minute due to illness?

Illness can happen to anyone, if it is genuine then they will send you a doctor’s certificate… without that it could be a scam …

hope that helps, Susanne

It wouldn’t matter what my policy setting is - the issue is that Airbnb tries to get the guest to submit a reservation change and NOT cancel. Then it doesn’t matter what your policy is, they get a full refund on the days they have not stayed yet. This is my point - it isn’t a fair to do that to the host, we then have to go back and try/hope/ask for what we are owed.

[quote=“Dwm86, post:7, topic:3079, full:true”]
I would agree that if you have these dates booked out several weeks in advance, that you need to place a “strict” or “super strict 30 days” policy on your listings

Same reply to @Dwm86 my policy setting is immaterial if Airbnb reps encourage guests to get around the policy.

So did you guest cancel or did they put in a change of reservation? btw, I don’t do free stays because they are not covered by airbnb then, including their insurance coverage - too much risk IMO

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What kind of illness? If guests get sick, they usually just stay in and don’t go out - I don’t understand. They are so sick they need to go home or something? If they have contracted some deadly disease I would hope they just go to the hospital. I have refunded guests in the past, but I like that to be my decision WITHOUT pressure from Airbnb or the guest.

The guest cancelled and we got paid out. It may be that they never choose another place with a strict cancellation policy, a clear difference between using hotels vs. Airbnb. The reality is the months in advance that they booked my place, it was not available for the week of their stay and it was blocked for our most frequent monthly bookings. I don’t have hundreds, tens or a couple listings, I have one and I need to make money on it.

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In this case, they were booking for a grandparent to visit town, but they didn’t have a spare room for her. The night before the arrival, they sent a message saying grandma caught a cold so she couldn’t come anymore. Apparently, they were advised of this modify then cancel strategy.

I had a strange situation and I’m actually thinking about cancelling the booking. A woman booked my more modest listing and asked for a discount. I of course ignored it since they are six people and for the price they are paying–$16.50 per guest per night (2)–I was a bit miffed but accepted the booking anyway. Then, the woman changed the dates and asked me this:

‘I have to cancel these dates with you because I only meant to book the room from mar 2 to mar 4 which has been successfully booked. I am not sure what happened but I did not mean to book these days with you. Consider I am still renting from you for the next few days, can you please refund me the whole payment instead of charging me $99 ?’

I told her I didn’t have her money and to go back to Airbnb and cancel or change the booking. So the correct dates came through but then she sent me this:

“I think there is a miscommunication. I meant to say that I no longer need to stay at your house on Mar 30th to April 2nd and therefore please don’t hold those dates for me. When I canceled those dates, $99 was deducted from my payment. If you have received the $99 from Airbnb, do you mind refounding it back to us? We will still meet you on Mar 2nd, so if it is possible, we can just get the money then?”

I told her I didn’t have her money and that I wouldn’t get paid until after she arrived. I also told her the dates she wanted the (2 - 4th) had been booked successfully. I have asked her twice to confirm with me that she understands this. The requests to confirm if she understood were 48 hours apart and now it’s the day after the second request.

I don’t get what this woman is doing…I’m thinking it’s some sort of misunderstanding–ie she doesn’t know how the Airbnb system works–but I’m also suspicious of it being a scam. Like if she shows up and asks for the $99 and I don’t give it to her, she’ll give me a bad review or something. That’s the problem with people who ask for discounts…you start wondering about their morals generally.

Any thoughts?

Sounds like a lose-lose situation. That’s definitely a good idea to direct them to customer support. If you don’t refund, nothing good comes from a hostile guest on arrival. They’ll probably find anything possible to pick apart and discuss it in depth in their review. If you do refund, you’re out of income and may not be able to get those dates filled. Hopefully, CS can remind them of policies and create a result best for both of you.

I would call Airbnb, have them read the communication chain and tell them you are not comfortable with this reservation asap, get your calendar opened up (if not already) and not meet them and not let them on your property. These people are usually up to something, even if they just don’t “understand”, nothing good will come from it. Don’t create more problems for yourself, which is all that can happen here. My experience is Air understands these things and usually agree, I’ve had them agree and say they advise not letting them keep the reservation, or have them leave immediately when a reservation is in progress. Call Air asap have them help you.

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This is what has happened to me right now …

Guests book and either find a different place with friends or that find a permanent place sooner than expected. I have a strict policy for this reason.

Then, they go to Airbnb and say my place is unclean, or their are stains on the bed etc and try to get out of paying their reservation.

Someone literally JUST did this to me and Airbnb is refunding their stay and taking it out of my earning!! They told me they had already found a house and were only staying at my place until they could furnish there. Clearly they just want to get out of paying anything.

I found this info about the guest refund policy …

“To submit a valid claim for a refund, a Guest is required (a) to bring the Travel Issue to our attention within 24 hours after the start of your reservation (including photographs or other evidence) and respond to our requests for information or cooperation, (b) not have directly or indirectly caused the Travel Issue and © to have used reasonable efforts to try to remedy the circumstances of the Travel Issue with the Host prior to making a claim for a Travel Issue.”

a. The email I got regarding with issues was sent to me Jan 27 at 1:18am. FIVE days after their reservation started. Not in the 24 hour period.

b. Their dog could have easily caused the “stains” and “smell” (none of which are there now) in the bedroom when they were left alone in there all day.

c.They made NO effort to reach out to me with any issues they might have had, I could have given them new sheets and investigated any smells and they hadn’t even bothered to tell me they left.

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I’ve been hosting for over three years and always use ‘strict cancellation’ as I think it’s fair both ways. When people don’t respect your price and ask for a discount I’d rather wait for a “nicer” guest who respects what I’ve priced, especially when I come up as the cheapest in a search! I would rather lower my price last minute if it doesn’t get booked.
Same goes for people who put an arm with a tattoo instead of a face, I just don’t take them in, I put in my reason why I decline that I’m not feeling comfortable with the person…the system sends out a diplomatic answer to the guest I think.
Another good thing is to actually check with the guest that they are ok, a simple email or dropping by with an excuse like i.e. I’ve just dropped a full spare gas bottle off for the BBQ - anything to make the guest feel you care also after their money is being taken out. At the end of the day we have different expectations and there are people out to scam but luckily most people are nice so focus on them ;)))

If this keeps happening, cut your max stay to 7 days, if people want longer, they can extend it if room available. Strict policy will weed out these losers.