Guest wanting to cancel!

Hi, I have a guest coming for New Year who wants to cancel. She booked 6 and a half MONTHS ago, and isn’t happy with my ‘strict’ cancellation policy of 50%. Her reason for cancelling is her husband’s shift work, which she would have known about at the time of booking. I now only have 7 weeks to get it rebooked! My problem is, she chose to book knowing my cancellation policy and I now have made plans which I’m going to struggle to afford. I’ve offered her the remaining 50% refund as and when the house gets rebooked and I’ve offered to lower the prices to ensure a booking closer to the time. She isn’t happy and is now refusing to cancel, indicating she’ll come and stay! She’s become abusive and antagonistic and I can’t now have her in my house. The problem is, if I cancel her then I assume I lose all the money. She’s cleverly backing me into a corner. I do have an Air B&B mediator involved, but I just wondered if anyone else had been in this situation. Please help!

I wish you hadn’t said this. Yes, she knows or should know what she signed up for. But you also need to know what you signed up for. Airbnb is not a guaranteed income. You shouldn’t spend that money until you get it which is the day after check in. She could even claim Extenuating circumstances and get 100% back!

That’s fair and more generous than some would be.

Ironically that can be to your advantage. Don’t do anything and maybe she will dig herself into a hole. Problem is, you need the reservation to end so that you can get a new booking. Don’t offer to lower the price. If you are in a desirable area you can probably raise the price for a holiday stay.


I received a cancellation for Christmas. The guest told me there was a family medical issue. Air contacted me saying they are waiting for medical documentation and they were giving me 20mn to tell them that I accept to give a full refund.
Since I saw the email two hours later, I didn’t respond. Two days later I received another email saying that the case was closed.
No information as to whether they received documentation or whether they were honoring my cancellation policy.

She has only backed you in a corner if you let her. @lgol

Summarise your kind offer to refund her more than she is entitled to under the cancellation policy on Airbnb messaging.

Express surprise that she is saying she will not cancel and will stay when she indicated she said her reason for cancelling was that her husband’s shifts means she was unsble to travel.

Confirm that she needs to cancel through Airbnb and correspond with them regarding the cancellation.

Flag with Airbnb.

Do not respond further apart from confirming she needs to liaise with Airbnb.


Infuriating. Is your calendar open for a re-booking?

Not necessarily. I do shift work as well, and while I always work the same rotation, I can be moved to a different platoon with only a couple of weeks notice depending on staffing levels. When you get moved, although you work the same hours, your days of work change, so your whole schedule gets disrupted.

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I agree she might not have known the exact dates of his working, what I meant to say was she knew he worked shifts, in which case don’t book a house with a strict cancellation policy. She knew the policy and she chose to book. She’s a host herself, so knows the options.


Regardless, it isn’t the Host’s responsibility to protect the guest from their own decisions. The guest knows they’re in a job/industry with some chance of change to their schedule, and still decided to book a “strict” place with all the terms that go with that.

My partner works at sea and his schedule is variable enough I either book more flexible policies, or we resolve ourselves that I’ll either take a solo vacation or take a friend in his place.


Yes, it is open. I will admit that I hesitated to answer for fear of retaliation.

Her being a host is the most infuriating part of the situation.

If she’s serious about coming, then I’d wager that she actually found a different place to stay and the “husband’s shift work” is a made-up excuse.

Two tips:

If she does cancel with the agreement that you’ll refund all days that get re-booked, make sure that you do not refund anything until after her original reservation’s check-out date. Only then will you know what days you actually paid for.

Do not accept an alteration request as that will automatically create a 48-hour free cancellation period.


My main problem now, is what to do if she doesn’t cancel… Because I don’t want her coming here!

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We’ve already told you what to do. However, you might not be able to have your cake and eat it too. You need to get Airbnb to process a penalty free cancellation and uphold your policy. Point out to the Airbnb CSR that you are offering to refund fully if it’s rebooked. Tell the guest it would be best and if she doesn’t by xx date (soon) then you can’t offer to refund the difference.

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Ah great thanks, I wasn’t sure exactly what I should be asking Air B&B for, but a penalty free cancellation sounds good. I’ve written to the moderator and explained all, so I’ll await their reply. Thanks for your help.


Weigh your options and scenarios.

  1. She cancels, you get at least 50% payout.
  2. She comes, she’s a reasonable guest, she gives you a reasonable review, you get 100% payout.
  3. She comes, she’s a terrible guest, she gives you a spiteful review, you get 100% payout.
  4. She comes, she makes up issues and leaves, Airbnb gives her a refund, she gives you a spiteful review, you get ~0% payout.
  5. You cancel and you get 0%.

#5 is the only one you have control over and it’s the only one that is guaranteed to avoid the worst-case scenarios (#3 and #4). The biggest risk I see is that if you don’t take #5 because you really need the money, then you could still end up with #4.

However, I personally would bet that she cancels if you don’t.


Yes haha, thanks, it’s tricky isn’t it… Lets hope Air B&B help me out of this! Thanks for the info.

But surely if you book the time off as annual leave they would honour this @daniellealberta?

It depends. In my particular case, I work 4 on, 2 off, 4 on, 6 off. If I’ve booked vacation and I get moved, then my vacation moves with me, the dates just get adjusted by a few days to accommodate my new platoon’s schedule. If I’ve booked a trip during my six days off (and didn’t need any additional vacation days), then I may not be able to get the same time off if someone has already booked the same dates on vacation on my new platoon.

Ah that sounds like you are in the military. I think for most shift work ie hospitals, factories etc they will honour any holiday booked just like they would with any other job.

Here in the UK that it’s a legal requirement that companies honour booked leave, but appreciate other countries work differently.

I think if I were in your shoes I would have coldly asked her to call the CS and cancel.

I would have never spoken to her more than that sentence, meaning, let her bite the bullet and accept 50% of the money back.

This way at least you get some money. Why you offer more and interacted with her, beats me.


She’s a host!!

And she’s abusive? Hopefully all that abuse has occurred on the message platform.

I’d hate to stay at her house.

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