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Guest wanting to cancel!

I’m actually with the fire department, so I work for the municipality.

The key distinction for me is if there is holiday time booked, or if it was a trip planned for days off. One is honoured, the other may not be.

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Yes I know! It’s all visible to the mediators, and they seem to be on my side, they certainly don’t appreciate her threat to wait a while before she cancels.

Hmm you live and learn. New to this and trying to be nice I suppose…

I had a similar situation on Monday. Man booked my house months ago for Christmas and just contacted me wanting a full refund “for holiday bills”. He kept telling me I had to cancel, I told him I would not, and messaged the following to him and ABB (when the case manager messaged me):

“The cancellation policy in effect is the strict policy, which refunds half at this time. If the house successfully rents for the time that had been originally requested, we would be more than happy to refund the remainder, once the stay from the new guest has been completed. Our house typically books well over the holidays, so I would be surprised if it didn’t re-book. I cannot initiate the cancellation as ABB would penalize me for doing so, so any cancellation request would have to originate with you, but we certainly understand and would be glad to help. Thank you.”

Notice completed bc I am not letting him rebook, get a refund then cancel with the help of a friend. He has been sweet as pie before this message, but I didn’t hear back from him after, until today when he cancelled without comment. Guests today want us to be their travel insurance. No thank you.


I’ve posted this before but a B & B I want to book has this on their website. If I had an actual VR like yours I would include similar wording.

Short-notice cancellations can be very costly to a small inn such as ours, which results in higher rates for all our guests. Please use care in making your plans, and honor your reservation as we honor your reservation. We realize plans change and emergencies arise, but please understand we cannot be financially responsible for guests’ plans that may change. The following cancellation policies must be strictly enforced:

All cancellations will be charged 6% of the deposit to cover our costs for the credit card processing fee. Cancellation fee of the first night’s room rate will be applied to all reservations cancelled with less than THIRTY DAYS advance notice for reservations of more than four room-nights - or FOURTEEN DAYS for reservations up to four room-nights. “Room-nights” equals the total number of nights in all rooms reserved. Entire deposit will be forfeit for guests that do not arrive. Sales tax is added to all cancellation fees.

Shortening your stay is a cancelation. No refunds will be provided for early departure. Cancellation must be in writing by mail, or email to innkeeper@casadelgavilan.com, with receipt confirmed in writing by the Casa del Gavilan.

The Casa del Gavilan reserves the right to cancel reservations with at least 30 days advance notice to the guest, refunding any deposits in full.

Travel Insurance - As a small inn we expect the same commitment from our guests to their reservation that we provide to our guests. Reservations are accepted with the understanding the guest will be financially responsible for the entire reservation. We understand that unforeseen issues can arise, but we cannot be responsible for illness, family emergencies, work conflicts or inclement weather. We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance, available at a nominal cost from any travel agency or online at insuremytrip.com. These companies are independent and not affiliated with the Casa del Gavilan in any way.


She is digging herself a hole.
And you are generous in offering her money back IF you get booked out. Good on you.

Well people, she now is refusing to cancel! So I’m backed into a corner… If I don’t want her in my house, I have to cancel… She then gets full refund and I get nothing. Air B&B will negate any penalties, but she gets her full refund and I get nothing. So it’s as I feared it would be…She wins… Anyone had experience of this?

Yeah, after thinking more, that probably was the best approach for this person. Although I think I would’ve added that I don’t have any of her money, and therefor, nothing to refund, until 24 hours after her scheduled check-in. I suspect that would’ve prompted her to cancel immediately.


But she’s cleverer than that. She won’t cancel!! She knows that with her behaviour I’m now forced to cancel and she’ll get her refund.

What is the result you are seeking?

I see a couple of options… She refused to cancel so just carry on and either she will arrive or not. Maybe she will cancel last minute guaranteeing she won’t get a dime under standard procedure.

Or you just cancel and move on. Big deal, win some, lose some. It’s not a contest, it’s an accomodations business. Best to smile say “so sorry I can’t accomodate you.” Have Airbnb cancel. She gets a refund but you get no penalty. You’ve spend all day here hand wringing when you need to get busy filling those dates with a new and better guest.


I’d really like my cancellation policy upheld. Otherwise what is the point of a cancellation policy, if the guest can shout and threaten, force the host to cancel as they don’t feel happy about hosting these people, and then get their refund! Happy days for them! No point in having a strict policy. This person booked 6 and a half months ago, has blocked me getting anyone else in and expects a full refund and me to get rebooked in 7 weeks!

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Unfortunately, it seems that many hosts think that it is a contest.

I don’t get cancellations very often but when I have, I’ve always been able to fill those dates. (Once, I had a weekend that kept cancelling - I think it took four or five ‘bookings’ before one eventually stuck).

Filling cancelled dates is pretty easy, especially when there are several weeks to go.

Cancellations happen. What’s important is how they are dealt with.


Yes and I’ve been really accommodating, offering her the remaining 50% once it’s rebooked. She however has been rude, threatening and has made me not comfortable with having her in my house. This is my family home, not some second home rented out. She has set this out to be a contest in which she knows exactly how to act to get her required outcome. I am just trying to defend myself against her actions.

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Part of the problem is that as long as you use Airbnb’s platform it’s really their policies you have to follow, not them following yours. If you want more control you have to get your own bookings. Or use one of the platforms that upholds host cancellation policies.

The longer you drag this out, the less chance of being rebooked. So looking at it realistically and realizing Airbnb may not back you, make a decision. But no you can’t cancel and expect to keep their money for nothing.


Then just tell her, “If you’d like to cancel you can contact airbnb” and let it go. Call her bluff. If she can really come then she should but if she can’t really come then it’s her problem. It’s likely from what you have relayed that she will lose it and commit review extortion at some point and her review won’t be an issue. I think she’s entangling you into some stupid game and if you just back away and ignore it, she will probably just cancel anyways.

And this kind of rampant exception-making is one of the reasons why.

Why would you do this? You are agreeing to do more work for less money and pay her to be flakey and irresponsible? Was she going to just let it slide if you forgot to wash the towels?

I had a guest cancel 36 hours prior to arrival (I have a Moderate Policy) and tell me, “Well, I know you have to refund me more if you re-book those dates”. Doh. No. I. Don’t. But that’s how common this practice has become among hosts and it’s undermining the cancellation policies and your fellow hosts.

Sometimes, maybe for some … but it’s not not work. Each reservation is a certain amount of work, some more than others. And then re-booking it is a certain amount of work. So that’s twice the work. If I’m working double then I’m getting paid for it. They get their cleaning fee back, that makes sense but if you cancel outside the stated cancellation policy you shouldn’t just outright expect for the host to do more work (re-booking) and then make an exception to their policy and give you your money back. If you cancel last minute, I get the option of taking a few days off or making extra money because I’m upholding my end of the deal. You don’t get a free-pass for flaking out.

If you want to refund guests who cancel then you have the benefit of using a Flexible policy or even (in this case) a Moderate policy, we all have those options; however, they each come with their drawbacks and rewards - why only stick to the drawbacks? It doesn’t make sense. OP is using a Strict policy and likely booking less because of it and that’s a choice. But she probably wouldn’t make that choice if there was not a reward to it (not losing money from a cancellation).

Of course there are exceptions but those should be left to our discretion, not expected. End of rant.


To try to get an unhappy guest that you don’t want in your home to cancel.

Some people don’t feel that good about getting a double payment.

That’s true but I’m not going to let what fellow hosts do undermine what I do and vice versa. Every host and rental is different. By that same token I could tell you that you not charging a dog fee is undermining all of us that do charge a dog fee. (which not what I believe, for the record)


I get the sentiment, but it should be at our discretion, not an expectation. And because I work hard on the communication for each and every reservation, I don’t feel bad about at least getting a cut - maybe a “re-booking fee” is the answer? However, once something is booked and plans are made, I am going to stick to it so really expect the guest to also (unless they have a reason I’m empathetic to, which is the discretion part). And I don’t want to get a “double-payment” but I should have the option to not go through the trouble of re-booking, especially at a lower-price. I know I recently had that onslaught of last-minute bookings but it’s really rare here and I don’t want to have to hustle so that a flakey guest can have their cake and eat it too. I am overly accommodating with my guests, it’s not like I’m some hard-ass but it really ticked me off when that guy told me I had to try and re-book and then give him a full-refund.

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That’s not my experience. I’ve never been able to fill a slot opened up by a cancellation. But I’m not in a really desirable travel location. People come here for work or for family reasons…that’s about 85% of my guests. And I get very, very few last minute bookings.

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It is really already in my rates, I charge more because I’m pet-friendly. I’ve done the math and I make more that way than charging a pet fee and I don’t have to do the extra work of trying to collect the fee (which by all accounts sounds not-worth-it). Lots of hotels no longer charge pet fees. There are 2 popular ones in my city that don’t charge a pet fee at all and 2 others have recently followed suit, to stay competitive. In my particular situation I am competing with these hotels and so that is also a factor. I’d hate to think that hosts may feel undermined by that but I believe it is really going to become the norm. It’s already the norm where I live. I don’t know if there are any pet-friendly listings that are charging a pet fee anymore, it’s been a while since I’ve seen one.

Interesting. I’ll do what I have to do if bookings fall off but so far no one has questioned it and I have about 6 pet bookings a month. It’s not broke so I’m not going to fix it. Every host is different, every listing is different. And I’m going to keep refunding when I get rebooked and sometimes when I don’t. LOL.

It doesn’t seem fair to make everyone pay for the pets by raising prices on everyone. I also don’t have any additional cleaning fee but I definitely have more cleaning to do when there is a pet. Let see maybe add a cleaning fee and then refund it to guests with no pets. :wink:

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