Guest wants to cancel and offers compensation

My guest wants to cancel his booking, but does not want to pay the 50% he is owed. Instead he suggests a compensation (no amount specified). Since his booking is in the middle of our high season, I do not want an empty house so I’d be willing to accept his proposal. However I do not know ho to proceed from here. If the guest cancels he’s owed 50%. How do we go about it? So him cancelling, and me getting a small compensation from him instead of the full 50%?

Do not do this. Your policy is your policy.


Normally I’d totally agree with you, but I’m pretty sure I will fill that empty space and it’s still pretty far out (February). So suppose I’d go against your advice :open_mouth:, how would I go about it? He cancels and I refund him a bit instead of 50%? Would Airbnb allow me to do that? FYI: I have asked Airbnb the same question days ago, but somehow they seem unable to even send so much as a reply :unamused:

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You tell him if you rebook the dates, once you are PAID you will refund him the funds withheld. If you want to refund him you can do it via the resolution option. He’s not going to be happy either way though I am sure, been there done that.


My opinion:

  1. Don’t refund anything to a guest before you receive the guest’s money from Airbnb. You don’t get any of the guest’s money until 24 hours after the guest’s scheduled check-in, so no refunds before then. Period. There are scams where guests have been able to get more money refunded than they actually paid by getting both the host and Airbnb to refund, and of course, since the host never received any money in the first place, it’s the host that gets scammed.

  2. The fairest solution to guest and host is to refund the days that get re-booked and paid-for by other guests. But, again, no refunds before payment, meaning you don’t refund anything to the cancelling guest until 24-hours after the guest’s original scheduled check-out date. Only then will you know how many of the days were actually re-booked and paid for. Again, if you don’t wait, there are scams where another guest will book the dates and then immediately cancel after you’ve refunded the first guest.

  3. Remember not to refund Airbnb’s host fees that Airbnb kept.


Thank you so much! Clear enough! I’ll follow all of your advice!

In theory, one other option is to tell the guest to call Airbnb to cancel their reservation but ask for a full refund with your permission. Airbnb will contact you and get your permission to allow the guest to cancel with a full refund (i.e. by overriding your strict cancellation policy). I said “in theory” because I’ve read multiple cases where this happens, but it’s not written anywhere on Airbnb’s website that this is even allowed. However, if you do this, you should ask yourself why you have strict cancellation in the first place.


It’s not just theory!

I’ve had this work. They have 3 types of cancellations - cancelled by host (cbh), guest (cbg), and the one you need: Cancel by administration (cba). When they cancel by admin, it’s like erasing the entire transaction. Your calendar is opened and the guests’ money is returned entirely (minus Air fees, of course) now, rather than waiting months.


If that’s that the terminology that Airbnb customer service uses, I need to try to remember it.

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I’m caught between a moderate policy where guests can cancel FIVE DAYS before they arrive for a full refund…or one where they have to give at least 14 days’ notice for a 50% refund. I like the 14 day notice stipulated in the strict policy, but feel the open timing can be very draconian. If someone cancels a reservation 6 months or even a year away? Man, just give them their money back so we can both move on with our lives!

I can’t change Air policy, but I can handle my own business in a way that fits my ethics.

Do you think this adversely impacts other hosts? I suppose that guest might expect the same leeway from another host.

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“The Insider” guy/Airbnb employee who posted on here for a hot minute explained it that way. It was helpful insight into how they do cancellations!


I was looking for a screen shot for you but where it once read something to the effect “This Reservation was Cancelled by Admin” in the respective message thread, I can no longer see that annotation in the message history. Odd. I know it was once there. It was the one time I played the “uncomfortable” card on an IB.

I’ve read everything s/he wrote multiple times. Here is the user profile if anyone would like to do the same. I recommend it.


The problem with this is you are refunding money you will not get from AirBnB for 6 months or even a year away. They will take the amount of the refund you authorize now to the guest from your next bookings and you will not be repaid until the day after the actual reservation date. The host in this case wants to issue a partial refund on her own now to the guest.

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@LiveOakVineyard No, the cancel by admin doesn’t work like that.

No it doesn’t I hit enter too soon lol… See my explaination above:

The host in this case wants to issue a partial refund on her own now to the guest.

I’m pretty sure @Allison_H was specifically referring to using cancel by admin, not a refund from the host.

Well, thanks to everyone’s opinions here, I’ve certainly learned a lot (thank you all so much!) and decided to put the problem back where it belongs: with the guest. I have advised him to contact Airbnb and told him to present his problem to them and that I have no issues with him cancelling. I’d rather have an admin cancellation with no costs or refunds involved than a lot of hassle in February, and also knowing for months in advance that I have to deal with that in the middle of high season. It’s a risk, but I’d rather have this over and done with now, than that it will hang over me for months.


To be clear, I was complaining about the current Strict cancellation policy. I don’t advocate ANY host paying out of pocket to fully refund a guest.

On a booking 2+ months out, I’d suggest the guest call Airbnb, have them refer to our message thread to see the cancellation has my blessing, and do a “cancelled by admin”. The guest doesn’t have to wait 6 mos for their refund, I don’t have to keep a possible refund in my head for that time, and my calendar will immediately open (with a boost in search as thanks).

Hopefully Angela’s guest can sort this with Air’s CS people.

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I’ll keep you posted what happens!!