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Guest wants to cancel but hasn't yet. Quick question!

Hi all
Due to our situation in my province (BC), we are on semi-lockdown and can’t travel outside of our health region.
A guest who just booked the day those regulations went into place (about 4 days ago) asked the consequences of cancelling the reservation and how they do it. I told her that she nay lose the booking fee but that she could cancel on the reservations page. I told her to ask me if she had any questions. She also stated that they would be interested in maybe rebooking for May. I told her we didn’t have any openings until June.

That was two days ago and she is to ‘arrive’ Fri to Sun. I haven’t heard anything nor has she cancelled the reservation.

Would you assume that she is keeping the reservation? I am not sure whether I should check in on her plans. But I also don’t want to hand-hold anyone. I am just not certain whether this means we shouldn;t be accepting out of towners (just the next province over) and if I should cancel instead or if I would be penalized for cancelling. Any Ideas?

You are neither their mother nor their travel agent, and you’re not their travel insurer either.

Then assume its a goer, if ultimately it isn’t, then you’re quids in.



Guest is probably waiting to cancel last minute. I wouldn’t worry about it since you already communicated with her. The ball is on her court.


Thanks! You are the voice of reason! I am shell shocked I guess. Once had a lady on vacation with her teenaged son, who sadly looked less than thrilled to be along. She complained about smoke smell about 4 hours after they arrived. It turns out that a tenant was smoking near her window. I quickly put a stop to it but they were technically outside. I brought in two hepa filters and air room spray, offered to comp her the night, drove her to a hotel, washed the sheets and blankets, advised her that she could cancel if she wanted or we could air it out and she could simply come back tomorrow. She said when she saw we were ‘no smoking’ she thought that meant outside too… WTW?

I waited but she never came back. Her stay was 7 days.

3 weeks later I get a msg stating she wanted a full refund.

I told her that she could have cancelled with that reason, and would have received a full refund that day. Or that she could have msged me and told me that she wanted to cancel even 2 days later…And I would even consider half of her money back but she never cancelled! So, those days were blocked and I lost money on them.
She reported that she didn’t think she had to cancel. I was gobsmacked. So, you sign agreements and hand money over, never thinking to look at a cancellation policy or how to do so, when you in fact, WANT TO CANCEL?? lol.

It blows my mind. Thanks for setting me straight!! :slight_smile:


:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

Ken often says: No refund, let Airbnb work it out. Yes, we know it seems they always refund but at least you don’t have to end up refunding and spending a bunch of your time on top of that.


@Icklemiss As I understand it, you are not allowed to host anyone coming from outside of your area. That should be a host cancellation, not a guest cancellation, because you are not permitted to host her.

Of course you don’t want to get penalized for cancelling, but the COVID EC policy supposedly covers govt. restrictions if the host isn’t allowed to host or the guest isn’t allowed to leave their home area.

So I would contact Airbnb with the B.C. restrictions in hand, as well as the pertinent section of the EC, to send to CS and see if they will do a penalty-free cancellation so the guest gets refunded in full.


If you have no travel zones in your area because of Covid legislation, surely this means you aren’t allowed to accept the booking from a guest outside of your health area, even if the guest wanted to travel. @Icklemiss

In the uk both hosts and guests can incur fines of up to £10,000 for breaking our Covid legislation by travelling to a restricted area/accepting short term accommodation in an area where they are restricted.

If the guest can’t travel to your health area because of Covid restrictions you may find Airbnb will give the guest a full refund anyway, so surely you would be better to have the booking cancelled asap so that you can try and find an in area booking?

Myself and other hosts in the UK have put a warning on our listing letting people know about restrictions as they occur (and we have had 11 different sets of restrictions where I live since March 2020).

I’ve had to cancel nearly 30 sets of guests because of Covid restrictions. I suggest you contact Airbnb to see about a cancellation under Covid restrictions which is penalty free. Some customer services are ignorant about this so make sure you have a copy of the relevant legislation to share with them.


If they want to travel so be it. they are adults. take their money.


The host can get fined thousands of dollars for accepting guests in contravention of the restrictions.

I’m in BC too. The travel restrictions are very vague with regards to what constitutes essential travel. Unless the government actually shuts down short term rentals, as they have in other places, I would not initiate a cancellation.

(I don’t share any spaces with my guests and they check in without contact, so I’m not concerned about transmission. Shared spaces would be a different story.)


Interesting that you are happy to encourage guests to break Covid restrictions put in place to help limit the spread of this awful virus @Jefferson


I doubt the restrictions are vague. For example in England before partial restrictions were lifted last week, you could only accept bookings from guests who provided evidence that they were travelling for essential work, to a funeral or who were without a home for a stay in a short term rental.

I can’t believe there’s no information on your government website detailing your legislation and what is in and out of scope in terms of use of short term accommodation and travel to your area.

It’s rather short sighted to think that just because you won’t personally be at risk from guests bringing the virus with them into your community, that that’s okay. The whole point of restrictions is to limit the spread in your community- your guests will shop, eat, drink, visit tourist attractions in your area - all opportunities if they have Covid to spread the virus .


You’d be wrong. We have looked very carefully because we are in the situation of having to find a way to get our daughter home from college in another province, and it will require a hotel stay. The announcement at present is vague; we expect more details on Friday.

From what I’m reading, as I am keeping up with the BC stuff, since my daughter lives there, is that they are now not even allowing anyone to travel outside their region of BC. There are checkpoints. So it’s not just a matter of restricting rentals, it’s that no one is really allowed to leave or enter a region for any non-essential purpose.

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No, they won’t, because those things are basically shut down. So there’s no point in a guest even trying to come.

But I certainly agree with you that a host only being concerned about their own exposure to guests is a really disturbing attitude.

It says clearly travel to your location from those out of state is restricted to essential travel only https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/7769782/bc-covid-19-restrictions-update-april-19-2021/amp/

Clearly a leisure or tourism visitor would not be essential. A frontline key worker coming to work in your area who provides evidence of their contract to work in your area would.


Thanks for clarifying @muddy

Yes, this is the part that’s vague. There are still reasons why someone might travel. Some are clearly out (vacations, visiting family) and some are clearly in (work, medical appointments) but the definition is not clear.

I take Covid very seriously, and it requires lots of risk assessment. I still have to work. My kid still needs to get home from college. My next guest still needs to have a place to quarantine. It’s complicated.

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It’s definitely complicated. I normally go to Canada from where I live in Mexico for a month and a half in the summer. I used to live on Vancouver Island, and my youngest daughter, husband and 18 month old, who I last saw when she was 4 months old, does. I haven’t seen my oldest daughter and grandkids, who live in Gatineau, for almost 3 years.

I didn’t go back last summer because of Covid, but I really need to go this summer, not only to see my family, but I have banking and tax business to take care of. I’m not planning to go til July, and hoping things will calm down by then, but there aren’t even any direct flights between Mexico and Canada now and even if I can get there, I’m looking at quarantine and difficulty moving around to where I need to be.

It will be hard to take anything for granted anymore, like just being able to pick up and go somewhere, even once Covid isn’t a major threat. And that could take a long time. I think I’ll always have, in the back of my mind going forward, that I could get stuck somewhere without much, if any, notice.

For me, no smoking anywhere on the property. Even outside.

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