Guests who alter dates then cancel

It’s a bit of a rort: guests who want to cancel a booking that’s coming up in less than 5 days alter the date to one further out, then cancel that one so they don’t have to pay the cancellation fee.
I guess the only way around it is to have a strict cancellation policy but I like having moderate.

I would make Airbnb aware. Give them a call. They probably won’t do anything, they want everyone on Flexible, but I’d still call them. At the very least I’d use the report feature of the site and report the guest. I hope you get an even better replacement booking.

Well if you don’t want to change your cancellation policy you are going to get guests who play the system.

I have a strict cancellation policy and it hasn’t affected my bookings.

Why do you like having a moderate policy?


Possibly Air favours flexible and moderate policies so it could lead to higher placing.
I get bookings quite a long way into the future so guests prefer flexible or moderate.
Plus, the nature of my country is to be fair and “reasonable” so a moderate policy seems to be the most acceptable.

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Fair enough you need to do what works best for you.

My listing is always on the first page, so luckily I don’t seem to be penalised. I too have guests that book quite a long way in advance, typically three or four months.

Wow a country that is ‘fair and reasonable’ …I want to live there. Where do you live :slight_smile: ?

I’m in New Zealand. It’s 2:30 AM here. I shouldn’t post when my brain thinks it should be asleep, but I just thought I’d mention that this is a thing guests can do to get out of paying when they want to cancel at short notice.


Ah I have guests staying with me from NZ at the moment.

The main reason I don’t have a flexible or moderate policy is because it encourages guests who can cancel at the last minute or as you said play games and amend bookings then cancel them.

Apparently, this trick of changing the dates has been going on for a long time in hotels.

Can guests just one-sidedly change the dates of their stay? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I didn’t even know this was possible.

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This came up for me one time. I’m under strict cancellation

The guests reserved for two nights and about 3 days before their stay they asked to push it back a month. I told them I’d accept the change in dates, but would need to treat it as a cancellation money-wise. The amended reservation was for 2 nights at 4-nights expense, with the understanding I’d refund if I could fill the last minute opening (which didn’t happen).

I figured if they cancelled at that point the 50% payout would still make me whole on the first reservation. Fortunately that didn’t happen; the second trip went off without a hitch.

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I have had people do this and wondered if it was a way to avoid my cancellation conditions, on both cases I agreed and they stayed.

But I was fully aware of the possibility and if I was fairly certain this was the plan I would refuse. They can then cancel and re book. Or not.

I’d love to go to NZ sometime! I admire your countries positions on a number of issues. Cool place! Thanks for the tip about guest’s little trick. Not that we can do much about it except complain to maybe Airbnb.

You’re always welcome to stay at my Airbnb :slight_smile: The other trick they can do is alter their request from the original number down to just 1 person. I’ve had that happen and when I asked them if the others weren’t coming now, they admitted it was to lower the cancellation fee.

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Kiwis are awesome people (I live next door to some in Oz) and their country is truly beautiful. But they do get annoyed if they get mistaken for Australians (think Canadians and Americans) so if you visit the Shaky Isles make sure to let them know that you are aware that pavlova (the dessert), Crowded House (the band) and Russel Crowe (the actor) are actually Australian so they don’t get upset. :japanese_goblin:


oooh you are being evil…but we know where they prefer to live!


I used to get regularly mistaken for a Kiwi when I lived in London for a decade. Wasn’t an insult, just a bit odd.

Good to know! Thanks! I’ve got that $100 Airbnb voucher burning a hole in my pocket. When traveling abroad these days, I wouldn’t mind being mistaken for a Canadian. I guess it’s the Canadians who don’t want to be mistaken for Americans.


First thing I ask foreign visitors to Oz is have they been to NZ? If not, why not? It is an awesome place.


NZ is gorgeous but OZ has the thing I love: animals!

Hi - I had a guest asking to push out her booking, and enquiring about the future cancellation policy at the same time. Then she cancelled citing extenuating circumstances, which airbnb upheld - so I lost my money.

The point is:

  • If someone asks to push into the future and enquires about cancellation policies at the same time, BEWARE of them!
  • I offered the choice for her to move the dates but with a small cancellation fee (a bit like the example below where the people paid a 4 night rate for 2 nights) as it was a last minute change. I wouldnt do this again, based on my recent awful experience.
  • I have a strict cancellation policy and I think it provides me with some protection against the dodgy guests that want to keep their options open. But it wont save you if a guest doesnt pitch up and shows a medical certificate - they can get out of it with airbnb intervention, with very little ability for a host to sway the outcome.
  • Including the strict cancellation policy has not reduced bookings for my place. But airbnb are looking to relax that policy too in favour of guests.