How to best frame a declined booking?

I’m wondering about successful approaches hosts have used to frame their communications when they elect to decline a booking request. I have declined bookings for various reasons (e.g., tone of the person booking, person asking for a short number of days at a peak time that is months off, sense that our unit is not a fit with expectations). I want to remain polite, respectful, and open, but at the same time I’m making a “decline” decision, which is a rejection, so I’m aware it might not go over well.

Any thoughts about how to communicate this in a “win win” manor? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

I’ve only declined guests for two reasons. Many because they asked for a discount, one because she had reviews stating that she let the host’s dogs out of their enclosure. In the case of people who ask for a discount, I say that we cannot afford to host at the price the guest wishes to pay. In the case of the woman who let the host’s dogs out I said that I was concerned about her previous behavior with host’s pets.

I always try to focus on the needs of the prospective guest in terms of figuring out how to push them (discourage?) toward making the decision not to stay before I actually decline them.

“Oh, you’re flying into LAX? That’s over an hour from my house by public transportation. Have you checked for places closer?”

Or you can just say something very general and then, as Robert so aptly puts it, mash the decline button. “Thanks so much for your enquiry, but I think you’ll be much more comfortable at another Airbnb listing.”

I’ve declined only two times and didn’t much concern myself with what to say. In one case there were many questions about pets in the space and the guest’s allergies. Seemed like a bad match and I told her I would be concerned if she were to have an issue during her stay. In the other case, I just didn’t like the new-to-Air guest’s lack of social skills. In that case I just “mashed” the decline button without any explanation.

Decline and explain if there is a reason (for example, if I am going on a trip and need a longer booking for that time period, I tell them so, or if it is too far in advance, I tell them) If the ask for a discount, I say, sorry, it’s already priced fairly for the area and the season, so therefore I don’t offer discounts,

But honestly with all that comes with hosting to worry about, this should be last on your list of things to fret over as a host.


Please see my examples below, I hope they help. However I would never decline a booking in the circumstances you describe on my quote. It’s up to you to have minimum days and rates set and I would be nightly peeved if I made a request within this range and it was declined. That’s really
Unfair on the guests and wastes their time when you can control this easily.

If there is a specific question they have asked about something I don’t offer and I want to decline because I think it will be a problem or they are being hard work, have bad reviews etc I use their question as my opening e.g. I’m sorry I don’t have onsite parking/separate bathroom/use of lounge room etc for you. I’m sure you will find something else that suits your needs better and have a great trip in June/July etc and decline

If they are giving me a nasty vibe I just say:
I’m sorry, it doesn’t sound like this is a good fit, all the best with your search and have a great trip etc and decline immediately- I don’t wait for a response.

I also never respond to further communication, some people occasionally can get aggressive but as soon as I press decline I have already moved on.

As Robert said, I didn’t know you needed an excuse to decline a proposed reservation. We’re on Instant Book for anybody with positive government ID + at least one good review. We had two applications fail, once while they were seeking to negotiate a discount for use of the sofa bed: no problem, except that somebody else booked their dates in the meantime. And once when 4 unrelated people from France wanted to visit for 3 days over New Year’s “to see the fireworks”. (We’ve since set the minimum to 4 days as our fixed costs are hard to amortise over shorter periods.) I don’t recall that I gave a reason, or needed to.

Just hit DECLINE. That’s all you need do.


This is easy:

“Thank you for your interest. We are unable to accommodate your request. Best of luck with your travels.”

Done and done. No explanation needed. Do not respond to follow up questions. Anything you say can and will be used against you by Air BnB, so the less said the better.

Heck…I once declined someone for asking too many questions about what i would allow in the microwave. He was annoying the sh** out of me before he had even booked, so there was no way i was going to put up with him in my house.

Am I super finicky about which guests I allow? Perhaps, but ain’t NOBODY anywhere gonna’ force me to invite people into my home that I don’t want there. No way no how.


Yes !!! Me too. It only took one year of me scrubbing a toilet and cleaning out a hairy drain on Christmas Eve. After that, a one week minimum is required and it needs to start waaaay before the Jolly Days do. I refuse to let guests break up my Christmas. Never, ever again. I’d rather have it sit empty than do the above on the merriest night of the year.

1 Like

Lol good call, clearly had some issues.

I’d suggest you keep a template of the rental agreement on your computer that you can easily send out after entering basic info, names, dates and cost. People like to get plans confirmed when booking, it’s hard to decide on a la,ce and then have the host not confirm. Perhaps you could tell them, the rental agree t will be emailed in x hours (not more than 24)

Well, you actually need a database! Enter the person and their dates in one place and boom! contract created. And when they change their dates or whatever, it would only take about 2 seconds to generate a new contract. And yes, I write databases for a living. Way superior to excel spreadsheets for this type of stuff.


Yes, automation is a must. Doing computer stuff manually is a recipe for insanity. Traditionally, something like LaTeX plus databases is a reasonable way to go if you want to stick to free software, but there are lots of options, some proprietary.

1 Like