Instant Book cancellation limits and seasonal night minimums

Looking for some feedback on how people would handle this scenario. We have a couple of homes and we allow instant book for guests with prior positive reviews. We have a 2 night minimum year round. In the summer months, we book up almost every night and we have a loose 5-night minimum, meaning that our settings show that we have a 2 night minimum, but we have noted in the house rules that we have a 5 night minimum for summer months. The reason we do this is that we often negotiate with people who want to stay for 2-4 nights to charge them extra for premium summer dates. Some people will pay the 5 night equivalent and others won’t, which is fine. But then there is instant book, where people often book for 2 nights and if they aren’t willing to negotiate with us on the price or length of stay and are not willing to cancel their reservation, we have to call ABB support to cancel it. It has worked out okay but they have stated recently that we have used our 3 allotted IB cancellations for the year. So much for cancelling any IB reservation for any reason, right? Only 3 apparently and beyond that is up to the CS rep’s discretion. So I’m debating turning off instant book rather than having to keep cancelling IB reservations and be at ABB’s mercy on this (and if they will want to penalize us by taking away our superhost status). I know it’s a sort of roundabout way to try and get the most out of our bookings, but I hesitate to up the summer minimum officially to 5 nights as we won’t show up in searches for shorter stays and because one of our homes can sleep up to 11 people, we often have bookings of 2 families or multiple couples who are willing and able to pay a premium for 2-4 summer nights. How would you handle this situation? How much difference will it make for me to turn off IB as far as search results? Thanks for your feedback.

I agree with the CS rep to some extent; you’re cancelling confirmed reservations because you have bad/incorrect settings on your calendar, not because there’s an issue with the guest. It’s your responsibility to set your calendar correctly so you only get bookings you’re willing to honor.

Fixing your calendar, IMO, is a far better option than removing IB (in most areas that means you are WAAAAY back in search results).

You should fix your calendar settings by adding a rule for your summer dates that requires your chosen minimum. Yes, you will appear in fewer search results with a longer minimum. That’s part of the decision-making.

If you’re committed to the wishy-washy “kinda but not really a required minimum” then, yes, you should remove IB and approve on a case-by-case basis. If you find it impacts your bookings, you can implement a decisive policy that is more compatible with IB at that time.

1 Like

Maybe leave everything as is but add to the House Rules that there will be a $xxx fee for bookings of less than 5 nights during x-x months? It is not ideal but it might be the best answer you can come up with to get mostly what you want. If the fee is more than $200 though it may be difficult to collect after the fact so require it before check-in.

Does that answer your question?

As a guest I would think: Apparently this host didn’t update their houserules, because the system simply allows to book for 2 nights.
If you then tell me you want to charge me more, I would feel totally ripped of and no way in hell would I cancel on my behalf. And yes, I would full out complain with AirBnB.

Following your logic, why don’t you put a 1 night minimum in your calendar and a 2 / 5 night minimum in your rules? This way you can lure people into paying a premium for 2 nights.

In my book these are just misleading practices and AirBnB should not endorse this in any possible way.


Hang on a minute, have I got this right?

People are allowed to use instant book to reserve the property. When they do so, the host cancels on them for no good reason other than the host wants guests who are willing to negotiate on the price/length of stay.



Set your minimum stay at 5 nights and state prominently in your listing description to have guests inquire with Host for shorter stays. You are currently running a bait and switch operation.


This is terribly confusing and, imo, you’re giving AirBNB a bad name by being a confusing host. If you want to make more “per booking”, then charge more per night and leave the 2-night minimum. Or if you want people to stay longer, then adjust your minimum nights for certain weekends or time of the year. It’s that simple - no need to have extra convoluted rules. Instant Book is meant to be just that - people click, pay and boom they have a place to stay. You’re probably breaking some ToS anyway by advertising one price and ABB, then requiring guests to ‘negotiate’ a higher price.


Try dynamic pricing software that has minimum nights functionality. Such as PriceLabs. There are others, but I am not familiar with their min nights function

Probably need to use with a PMS.

Your way is bad.


katelynjoy, what you need to do is use the settings regarding availability (set 5 day minimum for summer) or set your Premium price plus a % discount for 5 day stays.



And if you can’t get it configured, you should do a duplicate listing for summer with your 2 day Premium pricing and your regular one …

I am surprised that Airbnb actually let’s you cancel these reservations penalty free because, frankly … they should not have done that. I have seen listings where hosts write similar minimum stay requirements and I always thought that there is no way Airbnb would fall for that.
I have been hosting since 2012 and have over a thousand stays and in all that time only 1 cancellation (which the guest wanted to cancel, not me …) and you have racked up 3 in how many weeks?


This happened to me and the host cancelled my reservation while I was on my way to check in. I ripped her apart in the review. Your not going to get any sympathy from me I think you should be delisted for these tactics.



Set a 3 night minimum at a higher rate to equal your original 5 night total, then discount a 5 night stay to get back to that total. I don’t know if Airbnb will let you do multiple discounts, i.e., set your two night minimum at the original 5 night rate, then discount 3, 4 and 5 night stays accordingly.

1 Like

Oh never mind, AlexSJ already figured out how to use discounting for you. I also would not appreciate a bait and switch tactic to substitute a more expensive rate, if I instant booked, and had my cc charged for the advertised rate, and then got a response to the effect of oh, sorry, we’re all out of that rate unless you book 5 nights.

1 Like

This is total SCAM behavior. I hope Airbnb catches on and delists you. What a horribly unfair way to treat people who found a 2 day reservation and booked it, expecting it to be honored and instead getting ripped off. SHAME ON YOU!


Sounds like the classic bait and switch, a tactic often highlighted on a certain anti airbnb web site.

It’s folks like you that give decent hosts a bad name. If you don’t want two night bookings then don’t make it possible. It’s not rocket science!



I like this, but I think the downside is that the home won’t even show up in search for shorter stays. Seems like the right thing to do is set a higher nightly rate for the 2-day minimum and then give discounts for longer stays (not sure if it can be done for 5 nights, but I know it works on 7 nights). Also, use the cleaning fee to make the nightly rate of shorter stays more expensive.

1 Like

I totally agree with you. they should accommodate the same way as if you are staying for 2 nights or other.

I see it a bit differently, go figure. I would only see it as the bait and switch if this was not in the House Rules. If you don’t read the House Rules and you clicked that you did when you made the IB, I don’t absolve you of responsibility.

That said, it is very unusual so may not be a great candidate for IB for that reason. There will need to be conversation to ensure a good fit. And since @AlexSJ posted above, there is a correct way to do it, so I recommend changing it that way for better success and less pushback.

Oh! So if it’s in the rules, anything goes? :wink: “Guests have to arrive between 5:40pm and 5:45pm. Failure to do so will result in a 200% surcharge.”

Great idea, let the money roll in !


Perhaps I should start a new post, but I can’t help thinking…

The # ONE THING that I learned from reading this forum is: look at the Rules of any interesting looking listing FIRST - even before looking the pictures and then SWIPE …

1 Like

200% of what would be my question…because I read the rules BEFORE booking…if it met my needs in every other way.