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Instant Book Nightmare


I have a listing with a maximum stay of 7 days. A guest needed accommodation for 1 month and chose to book 4 successive weeks, or 4 separate reservations. I told him that we are unable to host any guest for 4 successive week, hence the 7-day cap. All guests so far have had the common sense to realise this and ask for the extra days if needed. I told him that i would contact support to fix this somehow so they could to cancel to allow him to find other accommodation. We both want this cancelled.

I spoke to support in chat where i was instructed to make the cancellation and then support would remove any penalties. I cancel 2 of the 7-day booked periods before my account was locked from making any more cancellations. I was then passed off to another support person(case manager) who told me that in fact i will be penalised. I have 2 more 7-day periods to cancel. If I do this i will be fined, lose superhost, and the cancelled days will be blocked.

I have effectively been advised by support to take an action, and now they will penalise me for taking said action.

I have turned off instant book. It is flawed.


IB is not not flawed, your listing is. You need to setup blocked days before and/or after a stay.

That way, if he wants to pack, leave and then return later, who cares? :slight_smile:


Hi @ChristophH, welcome to the forum.

It’s a pity that you didn’t find this forum before your problem: Many on here will tell the following:

  • Never cancel as a host.
  • If you need to cancel, do it because you feel uncomfortable with the guest.
  • Never trust in what AirBnB tells you.

I can’t think of an easy fix. Maybe you can try calling AirBnB again and hope for a better support. The situation is of course quite ridiculous.

I have often wondered about this, also relating to the squatter risk that exists in some places. Let’s say it’s a couple with separate accounts, what would AirBnB do if HE books one week, then SHE one week and so on…

With 4 bookings the guest would also have to check out and return a few hours later.


yes that is a flaw, and there is no reason to have to block off days before or after a stay. I do same day turns all the time.
The CS conversation is recorded.
I would ask for a mgr escalation and have them listen to what you have been told.
You should not be penalized for this…but they may because they dont care.


IB causes more problems than it is ever worth. Read the dozens/hundreds of negative threads here…

Never Cancel for a guest. If they don’t want to come, they have to cancel. You can refuse a booking “because you feel uncomfortable with this guest” without penalty

Do not manually “block off” days after/before bookings. You do it using Availability/Booking Preferences. I set “1Day Advance Notice”. Alternatively you click “Block off 1 night before/after…”


You say ‘successive’, I say ‘individual’. What I mean is, he wouldn’t have the squatter rights, if he’s only booked multiple 7 days, even if those weeks are concurrent. You’ve panicked, and turned down a big sale!


Call support again. I’ve realized sometimes it really depends on who you get. This person was breaking your rules and thus you shouldn’t have penalties for cancelling.


Like Barns said.

Making 4 separate bookings, does not give tenant rights.
Also 4x7=28 not 30.

Personally, I would not have cancelled him.


I think they might have tenant rights in some places. I once had a squatter (in California) who had only been in the unit for three weeks on a weekly lease, which we learned protected us from nothing in that state. We were told that we still had to go through all the same litigious hoops to evict her, as she had “continuous tenancy” or something like that. Can’t fully remember. It was many years ago, but it was a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone. In the end we paid her to leave, then switched to Airbnb and VRBO exclusively.

Airbnb is getting so big that there are inconsistencies to their customer service representatives and how they handle situations. Keep on them and escalating until you get the penalties removed. You are not comfortable with this guest skirting your rules and were just following directions from the original CS rep. They will take down the penalties eventually, you may just need to talk to several people before it is resolved. Don’t panic. But heed that advice…never cancel for a guest.


I agree with @Barns. I’m trying to put myself in that situation. I think that the first thing I’d do is chat with the guest on the Airbnb platform and ask exactly why he’s done that. I’d ask him if he realised that every seven days he ‘officially’ checks out (at which time the host, me, would go into the apartment, clean, change the bedding and towels etc - something that is good for me so I don’t have a major clean after four weeks and that sheets, towels and so on don’t get stained -plus make sure that everything is in good condition.)

It’s a weird situation because every week, he is no longer renting the apartment officially between check out and check in time.


I think this depends upon your reasons for only allowing 7 nights.
Some posters think it has to do with fear of Squatters Rights …is that true?
I was thinking that you don’t want to share your space with the same person for more than 7 nights…for all sorts of personal reasons.
So, knowing why you have a 7 night limit, it would affect the response.


Thanks for the responses, but everyone has overlooked the fact that 1 support staff told me to make the cancellation, then would fix up the penalties, followed by another staff member saying that they would not make the fix after I had gone ahead and cancelled. This was all done in chat so I have screen shots If need be. But here’s the relevant texts in quotes:

Staff 1 - "If that is the case, you may cancel the reservation with the cancellation reason “Uncomfortable with the guest” for a penalty free cancellation.

Once you processed the cancellation and you incur the penalty, please let me know so I could further assist you."

Staff 2 - “Even if I manually cancel the reservation, please know that the host penalties will apply.”


“Hi! I am so sorry if you were told this but I will talk to the previous agent. This is something that we cannot manipulate as it is a policy.”

Regarding making the guest do the cancellation; I was trying to be helpful as he seem to have trouble navigating the whole situation. Had I know ABB support would be so ridiculously incompetent I would have never taking the action.


That’s true, you can only cancel so many times with IB. I thought it was 3 times. Without penalties. Your situation is a bit unusual . I know some hosts do maximum but I never heard here anyone saying that a guest keeps on booking your place .May I ask why you have only 7 days max? I personally welcome longer stays as it’s much less work


Yes unfortunately some are seriously incompetent . Bas training or learning handicaps, not sure but some are so clueless that I am surprised they keep a job.
And it’s so not true that they can’t manipulate the system . They do it very easily.
I has aclaim.once for 30$. One guest drank another guest wine and I compensated out of my pocket 30$. When I called Airbnb one representative asked me to send him.proof. what proof for heaven sake I can show them. So I sent him receipt of purchase wine bottles . He said another nonsense about me not being transparent. So I just called again and got someone else on a phone who immediately refunded me these 30$

Also there is a way for them.to cancel reservation without penalties to host manually. They just do it on their behalf . I has it done several times


I’d say for squatters rights, it would be best to take legal advice to ascertain if 28 days is the same a 4 x 7 days, I wouldn’t rely on some of the earlier posts dismissing this.

How about as a future creative solution, amend the third block of days to six from seven to create a natural gap in this stay.


Yes, but what if the guest is terrible? Would you want to be stuck renting to him/her for an extra 3 weeks? Especially if you share your home. Even if you don’t share space, the guest could just be someone you don’t want in your rental after 7 days, period, esp. if that’s your limit in your listing. I have a 10 day booking coming up and I’m nervous b/c you never know what you’re going to get! What situation to be in @ChristophH
Good luck.


I still am wondering the reason you prefer the 7 night max.
Inquiring minds…


Can’t speak for Christoph however I have a five day max. Up until June of this year it was a four day max. I have found that in a shared home like mine, with no cooking available, people staying only a few days are more likely to be out and about visiting the sites and not hanging around my home. I am a tourist destination on the coast of NC and it really works well for my situation because a lot of folks are only looking for a 2-3 day stay. One note tho, I recently went to IB after almost 3 years of hosting and guests are allowed to send an alteration request to add more days. I can accept or decline. They cannot add them without my approval. IB has worked really well. I require government ID and previous host recommendations so it really has not made a huge difference but it does keep me fairly high in the rankings.


Thank you I understand that and thank you for sharing your personal feelings.
However, it was Christoph who signed on for advice and he received advice based upon tenancy and other reasonings.
I would like to know why he is objecting and why he stepped forth to cancel.


That’s puzzling me too :slight_smile:

Because this guy has 4 separate reservations - each with their own reservation number and check in and check out times - then the guest will have to leave the rental for a few hours after each week is up. The OP hasn’t said whether the guest realises and accepts this.

This is just me, I know, but I don’t see the difference between one guest booking for 4 individual weeks or four guests each booking one week, one after the other. The only drawback I can see would be if he’s a bloody awful guest, in which case the OP can get rid of him if he breaks the house rules. Either that or (for the sake of the money) give him a good talking-to to make sure he behaves.

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