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Is it ok to cancel a guest to accept a much larger reservation?


I think it depends. This OP says the LT booking would be $30k, which is can be a substantial sum for many, or the host may have plans change and need to be away where the LT booking will be easier to manage remotely.

So long as the cancellations are handled with the utmost respect and help given to find a new accommodation, say even a financial perk of some $ for the trouble, then I think it is acceptable…in extreme cases.

As a GENERAL RULE though, once a reservation is accepted, a host should honor it and take it very, very seriously.

We have had a couple of guests who had been cancelled on by hosts (even at the last minute), and were left high and dry, which makes hosts look terrible and is a deterrent to new potential home vacation renters. But we also once had a plumbing emergency that ended with unavoidable cancellation(s) and Air was extremely helpful in “re-homing” our booked guests. We felt terrible, but that is how it goes sometimes. Hotels and airlines ROUTINELY OVERBOOK and “bump” people, leaving travelers scrambling. A higher standard should be set for home-sharing imo, but it may be the exact opposite. I don’t know the [comparable] stats.


But you can’t rebook it. They will block the days that you cancelled.


It doesn’t matter. You just book it off the platform with the new inquiry. It’s not that hard to figure out a way to communicate despite the settings.


I didn’t know that part. I’m sure I cancelled guests myself years ago and was able to open the dates, but can’t remember now. Now with SH, we don’t cancel anyone. I can’t imagine how they could facilitate the LT people [on the same platform] as the ST guests anyway, because the dates are blocked with the three bookings, so it if it’s the same booking platform, there is a risk that the LT guests may not even book, unless they are asking from some other platform and a deposit is taken to hold the space. ???


I should have read this first. lol


Let me start out by stating that I’ve been an Airbnb host for five years, with hundreds of guests (most of them pretty happy, I guess) and I didn’t cancel one single guest in all those years.

Having said that, I am doing IB (allowing guests to instantly book) so I understand that I would in fact have much less of a penalty (if at all) if I do decide to cancel a guest. Isn’t this true any longer?


As an IB host you have penalty free cancellations. I don’t know if the OP was on IB or not. As an IB host you have to give a reason, like not comfortable or guest has broken house rules and you have to give a specific reason. Wanting a different price or dates or place is not available are not penalty free. If you lied and said not comfortable and the guest with the longer reservation complained they would take a second look at it and you’d probably end up being penalized.


Your plumbing going wrong and being unable to host is an extreme case, wanting to cancel a long standing existing booking so that you can potentially gain more money from a longer term booking, is not an extreme case.

If there are extenuating circumstances, there would be no need to offer the guest a financial incentive or help them find new accommodation as Airbnb would do this.

And if you were to cancel short term guests for financial gain, Airbnb would automatically block the dates, so you would need to go outside of Airbnb to take these potential longer term guests.


Yeah, we did go over those details already. We have no idea what is “extreme” for anyone else. Which is why my answer is, that it depends.


Not sure I would recommend this. If Air kicked someone off for having two accounts, they aren’t going to take kindly to booking off the platform.


I think we’ve lost the context of the OP. If someone contacted you on the platform about a 2.5 month stay you can very easily book what’s available on the platform. Then you cancel the existing stays and your 2.5 month guest pays you cash for those days.

Yes, there’s a lot of things Air can presumably do but “those days would stay blocked on the calendar” isn’t much of a deterrent. Nor are losing superhost or it showing you cancelled stays. If you are getting 30K for 2.5 months you don’t need Airbnb anyway.


But I would make SURE to have the cash in hand from the incoming guest before cancelling! A lot of people are just lookie looing!

What if you canceled only to have the long term guest reneg?

think it would be a tricky operation and a bit risky but that’s is just MHO.


I absolutely opposed cancelling the short reservations for a number of reasons, primarily because it’s wrong. I just ididn’t agree with the statement “you can’t rebook it because…”


I cancelled a guest because my settings somehow were calculating the guests one month stay at a lower price than a one week stay. This was the first time cancelling after hundreds of bookings. Air blocked my dates so I had a big hooha with them. After a few days of back and forth they told me they would make an exception for me because the algorithm was not calculating correctly. I doubt they would make an exception for wanting to book someone else instead.


I think you need to consider that you got such a strong reaction because that which you proposed is really wrong. So essentially you got your answer loud and clear by the strong reaction other hosts had. Respect that honest feedback.


I had a situation 2 years ago when I just started renting out my pool house and was not doing very well with it. Now looking back I know why , I did a bunch of mistakes like making it available for 1 night stays , and renting out weekends only, etc. I was making miserable money on that house only covering mortgage and utilities and at times not even that.

For that summer I had 4 different 1-3 days booking from other sites : TA and VRBO. Summer did look very gloomy to me as it is the lowest season here in south Florida and I had these few tiny bookings .

Then in a beginning of June one big corporation sent a request through Airbnb
and it was for 2 months straight and I couldn’t refuse the offer . They ended up staying 8 month and were the best guests ever.

I cancelled all 4 reservation that were made previously with other sites. VRBO Sent me a warning saying if I do this one more time they will delist me. TA Charged me 150$ coming out from my future payout but since then no one booked me through them .

Yes I did accepted the bookings but was having doubts about the 1 day booking especially as I expected party people who might be trashing the house . By cancelling these 4 and accepting big reliable clients I did what was best for my business . And I provided home for 8 months for workers .

Just to add: all the bookings I cancelled were at least 30’days ahead of time so they could easily rebook again


It’s such a double edge sword. Guests can cancel 30 days ahead and get all their money back. They can cancel 7 days ahead and get half back. But when you cancel within reason they thrash you with penalties! Look at all the penalties you had to pay to do that but it was definitely the best move, penalties and all!


It was the best indeed and not only for the profit but also it changed the way I run my business now . Based on that episode I understood who my guests are and what I want from this business.
Cancelation are inconvenient and sometimes when it’s last minute create terrible situation for guests. But in some instances it’s nessesary as we have to sustain our businesses.
In my case it would be wrong business decision to not cancel.


It just goes to show that making decisions based solely on principle is not always the best business model.

I was with the majority in declaring it wrong to renege on an established reservation in favor of a better offer. I have adjusted my thinking based on Yana’s experience. Of course, hers turned out to be the best possible outcome, even beyond expectation with the added length of reservation and income. It could have gone another way but it didn’t.

All I’m saying is that it might be wiser to decide after weighing all the possible pro’s and cons, rather than stand on principle alone.

I would probably work out some sort of contract with the newer and better reservation before I cancelled the existing reservations (to avoid a complete loss) but I definitely wouldn’t close the door from the get-go anymore.

…not easy to admit but I guess I can be bought for a price.


I don’t want to be accused of sounding high and mighty so I’ll just say that I’m glad I’m not so dependent on the income that I have to sacrifice my principles. I understand that others have to make different decisions. I learned that a few years ago when I found out one of my student’s families were backyard breeders of shih-tzus. I am not a fan of breeding companion animals due to the the millions that are euthanized each year. But then I found out this family was in this country “sin papeles.” So one principle was in conflict with the other and I just had to accept the unacceptable.

But there’s always karma. So you do what makes business sense in the short run and then when some other problem arises you don’t see the the connection between the two…but it’s there. Or at least some of us think it is.