Here’s another request for advice. So, back in May, I got a slightly odd inquiry:
Myself and my daughter are looking to stay in Mumbai for two weeks, Do you have an additional discount for 2 weeks ? How do I apply the discount to the booking - do you provide a coupon code?
The thing is, this guy was at the time an Airbnb host. What coupon codes was he talking about? I offered him a 10% discount, and never heard back from him.
Then on the 29th of October, I got a 10 day booking request from him, from 13th November to 23rd November,. I was outside, and I didn’t have a data connection on my phone, so it took me a few hours to get back to him with a followup question. He didn’t reply during the 24 hour period, and I finally wound up accepting his booking shortly before the acceptance/rejection period expired. I was a little concerned about the earlier weird message. It’s tempting to say something like - “next time I’ll listen to my instincts”, but I really didn’t have much info at the time.
Note, in May he had (I think) 6 host reviews, a live listing, but no guest reviews. In October nothing had changed, except his listing was no longer live.
The eventual response, which came a bit after I had accepted the booking, included a weird sentence about discounts.
We will gladly accept your discounts but we already paid so any cash back could be a good alternative if possible.
I wrote back, saying I didn’t know what he was talking about, and that a discount was already included in the cost of the booking (I’d just increased my weekly discount from 5% to 10%).
Then, when I asked about check-in and check-out time, he wrote:
We will check in around 12 noon. Departure to be advised.
My normal check-in is 4 pm. In my limited experience, it’s not a good sign when guests tell rather than ask.
Finally, yesterday evening, around 16:05 local time (8th November) he wrote:
Due to unforeseen health concerns we have to cancel our booking. We are very sorry but this is enough time I’m sure. Thank you and we would love to come along another time.
But he hasn’t actually cancelled as of right now, 3 am local time.
Note: I’m currently on a moderate cancellation policy.
So, some questions:
- Would I be correct in thinking that the guy is now inside the 5 day period? So in theory he’d get some financial penalty. The Airbnb page says
For a full refund of accommodation fees, cancellation must be made five full days prior to listing’s local check in time (or 3:00 PM if not specified) on the day of check in. For example, if check-in is on Friday, cancel by the previous Sunday before check in time.
So according to this, he would have needed to have cancelled Tuesday before 4 pm. Hmm, that’s actually exactly when he sent the message, except he didn’t actually cancel.
A reservation is officially canceled when the guest clicks the cancellation button on the cancellation confirmation page, which they can find in Dashboard > Your Trips > Change or Cancel.
Which he didn’t do, unless there was a software glitch.
Cancellation policies may be superseded by the Guest Refund Policy, extenuating circumstances, or cancellations by Airbnb for any other reason permitted under the Terms of Service. Please review these exceptions.
That’s so reassuring.
- What should I do at this point? Two things come to mind. I could:
a) write to the guy, pointing out he hasn’t actually cancelled. But is it possible it takes some time to process a cancellation? Does anyone know?
b) write to Airbnb (I usually use Twitter) saying that the guy has written a message saying he is cancelling, but hasn’t actually cancelled.
Advice? If the guy isn’t going to show up, which at this point sounds pretty likely, it clearly makes sense to get my calendar freed up as soon as possible. Thanks in advance.
And final thoughts - this kind of thing really makes me think that I should seriously consider a strict cancellation policy, despite concerns that it might affect bookings.