Last minute request for reservation alteration


A guest who is currently staying just requested an alteration from

Thu, Mar 22 - Thu, Mar 29


Thu, Mar 22 - Thu, Mar 24

He had a previous reservation for the previous week for two people. But eventually only one person (himself) ended up staying.

He was here because of a sick relative, but is leaving early.

At the last minute, I doubt I will get another reservation this late in the day.

What are my options? Should I ask him to cancel it? Is that an option for someone who is already staying here?

Quick replies would be appreciated - he’s leaving this evening.

I love that Airbnb has this option to render ones cancellation policy irrelevant.

Obviously, he might give me a bad review - that’s always a risk.

Hi @faheem

In your situation if the guest wants to leave early once he is already staying with you, I wouldn’t accept an alteration, or you will not get paid at all for the time he has chosen not to stay.

This of course depends on your cancellation policy. Mine is strict so I talk from that perspective.

I would say to the guest if he wants to leave early, that he needs to cancel the booking for the week he no longer requires. Then if you get a booking to cover these dates, you would be happy to consider a refund for the dates that might get rebooked.

Make it clear that (if you have a strict cancellation policy) this isn’t something you have to do, but are choosing to do, so you can be fair to both you and your guest.

If he is leaving this evening, definitely make sure he pays for tonight and that he cancels from tomorrow.

There is always a risk that a guest leaves a bad review if you do something they don’t like, but that is not a reason for you not to do the right thing in terms of your hosting business.

Good luck.


Mine is moderate, so he gets 50% back for the days he isn’t staying. And I suppose I get 50%.

If I understand it correctly, the request to alter the reservation is effectively an attempt to make an end run around my cancellation policy.

It was probably a mistake for me to accept an additional week booking without discussing it with him first, because he’d already told me he was planning to stay till the weekend. I’ll be more careful next time, but this is the first time I’ve been in that situation.

And yes, as per the dates, he’s attempting to cancel for tomorrow - the 24th.

Then you could still follow my advice.

Tell him, when he cancels today, he gets 50% back from tomorrow and if you are able to relet any of the days you can look at refunding him these days (less cleaning, less an admin fee).

You will get the other 50%

Do not accept the request to alter - you will get nothing.


Hi @Helsi,

Thank you very much for the helpful and prompt advice.

I’ve written to the guest as follows. The wording could probably be improved, but it doesn’t seem important enough to obsess about. And I hope he doesn’t give me a bad review. If I had to guess, I’d say that he won’t give me a review at all. He doesn’t seem like the most communicative of people - most of what I’ve written to him he hasn’t responded to.

I wasn’t really sure about the offer to make a partial refund (for one thing, I don’t know what would be reasonable, and it’s more annoying stuff to think about), but I suppose it might help placate him, and it’s not a binding legal contract.

And I don’t understand why Airbnb allows guests to make reservation change requests after arrival - it’s rarely a reasonable thing to do. And if the host wants to give money back to the guest, there are other ways to do it. It’s just putting the host on the spot, and making him/her look like a bad guy.

And I see I have a typo - I’m should be I’ll. But Airbnb doesn’t allow edits to messages.

Forum members, please do feel free to critique my message (and others past and future). I’m always willing to learn and improve.


Hi xxx,

I don’t accept requests for reservation alterations after commencement of the stay - this is not what reservation alterations are meant for.

The usual/standard thing is to cancel your reservation for the days you don’t want to stay. You will get a partial refund for the days you are not staying, per my cancellation policy, which is moderate. See the cancellation policies here -

It is unlikely I will get a new reservation for the period that was blocked by your reservation (24th March to 29th March), but if I do, I’m consider a further partial repayment for the booked days, if any.

Regards, Faheem Mitha


Faheem, that’s really good response. You underrate yourself Sir! It will be added to my little book of quotes that may be useful one day.


Great response @faheem and happy to help.

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Hi @Joan and @Helsi,

Thanks guys.

Tangentially related - I just happened on

I’d never heard of this site before, but I suppose there is a marketplace in everything - why not unused hotel bookings?

That’s interesting. I’ll have a proper look, but the first thing I thought of, having listened to BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours” about the illegal (and lucrative) re-sale of concert tickets on-line, is this legal!

Faheem , that’s so clearly and diplomatically stated that you should be the one giving advice here, not asking for it! :rofl:

Seriously, if he does leave you a bad review for that, he’s a putz. And we all know guests can be that way., but chances are he won’t. If he does, you can respond using the same wording as above.

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Thanks @konacoconutz,

Sometimes I do. :slight_smile:

Anyway, update, just now, around 11am IST (local time). I met with my guest. He didn’t seem mad or anything, and it seems he hadn’t actually read the message I wrote to him. He also seemed rather fuzzy about how Airbnb worked.

He told me that he thought that reservations couldn’t be cancelled after they had started, and then said he couldn’t find the cancel button on his Airbnb app. I showed him the one on my app, but he still couldn’t find the button on his app. I then found the cancel button on his app for him (which was more effort than it should have been), and then he cancelled.

This guy is an Indian-American engineer, and runs AI software development in Chicago, or so he described it to me. He certainly seems like a hard worker; when I knocked on his door he was in the middle of a call. And after I helped him cancel his reservation he went back to it. I guess maybe he’s just really busy. I don’t generally knock on guest’s doors at 11 pm (they might be having sex or something), but in this case he had told me earlier that he would be late working. I did send him a message, but didn’t wait for him to respond, since based on past experience I reckoned I would have a long wait.

I hope he doesn’t give me a bad review. I’m betting on no review at all, actually.

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geeze a guy on business shouldn’t care!

He’s here because his brother is sick and in hospital. A hospital within walking distance, which is apparently why he booked my place.

Still your place is cheap enough that he shouldn’t be worrying about getting refunded on unused days.

Yes, for an American it’s pocket change.