Mamma Mia! Che fregatura!

Airbnb to increase service fee for hosts using moderate and strict cancellation policies

Hosts in Italy are getting this email from Airbnb:

"We’re updating our cancellation policies

We’ve heard from hosts and guests that Airbnb’s cancellation policies should be easier to find and simpler to understand. To help more guests feel confident booking with Airbnb, while also protecting you from the hassle of cancellations, we’re updating the cancellation policy options you can choose. These changes will go into effect on October 18, 2016.

Before they take effect, check out the new policies and associated host fee changes, and learn what they mean for you as a host.

See the new policies
What’s changing?

Tiered host service fees
In exchange for the extra protection from cancellations, hosts will pay higher service fees for Moderate (4%) and Strict (5%) policies.

New refunds grace periods
Each policy allows guests to get a full refund if they cancel a reservation within a set time period before their trip, or a partial refund after this grace period.

Better guest education
Your cancellation policy will be clearer and easier for guests to find, helping give them more confidence to book and understand their commitment to the trip.

Waived Airbnb guest fees
To reduce hassle for hosts and provide guests with extra confidence when booking, we’re waiving all Airbnb’s guest service fees in the case of cancellations.

Sent with :heart: from Airbnb

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Airbnb Ireland, The Watermarque Building, South Lotts Rd,
Ringsend, Dublin 4, VAT Number: 9827384L

See this post on the CC about this issue:

Pardon me for not understanding the service fee in relation to a cancellation. If a guest cancels and I’ve got a “flexible” (3%) cancellation policy and the guest cancels within the allowed time frame, what happens?

This is fascinating. Although I don’t expect it will affect me much I expect to read a lot of interesting comments in the morning when I get up.

Coincidentally the service I used to run my dog boarding business, DogVacay, also sent out an email today making the cancellation polices favor the guests more.

Nothing changes for you if you are “Flexible”. But guests now get the service fee back from Air (Air used to pocket their 10-12% cut from guests, regardless of when the guests canceled.) Even when I had a flexible cancellation policy, I felt that Air keeping their cut of guest fees discouraged guests from canceling and I only had 1 cancellation in over 2 years.

If you have a strict policy, I think Air is increasing the host’s service fee for each booking from 3% to 5%.

This seems to be getting piloted in Italy, but I imagine it will be in the U.S. very soon.

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OK. Thanks for that explanation. So then Air is not keeping the service fee taken from the guests any longer?

As the OP pointed out, this new policy could increase the number of cancellations we get because there would be no penalty. Guests could shop like mad and then bail out.

I can get why Air is doing this as they probably spend a lot of employee hours on dealing with guests and hosts who get burned by strict cancellation policies. It has only happened to me once in almost two years of hosting (and Air sided with the guest – the 15 year-old son had a "sore throat). I was on the phone several times for hours, as I’ sure the guest was, also. Plus, MANY emails went back and forth. I guess the founders are not rich enough, yet …


I had a feeling something like this would be in the pipeline soon. They will force things on us through higher commissions.
I hope it doesn’t reach the US, but I am really afraid it might. Why wouldn’t it? Honestly, I thought this would be more likely to happen with IB hosts.

Just as we suspected all along. It’s all about the guests.

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So wait …are they saying on cancellations you will pay a higher service fee or on ALL bookings? I am reading this as ALL bookings… getting knots in my stomach.

Folks you knew it was too good to last at only 3 percent. :frowning:


Of course they want to force hosts to be more flexible.

I am on moderate but we will never go to flexible.

This again shows that AirBnB does not care about host.

They just want as much bookings as possible, it does not matter to them if they have to give it back at a later moment.
The host are the ones taking the risk.

If I read correctly, they are changing the strict policy from “always 50%” to "free up to 1 month, then 50%"
So you will always loose 50%, even if they are 1 day before arrival.

AirBnB is going downhill fast.

And this will, really will increase discrimintation in our region.
Certain nationality’s that are know to book and cancel a lot, will be refused.

I know that I will now start actively encouraging guests, that want to book far ahead, to book outside AirBnB.


What nationalities, I am curious

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What nationalities do you plan to discriminate against? The only 2 cancellations I’ve ever had were locals, from the countryside where I live (in the city) who thought they could just change their mind at last minute due to their own poor planning or decision making (needing something I don’t have, location etc without reading listing or thinking I could just give up my parking for them) when they should know better than anyone as they are locals. My international guests, especially Asians are overwhelmingly polite and respectful of my rules and the cancellation rules. Albeit the hair loss in bathroom & loo paper in
bin is bothersome despite my polite notes. All international enquiries I’ve had to cancel never have due to the costs so I’m sticking with my ‘strict’ option even if I hand to pay 5% which I don’t yet (fingers crossed).

FYI I’ve never had ABNB side with a guest on cancellation & they’ve both tried. Staff were great.


I do not want to start a new racism discussion here.

But they are well known for “blokking by booking” on and do this all the time.

They book several places for the same dates to reserve them, and then decide which place they want. You have to ask them several times for payment, and after several requests and days, you have to call and ask them to cancel and free the dates.

The second step is that they make the downpayment and book (they have plenty of money), and decide where they want to stay when they arrive, or send a friend of family member ahead to check out your place. If they do not like your place, they do not show or cancel last minute.

They are one of the main reasons why is loosing a huge amount of hosts in the area. is now changing their cancellation policies, implementing credit card checks and even starting to collect the money, just to get these digruntled hosts back.

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They are not getting me back for sure. I gad so many troubles with their guests.

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I start a new post because this has nothing to do with the subject above.

Actually this new policy has a huge chance to backfire, and will be a blessing to all hosts with their own webpage.

If after a booking, I always send my guests a mail with online check-in procedure, and website with information.

When the guests checks my site, and sees the prices, whey will notice they could save at least 10% when booking direct. And since canceling with AirBnB is free, they can cancel and then book direct, saving lots of money.

AirBnB policy is against this, but it will be hard to prove. What if a guests cancels his AirBnB booking, and then books trough an other site, because it is a bit cheaper? Is the host to blame?


Give it some time, is improving bit by bit, while AirBnB is slowly getting worse.
In a year or 2 they will be about the same.

One big advantage of is that you can ask your guests for a cash deposit upon arrival, so no 3rd party involvement when something breaks.

If you look at the changes AirBnB is making, they are really pushing for the guests to book at hotel conditions, while getting the “live there” service.

Yes, except that they have to agree to hand over large amounts of cash to a stranger, with no recourse. What do they do if the host doesn’t return the money? And how do they prove they gave it in the first place? Receipts are nice, but are they enforceable?

If they do not agree, they do not get the key.

This has been done long before AirBnB existed, it is common practice. And there are hardly any problems.

It is not like AirBnB invented the wheel. It just build a platform for private rentals, and took the marketing out of the hands of the host. But at the same time they took away the power from the host, and gave it to the guest.

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So Air is now making the “strict” policy more flexible and charging more for it? - lol. None of this is surprising, but at least don’t claim to be offering “extra” protection, when they’re really taking it away.

I hear you Chris. Yes, is known for many travelers reserving multiple hotels, and checking everyday to see if something “better” came along. And then they cancel them all at the last minute.

Let me guess…they still will allow all guests to cancel for free if they become sick and can turn in a Doctor’s note. Shaking my head…

I can see that. We will see what happens.
My biggest problem with guests was that they had no idea what they were booking. Especially Europian guests were just impossible. One British guy i just kicked out of the house. And there was rude Italian, who left me bad review only based on a fact that it was not a hotel.
Then they commented on how bathroom is outside room. Though i worked very hard with trying to convince them to put in description that its a private house. And frauds, last minute guests, with stollen credit cards. I learned how to recognize them. I was asking for ID that matches credit card, and they would dissapear forever:)
Then people demanding their refund though i had non refundable policy. Then i had a couple staying 2 nights and then they disputed charges, and i never saw these money again. All in all it was a total mess…

Honestly, i prefer to be in charge of the situation. I can handle my guests myself. I want them to pay directly to me, and not to have to prove to Airbnb the damages, and ending up getting partial or fraction of the charges back.
I just started advertising with Craigs, expecting the worst, but surprisingly i had already 5 nice guests. I interview them intially through email or phone, and then if they are what i need, i invite them to see the room. If we agree i make picture of ID, and i ask for proof of employment.
I am sure i will have eventually my share of nonsense with these guests also, but for me to go back to it will take them a lot of improvement.