Minimising the negative impacts of temporarily withdrawing from Airbnb

Hi everyone,

I’m genuinely concerned about the financial impact of Coronavirus because of:

  • An increase in cancellations that would leave me short by 50% (strict cancellation policy) or 100% (if extenuating circumstances apply). I had 7 bookings between now and the end of May and 2 have been cancelled already.

  • A serious drop in bookings because people aren’t travelling or are demanding a moderate cancellation policy that I can’t support.

I’m also concerned because my 73-yo mother manages day-to-day guest and cleanning affairs (as her hobby) which puts her at risk.

I’ve now been offered a 6-month tenancy from a local whose house is undergoing renovation and, although the nightly income is far less, the offer is understandably very attractive.

I’ve never cancelled on anyone before, so I really don’t know what is involved. So, I’d appreciate if anyone could tell me… If I want to go for the 6-month offer:

  1. What would the negative implications be for me as an Airbnb host today (e.g. cancellation fees)?

  2. In the future (e.g. superhost status, automated reviews saying I cancelled)?

  3. What could I do to minimise those implications?

As always, your advice and suggestions are much appreciated.

It is a risk for all hosts @Fahed have you checked your home insurance for short term lets to see if you are covered for loss of income in these circumstances.

As you are worried about your mother, why not pay for a cleaner. Your mum can then just focus on guest interactions by phone/online .

  1. I don’t understand your question. Have you looked at Airbnb’s policy on EC for the Corona virus.

  2. Not if covered by Airbnb’s EC policy

  3. Not sure what you mean you can’t minimise the risk of people cancelling due to the virus.

Personally I think it would be a foolhardy time to be launching a new listing particularly as you would need to pay for a six month tenancy.

Perhaps put MIL as a co-host, then claim EC because she is at risk…

Good luck


1 Like

I suspect that everyone who wants to cancel under EC will be allowed to do so. I’d accept the 6 month booking once I got everything else settled vis a vis proper insurance and a lease.

Contact Airbnb first and see what they say. If they aren’t helpful you’ll have to contact the guests with bookings individually. Many of them are probably very open to cancelling.

Hey Helsi,

Yeah, we do have a cleaner. But that doesn’t stop my Mum from getting involved. Especially, like you said, on the human interaction side of things.

Regarding your last statement, are you saying that I should do my best to keep my existing listing and just block out the 6 month dates (rather than leave Airbnb altogether and rejoin after 6 months)?

Hey RiverRockRetreat,

That’s an interesting idea. Will do.

Many thanks.

1 Like

I think this is a mass induced hysteria. I mean yeah it’s a deadly virus, we get that, but I spoke with 3 dr friends over the weekend and all 3 said that the elderly are at risk. The rest of us will survive.
So far I didn’t have any cancellations but I’m thinking that the elderly should take precautions and stay at home. The young people will still travel right? Business people will still travel for business, college students will still graduate, stuff like that.
It’s just that each of us has to be vigilant and wash our hands and sanitize everything.
This shall pass.

I edit to say what a good friend of mine, a registered nurse told me over the weekend: enter a room wash your hands, leave the room, wash your hands. get into the car, wipe your hands with hand sanitizer.

Regardless of what any individual thinks or what your health professional friends say (and now everyone seems to be taking advice from their professional friends and it’s contradictory advice but anyway…) our businesses are going to be impacted.

Staying on topic, Fahed is very lucky to have the opportunity to get a 6 month renter in and has a very good reason (his mother) to do so during this peak period and he should take it.


The timing sounds great for your 6-month rental, and nice that you will have guaranteed income. Call Airbnb and say your elderly mom is at risk so you need to snooze your listing and need Airnb’s help to cancel a few upcoming reservations, upon recommendation of her physician. I’m confident you could get a doctor’s note to that effect given her age, if required.


Hey KKC!

My thinking was the opposite. First let me bag the 6-month booking and then manage the Airbnb fallout. That’s why I wanted to see if the fallout can be managed.

Funnily enough, I started to do that. But then thought that I might end up shooting myself in the foot by saying the wrong thing. So I thought to come here first to gether some sage wisdom! :slight_smile:

Smashing advice. Much appreciated.

Hi, Fahed, nice to “see” you. I may be clumsy in my wording but I absolutely agree with you. Secure the 6 month booking and then manage the Airbnb issues. I feel confident that whatever happens with Airbnb will be “manageable.”

I had a guest on Saturday ask about a one month booking. Besides being a local and not wanted to open myself up to a squatter situation I have 6 days from 3 different guests booked this month and expect to have a pretty good month despite the virus because it’s spring break month here. Lots of folks take road trips or are doing things outside like hiking and visiting national parks. But even I was tempted by the offer.

1 Like

Now I am confused I thought you said you had been offered an additional six month tenancy

My advice was that it would be risky to take this on with the current state of cancellations because of the virus. I didn’t mention your current listing.

It’s up to each host to decide how they want to play things in terms of their own listings. I am open for business to all and just had another two bookings over the weekend one for March and a three week booking for April/May.

@Fahed has a guest that wants to stay for six months. Because he is worried about business being slow due to the coronavirus, and worried about exposing his mother to guests that may have the virus, he would like to take this six-month-guest and cancel the guests he has booked already. He is trying to minimize the impact this will have on his listing (automatic reviews/cancellation fees/etc.)

I think I am understanding this correctly.


Your understanding is perfect! Thanks :blush:

1 Like

I would never do a long term rental using Airbnb. They are tenants not guests. I do not want Air having ANY SAY whatsoever in the arrangement and need full control over the lease terms and security deposits. (here in USA that is usually anything from 30 days on - some states start at slightly less).

We’ve been doing long term rentals for 12 years. There is No Way we would involve Air in any of them.


Agreed. The long term is outside of Airbnb.

1 Like

@Fahed, you could always ask your previously booked guests to cancel. Explain the situation and offer to refund any fees they would lose or even offer them a financial incentive - they might be willing to cancel if you pay them a nominal amount, and then you would not receive any of the Airbnb “punishments” for canceling.

The worst they can say is no.

1 Like

@georgiahost I’ve never cancelled on anyone before, so I’m not sure how it works…

If both myself AND the guest are happy to cancel, can we agree that together and then both avoid any punishment?

I think if you approach it as a mutual cancellation when you call CS you will be fine, just do not let the cancellation go through without confirmation that it is penalty free.


1 Like