My guests want to cancel their reservation with refund just 4 days before check-in date

I have been messaging this guest back and forth trying to rationalize her for days. Her check-in date is June 1st. She booked their trip last year in September. We had simple conversation on the day she booked then no more. 2 days ago, I sent her a reminding message about her upcoming trip. She replied that she needs to cancel the trip due to health crisis and demand refund. My refund policy is Strict. She is not eligible for any refund since it’s within 7 days of her check-in date. Then she started to badgering for refund. I contacted Airbnb support and was told I didn’t do anything wrong. I promise the guest if she canceled the reservation and my place is booked by other guests, I would refund whatever the new guests pay me. But she doesn’t want to take the risk if no one books (that means she knows it’s almost impossible to be booked in such short time). Then she asked if she cancels the reservation and no one books my apartment, can she still come in without paying me again? I told her it would be safety issue for me. Because without Airbnb’s platform, we are only strangers, I am not protected by Airbnb anymore. But she wont’ give up. She then tried to request alteration to get away of cancelation penalty. I am so scared by her so I told Airbnb as long as she cancel the reservation I am willing to pay her 30% refund. Airbnb support called her about my offer, she rejected the offer and decided to keep the reservation and told me she is coming on Friday at 2pm… I am so exhausted by her endless effort and also afraid that she will do some damage to my apartment since she didn’t get her way…

Was this request, and all your conversations, done in the Airbnb message app?


I am sorry you’re goin through this.

Take a time-stamped video and pictures (this is a free app).

Take pictures/video of everything within, say, an hour before check-in;

o Open appliances like refrigerator and oven to show they’re clean and working
o If you have fans or such, show they work in video
o Show the toilet flushing, the shower working, spigots working (maybe you can see hot water generating steam? or a thermometer to show it gets hot)
o Take pictures inside and outside
o Open drawers and show contents
o Anything especially valuable (or remove)
o Show thermostat

Keep all communications on the platform so you have a written record.

Be really nice: Kill with kindness

Be Sure To Send Message a Few Hours After Check-in Asking If All is as Expected

– Be sure to ask that the guest contact you on the platform if anything needs explanation, is not working, anything at all.

Review Your Messaging for Accuracy and Completeness

– This is a guest who might look for something wrong


I agree with what Rolf is intimating here.

If it’s all on the app, see if you can get Air’s safety and security team to do a penalty free (for you) cancellation because you’re no longer feeling safe with this guest.


I also agree with Glenn’s option if you can’t/won’t cancel her.

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Yes, all the conversation were on Airbnb message app.


Yes @Amy_nyma this suggestion should be seriously considered.

You’ll need to use your judgment on how much you’d like the revenues, how delicate/expensive things are in your listing, how sensitive you are to this stress.


Guess her “health crisis” flew out the window. Not getting a refund, well, suddenly she feels like traveling.


Really sorry you are going through this and hopefully Airbnb will cancel the booking with no penalties. Really stress with them that you don’t feel safe with this guest coming, due to her aggressive, relentless attempts to get out of the booking. And that she obviously lied to you when wanting to cancel with full refund- if she had a health crisis she wouldn’t suddenly not have one when you refused to refund.

In the future, I would suggest that you don’t wait until a week before check-in to contact a guest who booked 9 months previous. I would message them a month and a half before, "Hi XX, just checking in with you to make sure you are still planning to come on June 1st. (If for some reason you aren’t, the sooner you cancel, the more likelihood I can get a replacement booking and offer you some refund). Awaiting your reply. "


I agree with others who said you should call AirBnB and get them to cancel her penalty-free to you and NO refund to her. Say you’re no longer comfortable with this guest and ask them to look at the messages. With the resurgence of Covid (I know 6 people in different US states who have mild cases right now), and her saying she had health issues, you aren’t comfortable with her in your home/at your rental.

You did offer the 30% refund - IF Air suggests you pay that, don’t refund her if you book those dates and make sure Air opens your calendar.

Good luck!


I agree that is helpul, but @Amy_nyma did nothing wrong by not messaging the guest earlier, either. AirBnB also sends a reminder to the guests a week before their arrival date (they sent me one for my recent trip).


Thank you very much for the suggestions. I think I am going to call Airbnb to cancel this booking for me. It’s too much stress and not worth fighting for it. I was feeling unfair, why do I have to take the lose for her mistake. But I think I am giving up…


Hi, Muddy, this is a great advise. Thank you so much! I never thought someone would do this to themselves and other people. I will pay attention to this going forward!

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It is unfair.

As President Carter observed ‘Life isn’t fair.’

Life is too short. I understand you’re choosing not to engage with such a guest and choosing to move on.


Oh, I wasn’t suggesting she did anything wrong. I just think it’s a good idea to check in with a guest who books so far in advance. They might have even forgotten they made a booking, and better for both parties to get ahead of it sooner rather than later.

I’ve seen this the other way, too. Posts from guests who IBed something months previous, maybe got one automated message from the host at the time, then are freaking out because it’s 2 days before check-in and the host isn’t answering any of their messages and hasn’t sent any check-in info. Some even went to the listing despite getting no responses from the host, only to find they couldn’t get in and the host wasn’t answering phone calls, texts, nothing.
I have suggested to them that they should at least check in with a host a couple weeks before check-in, so if they don’t get any responses, at least they can contact Airbnb and hopefully have time to find another place.

Honestly, in the course of 9 months a host or guest could die or have a serious accident or a stroke and no one in their family even knew about the str bookings or thought to cancel them.

A guest could even book a place as a surprise anniversary get-away present for them and their spouse, not planning to tell them about it until the last minute, and in the interim the booker dies. The spouse doesn’t even know their partner had gotten themselves an Airbnb account, let alone that there is a booking to cancel.

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Lots of good advice here, but I am wondering about one thing. Might she be sending someone else who wants to stay there? I’m not sure how your guests check in so it’s tricky. I have had guests who needed to cancel ask if friends or family can take the reservation. I go with my gut.


The correct response to this is to have them cancel, have the ‘friend’ book, and then after the booking is complete, refund to the original guest.

NEVER 3rd party allowed.


It’s amazing that she was cancelling due to a health crisis and suddenly she’s healed and coming to the apartment. Just shows she’s a liar. I agree with others, take pictures of everything just in case she’s destructive.


It’s a miracle. She went to one of those tent revival meetings and was instantly cured!


Alleluia! It’s a miracle LOL