My mom died this afternoon... cancelling a booking for this week... HOW TO?

My mother went peacefully at home to join the Lord about 4:00pm today, Saturday, June 17th.
She’d been fighting this brain tumor since I was a baby, and it started really going downhill in the past 2 or 3 years, with the worst just since February this year. In March, I thought she might have at least another 5 years. (age 60, and the surprise birthday party, which was MY idea, couldn’t have been better timing.) She was using a cane at that point, but do to a newly formed tumor on the side of the radiation one, an explosive rate of growth appeared, in a wheelchair a few weeks later, rapidly pushing against brainstem, and there was nothing else they could do at that point. So started home hospice at the end of April.

We have a 1-night booking for this Thursday, and this is a room in our house, so I don’t want to host when neither of us are there. (Parents are over 500+ miles away.) I sent the following message:

(guest name),

Hi. I hope that you are having a relaxing weekend. We regret to inform you, but my mom has been pretty sick for about the past year. Well, she went to Heaven a couple of hours ago. :’( For that reason, we will not be around for the Thursday -Friday stay that you have booked with us, for this coming Thursday.

In order to avoid host - penalty for cancellation of a guest’s trip, we would like to request that you cancel this from your end. We have our cancellation policy set on “flexible” which means that you should get 100% refund if you cancel with 24 hour notice. We would be willing to also refund you the service fee if you would like.

If need be, we can handle this through the AirBnB Resolution Center, for the “tragic event policy” or whatever they call it, but I think the easiest solution would be for you to cancel this stay with us, from your end.

We hope that you are able to find another place to stay, and thank you for understanding.

Kind regards,
Today at 7:17 PM

Hi Anne,

I’m really sorry to hear about your loss. Sure, I will go ahead and
cancel that now.

Best wishes,
(guest name)
Today at 8:17 PM · (guest name)

I see that her stay is still booked, and send the following response…

(Guest’s name)_,

Thank you for your condolences and understanding. I was just down there with them 6th -11 th, then told she’d stopped eating, so I knew end was near. She was so strong!

Yes, I learned back when we started this hosting, that it’s risky / penalty to cancel anybody which is probably why or 5-star-ratings is only 94%.

You should have a “cancel” button in your profile - or IF you prefer we will pay you back in full afterwards- in which case I’ve seen people do reviews just for communication. (But we don’t host stays when we’re not in town.)

Today at 9:44 PM

Her reply:

Okay, I think that I’ve chosen the right cancel choice, though it
requires that you confirm it. Let me know if it should work a different

And apologies for the delay: my kids pulled me away from the computer
right after I last wrote.

Best wishes,
(guest’s name)
Today at 10:26 PM · (guest’s name)

I refresh the page, and see the
(Guest’s name) requests that you cancel. You have until Jun 18 at 10:23 PM to respond.

Cancel or Keep Reservation




Please help! Thank you!

I wish I could offer some help on your Air problem but I have never experienced it.

My sincere condolences on the very sad and devastating loss of your mother.

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.

Please contact Airbnb by phone. They’ll be able to cancel the booking from their end without penalty to you or your guest immediately.


Air can cancel for you due to this absolutely extenuating circumstance.


Or in this case, contacting via Twitter would also work. I would expect them to get back to you right away.

And very sorry to hear of your loss.

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this is one where you should be doing the cancelling, by contacting Airbnb.

Sorry about your loss I hope you’re coping ok during a very difficult time.


I didn’t know a guest would get a penalty. I will call AirBnB now. Thanks.

So sorry to hear of your loss x

Hi @AnneRunner5

I am so sorry for your loss

I agree you shouldn’t have asked the guest to cancel.

Have a look at Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy. It lets you know you should cancel the booking and let Airbnb know you are doing so under their extenuating circumstances policy. They will then consider it for a full refund after receiving evidence from yourself to confirm this sad situation.


Yes to everything above. And also, I believe Air will reach out to the guest and help re-home them in this situation.

Sorry for your loss :cry:

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Hi @Brittany_Anderson Sometimes, but not always by any means, will Airbnb help a guest find alternative accommodation.

Thanks, y’all… looking for flights… probably for tuesday…

Oh and I talked to Air this morning and they cancelled. I think I still need to send them some sort of documentation… what is that? like my birth certificate scanned and her obituary???

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yeah I know, but I believe they do in this case which is why I wrote " in this situation." Never said “always.” Let’s not try to school each other on lexical semantics.

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I know this is morbid, but…a copy of the death certificate should be good. You can also check and see if airlines offer a bereavement flight discount- if they do a copy of the death certificate is usually needed as well.

Oh dear they should have told you what they wanted @AnneRunner5. I believe it would be a copy of her death certificate in this case.

Obituary should be enough. It might be some time before the death certificate is signed and registered.

Thoughts are with you. You knew that time was coming, but that really doesn’t make it easier.

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You will need the death certificate for a bunch of things, not just this cancellation. Condolences.

I just had a similar request for a cancellation. I did just what you did. Wrote this woman whose res is 5 weeks away. I asked that she cancel on her end. I got the message from Air saying I needed to cancel it and if there were any host penalties I could rectify that LATER after I hung myself with the cancellation.

I called CS at Air and he read my correspondence to her: House is closing escrow early please cancel. The guy was nice and said he’d be giving this woman a coupon for her inconvenience. Huh? What inconvenience?


I queried it because I have had friends in similar situations who weren’t helped by Airbnb - that’s why I queried it. When you say in ‘in this situation’ do you mean because it was last minute? or another reason?

I had a friend where the host cancelled on arrival and they wouldn’t help her find somewhere else.

Would you be able to link to guidance on Airbnb Help?

After **** with customer service and having to cancel 3 guest’s 1 night trips, all in last week, it was a nice surprise that airbnb sent us a bouquet of flowers!