Need advice on what to say to Airbnb on why I want to cancel a reservation that my gut is saying no to

A) Can someone coach me on how to cancel this reservation with airbnb without getting penalized? I’ve been a super host for more than 5 years and for whatever that is worth, I don’t want to hurt my ratings. I have never in over 500 bookings ever cancelled a reservation.

B) So I accepted a 3 days reservation over New Years the just feels off…

  1. Brand new signup, no reviews, and I accepted. (I was in the middle of playing a card game with friends and wasn’t paying attention.

  2. I find out he is says he is visiting family over the holiday and coming form SC to MA.

  3. Says he’s 19, first gave me one city where he lived and when I asked for a full address gave me a different city.

  4. Asked he could bring his girlfriend over occasionally and I explained that during Covid only registered guests are allowed In the suite. He said he was ok with that.
    Really - your 19 and visiting your family and girlfriend and you are choosing a place that won’t let your girlfriend stay - seems odd.

  5. Then I mentioned the protocols for non-macinnated guests and he was ok with that. (I have now changed my house rules to only vaccinated guests.) Too late for him though.

  6. I also told him it’s not too late to cancel and get a full refund if my rules are not ok with him.

  7. After seeing the post the other day I decided to do a quick background check that a person with the same last name and address was killed by gang violences but nothing else came up on him. I then ran searches on him that I was willing to pay for and nothing came up. I tried 3 different search companies.

I want to cancel. I don’t really have a good reason but my gut is screaming.

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I cancelled a reservation that I had accepted when I found out that the guest was 18. I tried to have him cancel but he refused so I cancelled it.

To my surprise, I didn’t lose superhost. I did write why I was cancelling, not sure if Airbnb even read it. I simply wrote that guest was a teen and there would be no adult supervision. All his friends were also teens.

When I cancelled I didn’t care if I lost superhost because I was more concerned of the liability of teens drinking and doing drugs on my property. Not to mention the possibility of property damage and mess.

Luckily I didn’t lose superhost. I did get penalized. Under reviews, there was an automatic message from Airbnb saying that host cancelled reservation and those days were blocked on my calendar.


Good to know but I don’t want this holiday week blocked.

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Say nothing. Just cancel.


Only one of those reasons would bother me and that is the one mentioned last. I’d ask him, because I’m nosey, why he gave a false name and address.


If you cancel it will be blocked. If this were IB you could cancel without penalty. You could try to get him to cancel by imposing some more restrictions vis a vis covid. I think maybe Airbnb would support that. If you now said all guests must be vaccinated that doesn’t seem unreasonable. Or maybe Airbnb would be an admin cancel for you. I’ve bought tickets to 3 music events recently and when they changed the vax/negative test protocol or added it they all allowed ticket refunds. Leverage covid anxiety to your benefit.

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Thanks all for the advice. I went ahead and called airbnb and was consistent in my message saying I uncomfortable because he provided me with two different cities that he lived in and because he was unvaccinated. Because it was within the 48 hours of booking and because I never did this before, they not only waived all fees but unblocked my calendar. Yah.


In the future, maybe don’t feel you have to rush to accept a request until you have a chance to check guests out- you have 24 hrs, so why make a decision immediately? You can always send the guest a msg in the meantime, saying you are right in the middle of something and will get back to them within a few hours, so they don’t think you are ghosting them.

A guest who can’t wait half a day to see if a booking for 4 months down the road will be accepted, isn’t a guest I would care about losing. And for a New Year’s booking, I doubt you wouldn’t have more requests to take its place.


"I’m not comfortable with this guest. " That’s it. Holiday booking for 19 year old who mentioned family and girlfriend visiting and you don’t allow unregistered guests. Period.

That’s happened to me and I didn’t care because it was a holiday weekend and I’d rather have blocked it myself anyway.



I do this - especially when someone messages me at 1am (this happens a lot). I write back “Just want to let you know it’s 1am here in Florida and I’ll reply first thing in the morning.” Most people don’t think hosts get notifications and are apologetic about the late night “Ping!!”

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I agree but there was no information about him until I accepted and then I got the conflicting info and weird answers to my questions.

Sorry, I don’t understand this response. You can see the guest’s profile before accepting. If it shows it’s a new user with no reviews, and they haven’t sent a message along with their request that puts you at ease, you dialogue with them during the 24 hr window you have enough to make a decision whether to accept or not.

You don’t have to accept first in order to do this.

The whole point of Request to Book is that you have an opportunity to vet guests before deciding.

Good that it worked out - kudos to you. It might have been academic in any case. I would be surprised if Air doesn’t pull the same crap as last year and cancel any and all valid stays for New Years, etc.

I agree and your point about waiting makes sense. I generally accept folks that are new to the platform and have success but it seem like guests have changed a bit since I last hosted and I’m going to be more careful, especially on holidays. I just changed my requirements to 2 day minimum and will change to 3 days minimum and no checkouts on Saturday once my busy season starts up again.

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You can unblock them especially if there is a safety issue. Remember teens are not vaccinated for COVID.

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??? Plenty of teens are vaccinated. It’s the under-12s who aren’t, although they are starting to vax them as well in some areas.


Muddy, Sorry but as of November 8th only 17 percent were vaccinated in my locale because they do not have the vaccines available or their medical providers have no available appointments. We have over a 1000 teens who attend school or participate in school activities. This is an affluent community. Our Board of Health is not allowing Airbnb hosts to book for the safety of the community until the vaccination rates are at 30 percent.

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You know what. After I cancelled this booking, the guy got a bit rude to me so I blocked him and I just got a 5 days booking from a lovely couple from England. All’s well. And oddly my December which is usually a dead month, is nearly fully booked.


Lots of pent up demand from other countries. I hope you have a great winter season that helps offset last year.

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What does being able to vet guests before accepting have to do with the guy getting rude after you cancelled his booking? You said there was no info on him before you accepted, but I don’t understand that part. What kind of info? Did you ask him for info?

Anyway, I’m glad you easily got another booking.

When a guest requests to book and has no bio or review, aka newbie, what info do you ask for. It sounds weird to say “Tell me a bit about yourself:”