New HOST cancellation policy

Over the years we’ve seen the hosts who post here about canceling because they can get a better booking or their relative is going to stay, etc. The consensus in the majority here has always advised against it. Like Airbnb, we know bad host practices make it harder for all of us.

Today Airbnb sent notification of a new policy effective 22 August 2022:

No doubt we’ll see an uptick in hosts pressuring guests to cancel so that they don’t have to face the consequences of these penalties.


I’m fine with it EXCEPT that there’s nothing in there about the host having a family emergency. For example, one of my parents is quite likely to die in the next decade, and I may not have a whole lot of notice about that and they live six hours away. But my city also stipulates that I must be present to rent out the unit (no absentee hosts in our city). This seems like a pretty major oversight that’s just kind of mean-spirited. I understand they’re trying to make Airbnbs as reliable as a hotel, but we are not actually hotels, we are spare rooms, in-law apartments, etc., that must abide by our local regulations.


Some of us are, but I’m guessing that a majority aren’t. And many who aren’t have co-hosts or back up plans. If I’ve spent hours picking the perfect Airbnb and it’s yours and then, last minute I get canceled on, I’m going to be angry. If you have elderly parents who live 6 hours away then you need a back up plan.

I’m not unsympathetic but this seems like “cost of doing business.” If I don’t want to have a co host or back up plan of some kind then I’ll just pay the penalty.

Edit to add: I think Airbnb might not penalize you if it happens once. But I know from teaching that some people have a lot of relatives die in a short time and it makes one wonder if they are always truthful. I can imagine the things I’d hear from hosts if I were a CSR rep.


So how valuable is IB on AirBnB? We use it on both Vrbo and AirBnB. I’ve never messed up yet and gotten a double booking - I’ve always been able to block the dates on the other platform quickly enough. But with this new policy, I have to seriously consider turning off IB.


The trouble with these new policies is that they are quite subjective. I see their examples of emergency repairs, doctor’s note, etc., but the rule will be enforced by an individual decision. And individuals have prejudices.
I think Airbnb continues to bite the hand that feeds it.
Question is, do many hosts actually cancel? Is it really a problem with the majority of hosts, or is this another way to standardize and justify rulings against Airbnb hosts for infractions that could be handled another way?

The minimum cancellation fee is $50 USD and the maximum is $1,000 USD under the updated policy.

This seems oversimplified regarding punitive rulings and overbearing to me.


I thought you could sync the calendars so that you wouldn’t double book?

Like every deterrent ever :wink:

Yes, but it’s not perfect. I believe the sync only happens a few times a day so there’s still about the same risk as my manual process. And I don’t advertise all my available dates on AirBnB (such as Christmas) because there is too much risk with their EC policies so I can’t push the calendars both ways.

I hope to get around to signing up with OwnerRez soon - I believe OwnerRez “pushes” the reservation to the other platforms practically instantly. If that’s true, I’ll turn it IB back on.


It isn’t perfect. For the new hosts I work with if they list on both VRBO & Airbnb & insist on using Instant Book, I highly recommend they only use it on one platform because of this .

I just had a crazy IB for days on my calendar that were too far in the future & were supposed to be blocked. I notified the guest the listing wasn’t active for those dates yet and I was sorry, I needed to cancel their reservation. Airbnb processed the cancellation without penalty to me. In light this has happened to me twice in the past year, & the new policy & lack of CSR experience (just follow the script), I’m removing IB from my listing

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That’s exactly why I didn’t use it. I have enough experience on the booking patterns of our property that I can assess the risk of a double booking (very low) but the penalty just increased a lot so the equation changed.


I don’t know if the change will be overall positive or negative for me.

My most profitable bookings are last minute bookings because guest mentioned they need a place because another host cancelled. If these hosts go out of business, that will not be good for me. I need other hosts who cancel last minute.

But I have recently messed up with listing not ready at check in time, so with an error like that I could be on the receiving end too.

I’ll have to wait and watch how this turns out in reality.

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I’m not surprised at this. I’ve also never cancelled a reservation. I’ve gotten guests to do it a few times. Of course guests do it often before time of host cancel policy… I have also seen some payouts from guest cancellations so maybe this will be a wash… When I started I was quite freaked out about the possibility of double booking, but those fears subsided.

The question is would I rather pay the fee or take the standings consequences or will they both apply now. It seems like Air should be happy to get the money from hosts and also let them keep their standing on cancellations, as long as it is rare enough. <>

Also, for many hosts a co-host or back up plan is just not feasible, and those (like us) hosts may have to accept this hit when push comes to shove. All the more reason to have a great website for direct bookings over which we have full control!

Do you think there are too many hosts that have their phone numbers on photos for example that do not honor Air reservation requests and find ways to divert guests on to a direct book page? Will this encourage or discourage that?

Do these fees taken on host cancellation resemble the amount Air would get if it went through as a normal stay??? In lower priced places / shorter stays, I’m guessing they will get more money (50$) on a cancel than if it is not cancelled.

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So, as a host, if I want to cancel an expensive stay, I do an alteration request to adjust the price of the reservation to $100, then I wait for the guest to accept it, then I cancel the reservation. The cancellation fee I pay to Airbnb will never be more than the $50 minimum.

You read it here first… :crazy_face:


Yeah, as long as the guest is on board with this it would work. I wonder if Airbnb would remove a host who did this.

I have done this once but I had the guest on my side as I spoke to them on the phone before doing it. I sent the guest a check for the remaining amount.

What guest wouldn’t accept an alteration request reducing the cost of a more expensive reservation to just $100? What I’m describing is where the guest doesn’t know I want to cancel and I just reduce their rate, knowing they’ll accept because it saves them a bunch of money. Then I cancel, so that even 50% of the reservation price is only $50.

I’m kidding, of course, but it could be an open loophole in the new policy.

Glad you added that because I was really wondering what had happened to you there for a sec.


Sure, but they are going to spend more money on a cancel than a booking that is completed. The idea is that Airbnb is spending money on re-homing guests and coupons/credits to guests that were canceled so they want hosts to chip in on that. I think that is absolutely fair.

And it will benefit good hosts. As it stands, guests that are canceled on do not get enough assistance from Airbnb. That turns guests away from Airbnb and that is a loss for all of us. Guests should be accommodated better than they are. Hopefully, this is a route to that.

It’s not as extreme as it could be. I think hosts should pay the entire bill when they displace a guest. I don’t think service fees should go to it when they go could to something that would benefit all hosts instead of the hosts that cancel on guests.

What is the connection to the new cancelation policy?

@Rolf serious question.

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This is just anecdotal, but from all the posts from guests I have read over the years, who had hosts cancel on them, the majority of the cancellations seem to come from property managers with tons of listings. And Airbnb has always appeared to allow these corporate hosts to get away with things that small time hosts get suspended or delisted for.

So I wonder if these harsh penalties will in fact be applied to them.

The second most prevalent seems to be from new, clueless hosts who have no idea how they got a confirmed booking without the chance to approve it. (Huh, what’s IB?) They freak out and cancel. Or they listed and got a booking before the place was ready to be rented. IOW they didn’t do their homework.

I have never cancelled a reservation, but I agree with gypsy that some hosting situations simply don’t lend themselves to a back up plan or cohost who could fill in. Mine wouldn’t.


I don’t mind the new policy, I rent only on airbnb, but I have one villa that I set up as 3 listings, for 2, 4 or 6 people, and the calendars are linked on airbnb, but sometimes after I get a booking the automatic linking doesn’t work and I have to block the calendar manually. So what happens if I get double booked because of airbnb buggy calendar linking system.