Question for Hosts with Flexible Cancellation Policy

G’day, with the likely upcoming global roll out of changes to the Airbnb cancellation policy & I wanted to ask other city based hosts who currently have a “Flexible Cancellation Policy” in place how many cancellations they have received - i.e. 1 in 50, or I’ve hosted 100 people and have had 1 cancellation.

I host with an entire home, with a strict policy in the CBD (downtown), I’m wanting to get an idea of the impact a flexible policy may have for me if I change. Personally I’ve hosted over 100 groups, and have only had one cancellation (& no other attempts at cancellation).

I’m of the impression that 80% of my guests would not even bother to look for other accommodation once they’ve completed the booking, and that any impact would likely be felt in the low season where people may have booked in advance.

We have a flexible cancellation policy. We definitely get more than one in fifty cancellations, but it’s not a common occurrence. When a guest cancels, your listing is put higher in the search results. As a result of this I can only remember one day that the guest room went empty as a result of a cancellation. We usually get a better reservation that the cancelled one. This may change with the new cancellation policies. If it’s easier for guests to cancel, there will be more cancellations which will negatively affect the benefit of being placed higher in the search results.

I had flexible for a long time, have played around with it.

I had one guest cancel because her flight was delayed; it was last minute and she never mentioned a refund.

I had one guest delay her arrival by one night for the same reason and she did ask for a refund. I was not happy about it but gave her a small amount back. I serve breakfast so I reasoned that at least I got a morning off.

I had one guest tell me two days prior to her week-long stay that she was going to cancel, but the rude part was she was going to actually cancel ‘when she got home from work’. She was on the computer, communicating through the platform…why she couldn’t hit ‘cancel’ and open up my dates was beyond me. I had already explained the importance of her cancelling asap. Airbnb did cancel it immediately, and I rebooked it at a higher rate. So it ended well enough for me, but took a chunk of time out of my day.

This is with about 107 bookings.

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I’m at 89 guests (reviews) and have always used the flexible option. I only accept one guest and it’s a shared space with a max of 7 days. I’ve never had anyone staying who’s canceled midway.

I personally have asked 2 guests to leave. I’ve also had 2 or 3 cancellations that were made several days before arrival. I did have one guy whom I urged to cancel–and he did–because he went way past check in time (9pm) He’d started a string of texts after 9pm about late arrival because he was partying downtown. I even refunded the Airbnb fee.


@dcmooney, @J_Wang & @EllenN thanks for taking the time to answer my question. It is great to have some honest answers from people who actually use the flexible settings.

@EllenN, how do you know you get a search placement benefit from a cancelled booking? I haven’t seen anything written to this effect anywhere (I would be interested to know if the benefit was as good as the (new) boost).

I also wonder if it is easier for guests to cancel, will they? Or is it just reassuring that you can if you need to and not be too heavily penalised.

For me it’s about keeping everyone happy. For those hosts with entire house rentals or similar higher cost accommodation it may be a different story. They stand to lose more money. For me, it’s just not that big of a deal to lose a night or two and, as I mentioned, keep everyone happy. Also, the last thing I want is to have resentful guests who’ve kept a reservation only because they can’t get a full refund.


This is something I’ve heard. I believe that it’s true because almost every time a guest cancels, I get a new booking almost immediately.

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Yes they do boost your listing if a guest cancels.

Mine was flexible at first because anything else would send us to around page 5 or 6 in the search, which is obviously not ideal for attracting bookings in the first place!
Recently I’ve changed it to moderate, because our listing seems to be more prominent now on page 2. I did try changing it to strict, but that pushed it back way too far again.

So far we’ve had around 35 completed in the last 6 months and no cancellations. The odd cancellation wouldn’t hurt us anyway as we in no way rely on the income, it’s just a nice extra for us

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