Refunding for a double-booking: best practices

I got the dreaded call today that every host has nightmares about. (And yes, I’ve fixed the calendar syncing issue so it shouldn’t happen again.)

The guests who called me to ask why their keycode wasn’t working were the nicest people. Fortunately, I was able to locate an identical condo in the same development a few buildings away that was open, and the owner was happy to accept the guests. I’ve paid the owner myself by check. I then offered to comp one of the two nights the guests were booked as an apology. (This actually ended up making it a break-even proposition for me–the other owner’s rate was quite a bit less, since he doesn’t do any online bookings!)

The guests actually contacted me a bit before my published check-in time (they were early), so when I went in to refund them for one of the two nights, the Resolution Center didn’t allow it.

I ended up waiting until after my published check-in time, which then opened up additional options in the Resolution Center to send the guest money, which I did.

But now in hindsight, I’m wondering if it would have been better to send the guest a revised Special Offer instead of using the Resolution Center. I initially thought that using the Resolution Center would be a “cleaner” way of doing things, but maybe not. It’s very opaque how it works, but I’m thinking that had I sent a Special Offer instead and reduced the subtotal, it would have saved both me and the guest money (as it would have given both me and them back the Airbnb service fees on the returned funds), whereas the Resolution Center is literally me just sending them a cash payment and not reducing Airbnb’s fees on either of our ends.

Not that this will hopefully ever happen again, but if it does, what’s the best way to handle it?