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Scent-free guests stayed for twenty minutes and then left, want to cancel


I had a booking request at 9:45 pm tonight. The guests arrive at 10. I receive a message at 10:25 asking if they can cancel because the listing is not scent-free. They leave at 10:30. I haven’t written back yet because honestly I’m at a loss with this one.


I said they could cancel but I’d keep the cleaning fee. I had a moment of panic and posted here for guidance.

This is the last time I accept late-night requests. I don’t mind same-day requests but the ones I’ve received at night have been terrible. The last time the person didn’t even show up when I kept waking up to check my phone every hour to see if she was lost. Turns out her phone died so she got a motel instead!


They can cancel, but should they be refunded? That is the question. Tell them to cancel and contact Air. They may be able to get a refund with the new 48 hours thing.

I hate to sound hardline but… they aren’t your customer anymore. Don’t give them any more of your time and energy.


You are not subject to the 48 hours grace period thing?
I hate the new terms…

I don’t think they will let you keep the cleaning. It’s the first thing they refund the guest.

Am I losing my mind, but why don’t I recall the 14 day thing? Was it longer before?

Cancel within 48 hours of booking and 14 days before check-in to get a full refund. Cancel up to 7 days before check in and get a 50% refund (minus service fees). Cancel within 7 days of your trip and the reservation is non-refundable.

We all need to get to work on our own websites and begin to take direct bookings. To be at the mercy of these platforms and their draconian terms is getting to be onerous.


I probably should have been a hardass, but they are locals and now know where I live, so I feared retaliation. And a retaliatory review since you can leave them even if you don’t stay, as we learned from you Kona! They did enter my apartment (and argue they didn’t touch anything so shouldn’t have to pay it) so we will see who AirBnB sides with. On expect I will still get a bad review for not refunding the cleaning fee.

I wish I could turn off late-night requests while still allowing same-day requests. I fear declining or letting them expire will hurt my rankings.

Would-be guests like this make me feel like this is all more trouble than it’s worth!


These guests admitted they should have asked if my listing was scent-free. We will see if AirBnB sides with them over the cleaning fee, and if they slam me in the review. If they don’t review me first, I’ll be waiting until the last minute to honestly describe my experience. Assuming we will be promoted to review each other.

I’m up an extra hour and a half past bedtime on a worknight still reeling from this brief but dramatic debacle.


Oh I’m sorry, I must have missed that the scent people had already checked in.

I dunno, not sure Air will side with you. They coddle guests in the extreme now!

They may not leave a review for fear of getting a bad one from you. Let’s hope.

I think there is a setting that will allow you to turn off requests after a certain hour, but that could be just for IB.

Look at the settings. Maybe you should not,take any same day bookings! They can be trouble!


You can set a cut-off hour on IB only I believe. Otherwise you can accept same-day reservations or not. The same-day guests I’ve gotten early in the morning really have been fine, but the late night folks have not been! They really should be getting a motel at such a late hour.


I have a listing not on instant book and the cut off time for same day bookings can be any time you like, its under reservation preferences.


You can! Bring your cut off point earlier. Mine is 7pm I think.


Yes it’s 2 weeks before arrival day. That’s why I was not even.opposing that much. If.they camcell like.these guests same when.they are supposed to.move in they are not getting any refund


What do they mean by “scent free”?

If it helps, I’ve had people check-in, then claim they had to cancel because of the cats twenty minutes later. I was paid by Air in full for both nights, even though she wanted a 50% refund because they didn’t stay.

You can put a booking cut off time, as described above, but I would also state this in your house rules.


They want a house cleaned (and laundry done) with unscented products. It’s a thing. I’ve gotten a bunch of requests for that, and in general, our cottage is fine for people with sensitivities. I don’t like the highly scented fabric softeners, dryer sheets, etc. myself. But there is no justice: I did have a guest who dinged me a star on cleanliness. I followed up with her, though, and she told me in a PM that she was sure it wasn’t clean because it didn’t smell like cleaning products. So you really can’t win…


Last week I had a guy reserve at 5:20pm, tell me he’d check in at 6pm. I told him I’d be here and a couple of other things and I never heard from him again. No idea what happened. I love getting $40 for sending a few messages. I’ve gotten over waking up all the time. Getting lost is on them.

I take last minute, same day requests. Love them…but my cut off is between 4-8pm. I change it often depending on my plans. They can arrive late. I get them at 2-3 in the morning several times a year. But they have to reserve at a decent hour.

Now this scent free thing…it seems that smells are the guaranteed way to get out of a booking or refund. It must be making the rounds on the how to scam an Airbnb host blogs.


I do use unscented cleaning products, but I have a reed defuser in the bathroom (which I believe is essential oils). I don’t advertise that I’m scent-free because I believe MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) is a psychological rather than physiological condition, so I assume guests with such a condition will never be satisfied with a product I use.

I cleaned up some spilled makeup yesterday as well so I wouldn’t be surprised if the previous guests had scented makeup or perfume.

Honestly, it is ridiculous these guests assumed without asking that my listing was scent-free as this is a very niche offering.

I regret refunding them, but again, since they were locals (supposedly looking for a place to stay due to a plumbing issue) I feared retaliation.


Retaliation can work both ways…

Anyway I use IB but same day they have to ask and had 3 on Saturday all of which were fine and one when I woke up this morning.

Seems more and more are same day.

Remember you have 24 hours to reply and I have had same day booking requests late and have woke up to them, they auto expire. A few times using the 24 hours to reply has been beneficial.


This guest lives five minutes away from me, and now knows where I live and how guests get into my house. I feared physical retaliation.

I wonder if it hurts my rankings more to decline or let a request expire. I’m pretty deep in the rankings in my city and even my neighborhood so I fear declining guests will hurt my ranking more. That is why I accepted this late-night request (and the one who didn’t show up a few weeks ago).

I do use IB but not on the same-day. The IB guests haven’t been an issue yet because they have to be recommended by another host. I’m having trouble finding the cut-off time for same-day reservations if I don’t allow same-day IB.

This is what my calendar settings looks like:

If I allow same-day IB, I can set a cut-off time (though I don’t want to allow same-day IB):


For same day I have 24 hours to respond so never thought of it as an issue. Has not impacted my ratings.


I’d remove that. I have no scents in my airbnb and I get 5 stars. I honestly don’t think there is any upside to having this. I don’t have to be scent free but the wrong scent and I’d be setting the diffuser outside.


I probably should have anticipated the reed-defuser would be a problem. I know some scent-free people and they are very particular, so I do not think they would be happy staying with me. For example, I attended a workshop where the scent-sensitive attendees asked smokers to wash their hair and clothes before attending.

I can continue to use scent-free cleaning products, but I can’t control what scented makeup, body sprays, or soaps the previous guests use.

As for freshening up the space, I prefer those bamboo charcoal bags to absorb scents. I set them in the window in the sun to dry-out and recharge.

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