Strict Cancellation - Sometimes I can't in good conscience REFUSE a cancellation request

We’re on the strict cancellation policy - but sometimes I just can’t deny a cancellation request - even though technically I could.

This morning we got a reservation from a French woman for May. She wrote back literally 5 minutes later and said she wanted to cancel because she didn’t realize how terribly far away we were from Manhattan (10 minutes)!

She had misunderstood about the distance and travel time so I explained it to her and she decided to keep the reservation (phew!)

But, if she hadn’t decided to keep it, I really couldn’t have said no to her on cancelling.

Mainly the fact that she wanted to cancel just 5 minutes after making the reservation. To me, anybody who cancels that soon - I’m always going to say yes. Because I can’t see that they possibly cost us another reservation - by holding the room for just a few minutes.

And in this case, especially the fact that the reservation is 4 months from now. We would easily get other bookings in that time. So I would have let her cancel if she had wanted to. I don’t see how I could in good conscience justify not letting her.

Which brings up another issue. Air is saying they want to change strict cancellation, I believe, to give people up to 48 hours to cancel. I think that is way too long. Especially for reservations made for the near future. I could see 24 hours. But really, I’m not comfortable with anything over 12 hours. Somebody holds your room for 12 hours - they could indeed have blocked someone else from booking it.

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Read this:

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That’s one of the advantages to a strict cancellation policy. You decide to refund or not depending on the circumstance. I think it’s nice that you do that and consider each instance. As long as you can still book the time for another guest then why not refund them? It can also help you in the future. They chose you for a reason and may choose to stay with you again in the future. But, if you refused a refund they would probably look elsewhere next time. I know that’s what I’d do if I were the guest.


My mother (she’s gone now) used to say, “Never find fault with someone for being kind hearted; there are far too many hard-hearted people in this world.”

If you hear that tiny voice that says, “be generous, do the refund.” Do it. It’s your rental. You can do what you wish.


I tend to agree with you. I have had people book the wrong island! So I always try to refund in those cases…

However… lately Air is making it less agreeable to refund electively right away. They take the amount out of your very next payout. So if someone books by accident, I can no longer refund it immediately. They will have to wait for the time of their stay and then I can do it. Otherwise you are fronting money for someone who is not even your customer! Unfortunate.


I don’t usually recommend Bookings (should be renamed CancelledBookings) but I think they let you set the no penalty time for cancelling. 24 hours seems generous to me. What I normally say to people, even though I have a strict cancellation policy, is if I get a replacement booking I’ll refund them less $50 less the difference. At the end of the day we all have problems we need to deal with but we don’t usually get to ask a complete stranger to share the pain. Air has hardened me up.


I will allow the cancellation and refund 100%. I don’t want to take money for something I’m not giving regardless of the circumstances.


Yes, that’s right. AND one other thing people don’t think about - at least I didn’t at one time - until it’s too late, is the fact that if you don’t give them a refund and they therefore decide to go through with their stay with you - they’re a big potential that they’re gonna HATE you the whole time and leave you a terrible review!!!

We’ve had that happen twice, where I refused to give a refund because it was too close to their arrival date. Both times we lucked out and got good reviews. But we worked extra hard with those people to be super nice and accommodating while they were here!

Anyway, in the end that’s a big risk. If the reservation is far out - then I’d say always let them out of it or you really do risk a terrible review.

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Wait!! WHAT!!!??? What do you mean they take it out of your next payout? What is there to take out? How can they take something out you never received!?

So, this woman made a $700 reservation with us in May. Oh by the way, she ended up cancelling the next day. So, I let her cancel. Are you saying they’re not going to pay us until we’ve reached another $700 in payouts? That’s crazy… doesn’t make any sense at all.

Well, in those situations where people do take the money - it’s not about taking money for something you’re not giving… it’s about getting compensated for something you already gave.

And what you gave was that you took your place off the market during the time they held the reservation - in order to make it available to them because they had made a reservation.

If they had held the reservation for 30 days and cancelled three days before arrival then there’s a very good chance that they cost you the opportunity to rent it out to someone else. So, why shouldn’t they pay for that? You did give them something actually. You gave them a guarantee that your place would be available to them when they arrived. Then, they want to steal that money from you by cancelling at the last minute and expecting a full refund.


This has not been my experience.

Yes. This happened to me. “Antonio” requested my place for a date couple months in the future. I accepted. Within 24 hours, he wrote back saying he didn’t want to spend all his time on the Big Island “driving,” and that he needed to be closer to where he could chase the dolphins. So he wanted me to cancel and refund.
(Yes, that is my word, chase–don’t get me started on the people who come here to chase dolphins.)

He had not been here before and had no idea what he was talking about. No matter WHERE he booked, he would be driving. Hello, this is the BIG ISLAND and they don’t call it that because it is small. :joy:Oh-- If he thought he was going to find bayfront accommodations for under $99 he was mistaken. He also claimed I was not in the town I know I have lived in for the past 26 years! :rofl::rofl: Idiot. He signed all his communications, Light & Love.

Well Mr. Light and Love dolphin chaser wanted a FULL REFUND immediately because he said he had not caused me ANY HARM by booking and holding my place for 72 hours in high season. I did agree to give him a refund. Mainly because I did not want him to change his mind and come anyway! But I told him I was doing it from the goodness of my heart, and not because I was obligated to! I would however, be keeping $100 for my trouble, after he canceled. Well he cancels, and I go to refund and low and behold, I get this message.

“You are going to send Antonio $1200! We will take this money out of your next payout!”

Well. No. Not only no. Hell no. There’s no way on god’s green earth I am fronting money to someone so dumb and difficult months in advance. Not to mention, they aren’t even my customer?! What if I have other cancellations?

So I told him I would wait until the time of his stay and refund the stay minus $100, and he called Air and opened a case on me! Air then calls, asking me if I could find it in my heart to refund “early,” and I said hell no. This "guest continued to harass me for this elective refund up until the day of his stay. When I finally refunded he sent an email saying thanks and signing it light and love. Big Eye Roll.

In the early days of Air you could refund electively and not have it come out of your pocket. So something must have changed.


I don’t understand how they can take money from YOU - that you haven’t received. Air has taken the money from the customer so why don’t they just send it back? What does it have to do with you?

Really crazy!

So, are you telling me that this woman who cancelled for May for $700 - when our next reservation comes tomorrow for $100 - that Air isn’t going to pay us that?

Well, not sure… as it goes by the cancellation policy?

So for example, when I had the Christmas week cancellation.

–She automatically got half back instantly because it was 10 days before. if it were seven days or less on strict, then they get nothing back (hardly strict, but that is another post for another day!)

–She took her time getting her medical EC documentation in. The CSR closed the case. They paid out the other half, and the next day took it back. Because she got her documents in finally!

–They then docked that amount from my next several payouts until it was paid back.

But that was a cancellation with EC applied. Never again, by the way, will I ever let anyone block my most lucrative weeks of the year and then back out at the last minute. This year will be different!

So I wonder we are talking about two different things?

When you refunded the woman electively, did it give you a message, saying they would take it from your next payout? This is what happened with “Antonio.”

You can also check in your transaction history to see if there are parenthesis around your docked payments.

My understanding is that they only take money back from future payments when you have already been paid for the booking. It seems like kona’s case was a bit special?


Yes. That has to be the way it is. Otherwise, they’d be taking money from you that you never got.

We’ve had them do that a couple of times - take money from future bookings for money we “owed” some past complainer. And that was fine. It beat making us pay it to them out of pocket.

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In the case where I electively decided to refund the guest after cancellation, they didn’t allow anything but for me accepting that the payment would be deducted from my next payout.

As I said, maybe it was a glitch or a one off. Maybe they are not doing this now. I don’t know. But the guest booked in January and was not due to stay until March. So I clearly had not been paid.

That is so weird. So they took the money from you, in say January & February, right? Then, they paid it back in March when the cancelled guest was supposed to have stayed?

No… Guest booked in January. Canceled within 72 hours. I could not refund immediately without getting docked. So I said no, I wasn’t doing that for someone who was no longer my customer. Fronting money to them months before they stayed.

Hmm… when I accepted her cancellation I didn’t notice it saying anything about them docking me. I hope I didn’t miss something. Anyway, I’ll let y’all know tomorrow as we had a guest check-in today.

But did you manually refund? Or attempt to? That’s when I got the message.