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The Definitive Guide to setting the Guest Airbnb Cancellation Policies/Policy Types for Hosts (with examples)



Not off topic, but a situation we have run into a couple of times related to this topic: Guests who contact us and state they can no longer keep the reservation and the, at first, casually say “Please cancel our reservation”. When we explain we are not going to do that because it would reflect poorly on our hosting account and ding our superhost status, they then say “Well we don’t know how to do it”. We suggest they call Air BnB. Sometimes they’ll check back in and claim Air BnB told them we should cancel it for them (I know that not to be true) other times they just won’t cancel and then call in a panic day before saying they have tried and can’t make it work. We’ve had 68 guest visits our first eight months and luckily this has happened only four time. But it is anxiety provoking and creates tension.

Any insight and experience with this from other hosts?


I used to have a regular guest who was technology challenged. Once she informed me via text, not Airbnb email that she had cancelled her reservation because her mother in law was very ill. She hadn’t cancelled. I called Airbnb and explained the whole situation and asked them to cancel her reservation with no punishment for her or me. They did so.


I HIGHLY recommend all hosts set their cancellation policy to flexible. Airbnb is pushing this, they’ve even added an option in search to narrow your listings by cancellation policy. I suspect they’re giving a boost to listings with flexible policies.


I second the setting your policy to flexible.


And why do you all recommend setting to flexible? What does it benefit the Hist other than a higher placement in searches (maybe)?


And more cancellations without a penalty to the guest.
Everyone should be setting a strict policy and then ABB would only have one policy.


What form of proof would you recommend on taking when a guest claims that their are certain circumstances that will not allow them to make it to their reservation, Especially if it is in the 24 hour window.


You don’t get to decide. AirBNB has the power to make this determination, regardless of your policies or gut instincts.


Thank you for the clarification!


You are just wrong about this. The day I am forced into flexible is the day I ditch them.


Thanks, that’s really helpful to know. Do you think they will add this in the future?


I have no idea. AirBNB is not very forthcoming about changes they plan to make to their software.


I thought you might have been in the know.


The Airbnb service fee is refundable (up to 3 times per year) if the guest cancels before the trip starts

This fee is the host fee or guest fee that is being refunded?

If there is a complaint from either the host or the guest, notice must be given to Airbnb within 24 hours of check-in

What if there is a complain that started after the 24 hour period?

What happens if a person cancels and ask for a refund and you say no, then they say, i will still come and stay, what to do? not let them in?

Can you explain this a bit further?:

Please note that more often than not, guests will ask you to “change” their reservation instead of cancelling it. In this case, if you accept the change (you’re not obligated to), then you won’t be eligible for the cancellation amount, so please remember the difference!

What are the telephone contact for guests to call ABB and host to call ABB?