Thinking About Cancelling/How To Respond?

I am thinking about asking Airbnb to cancel a guest. My “hosty” senses are tingling but I’d like to know what forum member’s thoughts on this might be.

This guest booked a week or so ago for the first 3 weeks of July (private room/bath in shared home). Guest and wife are familiar with the area and will be visiting family. They have booked in the very height of high season and are paying a very good price for what they are getting. I’ve checked the local listings and there are 2 or 3 that are within a hundred total of mine, but one is not as nice and the other has a shared bath. The rest are $250 to $1000 more for the same time slot.

My first “oh gosh, these people might be a problem” thought came on the heels of the reservation when the guest started pestering me incessantly for my address and directions to the our place. I wasn’t home at the time and promised to answer as soon as I could. An hour later he was asking again. Once I answered all his questions, he seemed fine, claimed to know right where we are, blah blah.

So today, I get this message:

Why is your advertisement say $100 per night when I booked. A couple of days after I booked the fee went down to $65.00 per night any reason for that? I am very curious.

I think that $65 is my base rate, and even I can’t figure out how/why/when Airbnb displays what nightly price. And I do fiddle with pricing all the time, lowering price as check in date approaches. So, I don’t know how to explain the answer to his question. I’m thinking of telling him that he’s paying our “normal” rate for the season and also telling him he’s free to cancel if he wants. I will have no trouble getting that room rebooked.

I wouldn’t worry so much if this were a 2 to 4 day stay, but they will be here for 3 weeks and I’m fearing high maintenance/can’t please them/looking for refunds for any reason scenes.

This is their first Airbnb booking, so no reviews.


This guest sounds high maintenance and difficult to please. I think your plan to tell him that he’s paying the normal rate for the season and that he’s free to cancel is great. This lets him know that he needs you more than you need him so he should stop trying to push you around.


I just had a guest message me something similar: “Why is your rate $65 and I was charged $110?” I explained that my base rate is $65, but once you factor in weekend prices, summer rates, extra people and AirBnB fees the price comes to $110 and I agree it’s frustrating that AirBnB shows my base rate."

See how they respond to that. Because obviously you’re cheaper than what else is available!


Sorry, but I disagree. I think that when you explain yourself, people tend to view it as an opening to negotiate. I think the original poster should just stick to saying that he’s paying the normal rate for the season. By the way, the base rate can be changed.

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I know the base rate can be changed. But I think it’s AirBnB’s fault if they show the base rate when people enter dates and see the rates for those specific dates. Base rate should not be visible for people once they have dates entered. It’s just setting up dissatisfaction on the part of guests. I guess I should set me base higher than what I actually charge so people think they’re getting a deal…

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Personally, I prefer a response with a bit of explanation, more than just saying it’s your normal rate for the season and they can cancel if they want.

I would accept it better if you said it was your standard rate for that period of time and also push part of the responsibility off onto Air and say that Air also has a part in selecting the rate that is advertised according to the various metrics involved. (How’s that for being obscure!)

Then I would turn the tables on him and ask whether they have ever stayed with Air or experienced a home-share rental and if so, whether they have any reviews that they can direct you to. That ought to put them on the defensive and encourage some humble and respectful behavior.

Your stance should be that you are an experienced host and find that guests who have experience in a homestay rental usually make for happier guests.

If you get any kind of pushback, set him adrift.

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I think curious, means curious. It’s not a bad thing. Maybe it’s their way of probing to see if there was a mistake on your part. I can also see them wanting to know the address right away because they want to know exactly how convenient it is to their activities. The problem is that they should already have your address and directions. I would have messaged back “I’m away from home right now but the address and directions are on your reservation confirmation.” It’s so easy to get annoyed and write back something like “Yes, it’s $65.00 for a Wed. in mid may. Thanks for pointing out the price difference. I just realized I forgot to set my holiday prices for July and your reservation should be $235 a night instead of $165 per night. I’m going to have to cancel your reservation, sorry.” :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Seriously they are probably just a little nervous. They’ve heard great things about Airbnb but it’s so different than what they’re used to and staying in a stranger’s home seems weird. Based on the info here I see no reason to panic yet. I’d explain but offer them the option to cancel with full refund and then raise your rates ASAP.

If I were you I’d go in and raise my base price since it is now summer season. It’s unlikely that anyone is shopping now for a place in ME in Nov so just set a higher base price so no one gets confused.


I’ve had this a few times and have told them that the address will be on the email that they receive from Airbnb. Also that I will send them directions and check in info on the day before their arrival. If they are coming via a long flight from Europe or Australia, then I send them the details (via the Airbnb platform) two days before arrival date. They have always been satisfied with this response.

If I had guests pestering me, I’d ask why they needed the info now. There might be a valid reason such as booking a car or train in advance.

Regarding the price change, I put the blame firmly at Airbnb’s door. :slight_smile: I tell the guest that I used a dynamic pricing system that Airbnb offers and that just like the airline or hotel industry, prices fluctuate depending on demand and various other factors - it’s an industry standard.

None of the guests with questions have been high maintenance. In fact, one guy who wanted detailed directions from Miami Airport (which he could have easily Googled) was a lovely guest.


Thank you all for the good advice. As I often do, I used bits and pieces from everyone, and thank goodness for this forum! :slight_smile:

I explained very briefly about base rate vs. seasonal rate and how Air shows the former without specific dates. Told him to let me know if he’s got any other questions. I didn’t bring up cancellation.

I am wondering if I spend too much time on this forum. I think I am worrying too much and inventing problems that don’t exist sometimes. These guests may be a little high maintenance, but they may simply be anxious about this whole Airbnb thing.

I got an immediate response to my reply that said, “Ok, thanks, just curious, see you soon.”

@KKC, thanks for the idea to just change my base rate for now to help avoid this sort of problem.


a) There’s no such thing as spending too much time here. :slight_smile: When I first started using Airbnb I think I read every single post here! It’s like an advanced hospitality course with lots of information from very experienced hosts. We don’t always agree on everything but it’s good to get a good variety of viewpoints.

b) You probably are worrying too much but I bet we were all the same at one time and you’ll soon be a relaxed host. :slight_smile:


I stayed with a host who used to occasionally post here. I asked her why she left the forum and she said, in part, it was because being in the group made her look “for problems where none existed.” The forum is just information, what you do with it, if anything, is up to you. “measure twice, cut once” applies in many fields.


@KKC -
That’s an interesting point, about encouraging us to look for problems where none exist. When I first started participating in the Homeaway forum, not all that long after I started hosting, I was the same way. I’d read something, and get worked up over it, and change my listing or my contract or try to find something to fix the “problem”. I’ve relaxed since then, and don’t respond to everyone’s problem.

Good advice to “measure twice, cut once”!

Aww… this makes me want to hug you! If I can give one big piece of advice it is: always remember that YOU ARE IN CHARGE. It’s not just important for you but equally for your guests. They need to know that they are dealing with someone who knows what they are doing, means business and is reliable. Guests (aka people) have more respect for hosts (aka people) who are firm, clear, fair and consistent over what was agreed. You might be running around like a headless chicken (literally or in your head) but don’t let it show. Fake it until you make it. Act like a doormat and people will wipe their feet on you.

OMG, I can’t fit in any more aphorisms. Seriously though, do not kowtow to guests - they will not appreciate it, they will either ask for more and more or they will get confused. The Benign Host Dictator is the only way to go, believe me.

Yours, Chairman Mags


No, you are not lborrowing trouble at all or spending too much time here.

You are reacting to a gut instinct that you had about a pestering guest, someone who is showing every sign of being a major pain in the okole, as we say in Hawaii. Not curious, as he states… But instead, being a total nuisance.

I’ve had this kind of guest once and it didn’t end well. They questioned my rate, hated my place because it wasn’t what they thought Hawaii should be and were up here complaining because I don’t have cable TV (disclosed)… they were on the phone calling flipkey trying to cancel and they ended up leaving. Good riddance!!! Not my kind of guest!! And he sounds just like YOUR guest!!!

I’ve had a few new to Airbnb users ask me about the base rate vs the rate they see when they put in dates. I explain that we use dynamic pricing that changes based on season, day of week, local demand, etc. Then I tell them that most Airbnb hosts do the same and that we feel we are priced competitively. I also say that I wish Airbnb would state the base rate as “from xx$$” but that is out of my control. Sometimes the guests respond that they understand; sometimes they haven’t replied at all. But so far, knock on wood, they’ve all been lovely guests when here and given us great reviews including value. I think maybe they poke around some and see most are like that. I did raise my base rate for the higher season to more accurately reflect the price.

Thank you I will be using this sentence to help me explain if any questions come up regarding my rates.

My only two bookings so far for the spring / summer season at the ski hill house came in last week just I was going to lower my prices for the summer! Great timing that I did not have the time to lower the rates.
My only bookings so far are for the week that the down hill bike park is having their Grand Opening after 4 years of planning. Major event and one booking for the upcoming long weekend.
I am going in to lower the prices in my calendar for none holidays and will now be prepared in case the current bookings ask why the lower rate surrounding their bookings.

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