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To cancel or not to cancel - She actually Block Booked Lots of local AirBNB

Hi All

Some weeks ago a guest booked a 7 day stay with us for May 2020. I thought it strange so far ahead until I found out there is a major Golf tournament coming to my area only 10km from me.

She availed of a week discount also. I sent the guest an alteration request but I of course she did not agree. I can’t blame her.

It could be my first cancellation, do I cancel and take in 4 times the money this booking is for on another site and suffer whatever penalties Air bestow on me?

To Cancel or Not? I would love your advice.

1 Like

It depends on how much you value superhost status.

3 Likes

As hosts we need to be on top of pricing including the big local events. @Sam_Synnott

I go through and price these a year ahead even though my calendar is only open six months ahead.

Personally if I had made a mistake in my pricing I would honour the booking.

It’s up to you whether you decide to cancel and ask for more money on other platforms (this will of course impact on the number of visitors and conversions on Airbnb).

11 Likes

I made this mistake for the Final Four once. I could have gotten at least 5-6 times more for the weekend. I ate it as it was my own fault. I recommend you leave the booking alone and not punish the guest for being on top of things.

10 Likes

You cancel - the dates will be blocked anyway!

3 Likes

But as @Sam_Synnott said she can book on other platforms

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I think this is a matter of honour - you’ve taken the booking, the guest has not deliberately taken advantage of you - it’s your responsibility and you should live up to it.

17 Likes

Suck it up. Live with it and be gracious…

6 Likes

I would not cancel, it was your oversight.

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I’ve been in that position. There can be a decent amount of money on the line, so I understand the temptation. Your ethics will dictate your actions (and a lifetime of them will determine your character and reputation) so think carefully on how you’ll feel about this a year from now. Is the money worth dinging your reputation?

When things cost me money because I didn’t act quickly enough or did a dumb thing, it’s called my “idiot tax”. If I lost income because I didn’t do part of my hosting job - managing and pricing my calendar - that would fall into idiot tax.

This guest innocently reserved at the price you advertised. I think you should honor the reservation.

And then take the lesson and figure out how it won’t happen again.
After I got burned I set my calendar to “closed” by default. I open a season at a time, after I’ve checked what I know about events against community calendars and priced appropriately.

16 Likes

I agree with @Allison_H, and I like the concept of “idiot tax.”

On the other hand . . . After the eclipse that happened in 2017 (I think that’s when it was), an announcement came out saying that my area would be in the full eclipse area for the next one in 2024. We got a request from someone about booking a room with us in 2024. Our calendar is open for only one year. I said no, on that basis.

I have no idea what we’ll be charging in 2024, what we’d charge for something as special as an eclipse, and even whether we’ll still be doing Airbnb then!

That was some fast-forward thinking on the part of the guest!

6 Likes

I thought if you cancel Airbnb blocks the date - double -check

Think about if you were the person being cancelled on. She would probably have a hard time finding something affordable at this point, not because of her own oversight, but because you got greedy. Learn for next time but don’t screw someone just because you’re seeing dollar signs too late.

2 Likes

…and your integrity.

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From the ethical perspective:

I have read several guest stories where hosts have either canceled or sent alteration requests asking for 2x or 3x the current reservation price when they realize they under-priced the dates. It sucks for them because you are making them pay for your mistake. It also says something about your customer orientation and business ethics, and it’s an extra low blow to the guest if you only researched the local calendar of events because this particular guest booked those dates. Basically, imagine you are the guest and your host does this to you.

From a pure business perspective:

I think you already know the immediate consequences, which are that Airbnb will fine you $100 and block the dates so they can’t be re-booked through Airbnb, and take away your Superhost status for a year. You might get some longer term backlash if that guest has a popular blog and writes about their experience, but it’s not likely. You also might find you can’t get nearly as high a price as you thought. The lowest risk for you would be to create an account on another short-term-rental site and advertise your listing specifically for those dates at the inflated price and not cancel the current guest until you get a confirmed booking from the other site.

[Edit: I personally wouldn’t cancel.]

5 Likes

As others have said, I would honor the booking.

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It depends on how much money is involved.
3 to 4 times normal rate can be a lot of money, it is very easy for people te say they will not cancel, until it is their money…

I have canceled bookings when people booked at ridiculous low rates because I forgot to update the prices and the booking window opened.

But your mistaken was to send an offer and try to get more money. Next time call AirBnB find some excuse and ask them to cancel.
This often works without penalty.

2 Likes

I’ve made the mistake myself, and honored the booking, then changed to 90 days available, and predictive pricing that takes events into consideration.

But!

I have not have the reverse consideration paid to me. i had 3 IB bookings in Boston cancelled on me when I was going for Boston Marathon weekend. My message was plain “Looking forward to your place, coming into town for marathon weekend” and then few days later it’s canceled. Rinse and repeat. Finally (ok took a while) I wised up and on the 4th booking just said “looking forward to your place”

So while everyone here says the opposite…my experience is hosts will certainly cancel for underpriced nights.

4 Likes

I would not cancel. You should be on top of what’s going on in your area. If you do cancel the dates will be blocked anyway.
Actually, I’ve been there done that. It was my mistake. I learned my lessons. we all make mistakes as hosts, dont worry, you are not the first one.

Just after Balloon Fiesta 2018, a guest requested a booking for Fiesta 2019. I had not posted our (minor 45%) increase for the nine day period. She won. There was no way I would reject her reservation even if I would not have been penalized. Eat it and learn. Balloon Fiesta is a huge event in NM. I now post any increase a year in advance.
I must say, four times the money sounds excessive. I know even our local Comfort Inn raises their price about 400%. I can’t see the rationale for that kind of increase. Yes, spaces are tight but are you offering four times the amenities?

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