Two Future Reservations

Because of Covid and the Delta variant in particular, we have blocked all open days for both of our rooms. One room has two reservations in September. I’d like to get them off our calendar, but I don’t want to anger the guests.

Best way? Should I contact both to tell them what we’re doing and invite them to find other accommodations and cancel with us? Our cancelation policy is flexible.

Yes, it’s a month away, but I honestly can’t imagine that the situation will be significantly improved by then. Quite the contrary. I think it’s possible that much or all of the US will be shut down again. If not, I believe we should be.


I’m sympathetic since you have a shared home type listing. In general I hate hosts canceling on guests but this is different. Just let them know right away so they can try to find something else. You can’t control if they feel anger, but unless there are no other rentals they should be understanding.


You might use the phrase “upon medical advice”


As I recall, Airbnb doesn’t refund their service fees unless the guest specifically asks AND the guest hasn’t had more than 3 cancellations in a year. If that’s still the case, you might need to make sure to tell the guests how to get a 100% refund or offer to cover the non-refunded service fee.


Could someone tell me what I should say to the guest, about how to get a full refund?

I tried to book a place last night and the host had “forgotten” IB was on. It looked perfect so I booked it! She freaked and cancelled due to covid after I offered to cancel. It is a home share.

Geez… tough times for guests! Impossible to get a place in Mill Valley, Mid-October, we are thinking of getting a ratty motel if nothing gets confirmed. NOW I know why Tiny Tiki guests get happy!

As am I. Given the infection rates in some parts of the US, coupled with this reluctance to be vaccinated in many states, I don’t think I’d be welcoming random strangers into my home right now.

No, but you want to minimise the risk to you and your husband, so in this instance I’d say that any hurt feelings or anger on the guests part will be unfortunate, but sometimes you just need to do what’s best for you.



Back in March 2020, when I had one reservation still pending, for the first week in April, and Airbnb had already been refunding in full for Covid, I kept expecting that guest to cancel.

When she hadn’t by late March, I messaged her asking how she was thinking re keeping the booking, saying that I didn’t feel it was a good idea to travel, that Covid was rampant in Mexico, and therefore unsafe for her, and I didn’t feel comfortable hosting at all in my home share. I of course apologized, saying hopefully she could book again when things were safe again.

She agreed that it was likely better to cancel, I told her about the Airbnb 100% refund for Covid at that point, and that if she had any trouble getting that, to let me know and I would refund her, but it all went smooth. And in fact SF, where she was coming from, locked down the day after she cancelled

So I’d start out from the attitude that it’s not safe for anyone to be travelling or sharing space right now - expressing concern for them, you, and the situation in general, and you might find they readily agree. For all you know, they might also be wanting to cancel, but concerned about losing the $.


I noticed recently I can cancel IB under “I don;t think this is a good fit for the guest”. Not sure how long after the booking you can do that. At least now they don’t block the dates but you probably don’t mind that anyway,

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Lots of good advice here, but I just want to emphasize that protecting yourself and the public is more important than momentary anger. I don’t think you’ll get as bad a reaction as you anticipate.


Here’s what I’ve drafted for one of the guests. Comments, please.

Hello, James. Virgil and I have closed our Airbnb rooms because of the heightened danger of Covid-19 and the Delta variant.

Given our risk factors, we’re both worried about breakthrough infections, even though we’re vaccinated. We ask you to find somewhere else to stay and cancel your reservation with us.

We have a Flexible Cancellation Policy. You should be eligible for a full refund, including all Airbnb fees, if you cancel through Airbnb before 4 p.m. EST on Wed, Sept 15 (that’s 24 hours before your check-in time). To ensure that you get the full refund, please ask Airbnb for that.

Could be shorter, and put exactly what you want the guest to do first:

"Hello James, we must reluctantly ask you to cancel your upcoming reservation, [dates], via the Airbnb platform. Upon medical advice, we have closed our shared-space Airbnb.

Cancelling before 4:00 pm EST, Wed, Sept 15 is the quickest and easiest way for you to get a full refund, including Airbnb fees. Thank you, apologies, and wishing you safe and happy travels."


Thank you very much.

I generally don’t recommend lying, but I know that the “contact with someone who was positive” has gotten many people out of many obligations.

There is no way that Airbnb can keep a penny.

It’s actually not a lie. Our good friend and neighbor across the street tested positive about a week ago. We’ve had contact with him in the last several days. Brief, but contact nonetheless.

Okay. Guest 1 (James) has somehow requested that we cancel his reservation through the Alterations system. We got this notice from Airbnb:

I have no idea how guests cancel; nor do I know what James did to cause us to get this message.

Any wisdom on what I should say to him?

“It’s actually not a lie. Our good friend and neighbor across the street tested positive about a week ago. We’ve had contact with him in the last several days.”

I would use that as the reason to cancel.

And I would inform James that you will be punished by Airbnb if YOU cancel and I’d ask him that HE cancel.

Or, contact Airbnb support to agree in writing that NO penalties will apply. Although, I really don’t trust Airbnb, would prefer the guest cancel.

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Yay! The guest cancelled! It’s all good now.


I’ve been wondering about this. We are locked down in Sydney Australia. So far one has cancelled in September and another person has booked in October.
I have a flexible cancellation policy. I doubt that the October booking will be able to happen!