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WARNING - Re-consider Instant Booking - Airbnb has not been straight with you re cancellations

I just received an Instant Booking for 3 weeks. When I saw the information, I couldn’t understand what had happened but Airbnb had applied a really significant discount - not one that has anything to do with my pricing.
On further investigation I see that under the new pricing they applied a 12% discount to stays of one week or longer (I needed to have opted out of this, as it was automatic) The other issue is that my weekly price is $690 but they’ve calculated it on $609. I’ve had one other long term booking since the new rules but the price was correctly calculated on my weekly rate.

So, I immediately wrote to the guest saying I was sorry but there had been an error and I was going to have to decline their booking due to an error in the pricing. I believed I could do this as Airbnb has sent numerous emails to me over the months talking about the new improved Instant Booking rules saying you can cancel up to 3 times without penalty.

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE.

When I rang Airbnb and tried to cancel this was what I was told:

  1. There would be no penalty fee - they would waive this $56
  2. My calendar would be blocked for the 3 weeks meaning I couldn’t rent to anyone else. (A loss of a minimum of $2,100)
  3. I would have my Superhost status immediately revoked with no opportunity to re-earn it for 12 months.
  4. A cancellation statement would appear on my reviews.

In what way does that constitute ‘cancel without penalty’ I cannot imagine more punitive measures if I tried. I’d happily pay the $56 fee to Airbnb just to be able to book those 3 weeks at the normal rates.

The guest is who new to Airbnb, Korean and with little English is now sending me aggressive emails demanding that I cancel and Airbnb won’t help me.

Has anyone else had this experience? I have had more than 60 guests in 9 months - have been a Superhost since the first assessment and am a great proponent of Airbnb.

Airbnb are pretty clear that you can cancel instant bookings without penalty if you are uncomfortable with the guest - I think they allow you to do this three times in a year.

They are very clear that pricing errors are not part of this agreement.

If you can show that they system has messed up and worked out the price based on $609 rather than $690 as opposed to it being a typo on your behalf - not saying it is, then you might have a case.

Otherwise, you have to make a decision as to whether you want to take all of the penalties as spelt out or whether you are happy to accept the lower booking price.

I personally like longer bookings as they are a lot less time consuming for me in terms of cleaning and change overs, so we do offer a good discount for longer stays.

If you were to cancel and rebook, is the extra money you would earn worth the extra hassle?

Hi

Thanks for responding. I’ve actually got a really good resolution from Airbnb. It’s amazing the difference between one call centre staff member and another.

Firstly, they acknowledged the error on the pricing was from their end and offered to pay the difference of $240
They also said that if the guest decided to not stay, then they would not be penalised for cancelling either.
The guest then cancelled. It was never going to work out well as they sent pretty rude emails in response to my asking them to wait while I sorted stuff out. So it’s a win-win.

In answer to your question, is it worth it? Yes. Most of my guests stay 1 or 2 nights. Yes it’s a lot of work but with the cleaning fees on top of the nightly rate I can get $850 per week. Giving it away for $609 less a 12% discount was a loss of around $900 for the 3 weeks. Airbnb is how I pay my bills - I consider it my full-time job.

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Great to hear that you got such a good resolution from Airbnb and everything has worked out.

I love how airbnb works so well for different hosts and can see how your revenue loss would be significant when it is your full time job.

For us, renting through airbnb is a way of maximising the rental income on what was my husband’s bachelor pad before we met. We rent the whole apartment. We earn two to three times per month more renting through airbnb than we did when we rented it long term. But we have to balance the extra work involved with frequent changes over along side full time jobs, a small child and the fact we now live 30 miles outside the city, where the apartment is.

We have a four night minimum stay and healthy discounts for longer stays helps us balance the income received against the extra drain on our time.

hey @Wilburforce, it is great news! I’m so happy that your issue is solved that way. One thing I noticed about what you are saying regarding the difference between call center representatives. It is interesting.

If I have a serious issue like yours and I could not get a productive response, I will definitely try my chance by calling them again.

Pretty bad for your guests, as they missed the chance to stay at your lovely place for 12% less. :slightly_smiling:

I wish you all the best with your hosting experience and thanks for sharing.

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Yes, I was so surprised and pleased. I go out of my way for guests, so it was nice to have Airbnb go out of their way for me.

Maybe they understand that a couple of bad hosting experiences could kill the golden goose.

Good luck with your situation.

2 Likes

Yes, that makes perfect sense renting long term in your situation.
I think because of our location we are booked 99% of the time and as the room is at home it’s easy for me to turn it over every few days. I don’t really like having guests stay longer as then they need to use the washing machines and because I don’t want them hanging around in the house or tying up the machines for too long I end up doing it for them.
Also, the longer they stay, the more trashed the room gets - people start wishing they had a proper kitchen and have put pizza in the toaster and eaten take-away in bed! Yuck - then the ants come.
Short stays are perfect for me.

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Hi @Wilburforce – where did you see this automatic 12% ??? I definitely want to opt out on that :slight_smile:

I did select my own weekly and monthly discount % – does that do the job ???

Thanks for the heads-up.

– Lia

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