When cancelling isn't cancelling but it should be

I’m a Superhost, I’ve enjoyed that. I accept minimum 2-night bookings and run a moderate cancellation policy.

I had a guest book in for 4 nights with 5 adults. She emailed me before arriving with concerns there might be bed bugs (there aren’t) - just setting the scene here.

They arrived late and at 1 am she sends me a message (waking me up) to say she is disappointed. I go back to sleep.

In the morning I address her concerns and tell her that I will refund the cancellation fee because I don’t want guests to be unhappy. (PS first time I’ve had anyone do this anyway)

She goes onto airbnb site and amends the booking. I accept it.

But this is when I think the AirBnb system has it wrong:

  1. On the basis that I only accept 2-night bookings - there should be some kind of flag here that a guest should have to pay a minimum of 2 nights.
  2. On the basis that I have a moderate cancellation policy - this should still be imposed even if I accept the alteration.
  3. If I decide to refund the cancellation that should be up to me not that a guest has chosen to click the alteration button instead of the cancel button.

To add insult to injury this (stupid, annoying) guest left 3 x 3 stars on her review bringing my perfect 5* to 4.9* in one fell swoop.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts. There has been no joy speaking to the help desk.

If you didn’t accept the alteration it would stand as a cancellation. I learned the hard way on this one a couple years ago. Agree about the 2 night minimum cancellation thing too but that’s not how they do it if the guest CANCELS before check-in. Technically it works that way if they already checked in because that night plus 24 hours is supposed to not be refunded.

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In the end I don’t think it matters much. If the guest was unhappy (and she clearly planned to be before she arrived) she would find a way to get a refund anyway. I think if a guest said the word bedbug to me in advance I’d just go ahead and cancel saying I’m not comfortable with them.


I was thinking that as I read the OP. I would have actually been quite affronted and probably let her know that I was. Okay, I know that bedbugs travel ‘to the best of places’ but I’d strongly resent the implication that I’d allow guests to stay in a place that I knew had bedbugs.


Not being critical…you accepted the alteration and at the time the price you would received was indicated. In cases like this I would have initiated the alteration myself and then adjust the rate showing the 2 night minimum requirement. I would then send a message to the guest stating that you have a 2 night minimum and you are alternating the reservation but they would still be responsible for the 2 nights rate.


I think that is fantastic advice and I’ll remember it for the next time (I hope there is never a next time).

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Or just cancel everything but the 2 night minimum…ie…4 night stay they want to cxl after the first night…you put through a alteration for 2 night stay and refund the last 2 along with a message.


A message can make them understand better.