How Can You Deal With Guest Cancellations or Changes on Airbnb?

Are you wondering how you can deal with guest cancellations or changes on Airbnb? Handling booking alterations can be a challenging situation that hosts may encounter. When a guest cancels or requests modifications to their reservation, it can impact your schedule and potential earnings.

Understanding how to navigate these situations effectively is crucial for managing your Airbnb property successfully.

The Airbnb Help Center provides detailed information on cancellation policies and procedures. In case a guest cancels a booking, you will want to assess your cancellation policy to determine if the guest is entitled to a refund.

Different cancellation policies offer varying levels of flexibility, such as a full refund if the cancellation occurs within a certain time before the check-in date.

Communication with the guest is key when addressing cancellations or changes. Promptly respond to their request and provide assistance in processing the cancellation or modifying the reservation. Keep in mind the time and date you cancel can impact the payout you receive from Airbnb.

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By staying informed about Airbnb’s policies and effectively communicating with guests, you can navigate guest cancellations or changes with greater ease.

It is essential to be proactive and adaptable in managing these situations to ensure a positive hosting experience.


Understanding Airbnb Guest Cancellation Policies

As an Airbnb host, understanding the different guest cancellation policies is crucial for managing your bookings and revenue. Airbnb offers several cancellation policies that hosts can choose from, each with its own set of rules and implications for both guests and hosts. Here’s a breakdown of the main types of cancellation policies available on Airbnb:

1. Flexible

  • Full Refund: Guests can cancel up to 24 hours before check-in for a full refund.
  • First Night Charge: If they cancel less than 24 hours before check-in, the first night is non-refundable, and 50% of the cost for the remaining nights will be refunded.

Pros for Hosts: Encourages more bookings due to the flexibility. Cons for Hosts: Higher likelihood of last-minute cancellations.

2. Moderate

  • Full Refund: Guests can cancel up to 5 days before check-in for a full refund.
  • First Night Charge: If they cancel less than 5 days before check-in, the first night is non-refundable, and 50% of the cost for the remaining nights will be refunded.

Pros for Hosts: Balances between flexibility for guests and protection against last-minute cancellations. Cons for Hosts: Some risk of late cancellations.

3. Strict

  • Full Refund: Guests can cancel up to 14 days before check-in for a full refund.
  • 50% Refund: If they cancel between 7 and 14 days before check-in, they get a 50% refund.
  • No Refund: If they cancel less than 7 days before check-in, they are not eligible for a refund.

Pros for Hosts: Provides more security and stability for booking income. Cons for Hosts: May deter some guests due to less flexibility.

4. Long-Term

  • First Month Non-Refundable: Guests can cancel before check-in, but the first month is non-refundable if the booking is 28 nights or longer.
  • 30-Day Notice: If guests give notice during their stay, they are responsible for the cost of the 30 days following their notice, or up to the end of their reservation if fewer than 30 days remain.

Pros for Hosts: Ideal for securing long-term stays. Cons for Hosts: Potential for longer-term financial commitments from guests.

5. Super Strict 30 Days

  • 50% Refund: Guests can cancel up to 30 days before check-in for a 50% refund.
  • No Refund: If they cancel within 30 days of check-in, they are not eligible for a refund.

Pros for Hosts: Provides strong financial security for bookings. Cons for Hosts: Limited to specific, high-demand properties approved by Airbnb.

6. Super Strict 60 Days

  • 50% Refund: Guests can cancel up to 60 days before check-in for a 50% refund.
  • No Refund: If they cancel within 60 days of check-in, they are not eligible for a refund.

Pros for Hosts: Offers maximum security against cancellations. Cons for Hosts: Restricted to a small number of properties and scenarios.

Choosing the Right Policy

Selecting the right cancellation policy depends on several factors:

  • Demand: High-demand locations can often sustain stricter policies.
  • Booking Window: Shorter booking windows might benefit from more flexible policies.
  • Property Type: Luxury or unique properties might justify stricter policies.
  • Your Risk Tolerance: Consider how much financial risk you can tolerate from potential cancellations.

Customizing Your Approach

  • Seasonality: Adjust your policy based on peak and off-peak seasons.
  • Guest Profile: Repeat guests or longer-term bookings might merit more flexibility.


Ensure clear communication of your cancellation policy on your listing page and in your pre-booking messages. Transparency helps manage guest expectations and reduces disputes.

By carefully choosing and communicating your cancellation policy, you can strike a balance between attracting bookings and securing your income as an Airbnb host.


How Strict is Airbnb Cancellation Policy for Guests?

As an Airbnb host, it’s crucial to strike a balance between flexibility and protection for both yourself and your guests. One of the key aspects that both hosts and guests need to consider is Airbnb’s cancellation policy. Let’s delve into how strict Airbnb’s cancellation policy can be for guests.

  1. Flexible vs. Strict Policies: Airbnb offers hosts the option to choose between different cancellation policies: Flexible, Moderate, Strict, and Super Strict. Each policy comes with its own set of rules regarding cancellations and refunds.
  2. Strict Policy Overview: Under the Strict cancellation policy, guests can receive a full refund (minus Airbnb service fees) if they cancel at least 48 hours before the check-in time. However, if they cancel less than 48 hours before check-in, they’re only entitled to a 50% refund of the accommodation fees for the nights they’ve canceled.
  3. Special Circumstances: Airbnb may allow guests to cancel penalty-free under certain extenuating circumstances, such as unexpected illness or natural disasters. In such cases, guests may be eligible for a full refund regardless of the host’s cancellation policy.
  4. Host’s Perspective: From my standpoint as a host, while the Strict policy may seem stringent, it offers a level of security and predictability. It ensures that guests who book my space are committed to their reservation, reducing the likelihood of last-minute cancellations that could leave me with empty nights.
  5. Clear Communication: It’s essential to communicate your chosen cancellation policy clearly to potential guests before they book. This transparency helps manage expectations and avoids misunderstandings later on.
  6. Flexibility as a Selling Point: While some hosts opt for stricter policies to safeguard their income, others may choose more flexible options to attract guests who prioritize flexibility and freedom to change plans.
  7. Finding the Right Balance: As a host, finding the right balance between protecting your income and accommodating guests’ needs is crucial. Consider factors such as your property’s demand, local regulations, and your personal hosting goals when selecting a cancellation policy.

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While Airbnb’s Strict cancellation policy may seem unforgiving to guests, it serves as a protective measure for hosts. Understanding the nuances of Airbnb’s cancellation policies empowers both hosts and guests to make informed decisions and ensures a smoother booking experience for all parties involved.

guest wants to cancel airbnb

Does Airbnb Penalize Guests for Cancelling?

As an Airbnb host, understanding the platform’s policies regarding guest cancellations is essential for managing your property effectively and ensuring a positive experience for both you and your guests. One common question hosts often have is whether Airbnb penalizes guests for cancelling their reservations.

  1. Cancellation Policies: Airbnb offers hosts the flexibility to choose from various cancellation policies—Flexible, Moderate, Strict, and Super Strict. These policies outline the rules and potential penalties for guests who cancel their reservations.
  2. Penalties for Guests: While Airbnb does not impose direct penalties on guests for cancelling their reservations, the chosen cancellation policy dictates the refund amount guests are entitled to upon cancellation. For example:
    • Under a Strict cancellation policy, guests may receive a full refund (minus service fees) if they cancel at least 48 hours before check-in. However, cancelling less than 48 hours before check-in may result in a 50% refund of the accommodation fees for the nights cancelled.
    • With a Flexible cancellation policy, guests can receive a full refund if they cancel at least 24 hours before check-in.
  3. Extenuating Circumstances: Airbnb recognizes that unforeseen circumstances may arise, leading guests to cancel their reservations. In such cases, Airbnb’s Extenuating Circumstances Policy may come into effect, allowing guests to cancel penalty-free and receive a full refund, regardless of the host’s chosen cancellation policy. These circumstances may include emergencies, unexpected illness, or travel restrictions.
  4. Impact on Hosts: While guest cancellations can be disappointing for hosts, particularly if they occur close to the check-in date, Airbnb’s policies aim to strike a balance between protecting guests and hosts’ interests. Hosts can mitigate the impact of cancellations by implementing a cancellation policy that aligns with their preferences and risk tolerance.
  5. Managing Guest Expectations: Clear communication of the chosen cancellation policy is crucial for managing guest expectations and minimizing misunderstandings. By providing transparent information about the cancellation policy during the booking process, hosts can ensure that guests understand the potential implications of cancelling their reservation.
  6. Building Trust and Flexibility: While hosts may prefer stricter cancellation policies to minimize the risk of last-minute cancellations, offering flexibility to guests can also foster trust and positive guest experiences. Finding the right balance between protecting your business interests and accommodating guests’ needs is key to maintaining a successful hosting experience on Airbnb.

While Airbnb does not penalize guests directly for cancelling their reservations, the chosen cancellation policy determines the refund amount guests are entitled to upon cancellation.

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By understanding Airbnb’s policies and effectively communicating with guests, hosts can navigate guest cancellations and ensure a mutually beneficial hosting experience.


What Happens if a Guest Wants to Cancel Airbnb?

When a guest wants to cancel their Airbnb reservation, several steps occur to manage the cancellation process smoothly:

  1. Cancellation Request: The guest initiates the cancellation process by submitting a cancellation request through the Airbnb platform. They can do this by accessing their booking details and selecting the option to cancel the reservation.
  2. Cancellation Policy: The refund amount the guest is eligible for depends on the host’s chosen cancellation policy and the timing of the cancellation. Airbnb offers different cancellation policies—Flexible, Moderate, Strict, and Super Strict—each with its own rules regarding cancellations and refunds.
  3. Refund Calculation: Upon receiving the cancellation request, Airbnb calculates the refund amount based on the host’s cancellation policy and the timing of the cancellation. Guests may receive a full refund, a partial refund, or no refund, depending on the circumstances.
  4. Communication: Airbnb notifies the host about the cancellation request and any associated refund amounts. Hosts and guests can communicate through the Airbnb messaging system to discuss any concerns or questions related to the cancellation.
  5. Cancellation Confirmation: Once both the guest and the host agree to the cancellation terms, the reservation is officially cancelled. Airbnb updates the booking status accordingly, and the cancellation is reflected in both the guest’s and the host’s account.
  6. Refund Process: If the guest is eligible for a refund, Airbnb processes the refund according to the payment method used for the booking. It may take several days for the refunded amount to appear in the guest’s account, depending on the payment provider.
  7. Rebooking: After cancelling their reservation, guests may choose to rebook another listing or adjust their travel plans accordingly. Hosts can make their property available for new bookings once the cancellation process is complete.

Airbnb aims to facilitate a transparent and fair cancellation process for both guests and hosts, ensuring that cancellations are handled efficiently and in accordance with the established policies.


What to Do if a Guest Wants to Cancel Airbnb?

If a guest wishes to cancel their Airbnb booking, here’s a step-by-step guide to handle the situation effectively:

  • Prompt Response: Respond promptly to the guest’s cancellation request, aiming to address their concerns within 24 hours to avoid penalties and maintain good communication.
  • Notification from Airbnb: Within 24 hours after the guest’s scheduled check-in time, Airbnb will send you a notification regarding the cancellation request. Stay alert for this notification to take appropriate action.
  • Know the Policy: Familiarize yourself with Airbnb’s rebooking and refund policy regarding cancellations. Understand the conditions under which guests are eligible for a refund and any penalties associated with cancellations.
  • Cancellation Timing: Guests won’t receive a refund if they cancel within 72 hours of booking unless the host approves the cancellation. After the 72-hour mark, the host must approve any cancellation requests made by the guest.
  • Cancellation Procedure: The guest must cancel the reservation through the Airbnb platform. Encourage them to follow the cancellation process outlined by Airbnb to ensure a smooth and documented procedure.
  • Open Communication: If a guest needs to cancel due to a change of plans or unforeseen circumstances, encourage them to reach out to you directly. Handle any trip change requests within 24 hours of booking to provide timely assistance.
  • Resolution Center: In case of disputes or unresolved issues, both the guest and host can contact Airbnb’s resolution center for assistance. Be prepared to provide relevant information and cooperate with Airbnb to resolve the matter efficiently.
  • Transparency: Inform guests of any penalties or fees associated with cancellations upfront to manage their expectations. Maintain transparency throughout the cancellation process to build trust and goodwill.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest Airbnb policies and guidelines related to cancellations to better assist guests and provide accurate information.
  • Flexibility: If a guest wants to change their reservation details instead of cancelling outright, be flexible in accommodating their request whenever possible. Work with the guest to find a mutually satisfactory solution.
  • Clear Communication: Ensure clear and open communication with the guest to avoid misunderstandings and provide updates on any changes to the reservation or refund status promptly.

By following these steps and maintaining a positive and helpful attitude, you can navigate guest cancellations on Airbnb efficiently and ensure a smooth experience for all parties involved.


Managing Guest Cancellations Before Check-in

As an Airbnb owner, managing guest cancellations before check-in is a critical aspect of ensuring a smooth and successful hosting experience. First and foremost, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of Airbnb’s cancellation policies and how they apply to your Airbnb listing.

By selecting a cancellation policy that aligns with your preferences and risk tolerance, you can establish expectations for guests regarding refunds and penalties in the event of a cancellation.

Effective communication is key when handling guest cancellations before check-in. Promptly responding to cancellation requests and addressing guest concerns with empathy and professionalism can help minimize any potential friction or misunderstandings.

Providing guests with clear instructions on how to cancel their reservation through the Airbnb platform ensures that the process is documented and transparent for both parties.

In addition to managing individual cancellation requests, proactive measures can be taken to mitigate the impact of cancellations on your hosting business. For example, implementing a dynamic pricing strategy to adjust your listing’s rates based on demand and seasonality can help attract new bookings and mitigate revenue losses from cancellations.

Maintaining a positive attitude and a focus on delivering exceptional hospitality, even in the face of cancellations, can contribute to building a strong reputation as a reliable and accommodating host within the Airbnb community.

airbnb guest cancels last minute

Dealing With Reservation Modifications

Dealing with reservation modifications is a crucial aspect of managing an Airbnb listing, and prompt responsiveness is key. As a host, it’s essential to prioritize communication and aim to reply to any modification or cancellation request promptly.

By being proactive and responsive, you can address your guest’s needs in a timely manner, contributing to a positive experience for both parties.

Upon receiving a reservation change request, Airbnb notifies hosts via email to ensure they’re aware and can respond promptly. This notification serves as a reminder to review the requested modifications and communicate with the guest accordingly.

Adhering to Airbnb’s policies regarding reservation changes and cancellations helps maintain fairness for both hosts and guests, providing clear guidelines for handling last-minute adjustments while upholding the integrity of the booking process.

In the event of a cancellation, hosts should ensure that guests understand the applicable refund policy. By guiding guests through the cancellation process and clarifying any refund implications, hosts can help manage expectations and alleviate any concerns the guest may have.

Additionally, should a host need to cancel a confirmed reservation due to unforeseen circumstances, Airbnb provides assistance to guests in finding alternative accommodations while ensuring they receive the payout owed to them.

Effective communication and collaboration between hosts and guests are essential for navigating unexpected situations and finding mutually beneficial solutions.


Enhancing the Guest Experience With Best Practices for Reservation Changes

Enhancing the Airbnb guest experience involves ensuring flexibility and clear communication regarding reservation changes. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Flexible Cancellation Policy: Offer a flexible cancellation policy to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. This allows guests to modify or cancel their reservation without financial penalty if needed.
  2. Clear Communication: Provide clear and concise information about your reservation policies upfront. This includes details about cancellation fees, refund timelines, and any restrictions on reservation changes.
  3. Instant Booking: Enable Instant Booking to streamline the reservation process for guests. This feature allows guests to book without waiting for host approval, providing convenience and speed.
  4. Prompt Responses: Respond promptly to reservation change requests. Even if you can’t accommodate the change, acknowledging the request promptly shows professionalism and respect for the guest’s time.
  5. Flexible Booking Modifications: Allow guests to modify their reservation dates or details whenever possible. This could include adjusting the length of stay, adding or removing guests, or changing check-in/check-out times.
  6. Personalized Assistance: Offer personalized assistance to guests who need help with reservation changes. This could involve guiding them through the Airbnb platform or providing recommendations for alternative dates or accommodations.
  7. Transparency: Be transparent about any fees associated with reservation changes. Guests appreciate knowing what to expect upfront and won’t be caught off guard by unexpected charges.
  8. Automated Reminders: Send automated reminders to guests about upcoming reservation dates and deadlines for making changes. This helps guests stay informed and encourages timely communication if adjustments are needed.
  9. Flexible Refund Policy: Consider offering partial refunds for reservation changes made within a certain timeframe. This demonstrates flexibility and goodwill towards guests who may need to modify their plans.
  10. Post-Stay Feedback: After guests’ stays, solicit feedback about their experience with reservation changes. This can help identify areas for improvement and show guests that their input is valued.

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By implementing these best practices, you can enhance the Airbnb guest experience and build a positive reputation as a responsive and accommodating host.