The Airbnb cancellation policy is quite different from the ones that are followed by hotels. So it is important that you as a host or even as a guest are familiar with these policies.
Canceled booking is the worst nightmare for a host. Not only is refunding a tiresome process, but hoping for another guest to fill in that slot is even more worrying. Sometimes, that cancellation will leave a two-night gap in your packed calendar and it might not fit in with the requirements of any potential guests who come across your property. In most cases, you simply have to deal with the loss of business for the canceled nights. Especially in the low season, cancellations are very annoying as you barely fill a booking. Just like you get last-minute bookings which prove to be profitable, you can encounter last-minute cancellations as well which are bad for business.
Take a look at the Airbnb cancellation policy and the other rules regarding cancellation so that you can take appropriate measures to turn a cancellation to your favor.
Airbnb Cancellation Policy
Airbnb offers three options for you to choose from regarding the cancellation for your listing. You will be required to choose this option while you are creating your listing. Each of the following settings is different in terms of refund and number of days before check-in. Remember that the check-in time is calculated according to the local time of the rental.
- Full refund if canceled within 48 hours post-booking and 14 days prior to the check-in time.
- 50% refund if canceled post 48 hours of booking regardless of the number of days for check-in.
- 50% refund if canceled post 48 hours of booking and one week prior to the check-in time.
- No refund if canceled in less than 7 days of the check-in.
- Full refund if canceled at least 5 days prior to the check-in date.
- If canceled in less than 5 days to the check-in date, then the guest will be charged for the first night and only 50% of the remaining nights will be refunded.
- If canceled after check-in, a 50% refund on the nights that are canceled will be given and for all the nights stayed, the guest will have to pay the due fee.
- This option is quite harsh on the hosts and not many prefer this.
- If canceled at least two weeks before check-in, a full refund must be given.
- A full refund will not be applicable if canceled in less than 24 hours of check-in.
- In that case, the fee for the first night will be collected and the rest of the nights will be refunded in full.
- If canceled post-check-in or midway through the stay, then the nights that will not be stayed, will be refunded fully.
Super Strict 30 Days
- Available only to selected hosts by invitation.
- If canceled before 30 days of check-in, a 50% refund is given.
- No refund is given if the host or guest cancels in less than 30 days to check-in.
Super Strict 60 Days
- Available only to selected hosts by invitation.
- If canceled before 60 days of check-in, a 50% refund is given.
- No refund if canceled in less than 60 days to check-in.
The Strict 60 and 30 are only applicable in specific situations and are the rarest forms of cancellation policies that hosts use.
Long Term Stay Cancellation
Sometimes, guests tend to book Airbnbs for a long period of time, sometimes even for several months. In case of any booking that is more than 28 nights, a full refund is applicable only if the guest cancels at least 30 days prior to the check-in date. If it is canceled in less than 30 days, then fees for the first month of the stay must be paid. If it is canceled during the course of stay, then fees for either the rest of the booking or for 30 more nights must be paid by the guest.
Which Airbnb Cancellation Policy Must You Choose?
If you have read through all these policies, you can make out that the best one for you is the strict Airbnb cancellation policy and the best one for guests is the flexible one. The strict Airbnb cancellation policy will benefit you as you will lose only a small portion of the revenue you were hoping to gain. But as a guest, would you opt for a rental with a strict Airbnb cancellation policy? No, you won’t.
The simple answer is that travel plans, no matter how thoroughly they are designed always have a possibility to change. A sudden inevitable event might come up and the guest will have no choice but to cancel. Or sometimes, guests will want to book a stay in advance, ‘just in case’ they decide to come. In situations like this, while choosing a stay, guests will look for cancellation policies that are quite lenient on them.
Especially if you are a new host, it is recommended that you opt for a flexible Airbnb cancellation policy and if you are a Superhost or a seasoned host, you can opt for the moderate one. If you have multiple properties and your Airbnb business is booming, you can always go ahead and choose the strict Airbnb cancellation policy. Also, in case you have multiple listings, you can select a few properties that perform really well and use the strict Airbnb cancellation policy for those alone. As you can see, your property’s performance also plays a role in determining the kind of Airbnb cancellation policy you must choose.
If your property is placed at a great location and experiences demand throughout the year, you can opt for strict or moderate policies. You will have the added advantage of getting a partial payment as well as a new booking. Sometimes, guests who really want to stay at your place would have messaged you to inform them in case of cancellations. This will really be beneficial to you. But to be on the safer side, it is best to opt for a moderate Airbnb cancellation policy as it is a win-win situation for the guests and the hosts.
When Does Airbnb Cancel A Booking?
You might not be aware of this, but in some specific situations, Airbnb has the power to intervene and cancel your booking. This usually happens due to a failure of communication between the guest and the host. If you are unreachable to answer your guest’s queries regarding the location of the property, Airbnb can cancel the booking.
Please note that if Airbnb cancels a booking your Airbnb cancellation policy will not be applicable. Sometimes, Airbnb offers a refund on your behalf to the guests.
- In case of any difficulty in reaching the location of the property or if the guest is not able to check-in to the property due to the absence of a property manager or inaccurate security code, Airbnb can cancel the booking.
- If the property is not according to the photographs in the listing or there are any amenities that were listed but are not present, then Airbnb can cancel the booking. In this case, Airbnb might most likely ban you from the platform as you have breached the Airbnb Content Policy. Even if you do not provide the number of beds as you have mentioned in the listing, Airbnb can cancel.
- If the property is found to be shabby, unhygienic or proves to be hazardous, then Airbnb can cancel the booking.
- If the property is situated at a dangerous location, for example, the area is often visited by wild animals or is a landslide-prone area, then Airbnb might cancel the booking.
What To Do In Complex Situations?
Sometimes, the hosts and guests are unable to solve the problem and reach an understanding by themselves. In such situations, the Airbnb Resolution Centre comes into the scene. They hear the sides of both the hosts and guests to arrive at a fair decision.
If the guest wants to cancel, it is best to reach out to the resolution team at the earliest. You can report the incident beforehand to avoid any misinformation from the guest. Also, they might ask you to offer a refund that is higher than what your Airbnb cancellation policy states and you can try reasoning out for the actual refund and if it does not work, you will have to comply with their orders. Remember that any failure on your part to refund the said amount can ban your business from Airbnb.
If a situation arises when you are forced to cancel a booking, due to a personal emergency or serious issue with the property, you can reach out to the resolution team. Sometimes, you will be asked to pay a fine of $100 or $50 depending on the reservation and number of days; you will also get a negative review on your listing. But in truly genuine and inevitable cases, the resolution team will make sure there is no fine or negative review.
Thus we can summarise that it is best for new hosts to choose for flexible Airbnb cancellation Policy as they are new on the platform and the main aim is to seek more bookings. For established hosts any of the other two options are good and for hosts whose properties perform above average, strict Airbnb cancellation policy is the best choice. However, in case of truly unavoidable cancellations, it is best to be fair on your guests. For example, in case of a natural calamity or a global pandemic like the COVID-19 situation, you need to be humane and offer a refund either in full or partial, in spite of whatever policy you have in place.