What To Know About Airbnb's Cancellation Policy Before Your Trip

No one ever wants to be "that person" who cancels their Airbnb reservation. But sometimes, for one reason or another, it's necessary. Maybe you find out the area isn't as nice as you had hoped, your event gets canceled, or another person is joining you and you need a bigger place. Whatever it might be, if you're staying at an Airbnb, you should get acquainted with their cancellation policies.

Further to that, sometimes your Airbnb host might cancel on you (for reasons you might deem justifiable or not). In these cases, you definitely don't want to get stuck with the short end of the stick by not knowing your rights as an Airbnb guest. You could lose out not just on your hard-earned money but on booking a new place comparable to what you had before.

Rather than dryly recount Airbnb's cancellation policies, we'll give you some real-life examples of cancellations that may help you better understand when and how policies come into play. Hopefully, this will help you avoid unsatisfactory experiences of your own.

You might get the final word

When it comes to cancellation policies with Airbnb, things may not always be set in stone. After all, this is a customer service business run by real people, not corporations. Let's head to Reddit to see what users there have to say.

One user (now showing as deleted) asked r/AirBnB what to do when one comes up against a strict cancellation policy. They booked an Airbnb for Christmas with their partner, but unfortunately, they separated. While we wish life were a Hallmark movie and they went on the trip anyways to recoup their losses and rekindle their romance, instead, the user canceled their Airbnb. Only then did they realize that only 50% of the booking was refundable, leaving them on the hook for over $500.

The user then went to Airbnb to have them reach out to the hosts to reconsider their strict cancellation policy, to no avail. User u/rockets-and-robots, an Airbnb host, says this may not have been the best approach. Hosts might set a strict cancellation to prevent Airbnb from just handing out a refund without consulting the host first. Going to Airbnb for a refund might be seen as going over their heads and could be off-putting to hosts. Instead, users in the thread suggest the original poster (OP) should reach out directly to the host to explain what happened and ask for a refund that way.

What you can do when a host cancels on you

While dealing directly with actual human beings instead of corporate drones or chatbots has its pluses, hosts can still cancel on you pretty much at any time for almost any reason. Though this is not without consequences for them and you. If your Airbnb cancels last minute, they may receive a small fine, and the dates of the canceled reservation may be blocked from rebooking. Additionally, if they cancel more than three bookings a year, they will receive an account suspension. While this may give jilted guests some sense of justice, this really means very little.

Reddit user u/hoylaronee was faced with rebooking a stay at the last minute, and user u/HumanChess111 suggested the OP contact Airbnb and explain how the host's actions have inflicted a major inconvenience on them. The latter said that in most cases, Airbnb should provide guests with a small credit that will go towards a new stay. Further, if you're speaking with a real person at Airbnb, you can try to ask for more credit by being very nice and explaining exactly how difficult of a situation this has put you in. In some cases, they may give you more. In the future, you'll want to book with a reputable host.