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Airbnb Cancellation Policies | The Ultimate Guide

Airbnb Cancellation Policies | The Ultimate Guide

Airbnb's Cancellation Policies are there to make sure both guests and hosts are taken care of. Let's dive into how each policy works and what your vacation rental business should do when dealing with cancellations. These are the important details you should be aware of.

What is Airbnb Cancellation Policy?

The Airbnb cancellation policy is a set of guidelines that ensure fairness and clarity for both guests and hosts. It's there to define what happens when a reservation needs to be canceled, and it comes in a few different types, each with its own set of rules.

So, how does it work exactly? Well, Airbnb offers three main types of cancellation policies: Flexible, Moderate, and Strict (exact terms also depend on the host's location). Each of these policies comes with different rules about when guests can cancel, how much they can get refunded, and how far in advance they need to cancel to be eligible for a refund.

Airbnb Cancellation Options

Let's examine the different types of cancellation policies on the Airbnb platform.

Flexible policy

Airbnb's flexible cancellation policy is the most laid-back option for guests. Guests get a full refund if they cancel at least 24 hours before check-in. If they cancel later, you'll be paid for all nights booked, plus one extra night.

Something to keep in mind is that Airbnb's search algorithms tend to favor listings with a flexible policy. This means you have a better chance of getting more bookings and keeping your rental calendar consistently booked.

The downside though, is hosts who opt for the flexible policy aren't as shielded from cancellations, which means you might risk losing out on revenue because you're the one taking on all the cancellation risk.

Moderate policy

Airbnb's moderate cancellation policy happens to be the most popular choice among hosts and guests alike. It strikes a balance between flexibility and protection.

With the moderate policy, hosts are less vulnerable to last-minute cancellations. Since, even though guests can cancel and receive a full refund until five days before check-in. If they cancel later, you'll be paid for all nights they stay, plus an extra night, and 50% of any unused nights.

Strict policy

This one is well, quite strict. It offers guests less flexibility but gives hosts greater protection.

Under the strict policy, guests can secure a full refund if they cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 14 days before the specified check-in time.

However, if a cancellation occurs within 48 hours the guest is only entitled to a 50% refund, regardless of how far off the check-in date is.

If a cancellation takes place at least seven days before the booking date, the guest can still get a 50% refund, along with a refund of the cleaning fee, though the service fee remains non-refundable.

However, no refunds are given if cancellations are within seven days of the arrival date.

Long-term policy

Airbnb’s long-term cancellation policy, aimed at stays of 28 nights or more, has its own set of rules, a bit different from those for shorter stays.

Guests need to cancel a full 30 days before their stay to get their money back, but they won't get the first month's fee back.

And if they decide to leave early? They'll have to pay for 30 days after they say they're leaving, or until what would have been the end of their stay, whichever comes first.

For hosts, this is kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, if a guest cancels less than 30 days before they're supposed to arrive, you're covered for a month's payment. That's some nice financial cushioning.

But on the flip side, hosting long-term can mean you might have to lower your prices to stay competitive, plus there’s more wear and tear on your place and a higher chance of running into issues with guests staying longer. It's all about balancing that steady income with the potential ups and downs of long-term renting.

Airbnb Extenuating Circumstances Policy: What it Means for the Cancellation Policy

Airbnb has been actively adapting its Extenuating Circumstances policy since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Policy exclusions:

  • Flight cancellations or delays.
  • Expected seasonal weather conditions.
  • Sudden personal illness or injury.
  • Rescheduled or delayed personal engagements and appointments.

Policy inclusions:

  • Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis).
  • Emergencies, epidemics, and pandemics declared by the government.
  • Government-imposed travel restrictions or prohibitions.
  • Conflicts involving armed forces and other hostilities.

Choose an Airbnb Cancellation Policy That Works for Your Listing

Dealing with cancellations is not very pleasant as it leaves you very little time to find a replacement guest or lost revenue. Choosing what works best for your listing will maximize your bookings and your ranking.

Airbnb Host Cancellation Policy

As part of Airbnb's commitment to providing a pleasant experience for guests, the company strives to minimize host cancellations. There are, however, some circumstances in which you, as a host, might have no choice but to cancel a booking.

Remember that depending on the timing and number of cancellations you have made recently, Airbnb will charge you a fee if you cancel a booking.

  • Airbnb will deduct $50 from your next payout if you cancel a booking over seven days before the guest's check-in.
  • You'll have to pay $100 to Airbnb if you cancel less than seven days before check-in.
  • Once you have made at least ten consecutive bookings without canceling, you will not be charged a cancellation fee
  • The corresponding days in your calendar will remain blocked if you cancel a reservation.
  • Airbnb will notify other users that you have canceled a reservation if you cancel before the check-in day. Although you cannot remove this review, you can write a response and explain your side of the story.

A cancellation without penalty may be approved by Airbnb if you can prove that you are unable to complete the booking due to extenuating circumstances.

The following are examples of such circumstances:

  • Unexpected changes to government travel requirements.
  • Emergency situations, epidemics, and pandemics deemed by the government.
  • Governing agencies that prohibit or limit travel to or from a listing's location (this excludes travel advisory warnings).
  • Military action or other hostilities.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Unauthorized parties or events

Booking reservations must be canceled on time to give guests enough time to adjust their plans, should you be unable to meet them. If you wish to cancel the reservation within 24 hours of the check-in time, you must contact Airbnb directly and will not be able to cancel online.

Airbnb Guest Refund Policy and Cancellations

There is a direct correlation between Airbnb cancellation and refund policies. There are specific instances or problems for which guests are eligible to receive a refund under Airbnb's policy. Guests may be eligible for Airbnb refunds in the following situations:

Accommodations not accessible

In the event that a host cancels the booking within 24 hours of check-in, changes the reservation details without the guest's consent, or fails to provide the keys or access code for check-in.

Inaccurate listing information

If the listing description contained inaccurate or incomplete information. Various factors, such as the property's size, location, number of bedrooms, and amenities, might influence this. A broken or malfunctioning appliance could also be listed as an issue.

Issues related to the health and safety of guests

If the host hasn't cleaned the accommodation or disclosed the presence of pets or animals, or the accommodation contains health or safety hazards.

  • Guests need to notify Airbnb within 24 hours if they experience any of these issues. The final decision regarding the guest's refund or accommodation will be made by Airbnb.

  • In addition to photos, videos, and other documentation, guests must provide proof of their claim. The applicants must also show that they made attempts to directly contact and resolve the matter with the host. Following that, Airbnb will investigate the claim and contact the guest with a resolution befitting the situation.

Choose the Cancellation Policy That’s Best for You

Airbnb's Cancellation Policies offer a balanced approach to address guests' and hosts' needs and concerns. Whether it's the flexible, moderate, strict, or long-term policy, each one is tailored to different situations, providing clarity and fairness in handling cancellations.

Remember, selecting the right policy for your listing is key to maximizing bookings and ensuring a smooth hosting experience. As a host, it's important to stay informed about these policies, understand the nuances of the extenuating circumstances policy, and be mindful of the implications of host cancellations.

Ultimately, these policie sare designed to foster trust and reliability within the Airbnb community, ensuring that both guests and hosts can look forward to a positive and rewarding experience.

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