Opening your home to guests traveling through your area is a great perk of being involved in Airbnb; however, things can get tricky quick when a guest has to cancel or make other arrangements after booking a stay at your room. To help you understand how you can best handle cancellation issues, we’ve put together a list of the three cancellation policies that are approved by Airbnb along with some information about the best ways to implement them into your Airbnb business!
Airbnb understands that issues often arise that force guests to change plans and make cancellations. They also understand how stressful this can be to you as a homeowner. To help both the guests and hosts navigate these situations, they offer three cancellation options. These policies include Flexible, Moderate, and Strict plans. While the Airbnb cancellation policy options are going to vary slightly depending on where your house is located, we’re going to focus on the general rules of the policies. Once you’re done reading this article, you can understand which cancellation plan is right for you.
General Cancellation Rules
Airbnb offers some cancellation rules that are set in stone for all hosts. Every Airbnb cancellation policy guarantees that guests can receive all their Airbnb service fee back if they cancel within two days of booking their stay. Along with receiving those fees, the cleaning costs are also returned. While this is typical for all Airbnb policies, the three different cancellation options make it possible for the refund time to be either longer or shorter. Read about each option below!
Flexible Cancellation Policy
The Flexible policy offers guests the best options if they have to cancel their stay at your vacation home. Flexible cancellations mean that the guest can receive their full refund within twenty-four hours of check-in time. In other words, if someone develops the stomach flu the morning before their vacation, they will still have time to cancel and get all their money returned. Many customers consider this a fantastic option as it allows for problems and last-minute cancellations. If the stay isn’t canceled within twenty-four house before check-in, then guests are billed for the first night of their stay, but will receive a refund on any other days that they had booked. Flexible policies also make it possible for guests to cancel after they have checked in and receive their money back on any remaining nights.
Moderate Cancellation Policy
The Moderate policy works to help guests while still providing some stricter rules that ensure hosts get enough money for their time. Moderate policies require the guests to make a cancellation at least five days before they are supposed to check-in at their room. If guests are unable to cancel in this time frame, then they will still have to pay for the full first night along with half of the remaining time they had booked. Leaving early only gives guests half of their money back as well.
Strict Cancellation Policy
Airbnb offers hosts a strict policy that requires guests to cancel at least fourteen days earlier than check-in to receive their full refund. If they cancel seven days prior to check-in, they receive half of their money back. If they do not cancel a week in advance, they will receive no refund at all. Guests that cancel after check-in also receive no refund. While this option gives guests little wiggle room, it helps hosts by providing assurance that they won’t lose out on money when guests cancel and don’t give them time to rebook.
Super Strict – Another Airbnb Cancellation Policy Option
Although there are only three cancellation policies available to most Airbnb hosts, the Super Strict option is there for hosts who have been involved in the service for a long period of time. Only those who have been invited to be part of this option can join. There are two Super Strict options: Super Strict 30 Days and Super Strict 60 Days.
With the Super Strict 30 Days program, guests have to cancel a full thirty-days in advance if they want to receive their money, and then they only get back fifty-percent of the cost. If they have to cancel after the thirty-day period, they will receive no refund at all.
The Super Strict 60 Days Policy is much the same; however, guests must cancel sixty-days before check-in to get back a fifty-percent refund. Any cancellations after sixty days and the guests receive no refund.
Long Term Cancellations
Airbnb offers special options for reservations that are 28 days or longer. If a guest has booked a room for that long, then they must give their cancellation notice at least thirty-days in advance. If they cancel in that time frame, then they will receive a full refund. If they are unable to cancel thirty-days in advance, then they will have to pay for the first month of their reservation. If guests have to leave early and don’t stay for the duration of their reservation, they will also have to pay for the first month of their reservation, regardless of how soon they leave.
Which Policy is Right for You?
As an Airbnb host, planning for cancellations isn’t your favorite thing. You probably don’t want to even consider the thought of someone backing out on their reservation! Often, cancellations leave hosts with an empty room and no time to find a new guest – this is why it’s wise to choose a cancellation policy that will provide you with enough time to find additional guests and revenue to cover your expenses if you can’t.
Airbnb hosts often start with Flexible cancellations in an attempt to gain first guests and show a willingness to help when needed. As you gain more experience with Airbnb, you can continue to work up with the policies and become stricter as time goes by. Those who have been hosting for long periods of time and have many bookings can feel confident moving on to a Moderate policy.
While the Strict policies offer hosts the most financial security, they can be a huge turn off to guests who are taking the likelihood of cancellations into consideration.
How Much Should I Worry About Cancellations?
As a general rule, Airbnb hosts encounter very few cancellations. This is why Strict policies should usually be avoided – for the most part, they will simply run off guests as you try to protect your finances against problems that are unlikely to arise. Try to go with a cancellation policy that will offer you security without seeming like you are trying to rip off guests!
Airbnb Steps in on Cancellations
Regardless of the policy that you choose, Airbnb is really the one with all the say when it comes to refunds after cancellations. If a guest decides to fight you for a refund, Airbnb will be the one to determine who wins the scuffle.
Airbnb also offers some refund options that can override your specific cancellation policy. If guests are unable to get in the house because you didn’t provide them with the right keys or security code, if your property does not stand up to the listing that you provided, or if your accommodations provide health risks, then Airbnb may rule against you in favor of the guest.
Being a host with Airbnb is a great opportunity to meet new people, provide individuals with a fantastic place to stay, and generate additional income. Use the information listed above to help you select the right cancellation policy to put your mind at rest and provide your guests with options if they have to change their plans.