How Does the Airbnb Cancellation Policy Work?

Here is a brief overview of the terms of three standardized cancellation policies along with some important factors to consider to help you choose the right options for your Airbnb business!
Airbnb cancellation policy tips for hosts

Airbnb gives a lot of flexibility when it comes to cancellation policies by allowing hosts to choose among three standardized cancellation policies. These options are Flexible, Moderate, and Strict and are designed to protect both hosts and guests.

Although the exact terms of Airbnb cancellation policy options can vary depending on your location, there are some general terms that they all have in common. Here is a brief overview of the terms of each of these cancellation policies along with some important factors to consider to help you choose the right options for your Airbnb business.

An Overview of Airbnb Cancellation Policy Terms

Under every Airbnb cancellation policy, a guest can receive a full refund of the Airbnb service fee within 48 hours of booking. The cleaning fees will also be refunded when the accommodation fees are refunded.

However, the main differences between each cancellation policy are when the guest is required to cancel in order to receive a refund and the amounts of the refunds.

Flexible

This option is the most lenient option for hosts. Under the Flexible cancellation policy, a guest is permitted to request a full refund within a limited period. In order to receive a full refund of the accommodation fees, the guest must request a cancellation at least 24 hours before the listing’s local check-in time.

If the cancellation is made less than 24 hours before the check-in is supposed to take place, the first night of the stay won’t be refunded. However, the guest will receive a refund for any remaining days.

If the guests decide to cancel the accommodation after check-in, a full refund will be given for any remaining nights in the booking.

Airbnb cancellation policy overview

Moderate

The Moderate cancellation policy is slightly stricter but still leaves guests with a way to get a refund. Under the Moderate cancellation policy, the guest must cancel at least 5 days prior to check-in for a full refund of the accommodation fees.

If a guest cancels within 5 days of the check-in date, then the first night of the booking will not be refunded and only 50% of the accommodation fees for the rest of the booking will then be refunded. If the guest decides to cancel after check-in then 50% of the accommodation fees for any unspent nights are refundable. However, any nights spent will not be refunded.

Strict

This option is only available to seasoned Airbnb hosts. New Airbnb listings are not permitted to use the Strict cancellation policy. For the Strict version of the Airbnb cancellation policy, a guest can receive a full refund of the accommodation fees if they cancel the booking at least 14 days prior to the check-in time for the booking.

However, a guest will only receive a 50% refund of the accommodation fees if the cancellation is made at least 7 days prior to the check-in time for the booking. If this is not done then no refund will be given at all. Finally, there is no refund given all at if a guest decides to cancel after check-in.

Super Strict 30 Days*

Under the Super Strict 30 Days Airbnb cancellation policy, a 50% refund is given if the guest makes sure to cancel the booking at least 30 days before check-in. If the Airbnb guest decides to cancel when there are less than 30 days left until check-in or after check-in, the accommodation fees will not be returned at all.

Super Strict 60 Days*

The Super Strict 60 Days Airbnb cancellation policy works roughly the same as the Super Strict 30 Days cancellation policy. The only difference is that the guest must cancel the booking at least 60 days prior to check-in in order to receive a 50% refund on the accommodation fees.

If the Airbnb guest decides to cancel when there are less than 60 days left until check-in or after check-in, no refund will be given at all.

*Both the Super Strict 30 Days and Super Strict 60 Days are applied to special circumstances and are by invitation only.

Long Term

The Long-Term Airbnb cancellation policy is applied to all reservations that are 28 nights or longer. Guests are required to give 30 days notice of cancellation in order to receive a full refund. If the guest cancels within 30 days of the check-in date, then the first month of the reservation is paid to the host.

Additionally, if the guests decide to leave during the stay, the guest is required to pay for 30 days following the date of the cancellation or up to the end date of the original booking.

Choosing the Right Airbnb Cancellation Policy for Your Listing

Airbnb cancellation policy review

 

Cancellations are never fun for hosts. They can leave you very little time to find a replacement guest or even lost revenue. Therefore, you need to choose your Airbnb cancellation policy carefully if you want to maximize your bookings from Airbnb business while lowering your risk of a dispute that requires intervention from Airbnb’s staff. Depending on your Airbnb management specifics you might opt for different cancellation policy.

For new hosts, it’s generally recommended that you select the Flexible cancellation policy. This shows that you are willing to accommodate the needs of your guests, which can earn you more bookings. If you are a Superhost or have many bookings under your belt, the Moderate cancellation policy might be the best option for you. A Moderate cancellation policy gives a higher chance of you only attracting serious guests who are very unlikely to cancel.

Regarding the Strict cancellation policy, some hosts advise against using it because your guests won’t get a full refund no matter how long in advance they notify you of the cancellation. This may deter people from booking altogether since they know that even a hotel would never have such a policy and most other Superhosts don’t have Strict cancellation policies.

It’s important to that you also understand that cancellations are pretty rare. Therefore, you shouldn’t run your Airbnb business with the constant worry that guests are going to cancel on you. Instead, choose the policy option that makes you feel most comfortable.

The Airbnb Guest Refund Policy and Cancellations

At the end of the day, it’s also important to remember that Airbnb always has the final say when it comes to refunds. If you are unable to resolve a dispute with a guest, Airbnb may decide the outcome on your behalf.

As a result, you should also be aware of the Airbnb Guest Refund Policy which may supersede your Airbnb cancellation policy under certain circumstances.

These conditions are related to Travel Issues that the guest might have including:

  1. Inability to access the accommodation. The guest is unable to access the accommodation because the host did not provide the proper keys or security code.
  2. Inaccurate listing details. The listing did not accurately describe or depict the accommodation with regard to size, type of accommodation or other amenities.
  3. Health and safety concerns. The accommodation has not been properly cleaned or contains safety or health hazards.

If Airbnb determines that the guest did suffer a Travel Issue, then Airbnb will refund the guest on your behalf.

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