How do I handle AirBnB guest cancellations and refunds?

AirBnB guest cancellations and refunds

Handling guest cancellations and refunds for a short-stay rental property requires clear policies and effective communication. Here are some steps to consider.

Establish a cancellation policy

Define your cancellation policy and clearly communicate it to guests before they book. Common cancellation policies include flexible, moderate and strict rules that determine the refund amount based on the timing of the cancellation in relation to the reservation date. Make sure your cancellation policy meets your business needs and provides clarity for guests.

Communicate the cancellation policy upfront

Include your cancellation policy in your property listing, on your booking platform and in any pre-booking communication with guests. This will help guests understand the terms and conditions before they book.

Handle cancellations promptly

If a guest wishes to cancel a booking, respond promptly and professionally. Review your cancellation policy and inform the guest of the applicable refund amount based on the time of cancellation. Clearly explain any fees or deductions that may apply.

Offer alternatives, if possible

If you have availability and the guest has to cancel, consider offering alternative dates or options to reschedule their stay. This can help maintain goodwill and potentially minimise the impact on your booking calendar.

Refund processing

If a refund is due based on your cancellation policy, process it in a timely manner. Depending on your booking platform or payment gateway, you may be able to initiate refunds directly through the platform or manually process them through the chosen payment method.

Keep records and documentation

Keep records of all communications with guests regarding cancellations and refunds. This includes email exchanges, messages through the booking platform and any changes or agreements made during the process. These records can be helpful in the event of a dispute or if you need to refer back to the details of the cancellation.

Consider extenuating circumstances

In some cases, unforeseen circumstances may lead to guest cancellations that are beyond yours or their control. Review your booking platform’s extenuating circumstances policy and consider whether a refund or alternative solution is appropriate in such situations.

Review your cancellation policy periodically

Regularly review your cancellation policy to ensure it is in line with industry standards and meets your business needs. If necessary, make updates or adjustments based on guest feedback or changing circumstances.

Transparent Communication

Remember to maintain open and transparent communication with guests throughout the cancellation and refund process. Clear and consistent policies, along with effective communication, can help manage guest expectations and maintain positive relationships even in the event of cancellations.

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