Red Flags

Decline or cancel guests who are argumentative or have weird behavior during the booking process. It can only lead to trouble.

Your sanity has a value and in the end, these potential guests could make life miserable. These are the types of guests that complain so much that you end up giving them a big/full refund for fear of a bad review.

Let me give you one example. I had a guest who booked 2 months ahead of his stay and after 1 month, demanded a full refund even though I have a strict cancellation policy. A strict policy with Airbnb means that the guest has 48 hours to cancel after first booking to get a full refund or they can cancel up until 7 days prior to their stay with a 50% penalty. I informed him that it is spelled out in our listing and the strict policy is very well highlighted by Airbnb. This guest was in the 50% range and kept the badgering up so since he caught me in a ‘nice’ mood and I said – go ahead and YOU call Airbnb and let them know I approve the cancellation and am willing to forgo the strict policy. He then said that they would in fact keep the reservation and I said that was fine and glad it was working out.

Well, not so fast – a few days before his stay, I reached out with my customary communication to find out what time they are due to arrive and also informed him about the extra fees that Airbnb does not collect via the app (pool heat and transient tax) but we in Palm Springs need to collect outside the Airbnb transaction – this is all very clearly spelled out in our listing and is also in our automated communication that goes to the guest right after they book. He was arguing about both fees and that in all his previous bookings, he did not need to pay these.

Interesting…”in all his previous bookings”. I dug a little as saw that his account was a very, very new one and looks like he opened it right before he booked and there were no other reviews. Hmmmm, he either was kicked off the app and re-applied for a new account or he was lying about using Airbnb. Long story short, I was able to cancel him due to my being ‘uncomfortable’ with this guest. Case closed. I lost that income but I saved headaches of constant complaining and the threat of a bad review. Even if the guest would have been unproblematic, I was not willing to take the risk based on all the behavior prior to his stay. Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid cancel a guest who is trouble before they even set foot in the door. Footnote – these types of cancellations at my request happen less than 1% of the time but all it takes is one bad review to ruin your business.

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