My AirBnB host cancelled days before my trip. And AirBnB said….. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I expected more.

I’m trained from years of staying at hotels that a booked room is a booked room. Sure, hotels sometimes oversell. You may be bused to a worse or far away hotel. Things like that happen, but the hotel (or the hotel’s chain) has your back.

But I learned the hard way that AirBnB does no such thing.

I booked a nice duplex in Dusseldorf for next week. I booked it 6 months ago because it will be a tremendously busy week. The host had to cancel for what seem to be reasons beyond her control. Things happen. I get it. I hope everything is OK for her and her family.

But with AirBnB as the facilitator, I expected they would have a mechanism to place me in an equal or greater level of accommodation for the price I paid. After all, there are often harsh penalties for canceling as the guest. These penalties protect the hosts…. but what about the guests?

The actual policy is this: AirBnB will let you rebook an alternate accommodation with the amount you already paid and will cover up to 10% of the difference in price if it costs more. (You get a refund if it is less.)  In my case, the nearest available accommodation was  twice the price.  So AirBnB would have covered about $140 and I’d have had to cover about $1,260!

From the AirBnB website:

If your reservation is canceled by your host you'll have two options:

- Transfer your payment to a new Airbnb reservation
- Get a full refund
Transfer your payment to a new Airbnb reservation

If you choose this option, the money you paid towards your initial reservation is immediately 
available to use towards a new reservation. Once you've found a new place, we'll automatically transfer your original payment to your new reservation request, along with any eligible credit from Airbnb.

Get a full refund

If you don't want to book another place on Airbnb, you can ask for a full refund. To get a refund:
  1. Log in to your Airbnb account from a computer
  2. Go to Your Trips
  3. Find your canceled reservation
  4. Click Request a refund
Refunds can't currently be requested using the Airbnb apps or mobile website.

I elected to refund the reservation (and think I’ve found a way to use points to stay in a nice hotel for about the same price despite rates being more than double, but more on that in the next post).

But I feel that many of you, like me, would expect AirBnB to have your back in a situation like this. And they do not. So be aware….

PS: I did press the agent and in the end got a $100 credit for a future AirBnB stay. Not even remotely at the level of inconvenience it has caused me, but it’s something.

UPDATE: AirBnB asked me via Twitter following this post if they could assist by DM. Their response:

“We can see that you were issued a refund in full. Sorry again this didn’t work out. Hopefully, you’re able to put that coupon to good use in the future.”

So – fully committed to making sure customers are taken care of…. that refund of what I already paid definitely makes up for rates having doubled or more since I booked.