How to Cancel a Reservation on Airbnb as a Host?

It can be difficult for an Airbnb host to successfully manage their calendar. This means that sometimes travellers will make reservations for dates when you are unable to host them. Not to worry, it is always possible to cancel a booking. However, keep in mind there are penalties so be sure to read until the end. 

The guide below will walk you through the steps required to cancel an Airbnb reservation of a guest, whether it’s a pre-approval, a confirmed reservation, or an instant booking.

Cancelling a pre-approval

A pre-approval is a way for hosts to let guests know that their listing is available when asked about a potential reservation. Once pre-approved, the guest can automatically confirm a booking for the specific dates that they've selected, as long as those dates are available. If you have pre-approved a traveller's request, you can change your mind at any time − just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to your inbox
  2. Select the conversation with your potential guest
  3. Finally, click on Withdraw Pre-Approval.

Cancelling a confirmed reservation

If you have confirmed a traveller's reservation request, but have to cancel it, you can do so by following these three steps:

  1. Go to Your Reservations
  2. Select Modify or Cancel next to the reservation
  3. Finally, click on Cancel.

Cancelling an instant booking

An instant booking is an extremely popular Airbnb feature. Listings that are instantly bookable are viewed more often and ranked higher in Airbnb’s search results. An instant booking also allows guests to book in one click, which means they can easily reserve your property. Enabling this feature leads to more bookings and more revenue for you. However, when the instant booking option is enabled, you can’t filter who gets to stay in your Airbnb since booking requests are automatically accepted. However, you can still cancel an instant booking. All you have to do is:

  1. Go to Your Reservations on
  2. Find the reservation that you'd like to cancel
  3. Select Change or Cancel 
  4. Finally, click on I’m uncomfortable with the reservation or the guest has broken my House Rules. If you've selected this reason, then all penalty fees will be waived. 

Airbnb recommends cancelling the reservation if:

  • The guest has several unfavourable reviews
  • The guest doesn't respond to your messages
  • You think the guest is likely to break one of your house rules.

Airbnb exempts hosts using this feature from paying penalty fees on cancellations. A host’s Superhost status will also not be affected by this type of cancellation. However, Airbnb remains alert to abuses and will not turn a blind eye if a host repeatedly cancels an instant booking.

If you wish to cancel an instant booking in the 24 hours preceding the travellers' arrival, you must contact Airbnb to resolve the issue with them.

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What are the consequences of cancelling a reservation?

This section does not apply to instant bookings.

Cancelling a reservation results in fees being charged to the host. It's important for hosts to remain reliable so that guests feel comfortable booking on Airbnb. The more reliable you are, the more rewarded you will be. 

Cancelling 2 days or more before the reservation

You will have to pay a cancellation fee of between $50 and $100, depending on the cancellation date (except within the first 6 months following your registration). This fee will be deducted from your next payout. If you cancel before the day of the reservation, your listing will receive an automated review from Airbnb to indicate that you have cancelled a reservation. You can reply publicly to this review to clarify why had needed to cancel.

Cancelling within 48 hours of the reservation

If you cancel within 24hrs of the reservation date, travellers will have the opportunity to leave a comment on your profile. You will also be unable to receive the Superhost status for at least the next 12 months following the cancellation.

Suspension of your account

Finally, Airbnb reserves the right to suspend your account if you’ve cancelled more than 3 reservations in the same year. If your cancellation is due to an unforeseeable event, such as a death, serious injury, natural disaster, or a security alert, then Airbnb may be willing to make an exception. You also cannot host other guests for the duration of the cancelled reservation.

Managing your bookings can be a challenge. Luckey’s team of experts can help you manage your Airbnb listings and make sure that you never need to cancel a reservation again. Receive five-star reviews, boost your visibility and become a Superhost with Luckey’s Airbnb management services.

Article written by Sophie Dickins

Ready to say goodbye to the hassles of managing a short-term rental and boost your property’s value?

Luckey and Airbnb
Since its purchase in December 2018, Luckey has become an Airbnb wholly-owned subsidiary.
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