What to Do When Host Cancels Booking

Booking Cancelled – What to do now?!

December 15 2023 – 6 minute read

Whether it be a holiday rental or a corporate relocation to Sydney, it’s always an exciting experience, filled with anticipation and expectations. In most cases, accommodations welcome guests without a hitch. However, there’s always the slim possibility that your host may cancel your booking, and leave you out in the rain. While it’s not a common occurrence, it’s essential to know what to do when it happens.

In this article, we explore the common reasons why hosts cancel bookings, what you can do about it, and when to take action.

Are you facing a rental emergency? Contact Property Providers now.

Watch-Outs! Common Reasons for Host Cancellations

  • Construction and Renovations: Projects happen all the time. Sometimes people know about it and sometimes its too late.
  • Family Law: Divorce and Separation are an unfortunate reality in today’s society and when this happens honouring a booking is just not a priority when it does.
  • Unplanned Insurance Claims: By far and away the most common reason for cancelling, emergency maintenance or repairs can make a property unavailable for your stay.
  • Double Booking: Hosts (usually owner/managers) can accidentally double-book their properties, leaving them with no choice but to cancel one of the reservations.
  • Personal Health Emergencies: Hosts may face personal emergencies, such as family crises or health issues, which can force them to cancel bookings.
  • Regulatory Issues: Changes in local regulations or disputes with neighbours or authorities can lead to a cancellation. An apartment building can quickly pass bi-laws restricting short-term rentals
  • Financial Reasons: Financial difficulties can compel hosts to cancel bookings to save costs or sell the property.
  • Hosting Platform Policies: Sometimes, hosts may face account issues or get suspended by the hosting platform, resulting in booking cancellations.

Take Action! What to Do When Your Booking is Cancelled

  • Find A Strong Local Agent: If you google property manager or sales agent in the area and talk to them they will often know of a good specialist to refer you to
  • Dominant Short-Term Provider: Usually there is 1 dominant agent or professional manager in each hyperlocal market. You can usually identify them by the way the name or brand their properties. Contact them immediately as they will almost certainly be able to either book another property for you or be able to source one.
  • Check the Cancellation Policy: Review the cancellation policy of the hosting platform and the host’s specific policy. This will determine if you are entitled to a refund or alternative accommodation.
  • Communicate with the Host: Reach out to the host immediately to understand the reasons for the cancellation and whether they can provide an alternative solution or compensation.
  • Contact the Hosting Platform: If the host doesn’t respond or you’re not satisfied with their response, contact the hosting platform or property manager through which you made the reservation. They can help mediate the situation, offer alternative accommodations, or initiate the refund process.
  • Explore Alternative Accommodations: While the platform assists in finding a replacement, it’s a good idea to start looking for alternative accommodations in case the search takes longer than expected.

Hoping for the best, while preparing for the worst

While most hosts are reliable and committed to their guests’ comfort, there are still some risks associated with booking a 3rd party rental. Although, in many instances, things are out of your control, there are a few ways you can go into booking with a degree more peace of mind. 

  • Trust Your Gut: If something is too good to be true…it probably is! If you are dealing with an individual or organisation that is slow to respond, generally difficult to communicate with or is asking way too many questions, take a moment reflect before pushing the button.
  • Book Direct: If you have any friends or family in the area or who have visited the area ask them for referrals and introductions. Check out the 8 benefits to book direct.
  • Understand Your Rights: Before booking a holiday home or short-term rental in Sydney, familiarise yourself with the rental platform’s terms and conditions, as well as local laws and regulations. In New South Wales, hosts must adhere to certain rules and guidelines, which may vary from state to state. Knowing your rights and the host’s responsibilities can help you navigate any potential issues.
  • Choose Reputable Platforms: Opt for well-established rental platforms when booking your accommodation. These platforms often have robust cancellation policies and customer support systems in place to assist guests in case of a cancellation. Read reviews and check the host’s rating to gauge their reliability.
  • Communicate with the Host: Clear communication with your host is essential. Before booking try and get a feel for their personal situation (i.e. Ask about construction in the area etc). Its also a good idea to understand the cancellation policy and inquire about any potential risks or issues that might affect your reservation. A responsive and transparent host is more likely to be reliable and accountable.
  • Check Host Profiles: Take time to review the host’s profile thoroughly. Look for signs of credibility, such as positive reviews, verified information, and a detailed listing description. A well-documented profile often indicates a trustworthy host.
  • Google The Property or Company: You can find out a lot with a quick google search. Try googling the property address, name of of property etc.
  • Opt for Experienced Operators: On platforms like Airbnb, consider booking with Superhosts who are are experienced hosts with a track record of excellent service and positive reviews. They are more likely to honour their reservations and go the extra mile to ensure a pleasant stay.
  • Review the Cancellation Policy: Every host on rental platforms can set their cancellation policy, ranging from flexible to strict. Pay close attention to the host’s chosen policy before booking. Opt for accommodations with a flexible or moderate cancellation policy if you’re concerned about potential last-minute changes.
  • Consider Travel Insurance: To further protect your holiday plans, consider purchasing travel insurance that covers accommodation cancellations. Check whether the policy includes protection against host cancellations and read the fine print to understand the coverage limits.
  • Have a Backup Plan: Always have a backup plan in case your reservation gets cancelled. Research nearby hotels or alternative accommodations that you can quickly book if needed. This way, you won’t be stranded without a place to stay.
  • Use Secure Payment Methods: When making your reservation, use secure payment methods provided by the rental platform. Avoid making direct payments to the host outside of the platform, as this may make it more challenging to resolve issues if a cancellation occurs.

When to Take Action

  • Early Communication: As soon as you receive a cancellation notice, initiate communication with the host to understand their reasons and possible alternatives. This should be your first step.
  • Contact the Platform: If the host doesn’t respond within a reasonable timeframe or doesn’t offer a satisfactory solution, contact the hosting platform. Most platforms have dedicated customer support teams to assist you.
  • Review the Platform’s Policies: Again, familiarise yourself with the hosting platform’s policies regarding cancellations and refunds. This knowledge will help you advocate for your rights if necessary.
  • Leave a Review: After your situation is resolved, consider leaving a fair and honest review of your experience, focusing on the host’s communication and how the platform handled the situation. This can help other travellers make informed decisions.

While host cancellations can be disappointing and inconvenient, it’s essential to stay calm and take the appropriate steps when they occur. Understanding the common reasons for cancellations, communicating with the host, and knowing when to involve the hosting platform can make the process smoother and less stressful. 

Remember that most hosting platforms have mechanisms in place to assist you in finding alternative accommodations or obtaining a refund in case your booking gets cancelled. Sydney offers a wealth of home rental options, so don’t let a cancellation dampen your enthusiasm.


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