Racism from a Superhost over Airbnb Cancellation

I am writing this message on a serious issue of racial discrimination by a “Superhost” on Airbnb. I require Airbnb’s support or I will report this to mainstream media and trigger a public discussion on the Internet.

I made a reservation with this host for a trip March 29 – April 3. The host contacted me after the reservation had been confirmed, and asked me to cancel: “If you are traveling from China, just so you are aware, our government has imposed a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the country.”

I told him that I was not traveling from China and have been staying in Canada for over three weeks. He insisted I cancel the booking. I found the official guidance on Airbnb: the host should initiate the cancellation on his end, otherwise the guest will lose half of the refund and service fees.

I followed this official guidance and asked the host to do so since it is his intention to cancel this booking, or he can contact Airbnb for help. Soon the host became rude, and said if he cancelled he would lose his “Superhost” status.

On the refund, he said: “It’s Airbnb that will take your money. We don’t handle the money.”

On the confirmed reservation, he said: “You will not be allowed to check in.”

On the cancellation policy, he said: “Let Airbnb take your money. I’m not cancelling.”

He keeps sending me messages like: “You need to start taking this pandemic seriously! For the health and safety of everyone.”

I am very confused. He accused me harming “the health and safety of everyone” just because I have an Asian name. My family and I are all German citizens.

Are such racist opinions from a “Superhost” tolerated in the Airbnb community? This kind of racist speech will damage the reputation of Airbnb and the trust from all its members. All the messages are on Airbnb as proof.

I ask for your support. I need a full refund because it is the host who wants to cancel but refuses to do so on his end. This host should not keep his “Superhost” status for his dishonest intentions. For that status, he blamed and pushed a guest to cancel a confirmed reservation.

Lastly, but the most dangerous issue: racism on Airbnb, a global community, should not be encouraged. I have been a member of Airbnb for five years and traveled a lot using it every year. I meet wonderful people and have good memories.

I treasure their work to build up a global platform to communicate with people around the world, to let people know each other better. So, please, do something to stop racism on it.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Hi, these are very emotional times for everyone and it is fear that is driving normally rational people to behave out of the norm to protect themselves from the threat of the virus. The host does have a point about yo travelling, the virus does not spread by it self it is spread by people. Why don’t you cut them some slack call Airbnb and get them to cancel the reservation and find another host that would be happy to host you? We all need to show a little more understanding and compassion without adding any further fuel to an emotionally combustable situation. They are frightened they will get ill, you are not welcome, find someone who is willing to take the risk of a traveller coming into their home. Best x

  2. You quoted the host a lot, but absolutely nothing you quoted proves that the host was being racist. Simply saying that if you are traveling from China, there is a quarantine is not necessarily racist, and the host could simply be uncomfortable with anyone that has been doing a lot of traveling as you apparently have. Where does your profile say that you live, Germany? That’s not any better than China right now.

    Note that you do not have to cancel, all you have to do is contact customer service and have them read the communication with the host. Hopefully, those messages are through Airbnb’s message system and not via text or WhatApp, etc. You are correct that it is the host’s responsibility to cancel and he knows it. This host genuinely deserves to lose his Superhost status for attempting to make you pay for his decision.

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