Our recent change to the guest refund policy

Administrator in
Malibu, CA
Administrator
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Hi Everyone, 

Hosts are the heart and soul of Airbnb. I want you to know we value you, we’re working every day to improve your hosting experience, and we’re listening to you. Recently, we updated our rebooking and refund policy to allow guests up to 72 hours to report travel issues, rather than 24 hours. Let me take you through our thinking as a company to get to this decision. 

 

As a two-sided marketplace, we are always putting ourselves in the shoes of both Hosts and guests. In this case, guests have been telling us 24 hours wasn’t enough time to reach out for help if something goes wrong. For example, if a guest wasn’t able to check in due to a malfunctioning lock, they may be more focused on getting settled in an alternative location and attending the event they traveled for. We also heard from Hosts that 24 hours often wasn’t enough time to resolve a guest’s concerns. For example, if a guest notified a Host that the air conditioner stopped working, it could take more than a day to contact a repair person and fix it. The 24-hour window was causing guests to feel like they had to cancel early, when more time would have been enough for Hosts to fully address the concern and keep the reservations.

 

We went through a similar assessment when we considered extending the filing period for Hosts to submit reimbursements requests. As part of AirCover—which includes $1 million in Host damage protection—if guests cause damage, you have 14 days to request reimbursement after they check out, even if other guests have already checked in.

 

I also want to assure you that we rigorously assess claims from guests in order to help protect you from fraudulent claims. And, we take action to hold guests accountable for those types of violations of our Community Standards. If a Host disagrees with our determination about a guest report, they may contest our decision and if after reviewing evidence provided by the Host, we agree with that Host, they will receive their payout for that reservation.

Your house rules are another important tool to help ensure the guest rebooking and refund policy is used as intended. House rules set and manage expectations for guests. For example, if you have a backyard pool, you might include a note that you make every attempt to keep the pool as clean as possible, but at times leaves and debris may end up on the surface. This can help guests understand why there may be leaves in the pool. 

 

Because of the importance of house rules, we’ve made them visible to guests when they book, and by booking, guests are agreeing to read and abide by them. House rules are also taken into account when guest refund claims are made, if relevant. Here are some helpful tips for writing and updating your house rules for guests.

 

We design all of our updates to help build trust, and will continue to do so as we actively listen to your feedback and concerns. I hope this note has addressed some of the questions I have heard. I want to end by thanking you for all that you do to provide the best possible hospitality for our guests.

 

 

Warmly, 

Catherine Powell
Airbnb Global Head of Hosting

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394 Replies

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell Sounds balanced to me. The only concern I have is that whilst the policy is fair the application of policies by the call centre folks often seems very unfair. There is also no real escalation route  if a host (or guest) is treated wrongly. Many say that being a Superhost is irrelevant but if you gave a long term superhost (say 3 or 5 years) the right of an appeal route it would go a long way to calming peoples nerves and make being a superhost really worthwhile.

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

Level 6

@Catherine-Powell  please confirm that my well thought out rules listed as best I could in the 👉very short space👈 allotted owners that requires me to truncate my legal rental contract our guests are required to sign prior to my acceptance will not capriciously be superseded by the whims of  policymakers at Airbnb.

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

Administrator in
Malibu, CA
Administrator

Hi @Mike-And-Jane0 

 

Thank you for your feedback here. I always enjoy reading your comments and continued engagement on my posts and your fellow Hosts'. As you know, as part of this process, we consider evidence from both guests and Hosts, and Hosts are able to appeal the decision of a guest report - and if it's found invalid the Host will receive their payout for that reservation.  But if I am understanding you correctly, you are asking about an escalation process in the event the Host has appealed and is still unhappy with the final decision....?

 

In 2021 we heavily invested in dedicated Superhost Support, which includes supporting Hosts as they submit refunds  as part of our AirCover programme. We continue to enhance this programme and a dedicated Superhost appeals process is an interesting idea. I will take it back to the team to discuss further. 

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to share your thoughts.

 

Warm wishes

Catherine

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Broome, Australia
Level 5

I am extremely unhappy about these changes, I have blocked my calendar, turned off instant book and have lowered my rates on Houfy and Booking.com.

We live in a digital age, guests should respond immediately to issues and report them so hosts have an opportunity to rectify them for their stays. We will face astronomical amounts of fraud and who will pay me back the time it takes to deal with Airbnb on these kind of issues. I had a shocking guest book last year, booked for 4 people then 8 vehicles with over 12 guests showed up. They weren't made to pay the full amount when I managed to evict them early. It took hours to deal with this, @Airbnb where should I send my invoice?

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Fort Sill, OK
Level 5

Why not homeaway or vrbo? There are others too.  Trip Advisor, I can't think of them all right now.

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Broome, Australia
Level 5

    Houfy, self managed, we have reached out to a local organisation as well that is only going to charge 5% booking fee and pays tax in Australia, where airbnb pays none.    

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Tappen, Canada
Level 5

@Catherine-Powell @James3113 We just unlisted our rental as a result of the new "policy".   There are way too many scammers out there who will take advantage.  I wish Airbnb well.

 

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Broome, Australia
Level 5

     Yeah there's a few Australian companies starting up and I am more than happy to list and work with them.  Plus they pay tax...                

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Miami, FL
Level 5

"we consider evidence from both guests and Hosts, and Hosts are able to appeal the decision of a guest report"

 

This is sooo NOT True!  I invite you to be on a call with any host when an issue arises to really see how we are treated. 

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

Level 10

@Catherine-Powell 

 

"I want you to know we value you, we’re working every day to improve your hosting experience, and we’re listening to you"

 

It's about time Airbnb realized that there are very few hosts who actually believe a single word of that anymore, Catherine. Airbnb's actions (wave after wave of missing payouts, routinely denied damage claims, arbitrary suspensions/delistings of tenured superhosts on a daily basis, blatant favouring and prioritising of guests over hosts, increasingly oppressive, controlling and detrimental policies, dysfunctional processes, malfunctioning systems, non-existent customer support etc etc), speak way louder than your placating words here.

 

And let me take you through hosts' thinking on your new policies (I say "your", because as Airbnb's Global Head of Hosting and a power player in the corporate body, it's inconceivable that you didn't have a key role to play in their formulation and implementation)....

 

Excellent article linked below - mirroring the feelings being  expressed all over social media by a broad demographic of angry, frustrated and deeply disillusioned Airbnb hosts - on how the latest policy changes massively fuel the escalating risks for hosts of accepting bookings on Airbnb's platform.

 

"Yesterday’s policy announcement affirms that Airbnb intends to continue buying consumer trust with refunds.

 

And why not? Airbnb isn’t refunding its own money. It isn’t refunding the booking fee it collects. The cost of this trust is borne on the backs of its host community"

 

The insightful, well-researched piece also contains eye-opening data which confirms that (contrary to what the company would have you believe), Airbnb's average stay value,average length of stay,and average booking window is below other booking channels - significantly so, in many instances (graphs in article)

 

"In addition to increased risk for bookings on Airbnb, compared to direct bookings, the average stay value (ASV) was 53 percent lower, the average length of stay was 31 percent smaller, and the average booking window was a 63 percent shorter for bookings on Airbnb"

 

Using Airbnb For Bookings Just Got Even More Risky With New Refund Policy

 

https://t.co/lKuTFyG75z

 

 

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

@Katrina314  Great article.   

 

"If Airbnb’s strategy is to gain consumer trust by refunding its suppliers’ revenue, it will start to see its high-quality supply move elsewhere.".    Bingo.

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Providence, RI
Level 10

@Michelle53 wrote:

@Katrina314  Great article.   

 

"If Airbnb’s strategy is to gain consumer trust by refunding its suppliers’ revenue, it will start to see its high-quality supply move elsewhere.".    Bingo.


You are quoting an article from a spam website that sells stuff to dejected hosts.  You are interrupting a conversation with your MLM scheme. 

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

Level 10

@JJ48 

"You are interrupting a conversation with your MLM scheme.."

 

I'm sorry, but what on earth are you talking about..?? 

 

And, "quoting an article from a spam website that sells stuff to dejected hosts.."?

 

VRMIntel is a long-established, reputable outlet that provides  industry-specific news, information, resources and trends. The author of the article (and founder of VRMIntel), Amy Hinote, is a respected industry professional, with 15+ years experience and influential, knowledgeable contacts in a broad spectrum of related fields - property management, big tech, data & analytics, investment etc.

 

Ms Hinote is well-known for having her finger on the pulse of everything that's going on in the hosting/vacation rentals ecosphere - as evidenced by the many insightful, well-researched pieces she produces, including the one I linked to. The lady knows what she's seeing, and what she's talking about, and you can be very sure that the powers-that-be at Airbnb are paying infinitely more attention to what publications like VRMIntel are printing, than they are to anything that's been posted here in the Community Centre.

Re: Our recent change to the guest refund policy

in
Victoria, Australia
Level 10

@Katrina314 No advertising Katrina  and your disrespect for everyone in the community centre, that is all your fellow hosts leaves a lot to be desired H

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