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Last Updated: Jan, 2021
The policy update outlined below is now in effect.
You can find out how cancellations will work under our updated extenuating circumstances policy, effective for reservations starting on or after January 20, 2021, here.
Catherine Powell is back with a new Host Update, sharing how Airbnb is working to make our extenuating circumstances policy more transparent and fair for hosts. The changes—effective for reservations of stays and Airbnb Experiences with a check-in or start date on or after January 20, 2021*—will give hosts discretion over whether to refund guests who can’t travel due to unexpected personal circumstances. The policy will continue to cover natural disasters and similar large-scale events.
Get all the details about the upcoming changes to our policy here in this Help Center article. Please let us know what you’d like covered in future Host Updates with Catherine. As always, thank you for sharing the topics that matter to you.
*This policy doesn’t apply to Luxe reservations, which are subject to a separate Luxe guest refund policy.
Thank you Super 47 for detailing the many concerns I have had, but haven’t composed a letter, mostly because there is no one at AirBnB to whom I could address that letter.
I really hope you are listening. Today October 14 was the first time I was notified of this EC policy change. As a “Super host” it is confusing why I seem to always be the last to know.
In 2019 I rented our home exclusively on AirBnB reaching over $43000 in gross revenue. In 2020 guest after guest cancelled and I approved every single cancellation in full. Our 2020 revenue is going to be less than $1k. I am curious what other accommodations you want hosts to make.
I agreed to the new cleaning policy and added three nights between reservations which will cost $ but I want my guests to be comfortable.
For 2021, I really hope that you are not expecting me to cancel with full refunds again. Everything has changed except AirBnBs protection of the guest at the expense of the host.
The one policy change needed is to not allow a guest, who has caused documented damage, the ability to leave a review. It makes no sense. You are allowing guests to abuse hosts with this policy. We can recover from physical damages but the damage caused by the negative review lasts much longer. Last year I sent documents and 72 pictures of damage caused by a guest. The guest didn’t leave a review until they were notified about my damage claim, and their review was a reaction to my attempt to recover from damage. I go above and beyond to make sure every guest I have is happy, and this policy needs to be changed. It’s very simple really, when you damage a home you don’t get to leave a review. Period.
I really hope you read these comments as I have lost a lot of faith in AirBnB and looking at alternatives. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing your experience here, and I appreciate your comments.
The changes to the Extenuating Circumstances policy are designed to make it fairer for hosts and guests, and ensure that hosts have more control over their cancellations.
We are also aware of the issue related to negative reviews and Superhost status and we are working on a solution. We will take your experience into consideration in the process--it is always helpful to hear from hosts on these issues, so thank you again for being in touch.
Nice video @Catherine-Powell, Thank you! This is the right move.
1.) I really do hope that Airbnb will add a travel insurance option to the booking process. As a guest, it would be reassuring and simple to click a "purchase travel insurance for this reservation for an additional XX" option before reserving. Similar to choosing between the refundable or non-refundable booking options.
2.) Now that Airbnb is taking host cancelation policies seriously, it would be nice to have some more options. For example, there is a big difference between moderate and strict policies. What about something in between? Also, it would be beneficial to offer different policies depending on the time of year (like holidays or busy seasonal events.)
There is absolutely no suggestion in this video or elsewhere that Airbnb will be offering travel insurance - either now or in the future - for guests to purchase. Catherine clearly states that Airbnb will be "helping guests find travel insurance after they complete their booking. Guests are already being sent a link after booking to a list of external insurance providers, should they wish to purchase insurance from them
The big problem with that is that all travel insurance companies are now aware of Airbnb's EC policy, and insist that the guests must exhaust that avenue first. This is an entirely different scenario to guests being able to purchase insurance as part of the booking process, and offers little to no associated protection to hosts.
@Super47 I was thinking from the perspective as a guest since I also use Airbnb to travel. By the looks of this new policy, it sounds like EC is dead so I can only hope that will open up some better travel insurance options.
It appears that the original version of the resource article has since been updated - presumably for the press release - to now state that they are "working towards" offering trip insurance for guests to purchase. No time frame given.
Obviously, if it were to happen, that would be fantastic news for hosts - but it is a promise we've heard before. (Rather odd too, that Catherine made absolutely no mention of it in her video, considering how much of a game-changer it would surely be). We'll just have to wait and see if it ever actually comes to pass, I guess. We can only hope they're not just whispering sweet nothings in our ear again.
Guests already have lots of options for travel insurance. There is no need to wait for an AIrBnB offering. And travel insurance should in my opinion be the guest's only recourse in cases where they are affected by circumstances outside of the host's control.
One could perhaps have a mutual cancellation option in case of natural disasters etc that affects the area of the listing, but any kind of risk on hosts relating to where guests live, or how they travel to get there, seems unfair.
Also the fact is most travel insurance do not pay on any cancellation due to government actions like closing the city or restricting travel which occurred with Covid. This must be changed
I'm so glad you enjoyed the video and that you are supportive of the changes we are making, @Emilia42.
We are already directing guests to insurance options, but at some point in the future we may look at incorporating this more fully into our own booking process. Your second idea is also one I will share with the team. Thank you again for your comments here, and I look forward to sharing further updates with you in the coming months.
As super host for many years @Catherine-Powell can I say my NUMBER ONE frustration is playing insurer for our guests' misfortune. When we accept a booking we send a message imploring guests to take insurance to cover them for unforeseen events. They rarely do. Then when illness or other issues strike, often close to the travel date, they plead for refunds, despite our policy and advice. I would offer a slightly reduced rate for guests who opt into insurance. I strongly request Airbnb partners with an insurer to offer an in-app insurance option. Even if it didn't cover pandemics or acts of God, medical emergencies and loss of employment would be a valuable beginning. Thank you 🙂
Thank you for reaching out to me with your feedback. I am always happy to hear ideas from hosts on how we might improve our policies in the future. As it stands now, we will recommend to guests that they subscribe to travel insurance, but it will remain their choice. This means that guests with personal situations that require them to modify their reservation will be held to your cancellation policy—and it will be your decision, not ours, whether to make an exception and provide a refund. Giving you more control over your cancellations is just one step in the right direction. I hope to be able to share more positive updates in the near future.
Is it possible to add a Cancellation Feature that Hosts can choose which gives the guest a 100% refund if they cancel more than 30 days prior to their date of arrival? Right now, it's only last minute cancellations that we can choose to receive that refund which doesn't make sense. The farther out a booking when they cancel, I certainly don't want to keep any portion of their money and it is concerning not to have that as an option since we have plenty of time to rebook the house with other guests.
I would add this caveat - that if the host is able to rebook the cancellation that the original guest gets a refund. If not all dates are rebooked, then a partial refund. But the host should not be asked to just accept the loss @Catherine-Powell. Thank you.
You're right regarding travel insurance Emilia. My biggest gripe by far is having to play insurer for my guests' ill-fortune. If they choose to ignore a travel insurance option then the onus is on them. Clean and simple. That would be a huge relief.
Thank you so much for the update and for the video sharing these changes. It's really lovely to see Airbnb leadership on video. As a super host for 3 listings (all in my home), I really enjoy hosting and don't have many cancellations - although did have this year due to the pandemic The platform is wonderful for hosts and for travelers; I love it and am honored to participate as a Superhost!
Thank you so much for writing such a thoughtful message @Christine442 and for being a Superhost! I'm sorry to hear you had cancellations this year as a result of the pandemic. We have a lot of great work to do in the chapter ahead and I hope you will keep the feedback and ideas coming. Best, Catherine
I must be confused.....you are finally going to give the hosts a break........ABOUT TIME !!!!
Im afraid this is not the case. I just had a booking cancelled 3 days before the arrival date. My cancellation policy has been completely ignored. Once again, the host is punished.
The information contained on their site is completely misleading. According to my case manager " the host and guest can cancel their reservation without any penalties under the extenuating circumstances. However, this is the text listed on their site,
Below is copied text from AIRBNB site.
Updated 15 September 2020.
Reservations made after 14 March 2020
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after 14 March 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19. COVID-19-related circumstances not covered include: transport disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates such as evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and lockdown requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
The “not covered” list is completely unfair to guests! I’m a host, and I’m saying this. I’m in the USA, and I just allowed a couple from Canada who come out every year for three months in the winter to cancel because the husband have a has a health issue preventing him from flying and the border is closed preventing them from driving. But still we were not able to do an automated cancellation, many phone calls messages and a lot of stress was involved in getting the booking properly canceled with no fees for them and no consequences for me. It was crazy.