Many of us are feeling the burden of Airbnbs extenuating circumstances policy and at this time, there is not much more any of us can add to the conversation. So let's use this community to help us come together and share ideas. Let's keep the anger and disdain on the other conversation feeds, please.
I am starting to receive requests for full refunds for stays outside of the COVID window, and I am wrestling with how to handle these requests. I want to give everything back to everyone knowing that we can help lessen the spread but that is not possible. I have mortgages and bills to pay as well.
I would love to hear what others have been doing/saying to help maintain their business, help stop the spread AND be empathetic to the guest's situation.
Here are my thoughts and I would love to hear your constructive feedback:
1. Ask the guest if they purchased travel insurance;
2. Ask them to review my calendar and find dates further in the future they would like to change to (I worry they will realize if they move dates far enough, that they can cancel with a much lower penalty);
3. Maybe offer a 50/50 refund if they don't want to find other dates?
My understanding is that the airlines are NOT giving full refunds, but allowing guests to change their dates at no cost. I feel that as the travel industry, we should all be following a similar process for consistency.
In reality, the Airlines and AIRBNB are the ones that will receive a bailout NOT us, so I feel like this would be a fair option to us little guys.
Lets please keep this constructive and helpful so we can get through this.
Thank you all!
I have been a loyal Airbnb Customer for 5 years with a perfect record of praise from all my hosts.
I booked a trip to Europe long before the Covid19 Pandemic was declared by WHO.
Australians generally book European trips a long time in advance. Our trips to Europe are expensive and we generally travel for weeks and months. A weekend away in Salzburg makes no economic sense.
The host of my July 18 accommodation insists on charging a 50% cancellation fee even though I have explained to her since March 2020 that The Australian government has banned all overseas leisure travel and Qantas has cancelled all flights overseas indefinitely.
Her behavior is unethical and unscrupulous. I have not used her apartment. I cannot use her apartment. I am not allowed to leave Australia. I am not even allowed to travel to most other states within my own country.
The dishonest host will not be incurring any expense because of me. She however will be stealing $1,300 from me by taking my money for a service I will not and cannot use.
Airbnb should take the special circumstances of Australian travelers into consideration and formulate a special Covid19 extenuating circumstances policy for Australians who through no fault of their own cannot leave the country and keep their Airbnb bookings as originally intended. Airbnb owes this to its loyal and highly rated customers.
I would be most interested to receive your feedback.
@Naomi308 I'm not sure if you are aware that this is just a discussion forum for hosts and guests, not Airbnb itself.
The way for a guest to cancel a reservation under what they feel is an extenuating circumstance is to contact Airbnb, find out if it qualifies as an EC and what documentation is required, not to contact the host asking for a refund or for them to waive their cancellation policy. Are you aware that hosts don't get paid for reservations until 24 hours after a guest checks in? So when you ask a host for a refund in advance of your stay, you are asking them to refund money they haven't received. Airbnb holds the money.
Back when you wanted to cancel, in March, the COVID EC policy was only in effect until the middle of April, but it has been being extended, and will probably be extended to cover your dates. But if you have already cancelled, then unfortunately you are out of luck.
I'm sorry your host refused to refund anything, but hosts have no obligation to waive the cancellation policy you agreed to when you booked. Some hosts felt it was the right thing to do to refund for COVID, some felt they needed to stick to their policy, some offered to rebook the stay for the future, some offer to refund the guest if they are able to rebook the cancelled dates.
Have you even talked to Airbnb about this? If you cannot travel out of Australia and can provide Airbnb with that documentation, they may issue you a full refund.
Yes, I am aware this is a discussion forum for Airbnb hosts and guests.
i am an Airbnb guest so surely I qualify for participation in this discussion forum. Why would you suggest I am not eligible to participate in this discussion forum?
My comments referred to the lack of support received from Airbnb in my particular case and also in the case of all Australians who have been banned by government order from overseas travel. Back in March 2020, the Australian government closed our borders to International travel. No one comes in - no one goes out. (Unless you are a returning Australian in which case you spend 2 weeks in a quarantine facility on arrival).
i did contact Airbnb to request a full refund cancellation.
Airbnb contacted my host and told her she was under no obligation to amend her cancellation policy. She sent me a copy of their correspondence so I know exactly what was written to her. She decided not to agree to a full refund. She is holding out for some free money.
So, since I made my booking 5 months ago, Airbnb has been holding $2,500 of my money, and by not helping me to arrange a full refund, stands eventually to keep service fees. This will happen at the point where I actually cancel the booking. I have not cancelled yet - hoping that the EC policy is updated to include my dates.
i have a genuine extenuating circumstance.
Both Airbnb and the host have colluded to steal my funds. I have a genuine extenuating circumstance. Both Airbnb and the host will not acknowledge this.
How unethical of Airbnb and the host!
@Naomi308 Oh, I'm sorry-you misunderstood me. I wasn't suggesting you shouldn't post here-of course it's a forum for hosts and guests- it's just that the way your post was written, it seemed like maybe you thought you were writing to Airbnb CS- posters do that here all the time- give all the information about a booking, even including names, reservation numbers, etc, thinking they are speaking to customer service.
I totally agree that your circumstances warrant a refund, so just wait until the policy is hopefully extended and then cancel. I happen to be one of the hosts who thinks that the pandemic is a legitimate reason to refund a guest, no matter what my personal financial circumstances. The one reservation I still had on the books, back in March, for an April 5th check-in, I messaged and told her I thought it best for both of us for her to cancel and she got a full refund. However, there seem to be a lot of hosts who feel it's reasonable to keep half the money. Sorry you encountered one of them.
One thing to be aware of, though, is that way that Airbnb has been handling these cancellations is terrible for hosts. When they keep extending the dates, telling guests to wait until it gets extended, this means the host's calendars are blocked with a reservation the guest has of intention of keeping. So the host is prevented from rebooking those dates to someone who could book it until it will probably be too late to get another booking. This is one reason hosts are upset and disinclined to refund.
I heard that when Airbnb offers to reschedule at no cost to the guest, the guest is then free to reschedule WITH ANOTHER HOST. Is that correct?
To say I am unhappy with Airbnb is an understatement!
Their policy and management of the extenuating circumstances policy seems wholly unfair on the host (partner, well that parts a joke!).
I have 6 individual properties in Altea, Spain they are all listed with Airbnb, as with all hosts, at the start of the pandemic my phone pinged constantly with cancellations, all were refunded under the extenuating circumstances policy. I had no problem with this we were in a severe lockdown and no one could travel, airports were closed and we were not allowed outside the house.
However I had two long stay bookings starting in mid July to mid August (30 days each), the guest were sisters and staying in neighbouring properties. I reached out to them on a number of occasions to check they were still coming, as I was unaware of the Covid situation in Kazakhstan, their home county, but I was informed that they still planned to come. I told them to check the Airbnb policy on long term cancellation as I didn't want any last minute cancellations and needed time to refill the dates if they were not coming.
Surprise, surprise they cancelled yesterday with only 2 weeks to the start of the month long bookings and even worse Airbnb gave them both full refunds without even contacting or discussing it with me. The quoted "extenuating circumstances" but this isn't clear, if the borders are open at the start of the booking, why can't they travel and fulfil their obligations?
If they choose not to come, then they should claim on their travel insurance (which is one of my booking rules) or work with me to find a solution (reschedule, part payment etc)
Unfortunately I wasn't given this opportunity! Airbnb say there is no compensation and they cancelled within their policy, but won't state what the policy is or what the guest said/produced to get a full refund.
My questions are....
Why are they issuing refunds before the end of the booking? If borders are open the Guests have an obligation to either cancel, reschedule or make the booking at their expense. If at the end of the booking they couldn't travel due to lockdown restrictions or sickness then with documentary evidence they should be due a refund. Any payments to hosts on these bookings should be delayed until the end of the booking.
Why are guests not encouraged to claim on their travel insurance? That's what it's there for! Although insurance companies would not be so quick to issue a full refund.
What are the extenuating circumstances and what do guests have to do to get a refund? the only reasons I can think are sickness due to Covid or lockdown/borders closed. Cancelled flights, no visa, no pet sitters, car needing new brakes, lost my job.these are not reasons to cancel, I'm not offering a holiday package, just accommodation with agreed booking terms. Which are now being trampled over by Airbnb!
Why do they keep extending the deadline for extenuating circumstances, they can't have a one size fits all policy, it has to be assessed on the status of travel in each country, if borders are open and guests can travel, then why are they entitled to a full refund?
Airbnb just keep saying they are shorted staff and have had to lay off 700 staff, I'm not surprised by their bad mangagent and would be surprised if this doesn't wipe them out completely.
I'd love to hear your comments...
I agree it's frustrating. I'm in a similar predicament this week. I have a booking sue to arrive this Friday who are being fairly non-committal since they can cancel right up until that morning.
At the same time our current guests (who leave today) had asked to extend for a fortnight, but I cannot except due to the current booking.
Fingers crossed Friday's guest checks-in.
Nevertheless, I understand why airbnb is being so flexible with guests. Without guests they don't have a business...I wouldn't be on the platform if they didn't have access to such a large audience.
A region by region approach makes more sense. I entirely understand why guests might avoid my property in Florida, given the recent surge in Covid19 cases. I wouldn't expect the EC policy to apply in places like Spain or Italy where the virus is in decline.
You know the saying "A bird in the hand..." well, your current guests who definitely want to book will have their Airbnb contract ending soon 😀. Airbnb can't extend it because their new guest is hogging your calendar. The new guests will cancel, and you just know it!
Far be it for me to suggest... that you offer your current guests a private contract booking after their Airbnb contract ends ( Airbnb prices, so a nice little +16% there for you) and just cancel your non-committal guests ... as I wouldn't suggest that.
Your loss in cancelling your non-committal new guests based on the Covid update of 15th June 2020 and the clause that hosts can cancel charge free and penalty free until 31st June is that you have no penalties, and no charges, and you get your calendar blocked 🙌 🙌. Those are the rules. They don't tell you about you getting your calendar blocked until you actually try to cancel a guest - but that's what happens.. You get no benefits as a Host for a Covid cancellation. (but I might have just found an exception 😀).
Not even Airbnb would be able to provide you with a new (or extended) booking if they block your calendar, so they've ruined that opportunity all by themselves. However, the opportunity is still there for you.
A Florida host would easily provide you with a private contract, or DM me and I'll send you a UK one to have a look at.