Last updated: March 13th, 2020
As more information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak becomes available, Airbnb continues to prioritize the safety and well-being of our community of hosts, guests and employees around the world.
As this situation evolves, we strongly urge you to review your local government’s travel guidance and health advisories and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your guests when hosting or traveling.
Following governmental and health authorities guidance and recommendations, Airbnb is offering impacted hosts and guests with eligible reservations the option to cancel their reservations without charges through our extenuating circumstances policy. We’ll continue to evaluate and update this policy in line with official guidance.
Airbnb understands that you may have concerns, and we’d like to encourage impacted hosts and guests to reach out to our customer support team (https://www.airbnb.com/help/home) with questions or to get help with canceling reservations.
More details about our extenuating circumstances policy can be found here.
Read the FAQs here: Answers to your hosting questions about coronavirus
First of all I would like to compliment Airbnb in their crystal clear communication regarding the Corona virus outbreak. Very helpful to all guests and hosts involved.
Nevertheless, as a host I am deeply deeply disappointed in the announced full refund policies of Airbnb .
Via various past claims I learned Airbnb was at least always willing to listen to both sides of a situation, whereas these days apparently only side (our guests) will be met in financial compensation. It feels as being overruled completely and left in the dark in the most challenging times we are facing worldwide. So far for being a worldwide community.
According to a recent Dutch law case Airbnb is only an intermediary. It is a mystery to me how Airbnb feels it is a wise decision to overrule all standing cancellation policies. Guests are able to have insurances, hosts and hosting companies are not, and therefore we set cancellation policies.
Airbnb has taken a decision which will affect all hosts and hosting companies negatively immediately. We all will suffer from this terrible crisis, but it would have suited Airbnb well if they would have chosen for a fair policy, instead of favoring only one party policy.
Puzzled. Perhaps only my own experience but prior to becoming an Airbnb Host I was in the travel industry (air carrier) where if I made a hotel cancellation, typically within a 24 hours of arrival I could expect a full refund, and if not full, a small service fee.
Seeing all the host complaints because they adopted a "Strict" refund policy, and now that we're in a pandemic, which I'm sure was never anticipate by hosts or Airbnb, they lose their ability to still have guests just toss away their money, as non-refundable. It's purely my own opinion but feel that view is short sighted, since because of your being rigid, and wishing to only apply the "strict" policy, "under all circumstances, that include a global pandemic", will possibly gain you income today but lose it tomorrow. Yes some may switch from "strict" to something else in the future, but some folks will remember.
I blocked my own calendar last week, for a three month period and will either open or close more time depending on what information we get regarding the Coronavirus. What prompted me was a cancellation that occurred days before arrival, because of their concerns about the virus. This was prior to the Airbnb virus change policy.
I don't want to have my Airbnb be known as responsible to contributing to effects of the virus, and having to close it permanently because of a bad reputation, nor do I want to be responsible for possibly spreading it, if a contaminated guest visits mine, making me a carrier.
And yes, it will definitely have a financial impact on me, and every other host, especially those who practice hosting as a sole revenue source. Yet, it will eventually pass, and I would prefer to plan ahead long term. Perhaps Airbnb or insurance industry can come up with an insurance policy to cover such issue we are currently experiencing.
I am sure you are a good man and sincere, but also very naive.
1. First of all, I think a lot of us are sick and tired of the virus fear mongering. The mortality is 1% or less and limited to a very small group of vulnerable elderly with hypertension, metabolic syndrome, or heart problems. The fear surrounding this virus is silly.
2. AirBnB is crucifying its hosts on the cross of public relations. In fact, it appears they are willing to wipe out the financially weak hosts by depriving them of several months income in order to strengthen their brand and reach the Promised Land of an IPO.
3. No, 50% refunds do not harm future business because few customers are repeat.
4. Most business contracts have a force majeure contract absolving them from any responsibility for Acts of Nature or God. No company will insure you for cancellations due to an epidemic. Guaranteed.
You folks are a bunch of assholes. Portraying yourselves as heroes by forcing the rental provider to offer a full refund.
@AirbnbAt some point I wonder if you considered your policies will net you a legal issue. I have been voluntarily refunding 100% of the guest fees who cancel because of Coronavirus. It's the right thing to do, and I have had to, myself, cancel travel because of cancelled conferences. Everyone is hurting.
However - if you have been following the lawsuits against Uber and Lyft - drivers are claiming they are employees entitled to benefits. Lyft and Uber are citing the drivers are independent contractors who set their own hours. Lyft and Uber actually set the prices.
In this case, hosts set the prices, maintain and fund their own living spaces, and set the cancellation policy. If you continue to override the policy on a whim, you no longer act as the "booking agent" but as an entity that has controls inventory it doesn't own in order to make it's fees.
So either hosts are independent contractors, or they are employees or partners entitled to stock shares and benefits in exchange for you controlling the flow of money. I note that when someone books my place you take a half deposit (you are currently holding money for an Airbnb I booked for the fall) and keeping it without paying interest. Are you receiving interest on those advance payments? Should those be remitted to the hosts?
As for who controls payments and refunds - A conference paid for my airfare using a travel agent. I could not request a refund from the airline, it had to go through the travel agent who was able to secure the refund (of a nonrefundable ticket) solely because the airline which controls the inventory, flies the planes and pays the employees, chose to allow it. That refund went back to the nonprofit that paid for the ticket. That same airline allowed me to bank the tickets for a separate conference that I booked myself.
So make up your mind. Either you allow owners to have a cancellation policy or you don't. It's up to the guest to decide not to return or to file a dispute with the owner citing federal policies going in place.
I do get that many cities are now shutting down. My city just announced that it won't allow gatherings of more than 50 people which means that a lot of people are having to cancel their weddings. And for a massive retreat schedule on the west coast, the venue kept half the deposit. Another conference couldn't get it back at all. And for an LA conference, the Marriott said it wouldn't allow the group to cancel because the date of the event is in May. That leaves a lot of people in flux financially.
This is tricky business. But frankly, I've been a good host, often issue refunds by overriding my policy. I've been thanked by customer service for doing it. But I'm beginning to resent how often you change the financial rules without talking it through with hosts and without adequate notice.
I do think refunds, in this situation, are the right thing to do. It's earned me loyalty from some guests pledging to come back in the future. But there's a difference when a host makes that decision rather than have it forced upon us.
(BTW - you made it hard, early on, for me to issue a full refund to someone who had to cancel travel because of an outbreak in their area. Just a week ago you were forcing my cancellations to accept only a half refund and not answering the phone when I tried to override it.)
You need a committee of experienced hosts who have a business background to work with you (I know that Google Fiber had a volunteer group of product testers - I was one of them - when they launched in KC).
You make too many unforced errors in advance of your IPO offering. It's a shame because it could easily be avoided.
I feel utterly betrayed by Airbnb's approach to COVID-19 cancellations. I understand the good intentions behind the 100% refund but I feel strongly that they have absolutely betrayed any trust hosts may have had in them. Because of the fixed costs associated with our property, we chose to have the strict cancellation policy, we have and we no doubt took less bookings because of this. For AIRBNB to now not honour this seems ludicrous and probably not exactly legal. I also feel totally vulnerable to guests canceling just because they can, AIRBNB haven't even had the decency to put parameters around cancellations so guests can cancel even on the day of check in. I no longer want to have anything to do with AIRBNB because I will never be able to trust them, I will be putting my apartment on the rental market and I won't look back. They clearly have no regard for their hosts and this simply isn't good enough.
Airbnb has to activate the worldwide extenuating circumstances policy as this crisis is a true pandemic. It’s not about you, it’s about us. It’s about the weak, sick, elderly people who need the care most and if we let everyone travel and the virus spread freely, people will die unnecessarily. Think about “flatten the curve”, this will give doctors and the healthcare system enough air to be able to provide care for the ones that really need it. That’s the idea. So, you might be impacted as a host and I am too, however, I understand where this comes from and accept reality as it is. Think global, we’re months away from this all settling down and yes, many of us will get Corona. Think 50-60% and we will build collective immunity which will protect the weak, sick and elderly people from dying. Think for a minute and you will realize the world is bigger than your hosting income. It’s about lives now.
I wish AirBnb would listen to their hosts. Providing a full refund is unfair to the host. Same idea if a flight got canceled at no fault of the airline (ie, weather), then the airline is not required to provide any meal / hotel vouchers and flights can only be rebooked.
Why not give guests an option to rebook (credit) on a different date? Or refund 50% of their booking? You're still giving them options. That sounds more fair to me.
It is incredible Airbnb put us in this position as hosts. With sending an email from founders do not make anything better. It shows one more time Airbnb only cares about the guests not hosts.
@Airbnb Please find a solution to us having $0 income for march and april. For the ones who this is their only way of income how are we to pay anything? We are constantly being asked to lower our price so build up very little reserve. There is a travel ban so no one will travel. If you wanted to protect the people then you should have canceled all reservations world wide for March and april and given 50% in refund to guest and 50% to us and given them vouchers for the 50% if you wanted to give them all the funds. We as host call for the ones that took the executive decision to fully refund to be let go. This was a bad executive decision. Why because end year comes around all these people will get their big cash bonus and we are out of cash with a future of eviction and starvation ahead. Maybe everyone at airbnb should forfit their salary of march and april. Then we are in a similar situation. I know harsh words but they are to show a point as we feel we are not being understood. Airbnb pay us out 50% of each cancelation march and april automatically in your system and charge this back in raised booking fees on guests and our side. Airbnb lets stand together and help each other out together we can get through this. Please help us as we help you. We love this company and we feel proud to be part of it.
What good our guests without hosts?
Airbnb havnt thought this through. They will lose a lot of properties.
We have lowered our prices and opened up our whole home Airbnbs to locals who need to isolate themselves from family members due to the virus. Is there anyway to advertise this>
they deleted this suggestion before but it seems obvious that Airbnb needs to allocate a portion of the fees they take towards "cancellation insurance" that covers the hosts' income during an extenuating circumstance being experienced on either host or guest side.
even when it's the host having the extenuating circumstance, they should not be punished by losing their money, in the same way guests are not punished by losing their money. "not making money" does not make a host whole while "not losing money" does.
they already insure against damage, injury, etc so why not insure hosts against extenuating circumstance cancellations?