We all understand the kinds of life events that can prevent travel. Rather than upsetting guests over non-refundable trips, Airbnb has shifted 100% of the financial loss to hosts by way of the extenuating circumstances policy. Why do guests not have some skin in the game when an issue arises on their end?
This isn't a fair practice. We choose our cancellation policies based on our market, personal economics, and degree of risk aversion. The extenuating circumstances policy creates a loophole over which hosts have no control.
If Airbnb is unable to offer trip insurance, they should allow hosts to choose two cancellation policies: One that applies for regular cancellations (currently implemented), and one that applies to extenuating circumstances (eg. no refund, 50%, full refund).
Response from Airbnb
Thanks for your feedback. It’s helping us understand how the Extenuating Circumstances Policy is affecting hosts. We agree that this issue is important and we’ve been taking a close look at multiple options to address it. While we’re not able to offer trip insurance at this time, we’re hoping to explore it as a possibility in the future. In the meantime, we’re collecting as much feedback as possible.