I came here hoping to see a standard procedure for canceling an upcoming visit due to a mandatory evacuation that has just been issued for the entire coast due to hurricane Florence. Nothing in the help screens and nothing but discouragement here on the discussion board! What the heck? If I cancel, I am going to be penalized and still charged a fee due to a friggin hurricane???? I have asked the guest to initiate the cancelation for that reason, knowing I can then do the full refund option. But it should not be this way.
If there is a known major event like this, there needs to be an easy way for hosts or guest to do cancelations with full refunds to everyone. It should be easy - when evacuation orders are made, map it out and add a button or send instructions with links to hosts. I hate to burden my guest with having to initiate this - she is new to Airbnb and understandably fearful since according to stated policy, she isn't due a penny in refund, even though I've promised I will request it.
This should be easy to fix and lord knows, this should not come as a suprise to Airbnb!!! In fact, you could even have a slick way where you could allow the cancelation, then suggest dates and give the guest the option to rebook on the spot for a future date.
@James Call AirBnB you not be penalized get them to cancel them it's extinuating circumstances.
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For Superhosts (they will verify you):
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I guess my point is that it seems silly to require a call for every host when an entire region is being evacuated. I get the "extenuating circumstances" requiring a call if it is individual - like death in the family, sickness, termites, etc. But it seems if a hurricane is hitting, they could automate the process for the sake of both host and guest as well as their poor customer service personnel. Also doesn't help that I'm on a trip and in Russia at the moment, so a phone call is a bit trickier.
You can cancel, then guests get full refunded. After that you can contact Airbnb to apply for "extenuating cirumstances", more:
Or you can contact Airbnb and ask them to cancel:
Yes, a general procedure should be helpfull, but as long it is not there (allthough Airbnb maybe is working on it) , the above are your options.
Best regards, Emiel
Thanks. I know last year they did allow a full refund, but it required phone calls. With thousands of hosts in the evacuation zone, I cannot imagine why they want to have to deal with that many phone calls? But this is helpful. I just do not want to risk my superhost status because they really slam you if you cancel a reservation.
Well stated, Jim...we are in Richmond and have heard potential rain/flooding of 8-12 inches of rain. Living near the James River could mean WE have to get out of the area. How reasonable is it to expect our Guest to stay here?? Or not come due to lost electricity, water, dangerous or impassable roads due to trees falling?
@James Good question Why have every host have to call individually saying the same thing, or why chance a host cancelling and then Airbnb has to have CS personnel run an 'investigation' in every case to see if it qualifies for host extenuating circumtances?
Perhaps Airbnb could add a temporary 'Hurricane Florence' button that sends an automated request (from the host) to Airbnb to have that booking cancelled. No need to call. This way they can see the location and how it matches the reality that is indeed in the affected area.
If not mistaken, in the case with the recent volcanos in the Pacific, Airbnb cancelled the bookings in entire areas, but some cancellations made no sense.
Considering natural disasters are somewhat common, I wonder if a 'Natural Disaster' host-request button should be a permanent feature.
That sort of thing should make sense and not be too hard. I'd hate for them to be automatic since, as you note, there are exceptions even in these cases. But having a button that is turned on for affected areas which automatically permitted a no-impact cancelation with full refund would simplify for guest, host, and Airbnb.
I think just letting the guests know what geographic areas will be refunded in advance would be a huge step up. For instance, I was planning to travel to SE Virginia this Thursday. My Airbnb is in Zone A, and Zone A was given an evacutation order. All major airlines into Virginia announced free flight rescheduling or vouchers. Airbnb has said nothing. I canceled my Airbnb b/c I don't have any idea if I'm going to be able to get to my Airbnb at this point. I called Airbnb and have sent them the evacuation order. I'm hoping that I get fully reimbursed, but honestly, I'm not hopeful. What if the hurricane tracks south Thursday evening and SE Virginia is barely hit. Is Airbnb going to say, "Well, SE Virginia had no major damage, so you could have went." I'd just like something pre-emptively stating something similar to, "If you cancel now, we will give you a voucher to use the funds on another trip. If you cancel now and your Airbnb is indeed impacted by the incoming natural disaster, you will receive a full refund." With these hurricanes, there is just too much unknown. As someone that lived outside of New Orleans during Katrina, I don't want to be anywhere near that hurricane. The possibility of two weeks with no gas, water, electricity, etc...is no vacation. No one should be arriving at the east coast this week while everyone that lives there is being told to leave or prepare for the worst.
Hi Dustin - You very likely will get the full refund. In my experience with Airbnb, they are almost always good to give a full refund in these cases. It's just a hassle to have to contact them. It helps if your host will also choose the option to grant a full refund even if their refund policy allows them not to. A good host would do that if you're anywhere in the range, which you are. I've already approved a full refund for the guest we had coming and I also wrote Airbnb requesting they refund the traveler fee, which they have already written back to say they've done. So the result is usually good, but the process could be much better.
Thanks for the info, James. See, if I was staying with you, I'd understand what's going on a little better. My hosts told me to cancel the reservation and contact Airbnb. That's all I've heard. This is the first Airbnb that I have booked (stayed in a bunch with friends, but didn't book) and I have no clue how any of this works. It would have been nice to have a host help me through this, as you have done for your guests.
I agree- there could be an option to check first "extenuating circumstances", then"natural disaster", "area wide power outage", "death in the family" and so on, with then a text box to briefly explain- "Hurricane Florence", etc. when having to cancel. For personal extenuating circumstances, like medical issues, a death, or access to your property being blocked because of a burst sewer line or something, there could be a place to attach documentation.
If there is any doubt on Airbnb's part as to the validity of the extenuating circumstance cancellation, they could contact the host for further documentation, but in the case of a natural disaster, it's a no-brainer for them to check out. The cancellation should automatically carry no host penalties, nor require the host to phone first.
There are natural disasters all over the world at any given time, some confined to very small areas, so I don't think we can expect Airbnb to keep track of all of them, but these options would at least not make the cancellation process for such things so time-consuming.
I am going to play Devil's advocate here.
AIrbnb may have a legitimate business reason for requiring a phone call.
Perhaps they don't want to telegraph a problem that may or may not exist.
Some people may choose to go through with their travel plans - hurricane be damned.
But if they see an "Automatic Hurricane cancel" they might get scared off.
Or maybe it might get used by the wrong people - people in places not affected.
OR maybe once the media hears about the automatic Hurricane cancellation policy, they may give everyone the belief that it applies to all reservations.
All in all, one phone call is not terribly onerous. If so, you can twitter them.