Thankfully I haven't yet activate my listing because we had a power outage in my area from 2 AM to 11 AM. This had me thinking what if this happened when a guest was staying. Would you issue a full or partial refund? What if there was a moderate outage of just one or two hours? Knock off 10%?
Power outage is no one's fault...not usually. Many guests realise that and don't actually ask for a refund....especially say 2am -11am when most of the time everyone would be asleep. I wouldnt consider a full refund for something that was completely out of my control. Depends on the level of "discomfort" you believe it has caused (eg fridge food )and only really do a partial refund for the days effected. For 1-2 hours I wouldnt even consider it, to be honest.
If you get outages regularly, make sure there are plenty of torches and candles available.
For a short outage, I would not refund, especially during daylight hours. If guests were inconvenienced, I certainly would. I do have gas and wood as well, so it depends on how your energy is sourced.
We get outages here about once or twice a year. Last night it was high winds. Sometimes it's too many people running their air conditioning. Anyway it was a reminder for me to get some power outage lights and flash lights for the room & bath just in case.
If I had to give a refund every time we had a power outage around here, I'd never make any $ hosting. It's a regular occurence, especially in the summer- couple drops of rain, a little puff of wind, and black-out time. Then there's tree branches falling on the lines, the multitude of bad drivers running into power poles, and a few years ago it went out every Sunday for 2 months because off-duty electrical company workers were using their days off to steal the copper line they'd been paid to install during the week in a new area which was hidden away from public vision :-)
An occassional power outage is also a reality on every guest's life, so they do tend to understand. As a general rule, best to minimize the automatic use of the word 'Refund'. Perhaps offer a little gift or make a kind gesture for their patience and understanding, that oftentimes comes across more endearing than money. :)
Someone here on the forum a long time ago mentioned a little neat trick (he was a remote host, I can just **bleep** over and give a gift or help). He had hidden somewhere in the house a treat of some sort (bottle of wine, maybe) and hidden it really well so it wouldn't be found in normal use of house. If somehting happened which needed smoothing a guest issue, he told them how to find their treat. I do like that. He could also tell them at checkout how to unlock their treat if he felt that way inclined!
@Pete I live on the Oregon Coast and had my first power outage with a guest here due to fierce winds. I chose to offer a full refund to my guests, even though they did not ask for one. I did this because even though the power was out only a short time, there were inconveniences caused to the gal that had booked that interfered with what had been a long-awaited, belated Valentine Day's weekend for her and her partner. One thing after another was going wrong electrically prior to the power going all the way out, including the hot tub going whacky. It was a real pain for her, and for me as the host as I tried in vain to figure out what might be going on.
Looking back, if I had not been so fearful of the dreaded 'bad review', I might not have offered a full refund. Even Airbnb Customer Support said I went way beyond anything they would ever expect. But it was just a gut feeling that this guest would have a better all-around experience with a full (not partial) refund to console her, and I do think it was worth taking the financial hit. It is the only time I have ever offered, or ever had, to refund. She did leave me a 'good' review - all 5 stars EXCEPT in the most important category, 'Overall' - Not because of me or the Cottage, but because of the weather. That one hurt a bit, I must admit. So just know that you can't necessarily 'buy' a five star overall review by giving a guest a refund.
These days I don't fear losing my Super Host status as much as I used to, and so I may have offered instead a partial refund or a 'treat' of some kind, as @Sandra mentioned, above. But that's how I handled it the one time a power outage happened to me while hosting.
Guests should not be entitled to a refund for a weather-caused power outage. The hosts can not be their insurance policy. Airbnb needs to start requiring that guests purchase travel insurance for when something happens either before or during their trip.
@Erika & Tye I agree. Hosts shouldn't have to take a financial hit for something outside their control. It's one thing to give a refund because your own water heater went on the blink and the guests couldn't have a hot shower, it's quite another if there are area-wide power outages due to weather, construction, etc.
I'd be interested to hear hosts opinions of this scenario currently hāppening in Manhattan NY
Airbnb booked for 4 nights
First night fine
Second day and night no power
Host unable to be contacted
Airbnb support crew assured it would be sorted
Third day /night fridge food spoiled, rude email received from host, airbnb contacted again with refund offer of 50% for affected days
Now going into day four
Is this acceptable?
We just had an experience where we had booked the Airbnb for 2 nights. The day we arrived the people that help with the house told us that the power had been gone for 24 hrs.
We immediately got in contact with the owner, letting him know that one of hour friends (party of 7, including a 1 year old infant) needed a machine to sleep. Long story short, the power came back that same day around 7 pm when we were about to leave to another location.
Next day, we lost power around 9 pm all the way to noon next day when we had to leave.
My friend could not sleep, it was a remote location in Mexico, so it was sketchy not having power. Our food went bad also.
The owner said that never happened, yet he has a HUGE solar lamp post outside. Hmmm
we asked for a 75% refund based that one full night was wasted, all of our food and no sleep for my friend.
For all the hosts out there, what’s your opinion?
@Edgardo You booked 2 nights, (basically 2 24 hour periods) and you were definitely inconvenienced and lost $ for the food gone bad. One of the 7 people couldn't sleep one night. In the meantime, you did, I assume, cook there, sleep in the beds, use the towels, presumably used hot water showering, washing dishes, etc.. You asked for opinions, and I think 50% is fair.
If the power issue had been due to the host's negligence, rather than something out of their control, then I'd say a larger refund would be reasonable. Living in Mexico myself, I can tell you that power outages happen quite often. In the US and Canada, if the power company is going to be working on the lines one day from xx hour to xx hour, they notify residents ahead of time. No such thing happens here. You just wake up to find there's no power, and make sure to open and close the fridge door quickly, and have to put off using the internet, etc.and hope the power comes on again before the milk goes bad.
The fact that there was a solar light on the power pole means nothing- lots of people use solar devices in places where the sun shines most of the time. Why use up power when you can generate it for free?
The person that didn’t sleep paid as well. The house had a jacuzzi that we could not use either. The fact that power was gone for 24 hours prior our arrival and then gone again for 15 hours makes me think the owner knew about the problems. If he had let us know, it’s up to us if we wanted to take the risk, but he didn’t. I was born and raised in Mexico, and this place was in the middle of nowhere. You don’t install a $3000 solar lamp post unless you know you will need it.
Thats what upsets me. He knew and said nothing upfront.