London, United Kingdom Online Community Manager
Hurricane Michael is predicted to hit the southeastern U.S. coast, including the Florida panhandle and parts of Alabama and Georgia, on Wednesday, October 10. Many residents are evacuating to safer areas and could be displaced for some time, if the storm is as severe as predicted.
There’s an immediate need for temporary housing—both for displaced residents and for relief workers who will be arriving to help with response and recovery efforts. Airbnb is working to connect hosts interested in sharing their space with those in need. If you want to help, Airbnb wants to help you do it.
Do you have available housing in the area? You can sign up online to share your space for free with those affected by Hurricane Michael. Airbnb waives all booking fees, and all disaster relief guests and hosts have access to Airbnb's 24/7 customer support. All bookings are on a request-to-book basis.
Do you need free housing? You can sign up online, and Airbnb will help connect you to one of the many generous hosts who are sharing their homes with their community.
Hurricane Michael is the most recent example of Airbnb hosts stepping in to help their community in times of need. Through Airbnb’s Open Homes program, hosts have provided free housing for more than 15,000 people. You can learn more here.
We've been hosting several hurricane relief and recovery workers since the storm. We've also had a couple of displaced people. What is incredibly frustrating is the no-show. Because they aren't paying anything there is nothing lost by just not showing up. I had one booked for over a week who didn't show and I had to call to have her reservation cancelled to open it up for other people. I'd like to see an opportunity to cancel a guest if they have not arrived or been in contact by, say, 7 pm. It is now 8:40 p.m. and I am still waiting on one to show who is not responding to my messages. Meanwhile, I have other people that have inquired and I've had to turn them away.
For anyone who wants to take their listing off the Open Homes, follow these steps:
On a computer (I could not find it on my phone app), go to your listing and click Edit. Under "Listing Details", scroll down to near the bottom of the page and edit the "Open Homes" to the off position. Click on Save.
I had to turn mine off after I received several suspious requests.
Lovely to meet you all.
I would like to really thank you for offering your homes to help those in need of a place to stay during this time.
I can understand you concerns here regarding the guests you are receiving and that you want to make sure you are reaching those who need disaster relief. Please be reasured though that Open Homes has helped many people during these difficult times.
I am going to feed your experiences here, back to the our team.
Thank you again,
I had numerous requests and the first family was to come in today as it was unavailable until now. So far they haven't shown. I know their world is turned upside down but I wish they would cancel if they are not coming because I could probably help someone else.
I too have gotten several inquiries and reservation requests to book our place for free. I am willing to help those in true need, but I am very concerned that this generosity is being exploited.
I have gotten 3 out of 5 requests from people out of the affected hurricane area so I did some research. I found a news report that guests do not need to provide paperwork or proof that they live in the affected area. This is a major problem for me! I want proof because one request was from someone in Miami, not an affected area! Also, one free request was for over a week from now, on a weekend. Sounds like people are looking for a free little get-away at our expense!
I have gotten a half dozen inquiries from Michael refugees. There is lots of confusion in their world right now so some are inquires, some are pre-approved and some have cancelled. But I have noticed that it's impacting my acceptance rate. That's a problem.