Airbnb’s Coronavirus Policy
Like many of you, I’ve had travel plans interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The health and safety of everyone is obviously the priority. However, the situation created some serious headaches for just about everyone involved.
It can be hard to keep track of all the different policies. Earlier this week, Jon covered hotel cancelation policies related to the COVID-19 coronavirus. What happens if you have a stay booked in an Airbnb though?
Despite the numerous complaints and bad press Airbnb has received over the past year, they’ve been really solid when it comes to their COVID-19 policy.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice a huge banner on their front page stating the company’s commitment to the wellbeing of travelers. While this is starting to become the industry norm, some companies make it much less visible than others.
According to Airbnb’s policy, certain reservations can be canceled without charges. This includes any fees Airbnb or hosts typically tack on at booking. Reservations that can be canceled include:
- Guests who are travelling to or from severely affected areas
- Hosts who are hosting in or welcoming guests from severely affected areas
- Anyone who can’t complete their trip due to official travel restrictions, medical or disease control duties, flight or ground transport cancellation initiated by the provider due to COVID-19, or suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
If your reservation falls under one of the major impacted regions (think China, Korea, and Italy), your reservation should show automatically an option to cancel penalty-free. For guests:
- You will receive a full refund (including any fees)
- Airbnb will refund all fees
And for hosts of bookings falling under Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy:
- Hosts won’t incur any cancellation fees
- Hosts can accept new reservations for those dates
- Superhost status will not be affected
What if you’re visiting another impacted region?
Given the rapidly evolving nature of the situation, there are many more countries that could fall under these exemptions. In that case, Airbnb will handle each booking on a case-by-case basis. Other situations that may be eligible for a refund include guests that must change or cancel travel:
- In order to comply with disease control restrictions implemented by relevant governmental or health authorities
- In order to perform medical or disease control duties in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak;
- As a result of flight or ground transport cancellations initiated by an airline or ground transport provider due to the COVID-19 outbreak;
- In the event that they are diagnosed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19 by a medical or health authority.
We were recently booked to at an Airbnb property in Tel Aviv. Israel currently not allowing any international passengers without a 14-day quarantine, so we couldn’t enter the country even if we wanted to. After a five-minute phone conversation, we were issued a full refund. It was an incredibly easy and much faster than expected. Especially given everything that’s going on right now.
This is an incredibly trying time for both consumers and businesses in the travel industry. While I empathize with businesses right now, there’s no need to make the process more difficult for people than needed. Airbnb has really nailed the way they’re handling this one. Kudos, Airbnb.