Airbnb’s ‘not our problem policy’ big problem to travellers cancelling trips
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Turquoise waters glisten, palm trees sway, mojitos go undrunk. You? You’re hunched over a laptop, at home in your boxers.
Though this isn’t a pretty picture, it’s smart: considering the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked, postponing your trip is sensible. However, financially, depending on when you booked your jaunt, you may take a monetary hit for doing so.
That’s how it seems, anyway, from Airbnb’s recent announcement regarding extenuating circumstances.
Though it initially sounds promising (“we are now offering Guests full refunds and Hosts no charge cancellations for reservations booked on or before 14th March with a check-in date of 14th April or earlier”), when you dig into the details, you see a large number of travellers will (as it stands) miss out on this ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Yes: existing reservations made on or before 14 March 2020 for stays and Airbnb Experiences with a check-in date of 14 April 2020, or earlier, and with at least one night occurring between 14 March 2020, and 14 April 2020, are covered.
And yes: those same guests who cancel will receive a full refund, and those affected hosts will be able to cancel without charge or impact to their Superhost status.
“Airbnb will refund all service fees.”
However, the host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual to reservations made after 14 March 2020, and to existing reservations made on or before 14 March 2020 with check-in dates after 14 April 2020.
In other words, if you have an upcoming trip in the back end of April, in May, or any time beyond that, you are – unless we see further changes to Airbnb’s policy – at your host’s mercy as to whether or not you get a refund.
“Existing reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences with a check-in date after 14 April 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy except where the guest or host has contracted COVID-19. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.”
“Please remember to carefully review the listing’s cancellation policy set by the host when booking and consider choosing an option that provides flexibility,” Airbnb adds, as a warning to anyone currently making a booking.
They then left some further advice for those looking to recoup some cash, explaining how the whole “extenuating circumstances” gig goes.
“If your reservation is covered, it will be marked as such on the reservation details page (found in Trips if you’re a traveller, or in your hosting dashboard if you’re a host). If you cancel a reservation marked as eligible, guests will receive a full refund, and there will be no impact to hosts’ Superhost status. You don’t need to contact us in this case,” reads Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances page, last updated on Saturday the 14th of March (at the time of writing).
“For travellers, if your reservation is not covered, your host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual. You can reach out to your host to discuss cancellation and refunds.”