There’s a logical flow to the coronavirus’ cascading list of cancellations. If X is cancelled, then Y must be cancelled — and, if Y, then Z. Airbnb got caught in the flood this weekend when the global home stay conpamy’s headquarters announced the activation of its Extenuating Circumstances cancellation policy around the world.
According to the announcement on Airbnb’s Twitter feed, the company’s Extenuating Circumstances policy immediately applies globally to all existing reservations with check-in dates between March 14, 2020 and April 14, 2020. Essentially, that means any Airbnb can shut down business for one month without further explanation or penalty.
Airbnb doors can now be shut due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so the company extended its … [+]
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
An official explanation on the Airbnb website lays out what the Extenuating Circumstances Policy activation means for accommodation providers and customers. The new directive “allows hosts and guests to cancel eligible reservations with no charge or penalty.” Those terms apply to existing reservations for any stays booked on or before March 14, 2020, with check-in dates between March 14 and April 14, 2020, in every country and region around the world.
The only exception to these rules applies to domestic travel in mainland China. Since the COVID-19 pandemic evidently started there and is expected to burn itself ahead of the rest of the world, that region will go back to normal Airbnb rules on April 1.
Airbnb reports it “will not collect any fees or benefit in any way from any reservations cancelled under this policy.” The service also promises to help Airbnb providers with resources for getting through this month-long cancellation period. These “tools and initiatives” to make it through the cancel period could include financial assistance for Airbnb hosts who depend heavily on their property for primary income, but details are not currently available.
COVID-19 will be keeping guests away from potential Airbnb stays until April 14 with the company’s … [+]
The Airbnb reservation records say 86% of money spent by guests on cancelled stays over the last month was returned to them in refunds. This policy should simplify that process and reduce chances of disputes.
While this full cancelation policy is now in effect, travelers can still book Airbnb stays. The company has not issued a directive for its providers or customers to discontinue booking stays entirely However, in an official statement, the company urges “all travelers to carefully review and select cancellation policies that are right for them given the COVID-19 outlook.”
Airbnb made it clear they will continue to update its website, policies and resources while seeking ongoing guidance from the World Health Organization, health authorities and federal, state and local government authorities.