It’s back to business as usual for Airbnb (mostly). In a recent policy change, Airbnb removed COVID-19 from its list of reasons to qualify for a cancellation under its Extenuating Circumstances policy.
This policy allows for guests to cancel their stay or experience booking for a cash refund, travel credit and/or other considerations beyond the standard cancellation policy. The list covers a number of situations such as natural disasters, military and other hostile activities, changes in government travel policies, and so on. Due to the pandemic, Airbnb added a COVID-19 related option stating that if the guest(s) or the host(s) contracted the virus, guests would be entitled to a refund or credit even if they were outside of the regular cancellation period.
Now that the majority of countries have relaxed lock down measures and are basically moving towards a life where everyone has to live with the virus, Airbnb has stated that it will drop the COVID-19 option from its Extenuating Circumstances policy for Stays or Experiences booked on and after May 31, 2022. The policy change does not apply to domestic reservations in South Korea and mainland China, where certain COVID-19-related circumstances will continue to be covered.
Airbnb has backed its decision, saying that two-thirds of its bookings offer a moderate or flexible cancellation policy, with many of them offering full refunds as close as five days before the start of the Stay or Experience date.
Almost two thirds of active listings on our platform offer a moderate or flexible cancellation policy, which allow guests to cancel at least five days before check-in – and in some cases up to 24-hours before check-in – and still receive a full refund.
The company is also working towards developing its own insurance program, allowing guests the option of paying a little bit extra to cover their costs should they need to cancel last minute without the option of qualifying for a refund under their Extenuating Circumstances policy. The policy change does seem reasonable as Airbnb has extended the allowance much longer than many other travel companies, and for many across the globe, life is slowly returning to a somewhat pre-pandemic state.
[Featured Photo: Bradley Wint]