Airbnb creates more flexible reservation policies due to coronavirus

Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 22:33:08-04

In just 24 hours, an Airbnb host in Pismo Beach, Bethany Giles, says she's had two cancellations from guests due to impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“One for this weekend for the Spartan race that was postponed and another from a couple that is returning home early to avoid any further travel,” Giles said.

Giles adds that she has since re-booked both cancellations but is taking other precautions to reassure extra cleanliness in her home and rental space.

“Just extra sanitizing and bleach and making sure everything is sprayed down with Lysol as a precaution,” she said.

Due to the global spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the travel industry, Airbnb has created a new program to help support guests and hosts.

The company announced "More Flexible Reservations," a program that includes tweaked reservation policies to help decrease loss for those involved due to cancellations.

Among the three recent changes, the company will now offer rewards for flexible hosts.

Hosts will now have tools to directly authorize extra refunds through the company's website. Airbnb will provide promotions that will increase visibility of the host's listings for those who are willing and able to offer refunds on cancellations that would have otherwise been subject to charges. They will also waive the standard 3% host fee on new reservations for listings through June 1.

The second accommodation involves easy filter searches for travelers. Guests will have filters that make it easier to find and book accommodation options that have the most appropriate cancellation policy. That will include flexible, moderate or strict categories according to their needs as it pertains to the current outlook on COVID-19.

Lastly, for bookings made now through June 1, 2020, if guests need to cancel their reservation and conclude they are not due a refund of Airbnb guest service fees, the company will refund that fee as a travel coupon. The coupon can be used on a future trip.

To read the updated policies, click here.