Airbnb has extended its full cancellation policy due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and has set aside $ 250 million to help pay hosts for missed or canceled reservations, according to a letter sent to Airbnb hosts on Monday, that the company shared with The edge. CNBC was first to report the news earlier today.
Now, customers who previously booked stays on the platform with check-in between March 14 and May 31 are now eligible for a full refund under the company’s “mitigating circumstances” policy, regardless or the host’s preference for cancellation as long as the reservation was made before March 14. And Airbnb will now use the funds set aside to ensure that hosts can recover some of the lost money.
Prior to this announcement, Airbnb had extended its “extenuating circumstances” policy to cover bookings between March 14 and April 1; the company then extended this coverage again to cover reservations made until April 14. However, there was no form of cover for the hosts, some of whom were furious that Airbnb exceeded their cancellation preferences and not providing any form of financial safety net. This is because the refunds promised by Airbnb to customers have started to come from the hosts, not from the company itself.
Now Airbnb says it will provide its own assistance, and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has apologized for the botched messages regarding policy changes last month. “I deeply regret the way in which we communicated this decision, and I am sorry I did not consult you – as the partners should,” Chesky wrote in the letter. “We have heard from you and we know we have let you down.” You deserve better from us. ”
Airbnb also donated $ 10 million to a fund to help its “superhosts” and those who offer Airbnb tour guide-style experiences. Hosts can apply for $ 5,000 grants from the fund starting next month. “Trust is the foundation of a partnership and it is built over time. We know we have work to do to strengthen yours, but it is our priority and we are committed to it. When the trip comes back – and it will – we look forward to welcoming millions of guests again, ”adds Chesky.
Because its business is entirely dependent on travel and tourism, Airbnb was one of the technology platforms hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic. Society has seen massive cancellations due to a mix of strict travel restrictions, countless countries advising or ordering citizens to isolate themselves, and the cancellation of virtually all events involving mass gatherings of people in the United States and other countries around the world.
The White House extended its Sunday federal guidelines for social isolation in the United States until April 30, reporting that many cities across the country will do the same in the short term. According to the most recent data, the United States has more than 160,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths, making it the new global epicenter of the pandemic.