Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, apologized to vacation rental hosts for the company’s cancellation refund policy and laid out four initiatives of relief, including $250 million to offset refunds to help with the financial burden.
“I’m sorry we didn’t consult with you as partners. We want to fix this,” Chesky said in a 15-minute video message that included more than 6,000 participants. “I know this is an incredibly painful time (and) many of you are struggling.”
Here are the actions Airbnb is taking to provide relief for its hosts:
$250 Million USD Host Relief Fund
Airbnb has created a $250 million USD Host Relief Fund to help hosts and pay them for bookings that they canceled with no notice. Airbnb will pay 25% of what owners would’ve received for a cancellation based on their cancellation policy.
We should bear in mind that Airbnb included cancellations due to coronaviruses among the Causes of Force Majeure so guests were initially exempt from paying cancellation penalties to hosts.
Airbnb has created a community page to explain how this fund will work:
Reservations booked on or before March 14 with check-in between March 14 and May 31, 2020, are eligible under their extenuating circumstances policy. If a reservation is covered:
- Guests will be able to cancel for a full refund for COVID-19-related circumstances.
- Airbnb will pay 25% of what hosts would’ve received for a cancellation based on their cancellation policy. For example, if you would normally receive $400 USD through your cancellation policy, Airbnb will pay you $100 US (25% of that) with their Host relief fund.
- Airbnb will email hosts in early April with more details on payouts. Future payments from the fund will be made on a monthly basis to hosts with qualifying cancellations.
- Cancellations hosts have had since March 14 will be eligible as this policy will also apply retroactively.
Airbnb isn’t clear on what happens with reservations booked on or before March 14 with a check-in date after May 31 and has asked hosts and guests to revisit these bookings and choose to either cancel or re-commit to the reservation. However, any bookings made after March 14 won’t be covered under their extenuation circumstances policy and your cancellation policy will be in effect.
Additionally, Airbnb has created a page with all of the information on this relief fund along with a FAQ section.