There is an “extenuating circumstances policy” offered by Airbnb and it is now available worldwide. Travelers anywhere can now cancel their reservations and they are not charged for doing so.
At first, the policy was only applied to mainland China, South Korea, and Italy. It has been updated after additional travel restrictions were put in place and cases have increased to over 180,000 worldwide.
“This policy applies to bookings of places to stay and Airbnb Experiences in every country and region around the world, with the exception of domestic travel in mainland China which is scheduled to return to normal rules on April 1,” Airbnb explained.
Airbnb also has a general coronavirus policy, offering a refund for travel to “severely impacted areas” as well as for anyone who has to cancel because of travel restrictions.
Any bookings that have been canceled are now to be refunded through June 1. A travel coupon will be provided for future use. In addition, guests are being provided with the option to filter their search for a home based on the cancellation policy.
“When a crisis like Coronavirus hits, we know both hosts and guests are affected,” Airbnb said in a statement earlier this week. “Hosts lose earnings that they rely on to make ends meet. Guests are losing hard-earned vacation savings. We strive to support both sides and are taking a series of actions.”
“We will continue to assess the situation and will provide further information as matters progress,” the company added.
When issues such as canceled flights, travel restrictions or suspected/confirmed cases of the coronavirus occur, reservations can be canceled free of charge.
Airbnb is also looking after their hosts by waving the 3% host free through June 1 on any new reservations for listings where refunds would have been subject to a charge. They are also increasing the visibility of those listings to keep new bookings coming in.
It is also noteworthy that hosts are not charged a fee if the guest cancels their trip under those circumstances and the status of “superhost” will not be affected.