As a result of the coronavirus’ continued impact, Airbnb is now allowing guests to receive refunds for stays and Airbnb Experiences booked on or before March 14 with a check-in date between March 14 and June 15.
Previously, the company had allowed refunds for trips with a check-in date between March 14 and May 31. Reservations made after March 14 will continue to be held to the host’s cancellation policy. However, if a guest or host is “currently sick with COVID-19,” reservations made after March 14 will qualify for a refund.
Those guests who decide to cancel reservations will have the option of receiving a full cash refund or travel credit. Hosts will also now be able to cancel under the new policy without incurring a charge or any penalty to their Superhost status, a ranking given to hosts who earn the highest ratings from guests.
While the extension of Airbnb’s window for cancellations may be a boon to guests who were on the fence about cancelling June bookings with strict cancellation policies, hosts are likely feeling the pinch from the additional loss of income.
Airbnb hosts lost $1.5 billion in bookings in mid-March, according to AirDNA, a company that analyzes Airbnb bookings data. While guests received leniency, hosts were left scrambling for funds to cover April rent.
“I made a bargain with the devil,” Cheryl Dopp, an information technology contractor who hosts Airbnb listings in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Miami, Florida, told the Wall Street Journal.
Dopp lost $10,000 in Airbnb bookings in March and incurs $22,000 in monthly expenses for her property portfolio that is largely comprised of Airbnb listings.
As of March, Airbnb had incurred hundreds of millions in losses as a result of the pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to its extension into June on guest reservation refunds, Airbnb also recently announced a new recommended cleaning protocol called the “Enhanced Cleaning Initiative.” The protocol will provide standardized guidance on cleaning and sanitizing in the home sharing industry based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), leading health experts and companies in the hospitality and medical hygiene sector.
A 40-page manual outlining cleaning guidelines will include recommendations specifically geared toward COVID-19 prevention and a 24-hour wait period in between rentals to reduce the risk of encountering residual viruses. Potential guests will also be able to see whether or not a host has opted in to the initiative.