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Airbnb has announced that it will no longer be offering guests refunds for Covid-related cancellations. The immensely popular accommodation booking platform had previously offered customers refunds throughout the pandemic for canceling their reservations due to reasons related to Covid-19, such as the host or guest testing positive for the virus.
However, with the situation around the world getting closer to returning to normal every week, the company is set to stop offering this service to its users.
while the change isn’t live yet, travelers should be aware that it is set to come into effect very soon.
Here’s a closer look at this announcement from AirBnB, including why it has been made, when it will go into effect, what the new refund rules will be – plus a recap of which destinations travelers may struggle to find an Airbnb for their vacations.
Airbnb Halts Covid Refunds – What Travelers Should Know
Providing travelers with a more unique, curated, and personal accommodation choice for their vacation, the success, and popularity of Airbnb cannot be understated, with the app now being a must-have for travelers all around the world.
Even in the midst of a pandemic, last year saw more than 350 million nights booked through Airbnb, with the platform featuring more than 12 million different choices of accommodation at the end of last year.
In order to cope with the upheaval and disruptions the travel industry faced throughout the pandemic, AirBnB updated the coverage of its Extenuating Circumstances policy to allow both guests and hosts to cancel reservations with no charge or penalty.
The policy travelers with confidence when booking, allow them to book stays without having to worry about losing their money in the event of contracting Covid-19 – but the policy is set to change.
From May 31st, Airbnb is updating their Extenuating Circumstances policy to no longer cover Covid-19 related circumstances as a reason for a refund for bookings made on or after this date.
This means that should a guest contract Covid-19 and be unable to make their reservation, they are not guaranteed a refund in the event of their cancellation, with the matter hinging on the cancellation policy of their Airbnb Host.
Addressing the reasons why they made this move in a blog post, Airbnb said:
“Some in the travel industry stopped this type of policy months ago, while others didn’t provide one at all. After consultation with our medical advisors, as well as our community, we feel the time is now right to take the same step.”
The only exceptions are China and South Korea, where travelers will still be covered.
The company also highlighted the flexible cancellation options already on offer on their platform. According to Airbnb, around two-thirds of the listings on their platform offer a moderate or flexible cancellation policy, which allows guests to cancel at least five days before check-in, with some guests even able to cancel their bookings up to 24 hours before they are due to stay and receive a full refund, depending on the reason for cancellation.
The best way for travelers to still be protected is to get travel health insurance that covers covid. This way, should they get covid before their trip and find themselves sick and unable to travel, the insurance will kick in to cover some of the accommodation costs.
As travel begins to hot up in time for summer, travelers should also be aware that not every city is AirBnB friendly. Laws in domestic cities such as Santa Monica and New York can make it difficult for travelers to find AirBnB accommodation, whilst some popular international destinations, such as Bangkok, also consider renting through AirBnB illegal – although it is still possible. Other cities, such as Amsterdam, Paris, and Reykjavik, have caps on room rentals, making it harder to find a good place to stay.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consultant and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories