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Any one seen the upcoming changes to EC policy?


Airbnb is updating their Extenuating Circumstances Cancellation policy, Y effective January 21, 2021.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1320/extenuating-circumstances-Changes/new policies are listed below. Listed categories are summaries. See actual policy for full details.


:black_small_square:︎Death of a host, guest, or their co-host, additional guest, immediate family member, or caregiver. [NO MORE]
:black_small_square:︎Unexpected serious illness or injury affecting a host or member of the traveling party. [NO MORE]
:black_small_square:︎Government-mandated obligations including jury duty, travel restrictions, court appearances, and military deployment. [REVISED - TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ONLY NOW]
:black_small_square:︎Unforeseen property damage, maintenance, and amenity issues to the Airbnb listing that makes it unsafe to host guests or prevents guests from accessing basic amenities like running water [NO MORE]
:black_small_square:︎Transportation disruptions that make it impossible to travel to your destination including road closures & flight cancellations where there are no alternative methods of travel [NO MORE]
:black_small_square:︎Train, bus or ferry cancellations where no alternate trips were available the same day [NO MORE]
:black_small_square:︎Natural disasters, terrorist activity, and civil/political unrest that prevent the guest from traveling to or from the destination, or that make it unsafe to host guests [YES, WITH NEW CAVEATS]
:black_small_square:︎Epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people. This doesn’t include existing diseases that are associated with an area
:black_small_square:︎Travel restrictions imposed by a government, law enforcement agency, or military that restrict travel to or from the listing or experience location [YES]
:black_small_square:︎Safety and security threat advisories issued for the listing or experience location or the guest party’s departure location [REVISED]
:black_small_square:︎Essential utility outages that affect the listing or experience location [REVISED]
:black_small_square:︎Changes to visa or passport requirements that make it impossible to travel to the destination. This doesn’t include lost or expired travel documents. [YES]

The Extenuating Circumstances Policy below applies to all check-ins on or after January 20, 2021.

:black_small_square:︎Changes to government travel requirements. Unexpected changes to visa or passport requirements imposed by a governmental agency that prevent travel to the destination. This doesn’t include lost or expired travel documents
:black_small_square:︎Declared emergencies and epidemics. Government declared local or national emergencies, epidemics, pandemics, and public health emergencies. This does not include diseases that are endemic or commonly associated with an area
:black_small_square:︎Government travel restrictions. Travel restrictions imposed by a governmental agency that prevent or prohibit traveling to, staying at, or returning from the Listing location.
:black_small_square:︎Military actions and other hostilities. Acts of war, hostilities, invasions, civil war, terrorism, explosions, bombings, rebellions, riots, insurrection, civil disorder, and civil unrest.
:black_small_square:︎Natural disasters. Natural disasters, acts of God, large-scale outages of essential utilities, [NOTE THIS MUST BE LARGE SCALE, NOT JUST YOUR LISTING] volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other severe and abnormal weather events. This does not include weather or natural conditions that are common enough to be foreseeable in that location—for example, hurricanes occurring during hurricane season in Florida.

:black_small_square:︎What is not covered

Everything else. This Policy only allows for cancellations for the Events described above. Everything else is excluded. Examples [BELOW] of situations that this Policy does not allow cancellations for include: unexpected disease, illness, or injury; government obligations like jury duty, court appearances or military duties; travel advisories or other government guidance (that fall short of a travel ban or prohibition); cancellation or rescheduling of an event for which the reservation was made; and transportation disruptions unrelated to a covered Event like road closures, as well as flight, train, bus and ferry cancellations.


The changes link (the second one) in your post gets a 404 Not Found error.

If the items listed under “AFTER” constitute the complete list, then I would be expecting that they are planning to offer optional travel insurance to guests since those items are mostly not covered by typical travel insurance.

[Edit] The Changes link doesn’t work for me either, but this link claims to be the 2021 EC policy

Read the “Note:” about the switch to the new policy. The new policy applies to all check-ins after January 21, 2021. That implies a guest could’ve made a reservation before the new EC policy goes into effect and even before the new EC policy was posted or even conceived, but the reservation will still be subject to the new policy. That’s kinda broken.

These policies are definitely more host-friendly and will eliminate a lot of the fake EC claims since Airbnb can easily determine if these circumstances exist through official channels and not rely on “evidence” submitted by the guest.


Any one seen the upcoming changes to EC hosts acting as the guests travel insurance policy?

Nope Debs, haven’t seen a thing, but fixed it for yah.




Really? So if you have a major accident or get quite ill so that you in hospital and are unable to host, or your plumbing bursts a major leak, or you have a house fire, and you have to cancel the guests who were due to arrive tomorrow, you’ll get charged the cancellation penalties, "host cancelled this reservation XX days before check-in will appear on your review page, and you’ll lose your Superhost status if you have it.
How is that host-friendly?

Finally, finally, they figured out that being an Airbnb host SHOULD NOT EQUAL providing a travel insurance policy gratis.
This of course benefits them labor cost-wise by getting CS out of the negotiation loop. Guests will now have to harangue you personally for any consideration for water main shut offs, faulty fridges, eek! a mouse, etc.
If you’re a nefarious type who lists a bunch of amenities you don’t have and never intend to have, after a certain number of negative reviews/complaints, they can just push the button and shut ya down, again non-labor intensive.


I said it’s “more host friendly” based on EC being used far more often by guests than by hosts, it is forcing guests to keep their commitments rather than make fake or frivolous EC claims because they want to change their mind.

I believe it’s still reasonable for hosts as well. Some hosts have made fake EC cancellations in order to book on another platform at a higher rate. Some problems such as illness, major leak, fire, can be mitigated by having a co-host and appropriate short-term rental insurance.

I’m not sure those actually fall under EC. I’m thinking the previous EC policy item “Unforeseen property damage, maintenance, and amenity issues to the Airbnb listing that makes it unsafe to host guests or prevents guests from accessing basic amenities like running water” applies specifically for cancellations by hosts.

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So, any halfway clever guest can call with “one of our party caught Covid or whatever and can’t travel” and the booking is canceled, regardless of truth.

Many have already noted that various air agents apply EC where the terms don’t apply anyway. Some hosts manage to get it reversed but Air will likely side with the Guest in many if not most cases.

Honestly, we don’t see any real change here - it still comes down to Air being very Guest Centric. We do not expect this to change and do not expect Air to comply with the updated policy. In fact, we expect that it will continue to get worse.

Our priority and focus when we list our new stay remains the same - to use as many channels as possible, with a serious marketing effort to direct bookings.

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Perhaps for many hosts, but neither of those things is anything I can afford for my private room listing.


They are, it was confirmed by the new head of global hosting, Catherine Powell in her most recent update, and not before time. Hosts have been acting as guests travel insurers for too long.

Exactly. However, it does appear that hosts will still have the ability to cancel, penalty free, due to personal circumstances of the host, or an issue with the property. I hope this will be the case, when you consider Airbnb wouldn’t be where it is now without all those in home hosts.

This change, together with the simplified service fee structure, makes me think that we are seeing a major shift in how Airbnb intends to operate in the future.

Given that they’ve raised almost $6B in external funding, and the company is now worth between $18B and $26B depending on who you believe, are those external investors now having a bigger say than previously?

Was the hiring of Catherine Powell, previously very successful with the Disney Corporation, as a result of external investors suggesting that Airbnb needs to get it shit together?

Have they looked at how BDC operates, 15% service charge to hosts, nothing to guests, and when a guest books, the host cannot cancel without incurring a penalty. It works for BDC, last valuation I noticed for them was around $70B and while their shares (like everyone else’s) took a hit in the Spring, they seem to be well on the road to recovery.

Incidentally, it’s not heavily advertised or promoted, but BDC very quietly added a “Homestay” category to their property types a wee while back.

This the update from Catherine Powell.


I would say yes, and very likely influenced by the losses and potential losses from legal battles with hosts over the COVID EC cancellations. There was a rumor about investors calling for Chesky’s removal back in May/June.

That’s a big deal to Homeshare hosts that are dissatisfied with Airbnb, especially those that may have been unilaterally banned.

That isn’t how the new policy reads, as far as I can tell. What Catherine Powell may have said in her video, or how hosts might interpret what was said isn’t relevant. What is relevant is the exact wording in the EC policy and there isn’t anything in there I read that says a host can cancel penalty-free just because something dire has happened at their property that makes hosting impossible or they have an unforeseen and serious medical issue.

In fact, it says the opposite. “Everything else” that doesn’t fall under the stated acceptable EC policy is not covered.

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I agree. Don’t assume anything unless they update the host cancellation penalties policy, and I don’t see any changes yet.


We will see what actually happens. Catherine can say whatever she likes but Air CS will likely continue to violate written policies in favor of Guests. Anything else is just talk.

What they should do is limit EC to Death of the booking member (or immediate family). Require proof and enforce it (not protected by HIPAA, etc).

Anything else should be simple: the host’s cancel policy is enforced (solely at host discretion), if not covered by travel insurance.

Yep … I’m dreaming. She’s just talking. If Air changes, it will be to be even more guest centric. Would love to be wrong :slight_smile:

Thanks, @JohnF! I subscribed to the YouTube channel so I’ll get notified from now on.

I loved her description of the Glaswegian host who kept getting weather-related cancellations, since we get 100 inches (2.54m) of precip every year.

It seems that they understand that at little charm, combined with some changes, could go a long way towards keeping hosts on their platform.

Offering travel insurance at the time of booking makes it easy to remind guests in your post-booking message of your always observed refund policy AND that they can purchase insurance. No excuses when they request a refund.

All these “improvements” will take place before I reopen. Let’s hope they help.

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I can’t cancelpenalty free if I die?

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I have rented room in my home so it sound like if I die, the guest can come stay with my grieving husband. Jeez!

No, they’ll place a lien on your home, the penalties will be taken out of your estate, and result in probate taking an extra year. What part of “You can’t inconvenience guests” don’t you get? :crazy_face:

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