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Coronavirus Update Email to Hosts

Today Airbnb sent out an email to all hosts (titled “Coronavirus Update”) about a policy they’ve put into place for the Covid-19. To summarize, Airbnb will allow guests to cancel their reservation and refund guests, but not payout hosts. EVEN IF YOU HAVE A STRICT CANCELLATION POLICY. This really burned me up!

Airbnb has a history of catering to guests and leaving hosts behind. There probably isn’t much we can do about this, but I wanted to at least send them feedback about how I felt about it. I thought they should not only refund the guest, but still follow the appropriate policy the host has in place.

I thought if many hosts complained, perhaps we might get some result? I’ll put the feedback that I sent them below.

I wanted to provide feedback regarding your Coronavirus Update email to hosts. As a host, I find this very frustrating and one sided. Already, I have many less reservations than usual (50% less according to metrics). Now you are going against my strict policy and will not give me a payout if the guest cancels. This is very unfair. I need this to pay my bills and my mortgage. How will I survive? I depend on this income! Airbnb continues to side with guests. While I agree that Airbnb may refund guests, the right thing to do is also still provide payouts. That’s right - payout both parties! By now, Airbnb is making enough money that during a short term emergency like this, Airbnb could afford to cover something like this, instead of burning hosts. This is not right.


I would certainly urge hosts to complain if it gives them satisfaction. And some sort of host organization would certainly have a chance of being viable. But if you think about it from a business point of view, the supply of hosts already exceeds demand in most places. If they start taking money from guests who get nothing in return for a circumstance outside their control it would be a disaster. The issue of “fairness” isn’t really relevant. Disasters like this are never fair to anyone.

Surely you know that this isn’t Airbnb’s problem? They are just a booking and payment platform.

Yours isn’t the first post complaining about the policy. It’s going to be a painful time for many hosts.


As I stated in another thread, guests cancelling are the least of your worries. Guests not booking travel at all are a bigger worry.

BTW, I agree with Airbnb on this. Companies are cancelling travel and any kind of gatherings. Governments are restricting travel. Everyone is encouraged to avoid close contact with many people to slow the spread, and that’s hard to do when you travel.


Thanks for your response. As I said, I do partially agree with Airbnb, but working with our cancellation policies (strict in my case), is what I’m arguing. I’m not saying guests can’t cancel.

Did you read the whole thing? :smile:

I appreciate your response. I realize it isn’t “Airbnb’s problem”. But it is Airbnb’s issue to change policies. Having advanced degrees in business, it’s fraud to change policies midcourse. Oh-wait, now you can’t get your pay out! That just isn’t ethical.

Because they can’t afford it. Let’s assume 10% of reservations get cancelled and they paid out 50% to the hosts. That’s a loss of about $2.6M dollars per day*, including their 15% fees which don’t even pay their operating costs since they haven’t been turning a profit. They have to pay their employees and creditors, too.

*Found some statistics that say Airbnb averages 500,000 stays per day and and average of about $80/night. 500,000 * $80 * 50% = $2.0M. Not including their fees, which are about $600K.

Besides that, it would invite a ton of fraud. Imagine how many hosts would get other people to book their listings then cancel just so they get paid for doing nothing.

And why not? They do plan go public this year. They’ve received plenty of my money in the past few years. I’m not sure why YOU believe they can’t payout both the guest and the host during a pandemic, but I believe it’s worth providing them with feedback. Which is the point of my thread. Arguing with you was not the point of my thread.


I’m not going to dig out the TOS and read it again but I’m fairly certain that the “policies” to which we all agreed haven’t really changed. I could be wrong but I’m not going to argue. You should start planning now to have a very rough year and if it’s not so bad we will all be celebrating. Best of luck to you.

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Thanks for your positivity. Have fun playing around on the forum and being negative to people instead of proactive. I guarantee you that I know the TOS.

TO EVERYONE ELSE: If you want to send feedback to Airbnb about that email, please do so!

My money is on no IPO this year and certainly not if they go from a booking company to a host income guarantee and guest travel insurance company handing out any cash they have on hand.


Rather than wringing our hands and crying over how we are going to survive a loss of income, or sending feedback to Airbnb, which won’t change anything, it would be more productive to spend our time coming up with other ways to augment our income. This is going to get worse before it gets better. And I don’t think it’s going to be over anytime soon.


I don’t. There is no way Airbnb is going to start paying tens of thousands of hosts 50% of a cancelled coronavirus-based cancellation. This is a worldwide crisis situation. We can’t expect that things will just be dealt with as normal.


It was already reported in Business Insider that Airbnb has said they may defer the IPO to 2021.

And someone posted about it here on the forum this week.

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They haven’t changed policies mid course @Rapunzel they have had the EC policy for years. It has always trumped what cancellation policy a host has in place.

Within days Airbnb is going to extend the Extenuating Circumstances Policy worldwide, at their sole discretion, as outlined in the TOS. It’s going to be impossible for them to vet and process all the claims with paperwork.

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I’ve been “negative instead of proactive” for years now. This post summarizes some of the threats and “health scare” is on the list. Forewarned is forearmed. Asking Airbnb to mitigate a global disaster is folly.

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Everyone involved in the travel and hospitality industry is suffering and will continue to suffer financially until this situation runs its course. I don’t see how Airbnb would have any obligation to make hosts whole for a natural disaster in the shape of a pandemic, or whatever you want to term it. As an analogy, if your roof blows off or your plumbing becomes nonfunctional, Airbnb will allow you to cancel as a host without penalty but does not guarantee your income for the cancelled rentals. That’s what insurance is for – some hosts may have loss of rental income coverage that would apply in this situation if they have a commercial insurance policy.


Just saw something interesting.
Chinese American guest wanted to cancel his booking due to virus fears. Host has strict policy and said no. Guest changed his profile location to China and then rang CS and got his refund via EC…

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Oh, I’m sure a huge number of guests who want to cancel their booking, for whatever reason, are going to be conniving and milking this to get full refunds.

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