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Hurricanes and guests


#1

I searched and read through some older posts on this topic, but didn’t quite find the discussion I was looking for. We are on an island beach in North Carolina and Florence is brewing out there and could be headed this way. Current models predict it as a major hurricane right off our coast Thursday.

I sure wouldn’t have guests ride out a major storm in our place, but we also have to consider after the storm passes. Even if our home doesn’t get damage, the local authorities will shut down the bridge (the only way on or off the island) and limit access. Island property owners have ID cards and will be let back on when conditions are safe to assess damage, but they won’t let non-residents come until power is fully restored and things are back to normal. Obviously, the severity of damage will dictate how long this takes.

We have guests booked to come in Friday. We haven’t contacted them about cancelling or anything yet. This storm could turn away over the next few days and not impact us at all. We have a moderate policy, so more than 5 days out they get the full refund, but we’d waive that 5 days if they want to wait and see. 5 days out is tomorrow, so I think I’ll go ahead and reach out to them and let them know. I expect by Wednesday or so we’ll know what the right call is. Any thoughts on how to handle that? We also have more guests booked for the following weekend. That booking could potentially be affected as well.

Curious to hear other hosts experiences in dealing with storms or other disasters as well. This could be our first. From other posts I read, it sounds like Air was not very helpful, but I don’t know what they can do other than cancel or reschedule.


#2

Don’t listen to The Weather Channel’s The Sky Is Falling We’re All Gonna Die! forecasting. Those people are paid to sell weather. They always take the worst case and blow it out of proportion. As a liveaboard sailor and Air Host in Florida, I only pay heed to the National Hurricane Center forecasts and information until the day a storm is forecast to hit.

That being said, it does appear that Florence is going to come ashore as something like a Category 3 storm “somewhere” north of Jacksonville and south of Raleigh Thursday night to Friday morning.

If it were me, I would contact the guests and ask them the cancel. Offer to book them for a nice discount at a later date. At the same time, contact Air and tell them what’s going on. It should be a no-penalty cancellation for you.


#3

G@KevinA

@KenH. Has some valid points.

I’m not far from You—North Myrtle Beach. Florence will be my 4th Hurricane/storm with Airbnb

In general:

  1. Evacuations ordered: Airbnb gives guests full refunds regardless of your policy.
  2. Tropical storm with significant flooding: Airbnb gives guest full refunds.
  3. Tropical storm—could go either way; full refunds or your policy. Just depends.

Refunds are based upon days not used. Meaning: Reservation Sun-Sat; Evauation start Wednesday. You get paid Sun, Mon, Tues…

So far, I’ve offered my guests full refunds because flooding of the Waccamaw River and other areas make the roads horrible/dangerous even if my area is high & dry. Only 1 guest cancelled & wanted the refund. She re-booked with me a few months later.

I had two Hurricane Savvy guests stay for one storm, decide not to leave, Hurricane became a tropical storm. They ate & drank their way through it and enjoyed the next two days with gorgeous weather, little traffic and the beach felt private.

For Florence, I’ve already messaged my reservations (3 different groups) booked for next weekend offering full refunds. All have taken a “wait & see” stance.

Hey if your unit is in Topsail/Surf City, PM me. I have amazing friends and “people” in North Topsail. Davis Seafood is wonderful for buying off the boat!!!


#4

@KevinA

Figure 8 Island? I’m on Oak Island NC and have been through a couple of hurricanes since I started AirBnB. I always contact my guests and offer them a full refund if they are uncomfortable with the weather forecast. So far, no one has taken me up on it and have all arrived and things have gone well. My guests scheduled for this weekend are coming here from Kitty Hawk so they’re pretty much in the same boat I’m in so to speak. I’ve contacted them but have not heard back. I agree with Ken completely, it’s hard to watch the doom and gloom weather channels and have any clue. We would all run for the hills. My take is to let the guests make the decision they are comfortable with. Good luck to all coastal hosts who may be affected this weekend.


#5

Ha, quite right. Here in South Florida the last hurricane to hit us was in 2005 but we still have ‘scares’ thanks to the media every five minutes during hurricane season.

I’ve found that guests tend to keep a much closer eye on these things than I do. They have always cancelled a few days in advance without me prompting them.

Last year (September, I think) there was supposed to be a major hurricane heading our way and we are in a similar situation to @KevinA in that bridges are closed and because we are fairly close to the ocean, we have mandatory evacuation. We keep hurricane supplies in the rental and have plenty of games and books to keep guests occupied if the power goes off but with mandatory evacuation becoming more and more likely, they’re not needed.

What I have built up over the years is a small ‘network’ of South Florida hosts that I can recommend to guests if they’re here when evacuation takes place. For instance if a hurricane was forecast to hit us here, I could recommend @KenH 's place which is near enough to travel to but unlikely to be hit as it’s on the other coast.


#6

Thanks all. I did reach out to the guest, just called and explained it to him, and he appreciated it. He had no idea about the policy or that there may even be a storm coming. I told him I’d reach out to Air to get them to relax the policy and they did. I reiterated conversations on the platform. We’ll make the call Wednesday or so.

We are in Carolina Beach.


#7

“tropical Storm” ABB will issue refunds under extenuating circumstances upon guest request.


#8

Mandatory evacuation notices were just issued tonight for our place in Carolina Beach, taking effect Wednesday at 8PM. Guest cancelled themselves but said they hope to re-book for Oct 6. We hope we don’t suffer too much damage and can host by then. It doesn’t look promising though in the bullseye of landfall as a Cat 4. Our ‘main’ home is in the Raleigh/Cary area (130 miles inland) and the track is expected to come this way still as a Cat 1. We prepped what we could and all we can do now is watch and wait, hope we fare well here, and can head back to the beach when we are allowed to cross the bridge. Ugh…


#9

Best wishes for a good outcome.


#10

@KevinA
I’m with you. North Myrtle Beach evacuations start tomorrow at noon. Condo #1’s guests checked out today. The other condo guests are checking out tomorrow morning. Outside furniture is stowed. Little else to do except hope.

I’m a little further inland than you. So if Cat 4 when hits coast, then Cat 1 (low side) or tropical storm when it hits here.

I lived at coast when Floyd hit in 1999. It was projected to be a Cat 5 until shortly before landfall then dwindled to a tropical storm with occasional Hurricane force winds. I’m really hoping to see that happen with Florence.

During Floyd (1999) & Michael (2016) due to flooding Raleigh to the coast was hit harder by flooding than winds. My heart is with you.


#11

I just had a cancellation because of a hurricane that’s due to hit Florida. I had no idea it existed.


#12

I’m sure you know but will just state in case any ill informed folks are reading this thread, :wink: hurricanes wreak havoc on travel outside of the storm track. Roads and bridges close, flights get delayed, traffic can be nightmarish. If I had a trip to the East Coast planned I’d be rescheduling if I could. Especially for a shorter trip, spending a night in the airport could be a real buzz kill.


#13

I once had a guest barely make it out of Florida, where her home was under evacuation orders, before a hurricane hit the Gulf and then, once at my place, she could not go back to her home. I was able to let her stay for a few extra days for free since I had no other bookings. As I remember, she moved to a place closer to Albany to catch a flight home, so I didn’t have her the entire time she was trapped, but still. On the one hand, I was glad she was safe, of course, but fleeing to an Airbnb rather a friend or family was iffy on her part.


#14

@georgygirlofairbnb are you evacuating?


#15

still here ! waiting to see the 11 am advisory


#16

We’re in Charlotte and we have guests scheduled for the first week in October than have already cancelled. They were exploring NC for their honeymoon, and decided to come at a later date.

Our guests for this weekend, when the storm is expected to be the worst, will not answer texts or calls. They are flying in for a barn wedding across the border in South Carolina, so I am putting very low stock in them showing up.


#17

I made a run to Carolina Beach yesterday and boarded up the front of the place at least. I took as much plywood as I could haul hearing there was a shortage, and passed along my extra to some locals at cost. Secured everything outside, shut off electric and water, helped out the neighbors secure things a bit, and hauled back home. Long day… At least I feel like I have done all I could do.

I can’t believe there are some on the island riding it out! That’s just nuts when there are options. I like our place and our stuff there, but nothing is worth risking life.

At least it looks like the track has changed such that we’ll be spared in the Raleigh area. CB, not so much, still in the worst.


#18

Good luck to you and yours from your friends in Charlotte! I in Raleigh/Cary for 17 years, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Triangle, too.


#19

Sometimes you just have to shake your head…

I called CS to request a cancellation for a guest (we were hoping the storm would turn or downgrade). After explaining the cancellation was because of Florence, “Brad” wanted clarification on who was requesting the cancellation so he could determine if it would affect my Super Host status?!?!?!

I could tell he was just clueless. I explained it was mutual because the island was under storm evacuation.

He placed me on hold, returned saying, “my supervisor said this qualifies as an extenuating circumstanc…”. Bless his heart. We all have to be new at a job sometime.


#20

Why do you assume he’s new? I haven’t been at all impressed with Airbnb CSR lately. LOL


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