One of the most useless features i’ve seen implemented in my market. I’m glad they consider it Beta because this is just hilarious. It only works in markets where you can easily get a booking within that 5 day window to replace a cancellation. I have a good mind to exploit this feature as a guest by reserving a room and pay the 7% premium while i continue to shop around for better deals on the market. Since I cancel, i don’t pay a cent anyway.
It’s all downside for the hosts, unfortunately. This move is obviously hosts to implement flexible cancellation policies. As hosts compete to outgun each other, flexible cancellation turns out to be the differentiating factor. More and more guests will opt for those listings with a “free” flexible cancellation, the end result being hosts will be left out in the cold more and more often. Those who maintain a strict cancellation policy will have to adjust rates slightly to continue being competitive, only to realise they can just easily be left out in the cold via EC.
Honestly, if it weren’t for Airbnb’s site traffic, it is one of the worst platforms for hosting. I’ve just signed for Homestay.com, which seems promising enough, and there’s an option for hosts to collect a 25% deposit for cancellations, which seems way fairer.