Pending lockdown... Refund or not?

I expect the California will go into another lockdown and restrict travel soon, I could be wrong but the “curve” is a straight line going up and 99% of the population is in counties that are hard hit.

So assuming Air does not butt in and provide refunds and bad press with their IPO coming this month I assume the hosts chosen policy will apply.

I have over $8000 booked for December, not all through Air. So with my strict policy it looks like a guest who cancels at least 7 days in advance will get a 50% refund. I am fine with that, I will stick to my policy.

My main arguments for NOT giving a further refund is that everyone could or should have seen this coming and that the guests agreed to the policy when they booked. Also this is discretionary travel, so presumably people can afford the risk and hosts should not set the expectation of being a travel insurer.

What are your plans should the govt. impose travel restrictions?


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My January & April bookings are through Airbnb. I have a moderate cancellation policy allowing full refund if cancelled 5 days before check in. I use the same refund policy for direct bookings too.

I’m not doing any special accommodation for trips cancelled by the guest.

If my state locks down, my reservations are considered long term rentals so should not be affected.

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When we went into curfew, and then perimeter confinement, the bookings we had were all via BDC and all fully flexible. A strict policy simply wouldn’t fly in our market here, irrespective of the current health situation.

One of them cancelled within a few hours of it becoming non refundable, and our view was that if they hadn’t managed to cancel then sorry, you knew the situation here when you booked and no refund would have been forthcoming.

Anyone, who is aware of the current health situation at their destination, and then makes a non refundable reservation has to accept that they are taking a risk, and that any refund would be at the discretion of the host. If the host sticks to their cancellation policy then there isn’t much room for complaint, from the guest.



Maybe a lot more hosts would be willing to go to moderate or flexible policies if the guests didn’t receive a full refund when they cancel. If the guest was still charged 10-20%, that at least helps somewhat and pays hosts for their time dealing with those reservations.


I see no benefit, but many hosts use those policies and it works for them.


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Interestingly I had a cancellation yesterday for presidents day weekend, they did not message me and were refunded 50% per the policy. I thought at the time that I would probably refund them 50% of what I get paid, when I get paid because I am sure to re-book the dates. Today they asked for refund through Air, I declined and suggested they check with their credit card company and see if they have trip insurance.

I still may refund them, on my terms.


I am in an area that recently went into lockdown and will from tomorrow go into Tier 3 which means we can only host those with essential travel ie. work, moving house, education etc.

I have a strict policy, but have refunded all guests who could no longer come to me because of our legislation or who were unable to move their dates.

In my opinion I couldn’t in all decency keep their money as I am the one who isn’t able to host them.

I appreciate points raised about people knowing about Covid, but when all these guests booked there weren’t travel restrictions to my area.

Airbnb has been giving guests full refunds when they cancel because of lockdown legislation here.


I’m happy to be closed again until further notice. I’m only taking direct bookings from people who know how to contact me outside Airbnb. They pay when they stay so there is no question of refund anyway.


My market is incredibly competitive. I had a strict cancellation policy for a few months and NO bookings except last minute “we are on the way”. In general I could rebook at least the weekend with 3 or 4 days notice so Moderate worked well for me.

In 2020 Covid19 totally changed my bookings/guests. Like everyone else I’m just trying to get by until next year. I try to understand the market and it is like walking on shifting sand during high winds at high tide —damn near impossible. I hope we all survive

I had had similar concern prior to Thanksgiving week when I had a guest cancel for fear of traveling; he did so with a 50% refund, but after those days were rebooked, I authorized a full refund.

I have similar concerns with upcoming reservations. As you state, circumstances are very different than they were in March so I’d be less inclined to immediately agree to refund whatever the balance might be. My plan is to look at:

  1. If I am able to rebook;
  2. Individual circumstances* and make an determination from that.

*I have a direct booking guest who has been here 2 times this summer, and I know will be back several times next year. A week ago he reached about cancelling for this upcoming weekend - He is an MD who is seeing first hand the spike and risks. It was very easy to provide a no penalty cancellation there.


Yes, it depends on the location and listing and whether you rely heavily on rental income, which I don’t. I’ve always used moderate and only once did a guest cancel close to her check-in and I got paid 50%. Only maybe 3 other cancellations, but those were made long before check-in dates, so I could easily rebook.

I get mostly guests who are flying here on vacation- they have airline tickets booked, time off from work, maybe reserved surf lessons, etc. Too many things in play for them to cavalierly cancel, as guests who may just be driving to their destination.

This was all pre-COVID, though. I suggested in late March to the one guest I still had on the books for this past April that she cancel, as things were really getting bad here in Mexico and she was from SF, which actually went into lockdown the day after she cancelled.

We had a guest cancel for Dec 13-1/1 and stated that they were reluctant to travel because of covid but never complained about losing their 3500 deposit. If California has restrictions this week will the guest be able to recoup his cancellation fees that he’s already relinquished?

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We do the same with repeat directs. So far its only happened twice, and for valid reasons, but these folks will be back on a regular basis.

Interestingly, other than one from Valencia who visits for work, the others are all Jerezanos living in Madrid, Barcelona etc with family here. Great guests who are rarely in and leave the place immaculate, well worth a bit of leeway.



A Moderate policy does work for us. The way I see it is that life is always uncertain so that if you can give 5 days notice that feels fair enough. It’s also easy for us to re-book within 5 days though.

I did actually switch to the Strict policy once to try it out. I got 5 reservations under the Strict policy. They were all for May and June this year and, obviously, promptly cancelled with a full refund when Covid happened. So that was my foray into the Strict policy :woman_facepalming:


Who uses the reduce price 10% for un-cancellable bookings?

"When paired with a Flexible cancellation policy, the non-refundable option will be available to guests up to 1 day before their desired check-in date. When paired with Moderate cancellation policy, it will be available to guests up to 5 days before their desired check-in date.

For hosts who have been invited to pair the non-refundable option with a Strict cancellation policy, it will be available to guests up to 14 days before their desired check-in date."
(Not me, but I’d consider it! After raosing the prices of course)

Right now we are having an “Air” promotion -20% just to get some folks to notice and come… it did work!

And of course the extenuating circumstances policy will over ride everything anyway.


That’s how I felt about it when I chose moderate from the beginning and have never switched or even considered doing so. Also, from posts I read from hosts who use Strict, I really wouldn’t want to have to deal with guests complaining, being outraged, and harassing me to fully refund. I suppose that hosts who use Strict put up with that because they feel it’s worth it if they get paid the 50%, but seeing as how Air hands out EC refunds like Santa hands out candy canes, it seems like a crap shoot anyway.