Speculating on Airbnb's next move - policy extension beyond 14 April?

So Airbnb’s current Extenuating Circumstances Policy allows free guest cancellations for the 1 month period between 14 March - 14 April, as long as booking was made before 14 March.

Is there reason to believe they might extend the policy to cover booking dates beyond 14 April, given that the virus will only get worse over coming months?

Tried to speak to several Airbnb representatives and no one could give a clear answer apart from asking us to keep tabs on any new updates to policies, which of course we are doing. Current version was last updated on 19 March. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/article/2701/extenuating-circumstances-policy-and-the-coronavirus-covid19

they can and will do whatever they decide, whenever they decide. that’s the ToS. nobody is going to have a better answer than that, i don’t mean it to sound dismissive.

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Just thinking—local governments in the USA are now mandating closures. I think Airbnb’s “full refund due to Covid-19” started prior.

I imagine Airbnb will let local decrees to set/be the precedent.

For example, if North Myrtle Beach extends their current STR restrictions past 5/1/20, Airbnb would consider it refundable as an extenuating circumstance.

I have rentals booked in May June & July. I will deal with them closer to their dates

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Yes, it’s a global pandemic FFS, be grateful you’re still vertical with a pulse instead of speculating about something that may become totally irrelevant in the next few days, from a US based STR perspective that is.

It’s already irrelevant here in Europe, folks want/need to cancel then I’m not going to try and squeeze them for a few euros.



I expect at a minimum, they will extend another month (May 14) for bookings before March 14, and that if it happens, it will happen within the next 2 days.


They have already. If a guest wants to cancel they have an option mentioning the virus. The booking fee is offered as a credit. Hosts don’t see this option.


And if guests can actually demonstrate an extenuating circumstance that policy always existed. So even after the worst of the storm passing there are going to be far more EC cancellations going forward. Everyone planning to continue STR may as well get used to it now.

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Why do you think hosts should bear the full brunt of this? I have bookings for thousands of dollars in May and June and I (and I’m sure many hosts) will shut down if Airbnb continues to allow full refunds to all guests.

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Maybe - but we currently are shut down in our county and that did not grant me a free pass to cancel. I had to have my guest initiate a mutual cancellation request for a check in on April 24th. :woman_shrugging:t2:

There is this policy for cancellation that does require the guest provide documentation but then it can be cancelled without penalty to either side.

Government-mandated obligations including jury duty, travel restrictions, court appearances, and military deployment. You’ll be asked to provide a copy of the official notice dated after the reservation was booked, including the name of the person fulfilling the obligation.

That has applied to two reservations of mine so far as the guest could not travel to my country. Both were outside the EC window.

@HH_AZ yes, I agree :roll_eyes: but I’ll give it a go.

Our whole society is “bearing the brunt of this”, what makes Airbnb hosts special?

Airbnb made a decision, and only time will tell if it was the right decision. They did it primarily to protect the core business, with the secondary benefit of keeping their customer base (guests) happy. Hosts are replaceable, they always have been. No matter how badly Airbnb has treated hosts in recent years, there is a constant stream of new ones to replace those that move to other platforms, give up hosting etc.

Let me ask, what do you think Airbnb should have done, or should do?

I believe Brian Chesky is broadcasting to the (Airbnb) nation shortly, maybe that’s not a fat wallet in his back pocket, but a magic wand. Let’s see what he says.

Personally, we had thousands and thousands of euros worth of bookings for not only May and June, but March and April also. All have been cancelled penalty free, not just with Airbnb, but BDC and VRBO/HA.

BDC and VRBO/HA are providing full refunds, airlines are providing full refunds, hotel chains are providing full refunds, it’s an extraordinary situation.

So you’re not the only one; in fact I doubt there’s anyone involved in STR anywhere who hasn’t seen their business either decimated or severely damaged by this global pandemic.

Those folks who want to hold a guest to a booking, either taking money off them for a stay they can’t fulfil, or forcing people to travel because they don’t want to lose the money they’ve paid, can crack on. It’s not something we (and many other hosts) would do.

A good number of our cancellations have said that once this shit is over with, they will rebook with us. Will they? I’ve no idea, but I suspect a few will.

Again, only time will tell who has made the right decisions during this crisis, and who hasn’t.



For now it looks like the borders of most European countries will be closed until end of June.

Lock downs will last until end of April.

So expect AirBNB to extend their policies until June.


I really try to be a nice person. Every so often someone says something —- I. Just. Can’t. Believe. It.

When the first wave of cancellations hit and refunds were given even for strict Cancellation policies we were shocked

In hind sight, I think it was the right move. I don’t want sick people coming to my rental because they couldn’t get a refund.


  1. Welcome to the world wide club of cancelled reservations and financial challenges. You lost $1000s of dollars or reservations? So did everyone else. I hope money is all we lose. So many people are dying…
  2. Do you want to be paid for a stay/service you probably aren’t allowed to offer anyway?
  3. You signed up for Airbnb policies when you listed. Don’t like them? Like all of us, You have one choice——leave.

It is up to you to market and try to fill your vacancies legally by perhaps renting to Covid-19 medical staff.

No job is secure. No business is secure. The reality is we are all temporaries but some work longer terms than others.

I hate this situation for everyone.


It’s fine if you don’t want to host anyone just in case they have it, but let’s have a little perspective here.

I’m in a Canadian province (Ontario) which has a population of over 13 million people. To this point we’ve had a cumulative 1700 people test positive for the virus, which means that 0.01% of people are confirmed to have it at one point. Even if there are many more undiagnosed cases - as we are learning, most people who get it don’t even know it because the symptoms are mild or non-existent - the likelihood that one of my guests has COVID-19 or could come into contact with someone who has it is infinitesimally small. We’ve had 23 deaths, which is an even smaller probability (and all of them were elderly or had preexisting conditions). The chances of a healthy person driving into town and catching the virus with serious complications are almost zero. It’s like cancelling all short-term rentals because it’s flu season.

Additionally, my three listings are all whole apartment rentals that require no human contact to check in or out, can be reached by car, and are located in places where anyone can get any food or grocery items delivered fairly easily so one never needs to leave the house. In fact, at one of them I’m currently hosting a friend (at below my operating cost) who wanted to self-isolate after returning from Asia after all of my other guests cancelled thanks to Airbnb. One of my other properties is near a ski resort in a town with zero COVID-19 at all, and where all of my upcoming guests cancelled with full refunds after the resort voluntarily shut down. They still could have gone up (and some people have since booked it) but others used COVID-19 fears as an excuse to get out of their obligations after the ski resort shut down. The other one is in a condo building where management recently decided to temporarily ban all short term rentals in a fit of hysteria, so obviously in that case I can’t host and would have to refund guests anyway. However I suspect that if Airbnb hadn’t allowed full refunds then the board wouldn’t have banned STRs, since many of them are operators themselves and would have had incomes to protect. After Airbnb “helped” us to clear our calendars there was almost no point in remaining open to bookings since almost all guests disappeared.

I can appreciate why Airbnb did what they did, but the way they threw hosts under the bus is unconscionable. The lack of subsequent communication has been laughable, and (I don’t want this to get into a political discussion) focused on touchy feely lovey dovey typical American Bay Area tech progressive BS (diversity and inclusion, being nice to everyone, let’s host non-existent traveling medial staff, blah blah blah). But this is no surprise, I always knew Airbnb management was fairly incompetent, I just didn’t realize how badly they would drop the ball in a crisis. Once all this over I will do all I can to diversify my business and take some of my $270K in annual bookings elsewhere, as I’m sure many hosts will (those of us who are not driven out of business, that is).

Okay, rant over.

I think the problem is that Airbnb could get ahead of this with contracting with a cancel for any reason insurance policy. We have not had a pandemic like Covid-19 since the Spanish Flu of 1918, so these events are rare.

Guests have the option of booking countless lodging options that have extremely flexible cancellation policies. Many hotels offer same day cancellations. Some Airbnbs have flexible cancellations.

That system doesn’t work for some hosts who want a more secure income stream with perhaps less occupancy and lower rates.

I chose a cancellation policy that works for me. The guests are aware of the cancellation policy when they booked. Maybe airbnb needs to work harder on offering insurance for these extremely rare events.

Well this is pointlessly banging my head against a wall, but I’ll quote part of a prior posting:
“If hosts willingly engaged in entrepreneurship, and benefited from individual property rights and, for some, sparse regulations or even operations under the table that allowed them to take advantage of this business opportunity and reap profits, they can’t expect a free-wheeling example of capitalism in action to turn into a socialist enterprise that takes care of them.”
Of course cooperjto should diversify their business, no brainer there. Airbnb is busy trying not to go out of business, so they are absolutely right, Airbnb is not concerned if they are under a bus or off a cliff. In fact, they may be in a good position to pivot to longer-term getaways at their two properties that still allow rentals, as they have done with the self-quarantining friend and new bookings at the closed resort. Others are not so fortunate given their rental space configuration and government decisions.
Not cool to make medical prognostications if you’re not board certified in infection control and epidemiology. In any exponentially increasing risk situation, things seem OK until suddenly they’re not. You can’t repeal the math.


I wonder how many of the hosts justifying continuing and blaming Airbnb for the situation would blame Airbnb or the government for not shutting everything down if they got sick?

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That’s fair, although the whole health issue is ultimately a red herring. When you boil it down, the situation here is that Airbnb allowed hosts to choose a strict vs. flexible cancellation policy, but then overrode that decision en masse when it suited them. If I wanted to offer flexible cancellation I would have chosen that option in the first place. As a businessperson I couldn’t care less why you can’t or don’t want to come, you booked pre-paid non-refundable (well, 50% refundable) accommodations and now you have to live with the consequences. You don’t get a bailout when things go bad. Although apparently that’s the way things are no, everyone (and big companies and their executives) expect someone else to take care of them when they make risky decisions and it bites them in the butt.

I don’t want Airbnb to take care of me, I want them to uphold the rules as established in the first place. That’s what free-market capitalism is all about… guests who wanted insurance could have purchased it or used a credit card that covered it. Don’t change the rules on me retroactively. Now I justifiably can’t trust Airbnb to back me up when I actually need it.

I’m a bit more hardened to the risk than some. Short term rentals have been occurring in my area for decades with no compensation for a cancellation.

Years ago, I listed my condo with an agency. If a guest cancelled, I didn’t receive revenue. The guest lost their security deposit which covered the agency fees. The agencies didn’t guarantee an income if your guest cancelled. I worked with two and checked their practices against the market

In fairness to considering a strict cancellation policy, the most in demand homes required payment in full prior to the stay. How much the owner was paid depended on how far in advance the cancellation occurred.