Airbnb today announced that it will shortly no longer offer refunds due to circumstances related to COVID-19, including when a guest or host becomes ill with COVID-19, reflecting an update to the company’s extenuating circumstances policy. Starting May 31, Airbnb host cancellation policies will apply “as usual,” Airbnb said, although some bookings made before May 31 may still be eligible for a refund if they comply with company policy.
Airbnb said the change was made after consultation with its medical advisors.
“Some in the travel industry stopped this type of policy a few months ago, while others didn’t apply it at all,” the company wrote in a report. Blog post. “[W]I feel like now is the time to take the same step.”
At the start of the pandemic, Airbnb expanded its extenuating circumstances policy to cover the risks associated with the novel coronavirus, allowing guests to cancel bookings for a full refund, and hosts to cancel upcoming bookings without penalty. The company’s IPO filing in November 2020 showed the extent of the impact, including a 72% decline in revenue, resulting in 1,800 job cuts in May 2020.
Cost-cutting measures and doubling down on “experiences” and long-term stays have helped Airbnb slowly recover. The company beat Wall Street estimates in the fourth quarter of 2021, reporting $1.53 billion in revenue, up 78% from the $3.89 billion net loss it reported a year earlier. But booked nights and experiences are down nearly 8% quarter-on-quarter, and Airbnb is clearly looking to rectify that figure.
“[A]Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. And many countries have now implemented life plans for COVID-19 as it becomes part of our world,” the company said in a statement released today.
Some companies and politicians have called for a “return to normality”, fueled by economic and political pressure. But experts warn that the pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror. Till Uber and backlash waived mask-wearing requirements in rideshares, and a federal judge in Florida overturned the Transportation Security Administration’s sock rules, workload in New York and Washington, D.C. have grown. This week only Princess Cruise Lines ship docked in San Francisco with 143 cases of COVID-19.
We’ve reached out to Airbnb for clarification about the policy change and will update this article as soon as we hear back.
Credit: techcrunch.com /