Forbes Coverage of AirBNB’s Covid Cancellation Policy

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On Forbes, John Scott Lewinski was among the first to explore the impact AirBNB’s changes to its extenuating circumstances policy was having on hosts and referenced HostGPO’s open letter urging AirBNB to respect host’s cancellation policies.

Below is an excerpt, click here to read the full article:

According to the announcement on Airbnb’s Twitter feed, the company’s Extenuating Circumstances policy immediately applies globally to all existing reservations with check-in dates between March 14, 2020 and April 14, 2020. Essentially, that means any Airbnb can shut down business for one month without further explanation or penalty.

An official explanation on the Airbnb website lays out what the Extenuating Circumstances Policy activation means for accommodation providers and customers. The new directive “allows hosts and guests to cancel eligible reservations with no charge or penalty.” Those terms apply to existing reservations for any stays booked on or before March 14, 2020, with check-in dates between March 14 and April 14, 2020, in every country and region around the world. […]

Later in the same day, Michael Skiles (CEO of HostGPO, an organization representing vacation rental operators) published a letter stressing their members will be financially devastated by AirBNB’s “unilateral decision to give refunds to basically everyone regardless of whether they have any legitimate coronavirus concern.”

The letter further states: “…while traveling to and from the hardest hit regions or while sick is unwise, vacation rentals themselves are not part of the problem. In fact, social-distancing in remote cabins, beach getaways, and even urban condominiums is often a lot easier than in crowded hotels. Extending refunds to practically everyone through April 1st, will be absolutely devastating to hosts, many of whom will lose a whole month’s revenue due to nothing more than paranoia.”

Airbnb has yet to respond to HostGPO as of late Monday, March 16.

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