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Airbnb Rebooking and Refund Policy | Airbnb Policy Update

Airbnb Rebooking and Refund Policy | Airbnb Policy Update

As an Airbnb host, if the job is done well, we could say there is nothing to worry about giving your guests a refund though sometimes in some circumstances not everything goes as planned, and we may be asked to refund guests.

Nevertheless, Airbnb recently introduced a new Policy effective on April 29, 2022, on how Airbnb will assist with rebooking a reservation and how refunds are handled when a Host cancels a reservation or another Travel Issue disrupts a stay within 72 hours after the discovery of a Travel Issue and Hosts voiced their concerns about the recent change made to the long-standing policy.

This article will guide you through:

  • An Overview of Airbnb Rebooking and Guest Refund Policy
  • How does Claim work?
  • How does it Affect Hosts and Guests?
  • Other things Hosts need to be aware of

An Overview of Airbnb Rebooking And Guest Refund Policy

What happens when hosts initiate cancellation before check-in?

Take note, that the guests will automatically receive a full refund if and when a host cancels a reservation prior to check-in. Whereas on the other hand, if the host cancels for 30 days or less, the guests will need to contact Airbnb customer support to assist with finding comparable or better accommodations.

The idea of this new policy is for hosts to think twice before deciding to cancel a booking. Come to think about it, it would make complete sense for Airbnb to introduce this policy as it would prevent hosts from canceling bookings for no good reason. Imagine, the possibility of hosts canceling a booking just because they've found a better guest who pays better for the same dates.

However, it is also understandable to find some Airbnb hosts who would have valid concerns with the new policy as it can be vague at times. Just imagine an individual host whose Airbnb space becomes unavailable due to valid reasons, this policy will be unfair especially when the host will not only get the money from the stay but also be penalized by Airbnb such as Superhost status revoked.

What happens if another Travel Issue disrupts a stay?

Based on the new policy, guests will have up to 72 hours after discovering a Travel Issue to request a full or partial refund depending on the circumstances or Airbnb may assist the guests with finding comparable or better accommodations for the remaining nights of the stay. The amount refunded will depend on:-

  • the condition of the Travel Issue reported
  • the impact on the guest
  • the portion of the stay affected
  • and whether the guest vacates the accommodation.

Furthermore, the policy adds that under this policy, if a guest reports a Travel Issue to Airbnb was not possible to do it easily and promptly, Airbnb may allow guests to report the condition of the Travel Issue late.

Travel Issues that Trigger New Policies

The term "Travel Issue" refers to these situations:

  • Host cancels the reservation prior to check-in.
  • The host fails to provide access to the accommodations.
  • The host fails to disclose in the Listing that the Host, another person, or a pet will be present during the stay.

Travel Issues Concerning the Condition of the Property

Accommodations are not habitable at check-in for any of the following reasons:

  • They are not reasonably clean and sanitary, including bedding and towels.
  • They contain safety or health hazards.
  • They contain pests.

Travel Issues Concerning Inaccuracy in Listings

Listing contains a material inaccuracy such as:

  • Incorrect home type (e.g. entire home, private room, or shared room).
  • Incorrect type or the number of rooms (e.g. bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens).
  • Incorrect location of the accommodation.
  • Special amenity or feature described in the Listing is not present or does not function (e.g. pool, hot tub, bathroom - toilet, shower or bathtub, kitchen - sink, stove, refrigerator or other major appliance, electrical, heating or air conditioning systems).

How do Claim Works?

How do Claim Works?

To be eligible for rebooking assistance or a refund, the guest must meet the required conditions:

  • you must be the guest that booked the accommodation
  • you must report the Travel Issue to Airbnb via customer support within 72 hours after the discovery of the Travel Issue
  • you must support relevant evidence such as photographs or confirmation of the conditions by the Host.

All claims made will be determined by the Airbnb customer support team whether a Travel Issue has occurred by evaluating available evidence. This means that depending on the evidence provided by the guest, Airbnb's customer support team will decide on how much the host will refund the guest or may decide to provide rebooking assistance.

Full refunds are generally only available to guests for major issues that cause them to vacate the space within the first 24 hours of their stay. Guests are eligible for only partial refunds if the issue is less serious, or they choose to remain in the space.

How Does It Affect Hosts and Guests?

If a Host cancels a stay or another Travel Issue disrupts a stay, take note that the host will either receive no payout or will have their payout deducted by the amount of the refund to their guests. However, in some circumstances, Airbnb will firstly try to confirm a guest's claim with the host, where the host has the opportunity to dispute a Travel Issue via contacting Airbnb Community Support with the appropriate evidence.

If a Host provides sufficient evidence that contradicts a guest's report or that has made an error in one of the determinations, the host will either deny the guest's claim or reverse the decision, as appropriate.

To Airbnb, the new policy is providing hosts and guests an opportunity to sort issues that may arise during stays. While it may seem a great opportunity for the guest to view the new policy as a great customer service provided by Airbnb. Keep in mind that some hosts may think otherwise as they may have concerns and fears with the new policy being introduced. The reasons why some hosts may not be happy with the new policy are because:

  • It may open a window of opportunity for guests to negotiate lower prices and the possibility of blackmailing as they can threaten to make a complaint within 3 days
  • fear that the new 72-hour window will help some guests get out of a strict cancellation policy
  • for property managers that run a business, relocation costs can represent a lot of money, though they can be spread out over a large volume of bookings. But for an individual host, it may seem unfair and harder to bear as they cannot talk the guest into staying at another of their properties, thus avoiding Airbnb’s penalties.

According to Airbnb's spokesperson, "for guests, the new policy will provide greater flexibility to report any issues that arise during their stay. For hosts and guests, we hope a longer reporting window will provide more time for the host to work with guests to address any issues before we get involved. Similar to how we extended the window in which hosts can submit reimbursement requests, we believe these updates help build trust.”

Other Things Hosts Need To Be Aware Of

  • The new policy applies to all reservations made on or after the effective date where it controls and outweighs the reservation's cancellation policy.
  • The guest must first notify the host and try to resolve the Travel Issue directly before submitting a claim whenever possible. At the same time, guests can make a plea for refunds directly from Hosts via Airbnb's resolution center. Airbnb may then decide to either deduct the amount of any refund or adjust any rebooking assistance to reflect any refund or other relief provided by a Host.
  • Airbnb is not obligated to, pay for or contribute to the cost of new accommodations as part of providing rebooking assistance.
  • Airbnb may provide guests the option of applying the value of a canceled reservation to a new place, or of receiving travel credit instead of getting a cash refund.
  • Travel Issues that are caused by the guest, co-travelers, or their invitees or pets are not covered by this Policy. Submitting a fraudulent claim violates Airbnb’s Terms of Service and may result in account termination.
  • Any changes to this Policy will be made in accordance with Airbnb’sTerms of Service.
  • This Policy applies to stays but does not apply to Luxe or Experiences reservations.

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