But two-thirds of hosts still offer moderate or flexible cancelations
In return to pre-pandemic times, Airbnb is ending a two-year policy that it introduced to ensure risk-free booking.
As of May 31, 2022, cancellations made due to the pandemic will no longer be covered under Airbnb’s Extenuating Circumstances policy.1 The Extenuating Circumstances policy, which initially went into effect in March 2020, allowed guests to receive a full refund after canceling a reservation for any COVID-related reason; hosts, too, could cancel penalty-free.
“As we’ve seen the heroic effort of health authorities and medical advancements around the globe, almost two-thirds of the world’s population have received at least one dose of a vaccination against COVID-19. And many countries have now implemented living with COVID-19 plans, as it becomes part of our world,” said Airbnb in a statement. “Some in the travel industry stopped this type of policy months ago, while others didn’t provide one at all. After consultation with our medical advisors, as well as our community, we feel the time is now right to take the same step.”
Airbnb notes that about two-thirds of its active listings offer flexible or moderate cancellations for guests hesitant to commit to a booking.2 Some hosts even offer full refunds to guests who cancel 24 hours before check-in. Guests can search for these flexible listings by checking. “Free Cancellation” under the “Booking Options” section in the “Filters” search bar.
On May 11, the home-share platform announced that it will be rolling out AirCover, an exclusive, custom-built travel insurance product. “AirCover builds on and improves the protections we offer and is designed to reassure guests that if something goes wrong. Airbnb has their back,” an Airbnb spokesperson told TripSavvy. “[It] is the most comprehensive set of free protections in the industry.”
Although AirCover does not offer protection for guests needing to cancel their trip, it supports those whose host cancels. According to Airbnb, “In the unlikely event a host needs to cancel your booking within 30 days of check-in. We’ll find you a similar or better home, or we’ll refund you.”
Travelers who’ve booked an Airbnb before May 31. Will still qualify for a full refund should they need to cancel due to COVID-19. Exceptions to this new policy will be for domestic reservations made in South Korea and mainland China.