Airbnb introduces more flexible reservation policies due to coronavirus

In light of the novel coronavirus outbreak and its massive impact on the travel industry, Airbnb has tweaked its reservation policies to help hosts and guests cancel bookings without taking a loss. Until June 1st, Airbnb will waive the standard 3 percent host fee that it collects if a host decides to cancel a booking. Airbnb also says it will increase visibility of listings for hosts who take advantage of its new “More Flexible Reservations” tools.

If you’re a guest who needs to cancel a booking (again, through June 1st), you won’t be charged Airbnb’s 14 percent guest service fee for doing so. In addition, Airbnb will gift you a travel coupon worth that amount for future use.

Hosts are still able to determine their own cancellation policies. It’s a good idea to be mindful of that while booking; if you want a flexible booking, look for listings that say “Flexible” in the cancellation policy section.

Another thing to remember: per Airbnb’s help page, you might be eligible for a 100 percent refund via its “extenuating circumstances” claim — regardless of the host’s cancellation policy — if you’re traveling from or to an area that has been “severely impacted” by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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