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    Extenuating circumstances policy update, and more news

    We’re also extending a heartfelt thank you to Hosts welcoming refugee guests.
    By Catherine Powell on Sep 27, 2021
    4 min read
    Updated Oct 7, 2021


    • Get info about our updated extenuating circumstances policy

    • We’re also testing new approaches to displaying nightly rates in Airbnb search

    • We’re grateful to Hosts supporting Afghan refugees—and we’re sharing ways to get involved

    Hi everyone,

    I’m Catherine, Airbnb’s Global Head of Hosting, and I’m back with another Host Update. If you would like to catch up on previous updates, you can find them here.

    Before I get started, I want to take a moment to say how inspired I’ve been by the generosity of Hosts who have opened their spaces to refugee guests from Afghanistan. I’ll share more on that effort with below.

    First, I want to give you some important information about our extenuating circumstances policy and a new test to see how upfront pricing could work for Hosts and guests.

    Updates to our extenuating circumstances policy

    Though travel is rebounding globally, the pandemic continues. As safety guidance and local regulations evolve, Airbnb continues to refine its approach to issues like cancellations related to COVID-19. I know that Hosts are interested in this topic, as cancellations directly impact your hosting business.

    We’ve heard from Hosts that they would like additional certainty regarding reservations that are canceled under our extenuating circumstances policy by guests who report they are sick with COVID-19.

    To reflect updated guidance from our medical advisory team, starting in October we will only allow guests to cancel reservations that begin within 14 days of COVID-19 infection, instead of 30 days. And to further protect our community, we will also prevent guests who cancel due to COVID-19 infection from rebooking or traveling on our platform for at least 14 days following their cancellation. We also ask guests canceling under the policy to provide supporting documentation (such as proof of a positive COVID-19 test result), where legally allowed.

    We continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 precautions and to ensure our policies reflect the latest recommendations from medical experts—while supporting your needs and helping to keep our community safe.

    Testing out upfront pricing

    As we’ve seen travel rebound over the past year, we’ve been working hard to evolve our platform to best serve the needs of our global community. We’ve heard from both Hosts and guests that it could be helpful to see all fees included in their nightly rates in search results.

    This month, we’re launching an experiment to test different ways of displaying listing prices. The trial applies to guests searching for stays in certain locations worldwide. We designed our existing service to break out the different fees and taxes so that guests fully understand the potential charges prior to paying. While we believe our current format works well, we’re constantly striving to improve everyone’s experience.

    By testing different ways to display prices, we hope to identify whether a new format could boost Host bookings. As always, you’ll have full control over your nightly rate, and the test will not change the total amount a guest pays or the amount you receive at your payout. You can learn more about how the experiment will work in this article.

    Helping Afghan refugees

    I’ve been touched and inspired by the incredible outpouring of kindness from Hosts in support of Afghan refugees. Just a few weeks ago, committed to funding temporary stays for 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide.

    Since then, over 5,000 Hosts have signed up to offer free and discounted stays to help’s nonprofit partners house even more Afghan refugees. And thousands of additional donations from our community will go directly to refugee resettlement nonprofits.

    Thanks to the generosity of our Hosts and donors from around the world, now has the capacity to help provide housing for an additional 20,000 Afghan refugees above and beyond our original commitment, if the need for temporary housing aligns with availability in communities where refugees are resettling.

    Hosts like Duke, a refugee of the Vietnam War who shares his home in Las Vegas, make it clear how valuable this program is. Duke tells us:

            “When I arrived in the U.S. at the age of 6 on a Panamanian tanker, I was greeted by the kindness and generosity of my extended family, and the impact that has had on my life will stay with me always. I know firsthand that supporting someone as they begin their life here means everything to a refugee, and I am humbled to help welcome someone to this country.”

    Stories like this make me so proud of our community and our mission to help create a world where everyone can belong. Thank you, Duke, and all Hosts participating in this important program.’s nonprofit partners tell us there is still an urgent need for more refugee housing in critical areas around the world, so if you are moved to help, please visit to join this important effort through hosting or donating.

    You are what makes Airbnb possible, and your feedback is invaluable. Join the conversation on the Community Center, where our Host Advisory Board members, Community Managers, and I will respond to your questions and address important topics. Please keep writing and posting, and you can always tag me directly: @Catherine-Powell.

    Warmest wishes,



    • Get info about our updated extenuating circumstances policy

    • We’re also testing new approaches to displaying nightly rates in Airbnb search

    • We’re grateful to Hosts supporting Afghan refugees—and we’re sharing ways to get involved

    Catherine Powell
    Sep 27, 2021
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