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    Update: Canceling under our extenuating circumstances policy

    Effective January 20, our policy will be more balanced between hosts and guests.
    By Catherine Powell on Sep 23, 2020
    8 min video
    Updated Jan 12, 2021


    • Our Global Head of Hosting shares how we’re changing how cancellations work under our extenuating circumstances policy to better balance the needs of hosts and guests

    • These updates to our policy will apply to reservations with a check-in or start date on or after January 20, 2021

    Hi everyone,

    I’m Catherine, Airbnb’s Global Head of Hosting, back with my fourth Host Update. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out my other Host Update videos on the Resource Center.

    In the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed meeting with many of you in our workshop sessions. I’ve also been reading your comments and emails. One topic that is frequently mentioned is your frustration with cancellations under our extenuating circumstances policy.

    So, I wanted to share what we’re doing to make that policy more transparent—and fair—for hosts.

    Under our existing policy, guests can cancel for a refund in two types of situations:

    • unexpected personal circumstances—like being called for jury duty, or having a flight canceled
    • large-scale events like an earthquake or a pandemic

    We’re changing the policy to remove those personal circumstances. Guests with reservations of stays and Airbnb experiences with a check-in or start date on or after January 20, 2021,* will no longer be eligible to cancel under the policy for a refund due to personal circumstances.

    This change means guests with these personal situations will be held to your cancellation policy—and it will be your decision, not ours, whether to make an exception and provide a refund.

    We understand that sometimes you might be unable to host due to an unexpected personal incident, and we have plans to address those situations so you aren't penalized for things outside your control.

    Please note that the policy will remain largely the same regarding large-scale events, including any future, unforeseen pandemic.

    We know you may have questions about the upcoming changes to our extenuating circumstances policy, so we’ve started answering them in this article on the Resource Center. I hope you’ll also watch the video above, where I talk about some of the nuances of the updated policy and share a bit more about why we’re making these changes. 

    Thank you for all of the feedback you’ve shared with us. I’ve already learned so much from hearing what’s on your minds, and I look forward to meeting more of you in our upcoming host workshops.

    You can always tag me directly on the Community Center: @Catherine-Powell. I do read your comments, even if I don't always manage to reply directly.

    We have more to share in the weeks ahead, and I’ll be back soon for another Host Update.

    *This policy doesn’t apply to Luxe reservations, which are subject to a separate Luxe guest refund policy.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

    Catherine Powell
    Sep 23, 2020
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