Airbnb: What’s the COVID-19 policy?

Jodie wants to know is she’s safe to book an Airbnb for early next year and what protections she’s granted should an outbreak occur or we go into lockdown again.

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Q. I’m so keen to visit my family in the Adelaide Hills and I’m thinking of driving over and booking an Airbnb for a week or two. What happens if the borders close again and I can’t make it? Will Airbnb refund me or will I lose my money?

A. Airbnb, like many accommodation vendors, has suffered huge losses during the pandemic. But I’m tipping Airbnb stays will bounce back in a big way towards the end of this year and certainly in 2021 and beyond.

To protect the interests of accommodation providers and stayers alike, it has recently updated its extenuating circumstances policy.

The short answer to your question is, it depends where and with whom you stay.

As of 1 October, your host’s specific cancellation policy will apply as usual to any reservation made after 14 March 2020.

Any reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after 14 March 2020 will not be covered under Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy, except if you or your host become infected with COVID-19.

Other COVID-19 related circumstances, such as transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates –like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements – will not be covered.

Again, the host’s cancellation policy will apply.

Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy was designed to protect guests and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking.

It seems that now COVID-19 is a ‘known’, it’s no longer considered an extenuating circumstance, even if we can’t plan for unexpected closures or advisories.

So, make sure you carefully review your host’s cancellation policy when booking. Maybe they’ll be a little more flexible.

Regardless, this is the only protection you’ll have when booking.

This might change in future, so please check in with (pun intended) Airbnb for updates.

How soon do you plan to book an Airbnb? Do you think this policy is fair?

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Related articles:
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/travel/news/airbnb-rolls-out-sanitisation-plan
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/travel/accommodation/six-super-cool-aussie-airbnbs
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/travel/destinations/unusual-australian-airbnbs

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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