Airbnb updates cancellation policy due to unforeseen events

The new rules take into account government travel restrictions, natural disasters and inclement weather.


2. April 2024.

Cancellations and refunds for reservations made on the Airbnb platform are governed by the cancellation policy.

In rare cases where large-scale events prevent or law prohibits the realization of a reservation, the Extenuating Circumstances Rule may apply, which has been renamed Major Disruptive Events Rule (Major Disruptive Events Policy). 

In the event that this policy is applicable, guests may cancel their reservation and receive return money (advance payment and/or other compensation) regardless of the usual cancellation policy.

Hosts can cancel without compensation or other negative consequences, but the accommodation unit's calendar will be blocked for those days (no new reservation will be possible).

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Previously, the return policy only covered changes related to modifications by the party state institutions, such as unexpected changes to visa or passport requirements; declared states of emergency and epidemics, but it does not include diseases that are endemic or commonly associated with an area, for example, malaria in Thailand or dengue fever in Hawaii; government travel restrictions, but not travel tips; military actions and other disturbances, including war, invasions, bombings, riots or general civil disturbances; and natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis or major disruptions to basic utility services.


Since June weather disasters, such as hurricanes, will be added to the list. However, foreseeable weather events, such as a hurricane during hurricane season, are covered only if they result in another listed event, such as a government travel restriction or a major disruption to essential utility services.

"For example, if a hurricane were to hit Florida during hurricane season leading to a mandatory evacuation order, under the old policy, reservations to the affected destination would not be eligible for a refund. With the new update, under the same circumstances, affected guests are eligible for a refund", announced is Airbnb.

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The changes to this policy, including the new name, were made to make it clearer to guests and hosts, and to ensure that the diverse needs of the global community are met, he said. Juniper Downs, Airbnb's Head of Community Policy.

The new rules mean that mid-trip cancellations are allowed without penalty in the case of an event covered by the new policy, with guests getting a refund for any nights not spent in the accommodation - without fees and associated consequences for hosts.

"Our goal was to clearly show when this policy applies to a booking and to provide users with fair and consistent results. These updates also align the policy with travel industry standardsDowns added.

The update clearly limits coverage to only large-scale events at the destination location. This means that the rules will only apply to bookings that have been affected by a major disruption.

Hosts are also required to cancel reservations if their accommodation is unfit for habitation or no longer conforms to what their guest originally booked. They can do this with no cancellation fee and no associated consequences.

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Photo and source: Airbnb


2. April 2024.