It is unfortunate that most tech headlines these days are as a result of coronavirus, but they are important nonetheless. The tourism industry is among the worst hit by the lack of travel due to concerns about the spread of the novel virus, but Airbnb are still trying to ensure good service. Airbnb are offering full refunds for reservations across the globe that need to be cancelled due to the coronavirus, including South Africa.
Hosts and guests will both be able to cancel reservations without the normal additional charge or cancellation fees. The Silicon Valley company confirmed that this will apply to all hosts and all guests in all markets around the world.
According to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, they “don’t want guests to feel like they have to travel because they cannot get their money back in response to the extraordinary events and global disruption to travel caused by Covid-19.”
Airbnb hasn’t disclosed what kind of impact this new policy or the viral outbreak as a whole is having on the business, but it is sure to be an extremely difficult situation.
Of course, many hosts will be losing out on much needed revenue due to this policy. “We understand that this announcement will impact hosts around the world, many of whom depend on the economics they generate on Airbnb,” the company said in the statement. According to the CEO, many hosts around the world have opted to give the guests who have cancelled due to the crisis voluntary refunds, acclaiming their loyal two-way platform and the people that uses it.
Even though Airbnb is doing its best to accommodate the guests and refund the trips that are now unsafe to take, their biggest headache is to protect the guests. Their platform only works if there are willing and hospitable hosts that want to hosts the millions of guests looking for accommodation. Airbnb said it would build tools and initiatives to support its hosts during the pandemic.