Airbnb pledges to cover some virus cancellation costs

Airbnb will shell out $ 250 million to cover some of the costs of coronavirus cancellations, he said on Monday in a letter of apology sent to its hosts as it fights to prevent them from deserting the platform.

Many providers of rooms and houses on the short-term rental service were exasperated after Airbnb forced them this month to offer a 100% refund if guest plans were disrupted by travel bans and other government restrictions. Previously, hosts could define their own cancellation policies.

“I am sorry that we communicated this decision to customers without consulting you – as the partners should,” wrote Brian Chesky, Airbnb chief executive, in a letter to the hosts on Monday. “We have heard from you and we know we could have been better partners.

The company has now stated that it will cover 25% of the amount the host would have received for cancellation under normal circumstances, for reservations with check-in dates between March 14 and May 31 of this year.

With an additional $ 10 million in funding, the company also offers grants of up to $ 5,000 to “superhosts” – those who maintain a high score and a constant number of reservations – who need help paying a mortgage or rent for their properties. The three co-founders of Airbnb contributed $ 9 million to the fund, he said, with employees making up the rest through donations.

Airbnb’s revenues have declined sharply since the travel industry was crippled by the global spread of Covid-19. The company was slashing its entire marketing budget to save at least $ 800 million a year and had approached bankers to give it $ 1 billion in additional credit, a source familiar with Airbnb finance said last week. The turmoil cast doubt on the company’s plans for an IPO this year.

Company executives were under pressure not to leave customers on their travel reimbursements when major events, such as the Coachella music festival in California, were canceled. As a result, some platform hosts are struggling to make ends meet.

Airbnb has successfully lobbied for short-term rental hosts to be among the beneficiaries of the US government’s recent $ 2 billion stimulus package.

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