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Airbnb Just Updated Its Cancellation Policy — What to Know

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The home share company now explicitly allows travelers to cancel due to “foreseeable weather events,” like hurricanes that result in an already-covered outcome like a large-scale outage of essential utilities.

Airbnb is making it easier for travelers to cancel a booking due to extenuating circumstances with a new policy that overrides a host’s cancellation policy.

The home share company now explicitly allows travelers to cancel due to “foreseeable weather events,” like hurricanes that result in an already-covered outcome like a large-scale outage of essential utilities, according to the company. Airbnb’s Major Disruptive Events Policy also applies to other “unexpected major events,” including government travel restrictions and declared public health emergencies and epidemics (not including COVID-19).

The updated cancellation policy will allow travelers to receive a refund on their booking and override any individual host’s cancellation policy. The updated policy will go into effect for all reservations on June 6.

“The changes to this policy, including its new name, were made to create clarity for our guests and Hosts and ensure it’s meeting the diverse needs of our global community,” Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s head of community policy, said in a statement. “We aimed to clearly explain when the policy applies to a reservation and to deliver fair and consistent outcomes for our users. These updates also bring the policy in line with industry standards.”

In addition to applying to trips before they start, Airbnb noted the policy will apply to mid-trip cancellations. In the case of a covered mid-trip cancellation, travelers will receive a refund for the nights they didn’t stay.

Airbnb, however, does not cover all incidents, including injuries or illnesses, or government obligations like jury duty or court appearances.

The updated policy comes as Airbnb has made a number of recent changes to make guests more comfortable booking a trip. Earlier this month, for example, the company banned all indoor security cameras in its home rentals around the world, attributing the decision to privacy concerns.

The company also banned all parties in 2022, making the COVID-19-era rule a permanent policy, and introduced a verified status for listings last year in an effort to ensure travelers the property exists, the address is accurate, and the host has access to the home.

Airbnb has also urged hosts to implement “reasonable” checkout requests and introduced updates aimed at price transparency that allow travelers to view the total price of a rental with all of the fees included when searching for a booking. (https://www.travelandleisure.com/airbnb-updates-cancellation-policy-weather-events-refunds-8622171)

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