Airbnb to pay hosts $ 250 million for cancellations

Airbnb will pay hosts 25% of what they would normally be owed if someone booked between March 14 and May 31 cancels the stay due to Covid-19. (AFP photo)

SAN FRANCISCO: Airbnb announced Monday that it is dedicating $ 250 million to help future hosts survive financial losses resulting from refunds given to customers who have canceled their travel plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move came as a sort of olive branch has spread to Airbnb hosts blinded by the home-sharing platform’s decision several weeks ago to fully reimburse customers who canceled reservations in order to to stay at home, as demanded by health officials and governments.

“Please know that this decision was not a business decision, but based on the protection of public health,” said Airbnb co-founder and chief Brian Chesky.

“While I think we did the right thing by prioritizing health and safety, I’m sorry we communicated this decision to the guests without consulting you, as partners should.”

Airbnb will pay hosts 25% of what they would normally be owed if someone booked between March 14 and May 31 cancels the stay due to Covid-19.

Travelers who cancel Airbnb bookings made for this period are promised a full refund or credit for future stays.

“We know it’s only a little bit, but a little bit can go a long way right now,” said Chesky, seemingly contrite, while discussing Airbnb’s final steps in a live video feed from his home.

Airbnb has also created a $ 10 million relief fund for experienced and highly rated ‘superhosts’ who need help paying their mortgage or rent due to the devastating effect of the coronavirus on the travel industry. .

Airbnb employees started the fund with $ 1 million, and the two co-founders contributed the remaining $ 9 million, according to the company.

Airbnb is also adding a feature to its platform that will allow people to send money to support hosts they’ve bonded with during stays.

“This storm, no matter how bad it is, it’s going to end,” Chesky said.

“When it’s over, the other side, people will be waiting to come out of their homes. And when they get out of their homes, they’ll explore the world and stay with you.”

According to Chesky, around 50,000 Airbnb hosts have volunteered to make their homes available to health workers, relief providers and first responders battling the coronavirus pandemic.

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