Airbnb Co-founder, CEO and Head of Community, Brian Chesky pens letter to hosts amid the covid-19 outbreak. Picture: Brian Chesky/Instagram.
Airbnb Co-founder, CEO and Head of Community, Brian Chesky pens letter to hosts amid the covid-19 outbreak. Picture: Brian Chesky/Instagram.

Airbnb to pay $250m to help hosts cover costs of Covid-19 cancellations

By Travel reporter Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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Airbnb Co-founder, CEO and Head of Community, Brian Chesky announced this week that it has set aside $250-million to help hosts regain some of the income they will lose during Covid-19 cancellations. 

Chesky wrote a detailed letter to his hosts to explain how the company hopes to help hosts who will lose income during this time. 

He said that when the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic, the company was faced with a dilemma. 

He explained: “If we allowed guests to cancel and receive a refund, we knew it could have significant consequences on your livelihood (the hosts). But, we couldn’t have guests and hosts feel pressured to put themselves into unsafe situations and create an additional public health hazard. We determined that we had to allow your guests to cancel and receive a full refund - including all our fees.”

He said the decision was not a “business decision”, but one that would protect public health.

He told hosts that if their business suffers, so does Airbnb. 

“We know that right now many of you are struggling, and what you need are actions from us to help, not just words,” Chesky said. 

The company will pay $250-million to hosts to help cover the cost of Covid-19 cancellations. 

When a guest cancels an accommodation reservation due to a coronavirus related circumstance, with check-in between March 14 and May 31, Airbnb will pay hosts 25 percent of what they would normally receive through your cancellation policy. 

“This applies retroactively to all Covid-19 related cancellations during this period. This cost will be covered entirely by Airbnb. These payments will begin to be issued in April. Guests with reservations booked on or before March 14 will still be able to cancel and receive a standard refund or travel credit equivalent for 100 percent of what they paid.”

Visit airbnb.com/250msupport and airbnb.com/superhostrelief for more details

Airbnb said it will create a $10-million Superhost Relief Fund designed for superhosts who rent out their own home and need help paying their rent or mortgage, plus long-tenured Experience hosts trying to make ends meet. 

“Our employees started this fund with $1-million in donations out of their own pockets, and Joe, Nate and I are personally contributing the remaining $9-million. Starting in April, hosts can apply for grants for up to $5 000 that don’t need to be paid back,” Chesky said in his letter. 

 Read Chesky full letter here. 

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