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What travelers need to know – The Mercury News

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What travelers need to know – The Mercury News

Laurie Baratti | (TNS) TravelPulse

Leading vacation rental company Airbnb is updating its Extenuating Circumstances Policy, including renaming it the Major Disruptive Events Policy “to better reflect its purpose.” This will provide greater flexibility for travelers who may need to cancel their reservations when unforeseen circumstances, such as natural disasters, extreme weather events and government-imposed travel restrictions, affect their ability to complete their stay.

Under this updated cancellation policy, guests can cancel reservations and receive refunds in cases of “foreseeable weather events,” such as hurricanes, that would result in another covered event occurring, such as large-scale utility outages. According to Travel + Leisure, the policy already applies to other “unexpected major events,” such as declared public health emergencies, including epidemics, but excluding COVID-19. This revised policy, which will go into effect on June 6, overrides individual hosts’ own cancellation policies.

This updated policy also applies to mid-trip cancellations, making it so that travelers can receive refunds for the unused portion of their stays in the event of a covered cancellation.

However, it’s important to note that Airbnb’s policy does not cover all unforeseen incidents, such as injuries, illnesses or government-imposed requirements, like jury duty or court appearances.

“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. “Our aim was 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.”

The introduction of this revised policy aligns with Airbnb’s recent efforts to bolster travelers’ confidence in booking home-share stays. For example, earlier this month, it banned indoor security cameras in its rental homes worldwide due to privacy concerns, and, in 2022, instituted a permanent ban on parties, a move which was initially instituted temporarily during the COVID-19 crisis.

Last year, to crack down on fraudulent listings, the company introduced a “verified” status and badge for its rentals in an effort to reassure customers that the specified property does actually exists at the address indicated and that the host is reliable.

In 2022, Airbnb also updated its policies and platform to provide greater pricing transparency, displaying total costs, including fees, in user searches and altering its algorithm to rank listings with the best total prices higher in the results. At the same time, Airbnb provided “guidance” to hosts, encouraging them to set only “reasonable” checkout requests and requiring them to be displayed in the listing.

“Guests should not have to do unreasonable checkout tasks such as stripping the beds, doing the laundry, or vacuuming when leaving their Airbnb,” the company wrote in a statement at the time. “But we think it’s reasonable to ask guests to turn off the lights, throw food in the trash, and lock the doors — just like they would when leaving their own home.”

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©2024 Northstar Travel Media, LLC. Visit at travelpulse.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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