Airbnb will pay hosts $250 million to help cover cancellations due to COVID-19

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Airbnb is committing $250 million to put toward hosts who have been impacted by COVID-19. That means if a guest cancels a reservation for check-in between March 14 and May 31 due to a COVID-19-related reason, Airbnb will pay the host 25% of what they would normally receive through their cancellation policy. Airbnb says this policy will apply retroactively to all cancellations during that period.

This is Airbnb’s way of making amends to its hosts — who may have felt blindsided by Airbnb’s policy that would enable guests to cancel reservations and receive a full refund. That policy, which is still active, lets guests who booked reservations on or before March 14 that begin anytime on or before May 31 to cancel and receive a standard refund or travel credit.

“We determined that we had to allow your guests to cancel and receive a full refund—including all our fees,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a letter to hosts today. “Please know this decision was not a business decision, but based on protecting public health. However, while I believe we did the right thing in prioritizing health and safety, I’m sorry that we communicated this decision to guests without consulting you—like partners should. We have heard from you and we know we could have been better partners.”

Beyond that, Airbnb is creating a $10 million fund for its superhosts and experience hosts. Employees contributed the first $1 million and Airbnb co-founders Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nate Blecharczyk are personally providing the other $9 million. Beginning in April, hosts can apply for grants up to $5,000. And for guests who want to show hosts their support during this time, they will soon be able to make payments directly to hosts.

Chesky is doing a video Q&A with hosts right now, which you can tune into here.