Updated May 31, 2020.
 
To help ease uncertainty during this time, we have rolled out a policy that strikes the best balance of protecting travelers, property owners, property managers, and the public. For every traveler who paid hard-earned money for a getaway they may not take, there is a property owner who relies on clear cancellation policies and the associated money within those policies to pay their mortgage and hard-working employees.

Our COVID-19 emergency policy
What you can do
What we advise against
Frequently asked questions
 
Our COVID-19 emergency policy
Our policy applies to bookings made before March 13 with a stay date between March 13 and April 30.

From May 1 through June 30, we are extending our policy to bookings that are canceled because of governmental restrictions to travel or stays in vacation homes for leisure. These bookings must still have been made prior to March 13 to be covered by this policy.

Our COVID-19 emergency policy includes:
  • Flexible Credits: Offer the traveler a full credit for the amount they’ve already paid if they are outside of your cancellation window. This credit can be applied to future bookings at your property within the next year. We understand that seasonality may affect your rates. However, we encourage you to be as flexible as possible with affected travelers when arranging a future stay date. Travelers cannot be forced to accept credit if they do not want it. For more details, read our article about how to issue credits.
  • Refunding: If a traveler is eligible for a full refund per the cancellation policy, you must honor that legal agreement. If the traveler is unable to accept credit and is not eligible for 100% refund, we strongly encourage you to issue at least a 50% refund. Our intent is to reward property owners and managers who offer flexibility to travelers during this time of uncertainty with additional visibility in traveler searches on our platform. The idea is that the more you do now for travelers, the more we will reward you moving forward (so a 100% credit/refund will count more than 50% refund and so on).
  • Ranking Metrics: If you need to cancel a reservation at the traveler’s request, we will automatically waive the cancellation so it does not impact your ranking metrics or your Premier Partner status. You don’t have to call Customer Service to get the cancellation waived; just select “COVID-19” as the cancellation reason code and refund at the minimum 50% to be eligible. Waived cancellations will show up in your ranking metrics within seven days of the cancellation.
  • Returning Traveler Service Fee: We’re refunding the money we make through our Traveler Service Fee on qualified cancellations.
For bookings after April 30 that are not covered by our emergency policy:
Our updated COVID-19 emergency policy will apply only to bookings made before March 13. We’ve sent communications to travelers and updated our help pages to ensure guests understand cancellation policies for upcoming stays. In these communications, we recommended that travelers review their booking’s cancellation policies and work with partners if they need to reschedule for a future date.

What you can do
  • Consider implementing the following guidelines for cleaning your vacation rental. The CDC has also offered guidance on cleaning and sanitation.
  • Review local travel recommendations and restrictions, in addition to following guidance from the World Health Organization.
  • Review your cancellation policy and consider adopting a flexible or moderate policy for the time being.
  • Review the safety features in your property editor and consider adding local hospitals and emergency numbers.
  • If you are impacted by current travel or vacation rental restrictions, we suggest blocking your calendar or temporarily hiding your listing until the end of the travel restriction. Continue to check with your local jurisdiction for changes to that timeline.
  • Contact any upcoming or current travelers as soon as possible. For travelers who are unable to take their trip due to COVID-19, we encourage you to follow our emergency policy below. 
What we advise against
Property owners or managers who participate in any of the below behavior may have their listing removed from our marketplace:
  • Provide travelers with advice or recommendations related to their health at any time.
  • Intimidate travelers by saying things like, “Travel is safer than staying at home.”
  • Dismiss the seriousness of this situation.
  • Encourage travelers to violate local laws or emergency orders.
  • Cancel based on the traveler’s country of origin. 
  • Indicate that the traveler has no choice but to accept a credit.
Frequently asked questions
If you use property management software, please see our article for integrated property managers for additional information.
 
What options do I have besides canceling a reservation due to COVID-19?
If a traveler is unable to stay at your property due to COVID-19 for reservations booked before March 13, with a stay night between March 13 and June 30, consider offering them full credit for the amount they’ve already paid if they are outside the cancellation policy window for receiving a full refund. This credit can be applied to a future booking at your property within the next year. If your guest agrees, select “Credit for future booking” as your cancellation reason and refund 0%. You’ll need to coordinate with your guest and document the arrangement in writing.
 
How do I offer a credit?
To offer a credit, please see our article about the credit system, which will show you how to issue a credit and answer the most commonly asked questions.
 
What if the traveler is unable to accept a credit?
For reservations booked before March 13, with a stay night between March 13 and April 30, and those where local governments have enacted laws that restrict travel or prohibit stays in vacation homes for leisure until June 30:
We strongly encourage you to cancel and refund at least 50% of the amount they’ve paid to date and select “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” as the reason. The more you do now for travelers, the more we will reward you moving forward (so a 100% credit/refund will count more than a 50% refund and so on.) If a traveler canceled through their traveler account, the refund amount may have been less than 100%. In these instances, you may refund any remaining amount through your account.

Additionally, COVID-19 related cancellations will not impact your Premier Partner status if they are refunded at 50% or more. We know you are taking care of travelers during this time, so we’ll automatically waive cancellations which have refunds of at least 50%. Please allow at least seven days for the waived cancellation to appear in your account. 
 
How should I manage negative reviews that may result from COVID-19?
Reviews can only be completed after a traveler has stayed at your property. If a reservation is canceled, and the traveler does not stay at the property, they cannot leave a review. For current guests, we recommend that you continue focusing on great hospitality by reviewing your cleaning standards and providing guests with emergency contact information. Showing guests you care about their safety will help you earn a good review.