How Booking Platforms Are Responding to COVID-19. What About Hosts And Hotels?
First of all, all booking platforms like Airbnb, Expedia, Booking.com, or HomeAway are responding differently during all this COVID-19 fuss and offers their own terms.
Everyone understands the guests were hit hard, all flights were cancelled, and someone even stayed in a strange country because they had no opportunity to fly home. Such people are placed in different apartments because all hotels are closed due to inability to pay bills and support the whole system.
But there is another side of the coin. In this situation, hosts, hotels, and those involved in the renting industry, etc., are also severely affected. They don’t have money to pay salaries, they dismiss employees, someone goes on underpaid leave. It is necessary to somehow cover losses and survive.
Here you can find a detailed overview of Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia, and Booking.com undo policies.
HomeAway allows guests to reschedule their trip on other dates or get a refund of 50% of the booking amount.
Airbnb is doing in a very generous way, compensating all guests for 100% of the reservation, leaving hosts with nothing, with a completely uncertain future. Thus, guests who have trips in July, August or even later start cancelling their reservations, receiving a full refund, bypassing all restrictions that are set by the Airbnb platform.
A ruling recently came out that Superhosts would be given help, some compensation, but provided the host has no more than two listings and that those listings generate the main income to the host. As for me, it is very cynical.
How do guests behave?
Of course, most guests behave absolutely calmly, but there are also those who begin to use blackmail, threats to leave negative reviews and other methods to get a refund.
Hosts and hotels are already so tired of it that they follow standard policies. In fact, no guest has asked how the hosts are doing, how they are now making ends meet. Everyone cares only about money, because everyone has families, children and their own problems. Few people think that on the other side there are also people who also need to live on something, and, quite probably, on them this quarantine hit more than on guests.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the platforms do not have an automated process of returning money for cancelled reservations. Hosts and hotels are already in a fuss, sweeping a bunch of problems on this soil to save their business. I am sure that an incredible number of court cases will be opened about the termination of contracts on rental of apartments, from employees, etc.
What solution would be more logical?
- Immediately consider compensating hosts and hotels. Platforms should be provided with at least some little part to compensate for costs and losses because both hosts and hotels suffered no less than tourists, and maybe more. It feels like no platform is interested in supporting a business that brings it a lot of money. But it is worth noting in a positive way the full refund of money to guests who didn’t arrive.
- Automate reservation cancellations and refunds to relieve the unnecessary burdens on hotels and hosts.
In general, we no longer hope for any change in the cancellation policies of these booking platforms during COVID-19 and granting any compensation to hosts and hotels. We only have to hope that the situation will be better soon and businesses will survive.
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