Hotel Cancellation Policies and COVID-19: How To Get A Refund

Because of COVID-19, a number of countries temporarily close their borders to foreigners. As a result, many travelers who planned trips in advance, have to reschedule or cancel them. Therefore, hotels and services of booking accommodation slightly change the cancellation policies so that travellers can get a refund.

Airbnb cancellation policy

The service allows making a free cancellation to guests who travel to or from regions severely affected by the coronavirus, as well as owners of apartments in these regions and those who cannot travel due to official restrictions by the governments of their countries. Reservations made on or before March 14, 2020, with the dates of check-in between March 14, 2020, and May 31, 2020, can be cancelled.

In case of cancellation:

  • Guest will receive a full refund (including fees);
  • The hosts will not pay any cancellation fees;
  • Airbnb will return all charges;
  • Hosts can accept new bookings for these dates;
  • The cancellation will in no way affect the status of Superhost;
  • The service also published on its website a list of countries and regions affected by these rules and the duration of special rules for each such region.

So far, it cannot be applied to reservations:

  • Made after March 14;
  • Made on or before March 14 with arrival dates after May 31;
  • In case, if the reservation has already begun (time of check-in has passed).

Exceptions to the latter paragraphs – if the guest or host has gotten sick with coronavirus. In case of cancellation, the hosts must approve it within 48 hours. If they don’t, it means that the reservation is still active.

In addition, until June 1, Airbnb waives the 3% commission charged to landlords. However, the commission that it takes from the guests when canceling the reservation for the dates before June 1, will return to them with a coupon for the next trip.

Booking.com cancellation policy

Booking.com strongly recommends to the hotels and hosts to return the prepayment and refuse any penalty payments if the guest cannot arrive because of the coronavirus outbreak. This is mainly the case for foreign travel. Especially in/from countries that have temporarily closed their borders (here is the current list).

The cautions also concern bookings made by travelers:

  • Who were in zones that are affected with COVID-19;
  • Who were restricted to visit the country they wanted to get into;
  • Who must be quarantined upon arrival and/or return;
  • Who may have some problems with visa on arrival.

Guests can cancel their reservations on their own using the Booking.com mobile app. Hosts of apartments can also cancel or reschedule reservations on their own.

Expedia cancellation policy

Expedia has a page dedicated to updates on coronavirus and a Customer Service Portal with additional information on cancellations. This service is waiving hotel change fees for non-resident travelers in a handful of countries.

People who booked a hotel or apartment at any type of rate before March 19th, for stays between March 20th and April 30th, can get a full refund or a coupon for reservation in the future. Expedia sends e-mails to the travelers about their reservation, so they should not call them. But guests have to cancel their reservation at least 24 hours before the check-in.

Expedia recommends to everyone who makes a new reservation to book apartments or rooms with an opportunity to make a cancellation for free.

HomeAway cancellation policy

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, HomeAway changed its policy for travelers, hosts, property management and the public. It has not so friendly moves. For example, it has stopped making advanced payouts when guests have already sent out the money to HomeAway. The guest will receive his money only on the day of check-in.

According to the new cancellation policy, any guest can receive a full refund.

In case the guest wants to get the money back for the reservation, which was made before March 13 with the dates of the trip between March 13 and April 30, partially or not get at all, there are such two options:

  • Host can offer the traveler a full credit for the money he or she has already paid in case if it is outside of the cancellation window. This money can be used for the reservations at the same property within the next year. If the traveler doesn’t want to accept the credit, you mustn’t force her or him to do it.
  • If the traveler doesn’t want to accept the full credit or can’t get it, you can propose at least a half of the sum to refund.

Any cancellation made because of COVID-19 won’t impact Premier Partner status in case the refund was at least 50% and more. Also, HomeAway waives automatically all the cancellations with refunds of 50% or more.

But note:

  • If the host makes a 100% refund, reschedules, or gives a credit, he’ll receive a ranking equivalent to a 5-star review.
  • If the host doesn’t make at least a 50% refund or give a credit, he’ll receive a ranking equivalent to a 1-star review.

Let’s sum up hotel cancellation policies:

Airbnb:

  • The policy of COVID-19 is until 31.05.2020.
  • The guest can rebook the reservation with a credit offered by Airbnb or get a 100% refund.
  • Airbnb offers a help for hosts only if they have 2 listings and they use only Airbnb for their properties.

HomeAway:

  • The policy of COVID-19 is until 30.04.2020.
  • HomeAway/VRBO offers a host two options: a credit for their new reservation or a 50% refund.
  • HomeAway is refunding 100% of the money when someone must cancel a trip due to COVID-19.

Booking.com:

  • The policy of COVID-19 is until 06.04.2020
  • Reservations made as of 6.04.2020 will be treated like any standard booking, according to policies and procedures.
  • For all reservations made before 06.04.2020 Force Majeure procedures still apply.

Expedia:

  • The policy of COVID-19 is until 30.04.2020
  • Non-refundable rate plans are hidden.
  • A guest can rebook his stay in the original property.

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