Airbnb Major Disruptive Events Policy: What Hosts Need to Know

airbnb major disruptive events policy

By The Hospitable Team

Recently, Airbnb has updated its policy for disruptive events, such as natural disasters that can strike without warning, affecting guests’ travel plans and preventing you from hosting.

The revised Airbnb Major Disruptive Events Policy took effect on June 6, 2024, and applies to all trips on or after that date, regardless of when they were booked. The policy explains how the platform handles cancellations and refunds when large-scale events occur and prevents reservations from happening or legally prohibits them.

Airbnb Extenuating Circumstances Policy

The Airbnb Major Disruptive Events Policy was previously called the Extenuating Circumstances Policy. It explained how cancellations were handled when unforeseen events after booking made completing that reservation impracticable or illegal.

Airbnb updated its policy and changed its name to make it easier for hosts and guests to understand its terms and to align the policy with industry standards. Here are the key changes:

  • The revised Major Disruptive Events Policy will only apply to events in the place where the reservation is located. Events that impact a guest’s ability to travel to a place to stay are no longer covered.
  • Foreseeable weather events at the reservation’s location, such as tropical storms or hurricanes, are explicitly eligible for coverage if they result in another covered event, such as a government travel restriction or large-scale outage of essential utilities.

Airbnb Major Disruptive Events Policy: How Does It Work?

In general, cancellations and refunds for reservations on Airbnb are governed by the cancellation policy hosts choose for each of their listings. However, when a natural disaster, public health crisis, or other large-scale event prevents you from hosting, Airbnb has the Major Disruptive Events Policy in place.

Airbnb states that the safety of hosts and guests is their top priority, so this policy was designed to help protect both you and your guests. However, it’s not an insurance policy, and although Airbnb offers a protection program called AirCover for Hosts, it has its limitations. So, it makes sense to get additional insurance that will cover the gaps in the protection provided by Airbnb and ensure that you have adequate coverage for major disruptions.

This way, you’ll have peace of mind and will be able to focus on growing your STR business. You’ll be able to scale faster if you automate your daily repetitive tasks using vacation rental software like Hospitable.

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When the Major Disruptive Events Policy applies, it overrides the Airbnb cancellation policy selected by a host for their listing. So, if an event is covered:

  • Guests can cancel their booking and get a refund, travel credit, and/or other consideration regardless of the reservation’s cancellation policy. The listing’s calendar will remain open if the guest cancels the reservation.
  • As a host, you can also cancel without fees or other adverse consequences, although Airbnb will block your listing’s calendar for the dates of the canceled reservation.
  • The host doesn’t receive a payout when the host or guest cancels a reservation.
  • Hosts and guests can cancel the remaining nights even if guests have already checked in.

Airbnb Major Disruptive Events Policy: What Events Are Covered?

Under the terms of the revised policy, the following events are covered if they impact your reservation location, occur after the time of booking, and prevent or legally prohibit completion of a future or ongoing reservation:

  • Declared public health emergencies and epidemics. This includes government-declared epidemics, pandemics, and public health emergencies. This doesn’t include diseases that are endemic or commonly associated with an area and COVID-19.
  • Government travel restrictions. This includes mandatory restrictions a government agency imposes, like an evacuation order. This doesn’t include travel advisories and similar government guidance.
  • Military actions and other hostilities. This includes acts of war, hostilities, invasions, civil war, terrorism, explosions, bombings, rebellions, riots, and insurrection.
  • Large-scale outages of essential utilities. Prolonged outages of essential utilities, such as heat, water, and electricity, which impact the vast majority of homes in a given location.
  • Natural disasters. This includes natural disasters and other severe weather events. However, weather or natural conditions common enough to be foreseeable in a given location are covered only when they result in another event covered by the policy that prevents completion of the reservation.

For example, hurricanes occurring during hurricane season in Florida are covered only if they result in a mandatory evacuation order or a large-scale outage of essential utilities.

Airbnb will assess the situation when a large-scale event occurs to determine whether the Major Disruptive Events Policy may apply. If it does, they will activate the policy for the impacted area and timeframe, in which they anticipate that the event will prevent or legally prohibit the completion of reservations.

Reservations outside of the defined area and timeframe may not be eligible, although hosts may still be able to cancel bookings without adverse consequences if they cannot host.

Airbnb also provides examples of common unforeseen events that the Major Disruptive Events Policy does not cover:

  • Events that impact a guest or their ability to travel but not the reservation location
  • Unexpected injury or illness
  • Government obligations like jury duty or court appearances
  • Non-binding travel advisories or other government guidance that fall short of a travel ban or prohibition
  • Cancellation or rescheduling of an event for which the reservation was made
  • Transportation disruptions unrelated to a covered event, such as airline insolvency, transportation strikes, and road closures due to maintenance

If an event is not covered, a guest cancellation remains subject to the listing’s cancellation policy set by the host. However, hosts and guests can still reach a mutually acceptable arrangement outside of the policy, such as a full or partial refund or an alteration of the booking dates.

That’s why it’s essential to establish effective communication with your guests via messages during all stages of the customer journey. Being available to your guests 24/7 is challenging, so many savvy hosts automate this process using vacation rental software like Hospitable.

Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.

We will detect questions and answer on your behalf; send fully custom messages triggered by events, and much more!

Remember that Airbnb hosts must cancel a reservation if their rental space is uninhabitable or inconsistent with the guest’s booking. For example, if your listing’s description says you have a pool and now it is unusable after a major storm, you need to cancel or reach an agreement with guests who booked your property before they check-in.

If you fail to do so, it may result in removing your listing, canceling existing bookings, and refunding guests. It’s also considered a violation of Airbnb ground rules for hosts, which can lead to severe consequences, including account removal.

Airbnb hurricane policy

Airbnb Hurricane Policy—Everything a Host Should Know

Hurricane season can be a very hectic time for Airbnb hosts, so it’s in your best interest to be prepared for potential natural disasters ahead of time. We’ll look at the Airbnb hurricane policy and provide some tips to help you prepare your vacation rental property.

airbnb damage policy

Airbnb Damage Policy: Everything You Need to Know as a Host

While most guests act respectfully, many won’t treat your home like it’s theirs. This may result in accidental damage to your rental property or your belongings. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the Airbnb damage policy and how you can take advantage of it.

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