Simpler Property Management in the Pandemic Era
Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates
From COVID-19 to monkeypox and other emerging diseases, it remains crucial to incorporate public-health considerations and sanitation into our vacation rental management. Guests may request last-minute cancellations, experience travel restrictions, or insist upon stricter cleaning protocols. All these considerations are critical for your vacation rental business.
We update this page regularly, and we’re always available to answer your questions about infectious-disease prevention, travel advisories, and sanitization concerns.
Please also keep in mind that each destination has its own mandates. Be sure to double-check local county or city websites for the most up-to-date COVID guidelines.
Please bookmark and forward this URL to the appropriate person(s) within your organization as we are processing refunds/re-bookings on your behalf as they come into our call center. We deeply appreciate your cooperation as we make this process as guest-friendly as possible.
Help Your Guests Rest Assured
Traveling during the COVID era creates additional stress. Your guests want to make sure they’re booking a clean and safe property. Our partners have introduced new cleaning standards and protocols to ensure the safety of your guests, staff, and communities. Showing this information prior to booking will help improve your properties’ revenue and performance.
Top Vacation Rental Distribution Channels
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, to be a global pandemic. Since then, the outbreak has evolved rapidly with governments around the world taking swift action to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In response, we are providing the following coverage for COVID-19 under our extenuating circumstances policy to help protect our community and provide peace of mind. Please monitor this page for updates about coverage.
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and October 15, 2020, are covered by the policy and may be canceled before check-in. Guests who cancel will have cancellation and refund options, and hosts can cancel without charge or impact to their Superhost status. Airbnb will either refund, or issue travel credit that includes, all service fees for covered cancellations. In order to cancel under the policy, you will be required to attest to the facts of and/or provide supporting documentation for your extenuating circumstance.
The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual to reservations made after March 14, 2020.
Cancellations will be handled according to the extenuating circumstances coverage in effect at the time of submission, and reservations that were already canceled will not be reconsidered.
If a reservation has already begun (the check-in has passed) this extenuating circumstance does not apply.
Different policies apply for domestic reservations in mainland China and for Luxe or Luxury Retreats reservations.
What reservations are covered
Reservations made on or before March 14, 2020
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and October 15, 2020, may be canceled before check-in. This means that guests who cancel under the policy will receive a full cash refund or travel credit in the amount they paid (where travel credit is available), hosts can cancel under the policy without charge or impact to their Superhost status, and Airbnb will either refund, or issue travel credit in an amount that includes, all service fees.
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date after October 15, 2020, are not currently covered for COVID-19 related extenuating circumstances. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
If a reservation has already begun (the check-in has passed) this extenuating circumstance does not apply
Reservations made after March 14, 2020
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after March 14, 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 related circumstances not covered include: transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates—like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
Our extenuating circumstances policy is intended to protect guests and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking. After the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the extenuating circumstances policy no longer applies because COVID-19 and its consequences are no longer unforeseen or unexpected. Please remember to carefully review the host’s cancellation policy when booking and consider choosing an option that provides flexibility.
(Updated: October 1, 2020)
The safety of our partners and guests is of utmost importance. As a result of the official travel advice received from Government organisations about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), guests are unable to travel to or stay at accommodations located in areas that are severely affected.
In addition, international travel restrictions are placed on travellers who have recently been in areas severely affected by the Coronavirus (in most cases, within the last 14 days). These restrictions can include bans on entry, mandatory quarantine on arrival, or the suspension of on-arrival visas.
As a result, to protect the health of our partners and guests in regard to Coronavirus, we have declared Force Majeure/Forced Circumstances (FM).
In addition to the below-mentioned countries or regions, FM also covers individual cases where restrictions make it impossible, illegal or prevent guests from travelling to or staying at the accommodation (in accordance with the applicable General Delivery Terms).
We expect partners to refund any prepayment and waive any cancellation costs (fees, expenses and/or other amounts) in situations where the guests/travellers requested cancellations as a result of Force Majeure. Booking.com will waive the commission in these cases.
Reservations where Force Majeure (FM) conditions apply
Please note that domestic travel is not subject to FM unless mentioned otherwise and that FM policies apply only to cancellations made after the introduction of the relevant travel restrictions.
FM conditions also apply in countries or regions other than those mentioned explicitly below, for instance in (but not limited to) situations where reservations are:
- by travellers who have been to an area affected by Coronavirus and are prevented from travelling as a result
- by travellers who have been banned from entering the country they intended to travel to
- by travellers who face suspension of on-arrival visas
- made at properties who have closed their doors, either by their own choice or through regulatory requirement. Please note the property has the responsibility to inform impacted guests and ensure they are fully refunded for any cancelled stay
Important change per 6 April 2020: By now, we can expect that our mutual customers are aware of the risk of further COVID-19 spread, and as such the risk they are taking when making new reservations, particularly Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings. Therefore for all new reservations made as of 6 April 2020, we will no longer apply Force Majeure conditions for guests seeking to cancel or modify their booking due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. These reservations will be treated like any standard booking, according to our policies and procedures.
Important change per 21 July 2020: (1) The situation with regards to the Coronavirus continues to evolve around the world, with travel restrictions affecting our customers and partners now often being applied on a regional, subregional, or city level. As described on 6 April 2020 (please see above), Force Majeure will only be applied for bookings made prior to that date. There may still be a number of reservations made prior to 6 April 2020 where Force Majeure can apply, however, with time, the number of potentially impacted reservations will continue to decrease. (2) To ensure we continue to support our customers and partners in the best way possible and adapt to the current situation where restrictions are much more regional than before, we have changed our procedure for handling some of these reservations that are potentially affected by Force Majeure. (3) For some major locations across the world, we will continue to specify information related to the applicable Force Majeure conditions in this article. (4) All inquiries for impacted reservations that are not mentioned in this article will be handled by our Customer Service agents on a case-by-case basis, in line with our criteria for declaring Force Majeure as described under 1. Conditions of Force Majeure/Forced Circumstances.
By now, we can expect that our mutual customers are aware of the risk of further COVID-19 spread, and as such the risk they are taking when making new reservations, particularly Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings.
Therefore for all new reservations made as of 6 April 2020, we will no longer apply Force Majeure conditions for guests seeking to cancel or modify their booking due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. These reservations will be treated like any standard booking, according to our policies and procedures.
What this means
For reservations made on or after 6 April 2020:
1. The COVID-19 Force Majeure procedures that we implemented in view of government travel restrictions do not apply.
2. Our standard procedures apply, including relating to Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable reservations. As such, you will be in control of whether, when and how to refund COVID-19-related guest cancellations for reservations made on or after 6 April 2020, based on the policy chosen by your guest, your individual, legal and governmental situation and mandatory consumer law.
3. We will introduce extensive new messaging across our website and app, both pre- and post-booking, to make customers even more aware of the risk they are taking in booking Non-Refundable or Partially Refundable reservations on or after 6 April 2020.
4. As the COVID-19 situation evolves constantly, we reserve the right to reinstate our contractual Force Majeure policy. If we do, we will communicate this to you and the change will only apply to reservations made after such communication.
5. You remain responsible for making sure your availability on our platform is up-to-date, including when government restrictions mean your property must be closed. Should a guest book a room that is in fact not available, the guest must be given a full refund unless they agree to a different solution.
In order to make bookings and communications easier during this pandemic, Booking.com has rolled out standardized notifications that we can upload for each property listing. The following phrases can be loaded for each of your properties:
Our policy applies to bookings made before March 13th with a stay date between March 13 and June 30.
It now also applies in instances where a trip must be canceled because local governments have enacted laws that restrict travel or prohibit stays in vacation homes for leisure until June 30.
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of coronavirus, known as COVID-19, to be a global pandemic.
We ask that Vrbo partners (homeowners and property managers) handle cancellations for trips booked within this period in one of two ways (even if those trips are outside of the set cancellation policy):
Option 1 (Default): If the booking is for stay dates up to and including June 30, offer a credit for full value and flexible stay dates within the next year to travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19.
Option 2: If the traveler is unwilling to accept a credit, we advise partners to issue them a refund. If partners are unable to accommodate a full refund, Vrbo expects partners to provide at least a 50% refund if the traveler cancels during this time.
If a traveler is eligible for a full refund per the cancellation policy, you must honor that legal agreement.
Here’s how Vrbo will enforce the policy stated above:
- Vrbo will reward partners with additional visibility in traveler searches. The more partners do now for travelers, the more we will reward them moving forward (so a 100% credit/refund will count more than 50% refund). This applies to bookings with stay dates through 6/30.
- Partners who do not abide by these standards (offering a 100% credit/refund of at least a 50%) will be disadvantaged vis-a-vis those who act within our policy. This applies to bookings that were canceled after 3/13 with stay dates between 3/13 and 4/30.
- Encouragement of travelers to violate local laws to complete a stay may result in permanent removal from Vrbo and Expedia Group.
Here’s more on what Vrbo is doing as part of our COVID-19 Emergency Policy:
- Full Refund of Vrbo’s Fees: Vrbo is refunding 100% of money it makes through traveler service fees when someone must cancel a trip due to COVID-19 government travel restrictions. This goes in effect for all stays booked before March 13 with a night between March 13 and June 30. Travelers should call customer service to receive their Traveler Service Fee refund.
- Rolling Out Automated Refunds: Our teams are also working to make refunds and date changes to bookings easier for partners. Details on this new process will be communicated in the coming days, so we ask that partners wait to call our customer service line until that happens. We acknowledge that credits for future dates will be administered between our partners and travelers, so we only ask that the arrangement be acknowledged in writing — ideally via our secure messaging system.
- Automatically Waiving Related Cancellation Penalties: If partners need to cancel due to this event, we will automatically waive the cancellation so it does not impact ranking metrics or Premier Partner status. Partners no longer have to call Vrbo 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).
The new policy we are implementing is not perfect, but in this unprecedented time we believe it strikes the best balance of protecting travelers, partners, and the public. We are actively rolling out operations to support this policy.
(Updated: June 23, 2020)
The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly and that can make this a confusing time to travel and rent out accommodation.
Changing booking dates
In the first instance, we always recommend both parties to consider rescheduling bookings to a future date. You can edit bookings through your account where you can select new dates as far in advance as needed. To make this easier for you, we’ve set your advance availability to ‘All future dates’, which means that there are no restrictions to how far in the future you decide to move the booking.
Extending balance due dates
To give travellers additional time and peace of mind, we’ve extended most balance due dates, where the balance was due before 31 August, to 15 days before the booking is due to start.
Bookings starting on or after 1 August 2020
If you have to cancel a booking that is due to start before 31 August 2020, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, you will not be charged a cancellation fee.
If the traveller wants to cancel
If they’ve booked on or before 31 March 2020 and the booking starts on or before 31 August 2020, travellers can cancel their bookings themselves through their “Manage my Booking” page or if they booked through Tripadvisor, their “Inbox” page, and receive full refunds.
If they’ve booked after 1st April 2020, or the booking starts on or after 1 September 2020, your cancellation policy automatically applies. However, if you wish to offer an exception to your policy you can refund your guest at any time before the booking start date.
For more information on whether your rental location is impacted, please check with the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or with local government authorities.
More information: TripAdvisor Coronavirus Resource Center
(Updated: August 1, 2020)
We are encouraged to see early signs of recovery in many markets around the world. Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods yet. While some countries continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with closed borders and strict travel controls, others are beginning to relax restrictions. To reflect these changing circumstances, in June, we evolved our cancellation policies for bookings that were made prior to March 20, 2020 with stay dates after July 1, 2020 (“Eligible Reservation Dates”). These cancellation policies as set out below still apply.
We wish you and your families health and good fortune in these uncertain times. Thank you for your partnership. Please contact us at any time if we can provide assistance.
Now that there is widespread awareness of COVID-19, we believe travelers understand the risks of booking non-refundable or partially refundable travel. Therefore, except where required by law, bookings made on or after March 20 will not be subject to cancellation under this policy. We will apply your policies for any traveler-initiated cancellation or no-show.
Individual governments are beginning to relax controls and open borders based on the conditions in their countries. Where restrictions on travel no longer exist, we will be applying your published cancellation policies.
However, we are continuing to allow travelers to cancel bookings with Eligible Reservation Dates and receive a voucher if travel remains restricted by governmental measures such as quarantines and lockdowns, severe limits on airline operations, or other COVID-19 related difficulties. The markets where force majeure will apply are listed below. Please note that circumstances in individual countries are rapidly changing so check back often. Additionally, we will continue to allow travelers to cancel their bookings where required under local law (e.g. certain domestic bookings in Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal, certain EU package bookings, and certain bookings on Expedia Group’s Brazil websites).
About Refunds and Vouchers
Where we permit a traveler to cancel a partially refundable or a non-refundable booking under this policy, the traveler will receive a refund or a voucher. Here is how this works:
Partially Refundable Bookings. Travelers with partially refundable bookings for June and July stay dates who contact us to cancel at least 24-hours before their check-in date will be provided full refunds.
Non-Refundable Bookings. Travelers with non-refundable bookings for June and July stays who contact us to cancel at least 24-hours before their check-in date will either receive a full refund or a voucher to rebook at your property based on the selection you (or your headquarters) made previously. Beginning in July, you will have the opportunity to change your decision in Partner Central.
If you elected to participate in the COVID-19 Voucher Program, the details of which were previously communicated to you, travelers wishing to cancel eligible non-refundable reservations at your property will receive a one-year voucher to rebook their stay at your property on Expedia Group websites. Please note, the voucher process doesn’t apply to certain reservations, such as Hotel Collect, Hotwire, Egencia bookings and bookings on third-party sites. Travelers who cancel these types of bookings will receive full refunds. In addition, some local laws have requirements that our COVID-19 Voucher Program will follow. These may include longer expiration dates for vouchers and other specific voucher terms or requirements to provide a refund instead of a voucher (e.g. EU package bookings). If you are not part of the COVID-19 Voucher Program, you are part of the Cancellation Waiver Program under which travelers wishing to cancel eligible non-refundable reservations will receive full refunds for their booking.
For all reservations that are cancelled under this Expedia Group COVID-19 force majeure policy we will not be collecting compensation or fees associated with the cancellation. We expect that you will also waive or refund any amounts that you would otherwise collect or charge the traveler or Expedia Group for these cancellations.
To encourage travelers to book during these uncertain times, we highly recommend you simplify your policies and offer flexible refundable rate-plans with a 24-hour cancellation policy. Please set them up in Partner Central or thorough your channel manager.
More information: Expedia Group Coronavirus Resource Center
(Updated: November 14, 2020)