As many of you have heard, Hurricane Joaquin is coming to the US East Coast. Already we had a bad bad week, with rain and wind.
This weekend was a popular one, as the university in Virginia was holding the Family Weekend. All hotels were fully booked.
My guests are nervous and advise they probably will not come at all. They fear the hurricane will affect their trip. We are 4 hours away from the Virginia Coast, and yes we will have rain/flooding/winds, but not a hurricane.
How would you handle this? we have strict policy. On the other hand, we really want to be fair. By the way, we have already committed ourselves to drive from New Jersey to Virginia where the house is located this weekend. So, we are driving anyway.
What would you do? Anybody has experience with extenuating circumstances policy by AirBnB?
P.S. Quick update, just read the VA Governor has declared state of emergency.
Post by High Priestess on Oct 1, 2015 14:03:11 GMT
That is a tricky situation....I think my first thought would be, that I would like to know if Airbnb would consider this type of situation an "extenuating circumstance" under which they would issue guest a full refund regardless of your cancellation policy and over and above any host's protests about it. I would like to have that information first, to help me decide what to do. SO I would get on the phone and call Airbnb and ask them that directly -- if there is a big storm in my area, and a state of emergency declared in my state due to a hurricane (but it won't be a hurricane right in my area) does the guest get a full refund based on extenuating circumstances? Because if Airbnb says yes,the guest WOULD qualify for a full refund, then you can more easily decide to offer that to them. OR, perhaps to offer them a larger refund than you would have otherwise -- maybe 75^% refund , or maybe 50% refund.
I would say that in general, the weather is not sufficient reason for a guest to get a refund. Because if we hosts were subject to income loss based on weather cancellations, then anytime it rained, or snowed, or was just not sunny and warm, guests could plea to get their money back and that's not fair to us. But I think if the weather is such that it makes travel truly hazardous or impeded -- such as a record snowfall that makes it impossible to drive in a particular city on a given day -- or a raging forest fire that is a bit too close to your town ---- then a refund is more justified.
Many do have travel insurance, and travel insurance is supposed to cover things like this, when people have to cancel due to natural disasters or extreme weather, so you might also ask the guest if they have travel insurance and can be reimbursed by that. which would serve both you and the guest well.
We decided to go ahead and offer a full refund (after the state of emergency was issued). Also, I put myself in her shoes and decided to offer the refund. Well, she was so happy that she rescheduled for next weekend (wants to see her son anyway). Everybody is happy and we have blocked our listing in VA until we complete the move and keep our sanity. :-)