What is the Major Disruptive Events Policy?

Find out how Airbnb handles cancellations when large-scale events occur.
By Airbnb on Mar. 28, 2024
3-min read
Updated Mar. 28, 2024

The safety of Hosts and guests is our top priority. When a natural disaster, public health crisis, or other large-scale event prevents you from hosting, we have a policy in place to help protect both you and your guests. 

This policy was previously called the Extenuating Circumstances Policy. We’re updating the policy and changing its name to make it easier to understand. 

The revised Major Disruptive Events Policy will apply to all trips and Experiences taking place on or after June 6, 2024, regardless of when they were booked.*

What’s covered under the Major Disruptive Events Policy?

The policy explains how Airbnb handles cancellations and refunds when large-scale events affect a reservation. 

The following events are covered if they impact the 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. COVID-19 is not covered under the Major Disruptive Events Policy.
  • Government travel restrictions. This includes mandatory restrictions imposed by a government agency, 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. This includes prolonged outages of essential utilities, such as heat, water, and electricity, impacting the vast majority of homes in a given location.
  • Natural disasters. This includes natural disasters and other severe weather events. Weather or natural conditions that are 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, a hurricane during hurricane season in Mexico is only covered if it results in a mandatory evacuation order.

How does the policy work?

If an event is covered:

  • Hosts can cancel a reservation without fees or other adverse consequences. Their listing’s calendar will be blocked for the dates that are cancelled.
  • Guests can cancel a reservation and receive a refund or travel credit regardless of the Host’s cancellation policy. The listing’s calendar will remain open if the reservation is cancelled by the guest.
  • The Host does not receive a payout when a reservation is cancelled by the Host or guest.
  • Hosts and guests can cancel remaining nights even if guests have already checked in.

If an event is not covered:

  • A guest cancellation would be subject to the listing’s cancellation policy.
  • A Host cancellation would be subject to the Host Cancellation Policy, which may include fees and other consequences. 
  • Hosts and guests can still reach their own refund arrangement outside of the policy. 

What are the changes to the policy?

We’re updating and renaming the policy to address feedback we received from Hosts and guests. For example, some Hosts didn’t know how to tell if a foreseeable weather event or an event affecting guests’ ability to travel was covered. 

Here are the key updates: 

  • The policy will only apply to events in the place where the reservation is located. Events that impact a guest’s ability to travel to the reservation are no longer covered. 
  • Foreseeable weather events at the reservation’s location are explicitly eligible for coverage if they result in another covered event, such as a government travel restriction or large-scale utility outage. 

Does the Host Cancellation Policy affect this policy?

The Host Cancellation Policy is separate from the Major Disruptive Events Policy. Under the Host Cancellation Policy, Airbnb will waive the fees and, in some cases, other consequences, if a Host cancels because of certain valid reasons out of the Host’s control, like a burst pipe. Hosts are expected to honour confirmed reservations under the Host Cancellation Policy. 

Under both policies, Hosts are obligated to cancel if their place is uninhabitable or is inconsistent with what the guest booked. For example, if your pool is unusable after a major storm but your listing says you have a pool, you’d need to cancel or reach an agreement with guests before check-in.

*Except as otherwise notified by Airbnb to certain users.

This policy does not limit Hosts’ and guests’ rights under local laws and regulations, and any decisions made by Airbnb under this policy do not affect their statutory rights.

Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

Mar. 28, 2024
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