airbnb coronavirus

Airbnb hosts worried about business lost because of coronavirus

Many in the travel, tourism and entertainment industries are having a uniquely tough time amid the COVID-19 pandemic as people around the world cancel vacation plans, avoid large gatherings and try to stay home as much as possible to reduce the risk of community spread.

Airbnb hosts, who don't have the safety net that a large hotel chain might (but do have the capital most of us don't to buy property just for the sake of renting out), are among those finding themselves in a more precarious financial situation than they're used to.

Some hosts are citing up to 100 per cent cancellations for units that are usually perpetually occupied — an understandably horrifying change for those who run one or multiple Airbnbs as their full-time job.

The dip has also resulted in impacts on other industries, like cleaning or third-party management companies that service short-term rental properties.

There is also the fact that in some areas, vulnerable homeowners like senior citizens with limited (or no) other sources of income rely on renting out a portion of their property for their livelihood — though a long-term tenant would seem a more prudent, stable and ethical choice in such situations.

Many people online, though, are finding it hard to sympathize with those who have had the luxury of being able to afford income properties and run them as their "job," especially when short-term rentals have contributed to untenably skyrocketing rental prices and low vacancy rates in major cities, leaving residents strapped to find affordable housing (or any at all).

"'I was getting money for contributing to the housing crisis but now I might have to work again, oh no'" one Twitter user said on the topic.

Others simply reponded to the news that Airbnb hosts were struggling with "good," "down with Airbnb" or GIFs of tiny violins.

Would-be travelers are also particularly unhappy with Airbnb at the moment because they've had an impossible time trying to secure refunds for cancellations made in light of the coronavirus situation.

This is despite the fact that the company claimed it was changing its extenuating circumstances policy for cancellations due to COVID-19.

"Every cancellation, especially those which blocked the host’s calendar dates for a few dates, are lost business opportunities [for the host]," an Airbnb representative told a user who recently tried to cancel his stay for an international trip, the Los Angeles Times reports.

With that attitude in the face of a global pandemic, it is understandable why some may find it a little hard to pity anyone affiliated with the company at the moment.

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