Airbnb pays hosts to help ease virus pain

Airbnb's aid is being offered to hosts globally except for China.
Airbnb's aid is being offered to hosts globally except for China.

Airbnb is allocating $US250 million ($A405 million) to help offset losses by hosts around the world whose guests have cancelled bookings in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, following its announcement earlier this month that guests could get full refunds for certain reservations.

The aid, which will pay hosts 25 per cent of their normal cancellation fees, is being offered globally except for China.

The payments to hosts apply to the cancellation of reservations with check-in dates between March 14 and May 31.

Because hosts can choose different cancellation policies, some requiring a penalty payment with others allowing free cancellation up to a certain date before check-in, not all cancelled reservations will qualify for a payment.

Airbnb had earlier announced that guests would receive a full refund for the cancellation of reservations made on or before March 14 for check-in between March 14 and April 14.

Airbnb also said that hosts could cancel reservations without a charge.

Airbnb said it was funding the program for hosts itself and would begin to issue the payments in April.

Airbnb provided no details on whether the $US250 million would be sufficient to cover fees to hosts for all eligible cancelled reservations.

Airbnb's revenue in 2019 exceeded $US4.8 billion, up 35 per cent on the year, and it has $US3 billion in cash, a source told Reuters last week.

The company said in September that it planned to list its shares in 2020, and so far has not changed that position.

Australian Associated Press