COVID-19 & your hosting business: How to minimize the impact

Updated March 16, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting many in our community, whether personally or because of disruptions to their hosting or travel plans. And while many travelers are choosing to stay home during this uncertain time, some are still considering local stays and future travel.

Here’s what hosts can do to meet those guests’ needs right now:

  • Adopt a more flexible cancellation policy. Understandably, many guests are uncertain about booking future travel. If you currently have a strict cancellation policy in place, consider switching to a flexible or moderate one (you can always go back to your strict cancellation policy as needed). Knowing they have more flexibility to cancel may give guests the confidence to move forward with a new reservation.
  • Open your calendar for longer stays—and offer weekly or monthly discounts. Many guests may be looking for weekly and monthly stays closer to home. By opening your calendar up for longer stays, you can attract these guests, get more predictability throughout the month, and reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning and prepping for new guests. Consider offering a discount on stays of 7 days or longer—less than 50% of hosts offer a weekly or monthly discount, and those who do tend to get more bookings for longer stays.
  • Let guests know your space has the amenities they need right now. As many face school closures and shift toward remote work, those who decide to book a stay may be drawn to work- and family-friendly listings. If your space offers things like fast wifi, a comfortable workspace, and/or is suitable for children, make sure to update your amenities to reflect that. Please keep in mind that we’re encouraging all guests to respect local guidelines about gatherings or social interactions.
  • Offer self check-in. Many guests may prefer to check themselves in rather than meet in person. If you can, consider installing a key lockbox or smart lock with a keypad. Remember to update your listing to add self check-in.
  • Review your cleaning routine. Guests may want extra info about the cleanliness of your space. You might consider sharing the types of cleaning products you use, how often you clean the space, the type of cleaning products you’ll have available for guests, and other details. We recommend that all hosts review these cleaning tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More tips for hosting

We’ve also introduced a suite of tools and programs—what we’re calling “More Flexible Reservations”—to help you host and to help guests travel more confidently during this difficult time. Here’s what it includes:

  • Enabling hosts to offer refunds directly. Many guests have had their travel plans affected by coronavirus disruptions, and hosts have asked how they can be considerate of guests who need to cancel. So we’ve added a new tool that allows you to authorize a refund to your guest directly.
  • Helping guests find listings with flexible cancellation policies. We’ve rolled out a search filter to show listings with cancellation flexibility, so guests can easily find the ones that best suit their needs.

During these times of uncertainty, we’re asking everyone in our community to be considerate to hosts and guests who need to cancel. As the situation evolves, we’re closely monitoring guidance from governmental and health authorities, and we ask that guests and hosts follow official guidelines and recommendations.

For information about our extenuating circumstances policy, including eligible reservations, dates, and locations, so please bookmark this Help Center page for the latest details on cancellations without charges. For more updates, please keep checking our frequently asked questions—we’ll be adding answers to your top questions.

Thank you once again for being a host, and for your patience and understanding as we work to support our entire community.