Dear hosts, it has been a while since I spoke about what is going on in the world of Airbnb; and you all have questions about the Superhost Relief Fund, the latest extenuating circumstances policy, the $250 million dollar support fund, the cleaning protocol, and much more. Listen to “Answers to Your Airbnb Questions June 2020 Update.”
In this episode I’m answering the many questions I see in my Facebook Group, The Hosting Journey, and if you’re not part of it I don’t know why. We’re a good group with loads of information, and we have this great map with all the members (those that want to be included in the map, of course). Iif someone is traveling they can stay with someone from the group. It’s a win-win.
Well, dear hosts if you didn’t get an application for the Superhost Relief Fund you can stop looking for that email because Airbnb has finished awarding grants for accommodation hosts. According to their website, Airbnb has given $16.8 million dollars to 8,700 recipients, and more than 67% of grant recipients were outside of the United States.
Airbnb is still awarding money for experiences until September 2020, if you’re that host you might still get some money.
If you have no idea what the Superhost Relief Fund is or what I’m talking about, let me give you a short version: Airbnb employees, founders, and investors raised $16.8 million dollars and they were giving grants up to $5,000 to Superhosts. These grants don’t need to be paid back, but might be subject to taxes. There were very specific requirements and an application that you had to complete.
If you want to find out more, I go into detail in Episode 103 Airbnb’s $250 Million News and Superhost Relief Fund.
If you were a recipient, congratulations. I’m so happy for you. I have some friends who received the application but did not get the grant. Personally I didn’t get the application, I didn’t get the grant and I'm ok.
Remember, there are thousands of hosts who might have been in worse situations than you. At least you now know.
Because knowledge is power, let’s continue with the update. Once again the date has changed in the latest Airbnb Extenuating Circumstances Policy, per Airbnb’s website, the policy was updated on June 15th, 2020.
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020, and July 31, 2020, are covered by the policy and may be canceled before check-in. Guests who cancel will have cancellation and refund options, and hosts can cancel without charge or impact on their Superhost status.
What does this mean?
If you have any reservation that a guest booked before March 14th and the guest is checking-in any time until July 31st, they can cancel and you won’t receive any money. You know this by now.
In my Facebook Group, someone asked if the March 14th date will be moved. I’m not speaking on behalf of Airbnb, but I doubt it since that was when the WHO declared a pandemic. However, the July 31st date will probably be moved again since they move it every month.
The reason for this? It’s because the pandemic is still in effect and so are travel bans.
Confirm those Reservations:
The reality is that if you have any reservations of guests who booked before March 14th, you need to confirm that they’re real. Can they travel to your destination? Do they want to? Or are they just blocking your calendar? And if you’re in a place that is getting booked or if you want to venture into a different market like Travel Nurses, those reservations might be stopping you from moving forward.
I actually wrote a variety of specific scripts I could use when I contacted my guests with the different options. There was, “Hey, are you still coming?” And then there was the ”Look, I’m turning my home over to Travel Nurses.” Yes, you’re getting all the scripts I have used so you can customize them to your specific needs.
Just go to TheHostingJourney.com/communication so you can find out more.
Regardless, don't wait for your guests to contact you a week before arrival and for them to cancel that reservation. be proactive and communicate with your guest. Ask them to recommit to your home and to their reservation.
Reservations AFTER March 14th, 2020:
Remember reservations made after March 14th adhere to your cancellation policy. This is from Airbnb’s website at the time of recording:
“Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after March 14, 2020, will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 related circumstances not covered include transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates—like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.”
Please communicate with your guests it’s key. Now you’re probably wondering, ”Yeah, but there is that 25% I’m supposed to get for cancellations…” Let’s go there next:
Another question that hosts ask in The Hosting Journey Facebook Group is, “Has anyone received the 25% hosts would've received from Airbnb’s $250 million dollar initiative?”
Let’s get into details. Airbnb earmarked $250 million USD to help hosts impacted by COVID-19 related cancelations. According to their website,
With regard to reservations booked on or before March 14 with a check-in date between March 14 and May 31, 2020, that was canceled by the guest for COVID-19-related reasons under Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy:
- Airbnb will pay 25% of what you would’ve received for a guest cancellation based on your cancellation policy. For example, if you would normally receive $400 USD through your cancellation policy, we'll pay you 25% of that—or $100 USD.
- Payments will be made to hosts with qualifying cancellations at least once a month for all eligible guest cancellations through May 31. Hosts will also receive an email detailing the eligible reservations and support amount for each payment.
You’re probably wondering, ”Ok, but where is my money?” For that, you’ll need to go to your reservations dashboard — there you’ll find tabs for upcoming reservations, completed, canceled, and more. Go to the Canceled Reservations section and it will show the horror of all your canceled reservations.
There it will say the day it was canceled, who canceled the guest (you as the host or a specialist), the name of the guests, check-in and check out information, the date booked, your listing, total payout, COVID-19 support payment and a details button that you can click to take you to that specific reservation information.
Under the COVID-19 support payment part, you’ll see if you are getting any money and how much it will be, as well as the reason why, if you’re not.
For example, here are a few of the reasons I was denied payouts:
- Ineligible cancellation date
- Check-in after May 31st
- Cancellation unrelated to COVID-19
Remember that any cancellations for reservations starting after May 31st aren’t eligible. If you feel that you’re entitled to this 25% support fund, check your bank account, and if you haven’t received your money contact Airbnb.
There was another initiative that Airbnb spoke about that involved contacting previous guests to help us out, but I never saw anything else and didn’t hear anything further. Crickets, dear hosts. Crickets…
I like the idea of contacting your previous guests to let them know that you’re open for business, so I created a template, You know I believe in pre-writing everything, having my lovely co-editor correct it, and of course, I’m adding this as one of the templates in The Language of Welcome program.
I want you to succeed in communicating with your guests, which is the reason why I continue to update the Language of Welcome with the scripts that I use with my Airbnb guests.
Go to the hosting journey.com forward slash communication to get everything you need for 5-star communication with your guests.
Airbnb’s Cleaning Protocol
Airbnb launched their enhanced cleaning protocol, and it started with U.S. hosts, I’m going to do a specific episode to talk just about cleaning because this topic is lengthy; but please note the following:
If you commit to the cleaning protocol you get a special highlight on the listing page. As a host you need to complete the quiz and the cleaning commitment, only private apartments are eligible.
This not only means you’re stating that you’re following these guidelines, but I believe now they will also be asking more questions to guests in the review. Those cleaning stars will count even more.
Dear hosts, I have some news about New York and Airbnb which I’ll be talking about in an upcoming episode. But as of now, you’re updated with the latest information I have from Airbnb.
Remember, we have to know what is going on so we can make informed decisions.