Airbnb hosts complain after receiving less from relief fund than they were expecting

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Some Airbnb hosts say they didn’t get the help they were expecting.

As with many industries across the country, Airbnb hosts have seen a significant loss of business due to the coronavirus outbreak. With many states and cities implementing strict lockdown orders and travel restrictions, a number of hosts on the platform have seen a large number of cancellations.

Airbnb announced that it was setting up a $250 million fund that would pay hosts 25 percent of what they would have received through their cancellation policy when a guest cancels during a specific time period.

Airbnb announced that it was setting up a $250 million fund that would pay hosts 25 percent of what they would have received through their cancellation policy when a guest cancels during a specific time period. (iStock)

In response, Airbnb adjusted its policies to allow guests flexibility in canceling trips and receiving refunds. The company also announced that it was setting up a $250 million fund that would pay hosts 25 percent of what they would have received through their cancellation policy when a guest cancels during a specific time period.

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Several hosts spoke with CNBC about the payments they had received from Airbnb, which they say were lower than expected. One host said she received a payment of $31.89 from the company, while another said she received $43.65. Both hosts say they lost thousands of dollars in canceled reservations.

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If a host uses a flexible cancellation policy, guests can cancel more than 24 hours before their trip and receive a full refund. If a host implements a moderate cancellation policy, guests can cancel five days before their trip and still receive a full refund.

Based on some of the listings of the hosts who spoke with CNBC, it appears that their listings used flexible and moderate cancellation policies. This means that if guests canceled within the correct time period, the cancellations were treated as normal cancellations and no payments were provided to the hosts.

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Airbnb is offering hosts who use flexible cancellation policies assistance by promoting listings with these cancellation policies with a new search filter that makes these listings easier to find -- although, with travel restrictions and lockdowns still in place in various areas, some hosts may still struggle to find bookings during the pandemic.