Despite the Coronavirus death toll rising in alarming numbers every day, Vrbo, a vacation rental company similar to Airbnb, has chosen to be reeeal hands-off when it comes to cancellation policies.
As people are being advised to stay home and not go on all those vacations that they have been planning, they’re unfortunately learning that they are not able to get all their money back that they paid for the rental. This could be especially devastating to people who have suddenly found themselves without a source of income for the foreseeable future.
The requirements that Vrbo has had in place to this date is that hosts are required to give a minimum of 50% back to guests upon cancellation, and anything over 50% is at the discretion of the hosts.
Clearly, hosts are not giving more than 50% back.
Angry would-be travelers are retaliating, saying “Vrbo needs to step up as a company since we apparently can’t rely on the kindness and understanding of the hosts.” The refusal to revise their cancellation policy seems, to guests, like they are only looking out for hosts, not travelers.
Some hosts are even refusing to cancel the stay by downplaying the effects of Coronavirus, leading to guests receiving no refund.
This is especially upsetting to guests since Airbnb announced on Saturday that guest must be issued full refunds from trips booked through April 14 due to the outbreak.This pleased guests but, of course, left hosts in unfortunate situations where their income suddenly and for the most part, vanished. Airbnb is, however, advocating for legislation that can provide some relief to the hosts affected.
Clearly, no matter which action is taken, if cancellation fees are going to be taken out of the pocket of either the guest or the host, people are going to be very upset. The solution seems to be that Vrbo should cushion at least a portion of the cost themselves, or at the very least acknowledge that it’s an issue and advocate for legislation like Airbnb.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people will remember how they’re treated by companies during this time. And they are not scared to hold a grudge and take their business somewhere else when this eventually blows over.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.