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Airbnb in Wengen - Refunds due to COVID-19

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Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2020 - 6:07 PM

We booked a chalet in Wengen for June 9 - 12 but are unable to go at this point as Norwegian Airlines cancelled our flights. Unfortunately at this point the Airbnb Extenuating Circumstances Policy only applies to reservations with check-in dates of May 31 or earlier. I contacted the host directly, and she said at this point she is not changing her refund policy (which normally would only allow for a 50% refund) as she said Switzerland is supposed to be back open by June 8. I saw on another thread on this forum that the museums and such are scheduled to open by then, but it appeared Switzerland is not offering visas or welcoming tourists until June 15. I sent her this information but have not received a response. It is frustrating since this is obviously out of our control, and we would definitely like to reschedule once we can get there (which I shared with the host). But how can we stay there if the airline has cancelled our flights? Do you think it is likely that Airbnb will have to push back the dates of their Extenuating Circumstances Policy? I just don't see international travel restrictions being lifted by then. This is a lot of money to lose if it's not refunded. Any advice?

Anna
Anna
851 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 18, 2020 - 7:28 PM in reply to Robinrye5

Hi Robinrye5,

Welcome to MySwissAlps!

Sorry to hear your flights are cancelled. If your Airbnb host is not willing to cancel your booking and issue you a refund, I think you should take this up directly with Airbnb. While currently your reservation falls outside of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy, you might qualify for a refund or waiver if you cancel due to emergency or unavoidable events. These include travel restrictions and transport cancellations.

You can find more details here including how to file your your claim:

www.airbnb.com/help/article/1320/what-if-i-need-to-cancel-because-of-an-emergency-or-unavoidable-circumstance

For the latest updates of the coronavirus situation in Switzerland, please refer to this link:
www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/does-the-corona-virus-affect-trips-to-switzerland

Hope that helps.

Stay safe and regards,

Anna

Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2020 - 7:38 PM in reply to Anna

Thank you, Anna! The link you sent me for Airbnb states that it does not apply to circumstances related to COVID-19, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to try going this route anyway! And the second link you sent is what leads me to believe Switzerland won't really be open to tourists until June 15. Is that how you are interpreting this? Thanks again for your help!

Anna
Anna
851 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 18, 2020 - 7:57 PM in reply to Robinrye5

Hi again,

Cross border travel/tourism is not permitted since the partial lockdown became effective in mid March. Since then, borders with France, Italy and Germany and Austria have been closed to most travellers except cross-border workers. As of yet, there is not set date on when borders will be reopened and how this will be done.

We will update the information as soon as they become available.

Regards,

Anna

Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 18, 2020 - 8:11 PM in reply to Anna

Ok thank you!

Timbertrail
Timbertrail
64 posts
active member
Apr 19, 2020 - 10:58 AM

Here is a link to the official Swiss document outlining the restrictions, specifically noting June 15. Section 4a is the reference section, but the actual date is noted near the end of the document. I will be using this to cancel our remaining reservation with AirBnB that falls past the May 31 date AirBNB is using for allowing cancellations. They have refunded all my earlier reservations. I I quired of the hosts and they will not rerun all of it...only 50%! I find that so uncooperative on the host's part since the date of our reservation is June 2!!

www.admin.ch/opc/en/classified-compilation/20200744/index.html

Last modified on Apr 19, 2020 - 10:58 AM by Timbertrail
Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2020 - 11:56 AM in reply to Timbertrail

Thank you for sharing this! I completely agree, it is hard to understand why the hosts aren't being more cooperative considering the circumstances, and your check-in date is so close to the cutoff. Obviously a global pandemic is beyond our control. Please let me know if you are successful in using this document to receive a full refund from Airbnb! Good luck!!

Frs4535
Frs4535
6 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2020 - 1:31 PM

We also had to cancel our Switzerland trip that we were so excited for. We had booked one of our stays in Lucern with Airbnb for the first time. Our trip was for the first week of September. But due to this global pandemic my husbands surgery for his neck was postponed, not sure when it will be rescheduled and when he would be able to travel. But even with this global pandemic I'm not sure when we would feel comfortable to travel overseas or within our country in the future. I went through the whole process with Airbnb, contacted the host, extenuating circumstance policy, but to no avail. Lost 50% of our booking. Very disheartening that the host (I agree the hosts should be more cooperative) and Airbnb are not changing their policies at this most unexpected crisis we are all in. Good luck, stay safe and healthy!

Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 19, 2020 - 1:51 PM in reply to Frs4535

So sorry to hear of your experience! I hope your husband is able to have his surgery sooner than later! And I hope that Airbnb will become more flexible with their cancellation policies during this time!

Axelant1
Axelant1
30 posts
active member
Apr 19, 2020 - 6:48 PM

I have to join in on this thread to express my unhappiness with AirBnB as a company and AirBnB hosts who are basically stealing money from guests. Our trip is planned for September and we have many reservations in both Switzerland and northern Italy. We feel very uncomfortable traveling this year and would like to cancel reservations. The AirBnB in Lauterbrunnen was booked as nonrefundable. I contacted the owner to see if she would allow a full refund given the pandemic and she said yes. Now, she is not answering and AirBnB, although trying to contact her and confirm (despite the messages trail that exists on AirBnB) is not having any luck. Plus, AirBnB says they have a policy of only three cancellations within 12 months. We had to cancel our May reservations for a trip to Florida. So now, AirBnB says we must pay a service fee for every cancellation in northern Italy and Switzerland. We would have tried to keep the Lauterbrunnen reservation but once you cancel, it is done. I am so discouraged with AirBnB and am now leaning more toward using regular hotels, which one can cancel without a cancellation fee (depending on the kind of reservation, of course). I will appreciate hearing any hints for dealing with AirBnB. The biggest one I can offer to others is not to cancel your reservations until the deadline set by the owner. This seems silly, since the earlier one cancels, the greater likelihood the owner has of rebooking the space. The more of us who contact AirBnB and complain will make a stronger voice for all.

Timbertrail
Timbertrail
64 posts
active member
Apr 19, 2020 - 6:59 PM in reply to Frs4535

Wow! That's bad. I'm waiting until the last minute to cancel. Not only can't we travel to Switzerland as our flight is scheduled for May 24, which won't happen, we can't travel to Canada as we are flying from Montreal. I'm sure the border to Canada won't yet be open to Americans to cross. At least Swissair has reasonably good policies about this, although they're only allowing rebooking until April 30, 2021. We want to go at the same time next year....end of May. I hope they will work with us on this, as I won't even feel comfortable traveling this coming fall yet. Ugghh. I was sooooo looking forward to this trip of a lifetime! 😪😪

NewModerator
NewModerator
14 posts
new member &
moderator
Apr 19, 2020 - 9:01 PM in reply to Timbertrail

Hi Timbertrail,

Thank you for sharing your experience. We'd appreciate if you got back on this thread once you'll have more information.

I'm sorry to hear that Airbnb is not very cooperative especially during this hard time we are all going through. I generally advice to wait a bit longer with cancelling attempts for bookings of a later date. Refund policies may be adjusted for the better as those travel dates draw nearer and there's more clarity on whether or not visitors from abroad are permitted into Switzerland.

Stay safe!
Sara


Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 20, 2020 - 1:35 AM in reply to Axelant1

I feel so bad for you and so many who have had to cancel their travel plans! I hope you are able to get it resolved soon. Hopefully it will work out in your favor, especially since the host agreed! I didn't know that about their cancellation policy. We will have 3 cancellations from this trip alone. I agree it may be best to wait to push Airbnb for a refund until closer to the cancellation date unless they change their extenuating circumstances policy before then. Hopefully we will all get to go there same time next year!

Annika
Annika
6263 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 20, 2020 - 6:41 AM

Hi all! I feel really sorry for all or you who are struggling with their Airbnb cancellations. However hard it may be, waiting with your cancellation attempts until shortly before your planned travel dates may improve your chances. Let's hope that their policies will improve once there's more clarity about the (lack of) options for foreign travelers.

For those who are re-planning their trips in a while: you may consider hotels or holiday homes instead, as those are checked and classified (1-5 stars) by official organisations like the Swiss Tourism Federation (STV) and Swiss Hotel Association. This also ensures there's a 3rd party to complain if necessary. I realize this insight is not of any help for the current cancellation problems though...

Please find all of our accommodation tips at www.myswissalps.com/accommodation.

Good luck and please keep us updated!

Last modified on Apr 20, 2020 - 1:05 PM by Annika
gramels
gramels
46 posts
active member
Apr 20, 2020 - 12:39 PM

Hi,

being a airbnb super-host myself I currently experience airbnb support very slow due to high load.

I would recommend not yet to cancel yourself but wait how things develop. Likely airbnb will extend the policy after 31. May in case Swiss borders are not open. It is not easy to urge a host to cancel for refund tue to the fact that this might affect his airbnb status. I would ask the guests to cancel in case of airbnb bookings.

Fortunately we had little cancelations for bookings prior to Corona for this year since the booking season hat not startet. My personal policy is to accept cancelations for a later booking or fully refund.

It is always better to try to find a direct contact to the host (most of them have their own web page or are on local pages like rigi.ch) and negotiate directly. A direct Swiss rental contract with a refund policy is as solid as a airbnb booking. Just payment might be more complicated.

I look forward to greet all international guests soon again at beautiful mount Rigi.

Lothar

Last modified on Apr 20, 2020 - 12:45 PM by gramels
Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2020 - 7:42 PM in reply to Annika

Thank you so much. These are great tips, and I will definitely look into these options when we are ready to reschedule our trip!

Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2020 - 7:53 PM in reply to gramels

Thanks so much for sharing your perspective and insight as a superhost. I appreciate your explanations. We'll give it some more time and see how things play out I guess!

gramels
gramels
46 posts
active member
Apr 24, 2020 - 7:54 PM in reply to Robinrye5

very welcome.

Direct booking with a host also enables better pricing. airbnb takes roundabout 25% from both sides.

Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2020 - 8:31 PM in reply to gramels

Wow, that's a lot!! I will have to look into contacting them directly in the future!

Timbertrail
Timbertrail
64 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 12:03 AM

AirBnB has extended their cancellation policy considerably. As hosts as well as travelers, we see both sides of the situation. I received the below email from AirBnB as a host this week. So, your options for cancelling should be much better now. Just remember any reservations you need to cancel must have been made prior to March 15 to qualify for refunds.

"The coronavirus continues to disrupt the travel industry, and millions of Airbnb hosts and guests are on lockdown.

We’ve been working with hosts like you to shape our ongoing response to the pandemic through over a hundred listening sessions in more than 30 countries. One thing we’ve heard is that you want advanced notice and options to engage guests directly when things change. Here’s what you need to know.

Guests may need to cancel June reservations due to COVID-19.

If travel continues to be disrupted, the Extenuating Circumstances policy may cover 1 of your June reservations that were booked before March 15.

What that would mean for you

If a guest’s travel plans are impacted by COVID-19, they will have the option to reschedule.

If they need to cancel, they will receive a full refund or travel credit, and you won’t receive a payout."

Last modified on Apr 25, 2020 - 12:05 AM by Timbertrail

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