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Airbnb in Wengen - Refunds due to COVID-19


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Axelant1
Axelant1
30 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 12:46 AM

Thank you very much for these tips and insights. In the two cases where we had strict nonrefundable reservations, we contacted the owner first via the AirBnB messaging (we didn't have any other contact info). We had already cancelled 3 May reservations in Florida. In both cases, the owners guaranteed full refund. We finally were successful in receiving our refund for the Lauterbrunnen reservation but ONLY because her response to refund was in the AirBnB system. Getting to this point (with both Florida and Switzerland) was arduous with much back and forth conversations, pleas, etc. with AirBnB (The owner was unresponsive after that to either me or AirBnB after her first message. Hopefully, she was not in a critical situation or sick. AirBnB also refunded the service fee, which they normally will only do for 3 cancellations per year.) We are willing to pay for AirBnB services, but feel that their system for charging the fee is not fair. The fee is based on the length and cost of the stay. However, it takes no more to reserve a place for a week than it does for 2 days. One of the reasons we love to stay in AirBnB (standalone unit with kitchen and parking) is because we prefer to stay longer in a location than just pass through. But we get penalized for that longer stay. I have several more AirBnB reservations to cancel in Northern Italy and Switzerland. We will definitely be cancelling these (because we are retirees) but are forced to wait until the last minute because of the current AirBnB policies. We hope they will change this between now and September. Unfortunately, this means that these owners could lose the possibility of renting out their units. I suggest that AirBnB owners complain about the cancellation limits - particularly for this year with so many unknowns with travel. I want to add that with both the Florida and Switzerland cancellations, the AirBnB staff was polite. At first they send links for all their policies. However, I was persistently patient and the help gradually became more personalized. But they did advise me to wait before cancelling the other reservations.

pkerr
pkerr
199 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 1:40 AM in reply to gramels

How do most hosts look at direct booking? Is this common for 2nd stays? And if you direct book, aren't you taking a chance the host might stiff you and then you are out your $$ without any recourse?

Thanks

Robinrye5
Robinrye5
10 posts
new member
Apr 25, 2020 - 2:10 AM in reply to Timbertrail

Wow, this is really good to know! I am curious about why they haven't updated their policy on the website and why the host hasn't mentioned this when I have contacted her. Maybe I should contact her again and ask about this. I appreciate you letting me know! Our reservations were made earlier in March, so they do qualify for a refund in that regard. Thanks so much!

gramels
gramels
47 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 5:01 AM in reply to pkerr

Hi pkerr,

of cause I can only speak for myself.

My place is listed on several platforms, airbnb.ch/h/rigi, 13.mittlerschwanden.ch (my own site), homeaway, traumferienwohnung.de, rigi.ch (the regional site), e-domizil.com ( MySwitzerland) and so on. This is needed to get the visibility. It is a hell of work to keep the pricing somehow in sync, since all those platforms work differently.

In case somebody finds my place directly (eg via rigi.ch or mittlerschwanden.ch) I would typically try to call back on the fone and have a chat to gather some information to build a trust relationship, agree on a price.

Then I would send out a contract with a clear cancelation policy and ask for a upfront payment for the reservation. So in case of no shows I have the upfront payment, but psychologically more important there is some strong commitment from both sides.

Of course this is more effort than just a point and click airbnb booking, but worth it for both sides on longer stays. As said before mots platforms take about 18%-28% together from host and guest for the platform.

To find places, look them up in airbnb.com eg, then google for the name or try to find the regional web site. rigi.ch is for example the site (in tourism terms a destination site) of the local mountain railway, which also liste accommodations at mount Rigi. Find the place based on location, compare pictures. Send the host a message.

For second stays its even easier, since you know each other. In this case I would alsoe accept payment at arrival if I remember the guests trustworthy.

This might be different for professional hosts due to the manual handling of payment etc.. We rent out one place more or less as a hobby and to cover the costs for the house.

Also our place is a special location, only reachable by cogwheel railway (park in the village and take the train or even better car free Switzerland vataions). So guests are pretty well informed and know what they are doing. We do not get any drive by. So once the looked into it and liked they are curious enough that they really come.

Hope that answers it. Come over and have a look and we can continue the discussion :-)

Lothar

Axelant1
Axelant1
30 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 5:16 AM in reply to gramels

Thank you for the tips that you give, Lothar. I definitely need to look at other resources besides AirBnB. I hope, for all of us, that we can all be traveling and you can be hosting.

Anna
Anna
1297 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 25, 2020 - 8:35 AM in reply to gramels

Hi Lothar,

Thanks for sharing this information. As a moderator, I find this very useful, and hopefully it will give some insights to other forum members who are also having issues with claiming their refunds.

Stay safe and regards,

Anna

Timbertrail
Timbertrail
73 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 10:22 AM in reply to Robinrye5

On the travelling side of the app it advises there will be an update on May 1 from the CEO. That will be the announcement I would imagine. I didn't realize they hadn't updated the traveler part of AirBnB. My guess guess is they advised the hosts of the change before the travellers, so they are prepared.

Annika
Annika
6517 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 25, 2020 - 11:53 AM

Hi all! @Timbertrail, @Axelant1 and @Lothar: thanks for sharing all of your experiences. They're definitely helpful. I'm glad to hear that Airbnb too will extend their cancellation policy.

@Axelant1: I fully understand your thoughts about staying longer in one location. It's a relaxed way of traveling and of discovering one region more thoroughly. I don't think you'd have to change that approach during a future trip. Holiday homes might serve your purpose as well. Let's hope that your wait-and-see approach for the last few Airbnb bookings will be successful!

Happybeetle8
Happybeetle8
19 posts
new member
Apr 25, 2020 - 12:05 PM

So I'm guessing on May 1, they will update so we can cancel reservations for June? I have a reservation in Wengen and Murren for late June and I want to postpone to next year. Been waiting and praying things would get better, but really didn't think travel would be possible in June.

Timbertrail
Timbertrail
73 posts
active member
Apr 25, 2020 - 2:21 PM in reply to Happybeetle8

I agree!

Anna
Anna
1297 posts
top member &
moderator
Apr 25, 2020 - 7:03 PM in reply to Happybeetle8

Hi Happybeetle8,

Yes, it might be best to wait it a bit more before cancelling your reservations. Hopefully by May a policy would be in place and you will be able to claim your refund.

Regards,

Anna

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