What can I do if my reservation is affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Last updated 31 May, 2020.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for the current outbreak of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. We’re closely monitoring official guidance from local government and health authorities as well as listening to feedback from our travellers, property owners, and property managers. We will update this article as more information becomes available.
Our COVID-19 emergency policy
When to expect your refund
What you should do before booking
What you can do after booking
Frequently asked questions
What we are doing as part of our COVID-19 emergency policy
To help ease uncertainty during this time, we have rolled out a policy that strikes the best balance of protecting travellers, property owners, property managers, and the public. For every traveller who paid hard-earned money for a getaway they may not take, there is a property owner who relies on clear cancellation policies and the associated money within those policies to pay their mortgage and hard-working employees.Our COVID-19 emergency policy addresses:
- Flexible Credits: We are asking property owners and managers to offer a full credit for the amount you already paid if you are outside of your cancellation window. The value of the credit can be applied to future bookings at that property. Please contact the owner or property manager through your traveller account to discuss credit options. For more details, read our article about requesting and redeeming credits.
- Encouraging refunds: We are strongly encouraging property owners and managers to issue at least a partial refund for situations in which a flexible credit cannot be accommodated. Please contact the owner or property manager to discuss cancellation and refund options. Although they are not obligated to provide a refund beyond the terms of the rental agreement, we are rewarding owners and managers who offer full refunds.
- Refund of the Traveller Service Fee: We’re refunding the money we make through our Traveller Service Fee on qualified cancellations. You can read more about the qualifications in the sections below.
In instances where a trip must be cancelled because local governments have enacted laws that restrict travel or prohibit stays in vacation homes for leisure, we have extended our COVID-19 emergency policy to also cover those trips from 1 May - 30 June. We're refunding the money we make through our Traveller Service Fee for these cancellations.
You must call us to request a refund of your Traveller Service Fee for cancellations in this date range. This refund will be issued within a few weeks of your call. If you’ve selected a flexible credit from the property owner or manager, the Traveller Service Fee will not be refunded and will be applied to a future booking instead.
For bookings with a stay date between 13 March and 30 April, and booked before 13 March:
Whether your cancellation was due to travel restrictions, a government mandate, or simply looking out for the best interests of your family and loved ones, we’re automatically refunding the Traveller Service Fee on all cancellations in this window.
You don’t have to do anything to collect the refund of this fee; it will automatically be issued over the next few weeks. If you’ve selected a flexible credit from the property owner or manager, the Traveller Service Fee will not be refunded and will be applied to the future booking instead.
If our emergency policy does not cover your booking, you have these options:
- Reschedule your trip: Ask the property owner or manager to reschedule your trip for another date. They can tell you when the property is available.
- Cancel your booking: If you need to cancel, you may be eligible for a refund per the cancellation policy. We recommend reviewing the cancellation policy carefully before cancelling your booking. To cancel, log in to your account and go to My trips > Details > Manage bookings.
Due to the unprecedented volume of travel disruptions, refunds will take 3 to 4 weeks to be applied to your account. Please wait until after that time to call if you have not yet received your refund. We appreciate your patience during this time.
What you should do before booking
- Review local travel recommendations and restrictions for your destination in addition to following guidance from the World Health Organisation.
- Review the property’s cancellation policies.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance which may provide coverage for illness due to COVID-19 should you be diagnosed and prevented from travel at the time of your departure. It may not provide coverage for travel bans, shelter in place orders, or fear of travel. Be sure to carefully read the policy coverage for details.
- If you are making changes to an upcoming reservation that is outside the cancellation policy window, you will need to contact the property owner or manager through your traveller account to discuss their cancellation and refund policies.
- To cancel or change an upcoming reservation that is still within the cancellation policy window, you can do so right from your traveller account. If you don’t see a button to cancel your reservation, please contact the property owner or manager directly for assistance.
- If you are currently on vacation in an area affected by travel restrictions, please check your trip details for safety information and local emergency numbers, and follow recommendations from local authorities.
- If you purchased travel insurance, contact the insurance company directly with any questions regarding coverage.
- If you booked with a credit card, contact your financial institution to see if travel insurance is provided and what it covers.
- For additional assistance, please contact Customer Support by clicking Contact Us below or calling 1-877-202-4291.
Why can’t you refund my reservation on behalf of the owner/property manager?
In most cases, we act as the intermediary for payments, but the homes on our platform are owned and/or managed by each individual owner or property manager and they determine cancellation and refund policies. However, during these extreme circumstances, the vast majority of our property owners and managers are rising to the occasion and giving credits or refunds to travellers.
Will the emergency policy be extended to cover my upcoming booking?
We will continue to monitor and reassess the situation with the safety of travellers in mind.
If you are looking to book a trip now, please consider these best practices:
- Consider purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance may provide coverage for illness due to COVID-19 should you be diagnosed and prevented from travel at the time of your departure. It may not provide coverage for travel bans, shelter in place orders, or fear of travel. Be sure to carefully read the policy coverage for details.
- Cancel your booking dates through your traveller account. In the event that you need to cancel, your reservation may be eligible for a refund depending on the owner’s cancellation policy. To view the cancellation policy, go into your traveller account and view your trip.
- Consider rescheduling your reservation. You can request to modify your dates from your traveller account or by communicating directly with the owner or property manager through our secure messaging system.
I don’t know when I will be able to reschedule my travel dates at this time. Can I get a refund or travel credit for a future stay?
For bookings covered by the emergency policy outlined above, we are asking property owners and managers to offer a full credit for the amount you already paid. This credit can be applied to future bookings at that property within the next year. We are strongly encouraging property owners and managers to issue at least a partial refund for situations in which a flexible credit can not be accommodated. Please contact the owner or property manager to discuss these options.
For any cancelled reservation within the time frame listed above, our service fees will be refunded automatically to your original form of payment. Due to the unprecedented volume of travel disruptions, refunds may take a few weeks to process.
What options do I have if the owner or property manager is refusing to cancel and refund my stay?
This decision is ultimately up to the owner or property manager. We are requesting that owners and property managers go above and beyond their standard policies to accommodate cancellation requests where possible. For bookings covered by the emergency policy outlined above, we’re recommending owners and property managers to provide either a full credit to be used for a future booking at that property or a partial refund for the amount you already paid.
Is there a way for me to cancel my reservation online?
Some reservations may be eligible for self-service cancellation via your traveller account in My Trips. If you are making changes outside the cancellation policy window or don’t see a button to cancel your reservation, please contact the owner or property manager for cancellation and refund options.
What should I do if I have a second payment scheduled?
If you have a future payment scheduled and are considering either cancelling or requesting a credit for future travel, please work with the owner or property manager directly.
Does the Book with Confidence Guarantee provide any coverage for COVID-19?
Our Book with Confidence programme is designed to protect you from fraudulent listings and property misrepresentation. It does not cover cancellations due to unforeseeable circumstances, such as COVID-19.
Where can I find out more information regarding travel or health advisories?
We strongly recommend that all travellers, owners, and property managers follow health and safety information from health officials as well as travel advisories from local authorities. For your convenience, we have provided a list of resources below. If you are an owner or property manager, please also see how the coronavirus impacts your rental.