Airbnb won fans among travelers over the weekend when it said it would fully refund anyone who was canceling an upcoming stay due to coronavirus. For hosts, the announcement was considerably tougher to absorb. The decision meant property owners would have little chance of recouping their losses.
The move risks alienating Airbnb’s millions of hosts, many of whom joined the platform believing that Airbnb placed equal value on its communities of hosts and guests. Instead, when the crisis hit, the company sided with travelers. The move was grating enough to some hosts that it could change their attitude toward Airbnb permanently, prompting them to list their rentals elsewhere, a number of property owners and managers said.