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Airbnb apologizes to hosts for coronavirus cancellation policies, will pay out $250 million

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Nothing says “I’m sorry” like $250 million.

Airbnb’s CEO recently released a public letter to the company’s network of hosts, addressing Airbnb’s reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. The statement specifically addresses Airbnb’s decision to allow guests to cancel their bookings and receive a full refund.

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, wrote the letter, which was published to Airbnb’s website. In it, he says the decision to allow for full refunds was “not a business decision, but based on protecting public health.”

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“However, while I believe we did the right thing in prioritizing health and safety, I’m sorry that we communicated this decision to guests without consulting you, like partners should,” he continued. “We have heard from you and we know we could have been better partners.”

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The statement goes on to announce that Airbnb will pay hosts 25 percent of what they would have received through their cancellation policy when a guest cancels due to a COVID-19 circumstance. The letter clarifies that eligible hosts must have had check-ins scheduled between March 14 and May 31, and that the total amount of these payments is expected to be $250 million.

Airbnb is also creating a fund for the company’s “Superhosts” who need help paying their rent or mortgage during the outbreak.

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“Trust is the foundation of a partnership, and it is built over time,” Chesky concluded. “We know that we have some work to do in strengthening yours, but it’s our priority and we are committed to it. When travel comes back — and it will — we look forward to welcoming millions of guests together again.”

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