The company added that it was aware this could hurt hosts who depend on Airbnb for income, but believed it had to “find a balance” between those hosts and supporting the “well-being” of guests.
To some degree, Airbnb didn’t have much choice. With many countries discouraging travel or in some cases issuing temporary bans (such as the US’ 30-day bans on Europe and the UK), there was pressure on Airbnb to be more accommodating. Why make people pay for cancellations when they’re either unable to fly or unwilling to put themselves at risk? If Airbnb didn’t widen its cancellation policy, it risked a backlash that could hurt its long-term success.