Need to change your vacation rental plans due to COVID-19? Similar to airlines, hotels, and third-party online travel agents (OTAs), refund policies vary by company. And when it comes to vacation rentals in particular, the rules aren’t so cut and dry; in fact, Airbnb is the only vacation rental company guaranteeing full refunds at this time.
COVID-19 Refund Policies by Vacation Rental Website
Airbnb has updated its “extenuating circumstances” policy to include COVID-19. All reservations made on or before March 14, 2020, with travel dates between March 14 and April 14, 2020, can be cancelled for a full refund. This includes both accommodations and Airbnb Experiences. The host’s standard cancellation policy applies to any reservations made after March 14, with check-in dates after April 14.
HomeAway is encouraging all owners to provide a full refund to renters seeking to cancel their vacation rental, per guidelines on its website. Because the decision is at the discretion of the homeowner, however, a refund is not guaranteed. Owners are encouraged to follow local authorities’ recommendations and restrictions, and will not be penalized for allowing a renter to cancel their visit.
Vrbo‘s “Book with Confidence Guarantee” doesn’t cover cancellations due to “events such as disease or government actions.” If you need to make changes outside of the cancellation policy window (which is determined by the property owner), you’ll need to contact the property owner to ask if they’ll still provide a refund.
FlipKey is currently “unable to override” standard policies for bookings scheduled to start on or after May 1, 2020, according to its website. If you have a vacation rental booked prior to (or even after) that time frame, it’s worth contacting your rental owner or FlipKey directly to see if they can provide a credit or refund.
Due to COVID-19, TripAdvisor Rentals is waiving any cancellation fees and encouraging guests to change their travel dates. Per TripAdvisor Rentals’ standard policy, guests can be refunded based on the property owner’s selected cancellation policy, provided to the renter at the time of booking. If the cancellation window has passed, a refund is not guaranteed. Contact the owner and/or TripAdvisor Rentals for further guidance.
TurnKey allows renters to cancel their trip for a full refund within 72 hours of booking; after that period, the trip is no longer refundable, according to its website. Because there are no clear guidelines around COVID-19 on TurnKey’s Guest FAQ, it’s recommended you contact your property owner.
If you booked a vacation rental on HomeToGo (which aggregates properties from partners such a Airbnb and Vrbo) and need to alter plans due to COVID-19, you’ll need to submit a written request via email or the company’s online contact form. All cancellations will be processed Monday through Friday, and once complete, your cancellation invoice will be sent to you from the homeowner. Note the word “invoice,” as HomeToGo typically charges a cancellation fee. A refund or credit is not guaranteed.