Airbnb Cancels Some Japan Reservations, Offers Solution to Those Abandoned

Jun 7, 2018

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Earlier this week, Airbnb abruptly pulled 80% of its listings in Japan off its website. The country is about to implement a new homesharing law that requires government permission to list an apartment or room on a homesharing site. After the government said that it would be implementing the regulations sooner than expected, on June 15,  Airbnb proactively took down listings that didn’t have proper documentation.

But this also left the many travelers in the wind. What would happen to those who’d booked an Airbnb that vanished?

Airbnb was silent for a few days but has now announced a program to support travelers who were affected by the new law.

Any reservation for stays beginning from June 15 through June 19 has been canceled, as required by Japanese Tourism Agency regulations. For reservations from June 20 onward, if a listing has not been licensed within 10 days of guest arrival, the reservation will be canceled. Airbnb is supporting hosts by offering them legal and monetary support to help speed up the permitting process, hopefully leading to less reservations being nixed.

Airbnb has crafted a Japan Travel Response Plan to aid affected travelers who might have been affected by the new law. The plan, which seems pretty generous, includes:

  • A $10 million fund to cover “reasonable additional expenses” for guests who might have to secure new accommodations or shell out for flight change fees.
  • For any reservation canceled after June 15 because the host lacked the proper license, Airbnb will provide a full refund and Airbnb credit worth at least 100% of the booking value to use for a future trip. Guests will also receive a $100 coupon for an Airbnb Experience. So if you spent $1,000 on an Airbnb, you’d get your money back plus a $1,000 Airbnb gift card.
  • If travelers can’t find worthy replacement accommodations on Airbnb, the company will connect them with a Japanese travel agency to find a new place to stay.

Although it’s unlikely that credit card trip insurance could come into play here because travel arrangements that have been canceled or changed by a common carrier usually aren’t covered, it still may be worth contacting your bank’s trip insurance provider to see if they can provide any compensation. Other third party trip insurance could help, too, depending on the policy you chose.

Featured image courtesy of Airbnb.

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