Posts with «travel organizations» label

Airbnb will offer travel insurance this spring

Airbnb knows you might be reluctant to book a stay while the COVID-19 pandemic makes trips risky, so it's planning to offer some protection of its own. The rental service has revealed it will introduce custom travel insurance for guests sometime this spring. While the terms aren't available, Airbnb will team with a "reputable" insurer to offer coverage.

The company has also launched a Guest COVID Support Program that partly compensates travellers if border closures, quarantine periods or other government policies make existing reservations impractical. If a host won't provide a full refund, Airbnb will offer a travel coupon worth 50 percent of whatever hasn't been refunded so far. The program applies to all stays with a check-in date of December 1st, 2021 or later, so you might want to talk to Airbnb if your holiday plans fell apart.

There's no mystery behind the strategy. Airbnb's business has been hit hard by the pandemic as a whole, and COVID-19's Omicron variant is only increasing the worry for hosts and guests who were hoping the worst was behind them. First-party insurance and coupons might persuade some would-be adventurers to book stays when they would have otherwise stayed home.

Airbnb says you don't need to be a host to help it house Afghan refugees

Airbnb announced earlier this week that it's offering free, temporary housing to 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan. Now, it says anyone with available space who's willing to house refugees can sign up to do so — not only Airbnb hosts.

The company is funding the stays through, its nonprofit that aims to provide people with a place to stay during times of crisis. The company and its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky have donated to the efforts. Donations to the Refugee Fund will also help fund the program, and perhaps help cover the cost of more stays. Airbnb is waiving its fees on all refugee stays too. is working with partners including the International Rescue Committee, HIAS and Church World Service to help refugees find a place to stay. The nonprofit and Airbnb are also offering support to the federal government, as well as cities and states that have expressed openness to welcoming refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there are currently around 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees, as TechCrunch notes. Given the number of people who have attempted to flee Afghanistan since the Taliban swept the country and assumed power, there may be many more refugees who need support. Providing at least 20,000 refugees with temporary housing is a positive step to help them transition into their new lives, but Airbnb's efforts, while welcome, may prove a drop in the ocean when it comes to this humanitarian crisis.

Airbnb adds built-in speed test to help hosts include WiFi info in listings

While Airbnb has for a long time allowed hosts to list how fast the WiFi connection is at their rentals, it’s not something you see detailed with every home, condo and apartment on the service. As the company continues to try to attract remote workers, it’s introducing a speed test tool hosts can access within the Airbnb app.

The tool itself is fairly simple. Provided you’ve switched to a host account, you’ll find it under the “Amenities” section of a listing, and it will only estimate your download speeds. When you complete a speed test, the app will share that information with Airbnb and M-Lab, the organization that provided Airbnb the open-source software the company used to build the tool.

According to a support document from the company, M-Lab will include your test results in a publicly available database it provides for internet researchers. More importantly, those who want to stay at your home or accommodation will see if your WiFi connection is suited to their needs. It should also help ensure listings have accurate estimates.

Airbnb considers anything above a consistent 7 Mbps as a “snappy” connection. “Guests can hang with family and friends on a video call or gather together to stream a rom-com,” the company says on its website. Airbnb has started rolling out the WiFi tool to hosts in the US, with global availability to follow in the coming weeks.