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.