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UK Airbnb bookings restricted to key workers

From today (9 April), UK Airbnb bookings will be restricted to key workers and other essential stays in line with government guidance, the company has said.

The platform will temporarily block all calendars from receiving new bookings for stays up to at least 18 April, unless they are for key workers or other types of essential stays. Airbnb said it will review the temporary block on calendars on 18 April in line with the government’s guidance, and on a “regular basis after that”.

The company added that thousands of hosts in the UK have opted to provide accommodation for the Frontline Stays programme. This includes free stays for NHS staff and paid or subsidised stays for other key workers that are on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic and that are exempt from the government’s restrictions.

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said: “Hosts across the UK are playing a vital role in housing NHS and other medical staff as they continue their critical work.

“We’ve also heard from hosts who want to help others follow the rules and keep people safe during these unprecedented times. Restricting bookings on Airbnb to key workers and other essential stays will allow hosts to continue supporting frontline workers while following government guidance.”

It comes after Airbnb blocked private room bookings and temporarily switched off the ‘instant book’ feature for whole home properties. The platform has also been offering guests refunds through its ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ policy to ensure that no guest feels the need to travel through a commitment to their booking.

Bookings made as part of the Frontline Stays programme, offering places to stay for NHS staff and medical professionals, will continue. Airbnb said it is also working to ensure that prospective guests with legitimate exemptions for travel can continue to have access to the platform.

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