Speculation has suggested that Airbnb may delay its IPO as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The company was expected to go public this year, despite reportedly posting a net loss of $322m for the nine months to September 2019, compared to a $200m profit for the same period a year earlier.
The group had previously reported “substantially” more than $1bn in revenue in the second quarter, according to a report seen by the Wall Street Journal.
Airbnb said that it was “closely monitoring” official news and guidance about the novel coronavirus outbreak in order to support its community of hosts, guests and employees in China and around the world.
The company said: “As governments and organisations work to contain and mitigate the outbreak, travel and other restrictions have been implemented in several places around the world. To help accommodate these disruptions, we have activated our ‘extenuating circumstances policy’ to offer impacted hosts and guests the option of cancelling eligible reservations without charge. This policy is being updated regularly and observes guidance and recommendations from the World Health Organisation and governmental and health authorities.”
The full-refund extenuating circumstances policy also applies to anyone, worldwide, who needs to comply with “disease control restrictions implemented by relevant governmental or health authorities” as well as people “diagnosed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19 by a medical or health authority”.
Airbnb said: “The Coronavirus outbreak is causing travel restrictions and other disruptions that have a direct impact on the travel and tourism sector and beyond. Although nobody can know the extent of the impact that the Coronavirus outbreak may have, we believe that history shows that when global disruptions happen, the travel industry has bounced back in the long run. Most importantly, our focus right now is on how we can best support our stakeholders as they are impacted by this global health challenge, including hosts, guests, employees and the communities in which we operate.”