UPDATE 2: We’ve enabled a button that allows hosts in affected areas to automatically lower their price and be featured in the Discounted Sandy Listings Wish Lists. Just click it to drop your price by 50%.

Reduce-price-button

UPDATE 1: We have created a Discounted Sandy Listings Wish List that showcases hosts in the affected regions who are reducing prices for stranded travelers and locals. For more information, see the FAQ below.

Hurricane Sandy has affected millions of people. But it has also provided an invitation to share our space in truly meaningful ways.

Shell, an Airbnb host in Brooklyn, is offering her five guest rooms to stranded travelers and locals – for free. She provides an example of how we can all help.

There are more than 20,000 Airbnb listings available in affected areas. Airbnb is waiving all of our fees for these spaces. We encourage our entire community to help anyone who has been left stranded or in need because of the hurricane.

The fee-free traveling and hosting applies to both guests who book and hosts who accept new bookings that start between October 31 and November 7 in New York City, the Hamptons, Providence, New Haven, and Atlantic City. (The max trip length is seven nights.)

If you’re an existing host in an affected area and can help, please consider lowering your price. You can do this in your account settings.

If you are in a position to share space, please consider listing your space so others might find you.

We started Airbnb so that what’s most inspiring about people and their spaces could be shared. Thanks, Shell, for providing this inspiration for our global community.

Here are some answers to questions you may have:

What does “fee-free” mean? Does that mean I don’t get charged for a room?

We’re waiving our guest and host fees – which means that we are not charging hosts or guests the normal percentage of the listing price that we take as revenue. This means that Airbnb will be making no money off any of these bookings, and we won’t be recouping any transaction fees.

Guests still have to pay the price charged by the hosts – which we hope is as low as possible.

I’ve already booked a trip to one of these regions. Can I benefit from the fee waiver?

We are waiving our fees to help people in need. If you are not in an emergency situation, we ask that you honor the original price you’ve paid. If you believe that you are booking in response to a genuine emergency, please contact us.

I’m confused about the fee-free period. When is it?

You won’t be charged any fees for a booking in the regions listed above if the booking begins on any day from October 31 to November 7, 2012 and lasts seven nights or fewer. So if you book for a trip beginning November 6, you can stay until November 13 and not pay any Airbnb fees.

What about security deposits and cleaning fees?

These charges are up to the host, as always. We encourage hosts to be as flexible as possible during this time.

As a host, am I still covered by the Host Guarantee?

Yes. As long as the booking is made through Airbnb, you are covered by the $1,000,000 Host Guarantee.

What if I live/am traveling outside the regions listed above?

We have identified these regions as those most affected by Hurricane Sandy. Pricing and fees in other regions will continue as usual.

I am a host and want to reduce my price. How can I tell people?

If you are hosting in the affected area, we will automatically showcase your listing in our Discounted Sandy Listings Wish List if you reduce your price by 50% or more.

We’ll be updating this post periodically. Check back soon for news.