US: Travel apartment hospitality startup Stay Alfred is to close its properties across the United States for eight weeks from 1 April in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to Spokane-based newspaper The Spokesman.
Speaking through a company spokesperson, Allen would not be drawn on commenting on whether Stay Alfred would refund its guests who had already made bookings prior to the closure announcement, nor on how many company employees would be directly impacted through the furlough period. He did however reassure staff that the startup was planning to rehire employees when the closures are lifted.
Stay Alfred CEO Jordan Allen told the publication: “While we regret the impact this decision will have on our guests and our teams, we are seeking to minimise that impact in every possible way. All stays booked for this period will be automatically refunded in full.
“We at Stay Alfred look forward to serving our guests again in brighter days ahead,” he added.
The travel apartment startup, which was founded by Allen, is believed to operate over 2,200 units in 32 domestic markets, and has more than 270 employees in its current ranks. In October, it announced that it was trimming its workforce by 30 people – approximately ten per cent of its team – in order to streamline operations.
In its most recent public funding round in October 2018, Stay Alfred raised $47 million to continue its expansion across the United States.
Like many other platforms in the hospitality industry, Stay Alfred’s cancellation and rebooking policy in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak came under fire from customers, after the company implemented a no-refund policy on voided reservations. Its rebooking policy was later amended to include bookings made through third-party websites, while it also expanded its 60-day rebooking limits on check-in dates this year.
In recent weeks, Airbnb and Vrbo have also borne the brunt of traveller complaints, although the former has since relented by pledging full refunds for customers who made bookings on or before 14 March [with a checkin a far-reaching global intervention.
Vrbo says it is also now offering two options for a return of funds due to the virus. The first choice, which is the default, is that any cancellations can be made for full value credit on the platform, with flexible stay dates, for a rebooking later in time.
For more information, visit the Stay Alfred website here.