The COVID-19 crisis has hit the short-term rental market hard and Airbnb’s revenues look like they have been cut in half. Airbnb’s business looks like it will never fully recover which they have acknowledged by cutting their workforce by 25% worldwide.
For some of the hardest-hit hosts, Airbnb has provided a Superhost relief fund, which has given grants to over 8700 hosts awarding them over $16-million which doesn’t need to be paid back.
What does this massive disruption mean for your business? You are likely going to need to work harder to gain those ever so important guests. The demographic of guests have started to change during this pandemic, so you should alter your business accordingly.
The biggest change to the Airbnb ecosystem is that guests are booking stays that are closer to home. The number of local stays has increased from 13% to 30% and this is likely to rise until more flights start to resume and people feel safer on planes.
Not only are guests booking stays closer to home, but the amount they are willing to spend has dropped massively, under $50 a night is becoming the new normal.
To adapt to this new future of travel guests are require more private spaces, whereas before many guests were happy to share, now they want to be alone and stats seem to show that they feel happier staying in an Airbnb rather than a hotel. Due to the uncertainty in the world, these guests are booking more trips closer to their travel dates, so be prepared to accept the guest’s last-minute bookings. Enable Instant Booking to give you a good catch to get those last-minute travellers.
Offer to your guests self-checkins, if this isn’t something you do already you should highly consider it, as future guests may not want to meet people to do a key exchange. If you do offer keyless entry of a self checkin, then ensure you highlight this.
Update your discount rates for longer-term stays, this will be better for you as this will reduce your amount of time you need to cleaning and reduce your own exposure.
More than ever before cleanliness will be the most important part of your business. Airbnb has introduced the enhanced cleaning protocol, which will help your guests be safe. The protocol is not mandatory and no penalties if you decide not to enrol. However, enrolling into their enhanced cleaning programme will help boost your rankings and will give you a little next extra icon in your listing.
if you don’t wish to enroll in the enhanced cleaning programme, you can set a booking buffer which basically means you will agree to leave your property empty for 72-hours, this will be automatically administered by Airbnb’s by blocking your calender, this time scale may change as we learn more about Covid-19. We recommend that you update your listing to mention your cleaning regime and truly commit to it, otherwise be prepared for a negative review.
Some tips on cleaning:
- Ensure you disinfect surfaces that are high touch areas, likely handles, desks, toilets, remote controls, and handrails for example
- Protect yourself by using gloves and avoid touching your face
- Ventilate the property as soon as you arrive by opening all window
- Use a checklist to ensure you and your cleaners don’t forget anything
Help your guests be safe by providing hand sanitizer and hand wash. Leave in the property extra tissues and travel packs to help them be safe. Some countries require face covering, if you’re able to provide these free of charge to the guests, then mention this as one of your selling points on your listing.
Lastly, don’t forget about Aribnb’s Extenuating Circumstances Policy that covers guests who have booked their trip before March-1th 2020, they are allowed to cancel their stay and will be entitled to a full refund. Reservations booked after 14th of March will not be covered under the Extenuating Circumstances Policy.