5 Pro-Tips on dealing with the COVID-19 impact on Airbnb short term rental Hosts
Its no secret that short-term rental (STR) hosts have seen their difficulty throughout the years. City by-laws, rent restrictions, and negative media attention, but nothing compares to the current COVID-19, Corona Virus, shutdown. International travel, state travel, and now local travel have completely halted. As a 7-year, multi-unit Airbnb Superhost, I wanted to share some tips on how to stay positive, and navigate this tough environment
How to navigate the COVID-19 travel shutdown
1. Get bookings and assist medical professionals by offering a substantial discount
Medical professionals are coming in to assist an overloaded health-care system during this crisis. They need a place to stay closer to hospitals and clinics. As a host you can assist medical field professionals by offering a substantial discount and set your nightly minimums to 7 nights, to prevent unexpected 1-night bookings.
2. Re-Focus your Airbnb home to longer-term bookings.
Locals always need a temporary place to stay whether they are affected by stalled home renovations construction, in-between homes, persons wanting to isolate, and travellers trapped by border closures. To capture this market, set your minimum night-stay to 14 nights, enable Instabook (if not already) and lower your price by at least 50% of normal season prices, and you should be getting some requests.
3. Apply for government relief programs
Airbnb hosting is a real business, providing real economic benefit, real jobs and has a huge positive effect on travellers seeing alternative accommodations. If your Airbnb business is registered as a corporation, you may be eligible for government established business relief programs. Your travel business also deserves assistance just like Hotels Airlines.
4. Market yourself outside of traditional OTA channels
Let's face reality, travellers are gone, and OTA's aren't helping! Airbnb overrode host cancellation policies and refunded all guests without warning. Booking.com threw in force-majeure clause, overrode partner cancellation policies and canceled all reservations free of charge. In effect, they threw all the risk and liability onto the hosts.
What can you do as a host? Pick one niche market whether it's medical professionals, insurance claimants, persons in-between homes, or trapped foreigners - market to them, advertise to them, let yourself be known. If you don't have a webpage setup to promote your properties, GET ONE! Sign up for google-ads and start targeting cheap keywords depending on the market niche you had selected. You can even promote your own Airbnb page, by linking ads directly to the Airbnb listing (just don't use "Aribnb" in your ad title).
5. Don’t panic, stop watching corona-news, and learn to paint!
The economy will return to normal, overtime. You are probably thinking "Great for the economy, but will I survive to see the day?" YES YOU WILL. Opportunities of a life-time come in the toughest of economic conditions
Guess what happened during the 2008 Great Recession? Well, Brian, Joe and Nathan, painted some cereal boxes, raised a ton of money, and started Air Bed breakfast. There is only so much Netflix one mind can take, while trapped in the walled cage we call a home.
Travel will spring back, I believe it will start with local travel, then state travel, then international travel and we will all be back in business stronger than before.