There is no question that the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will have a negative toll on the travel industry around the world. There won’t be a destination on the planet that will see a decline in travel. However, this does not mean that your listing has to succumb to low occupancy or disappointing rental earnings. So what is the solution to protecting your Airbnb rental business from Coronavirus during this time?
KEEPING YOUR AIRBNB SAFE WITH THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Firstly, making sure yourself, your guests, cleaners, and home are kept safe is the number one priority. As an added level of protection, we recommend taking extra steps to disinfect areas used commonly. These steps include extra attention to TV remotes, light switches, doorknobs, appliance controls, and any other items that the guests may frequently come in contact with. Ensure that new sponges and cleaning cloths are used each clean.
Additionally, you could consider storing extra toilet paper, paper towels, and other supplies at your property or your home to help ensure that you are well prepared for any shortages that may occur through consumer panic buying. If you want to hear how we do this, you can contact us on our home page.
PROTECTING YOUR AIRBNB BOOKING REVENUE FROM CORONAVIRUS
With the short-term rental industry and travel businesses around the world already reporting losses since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), you’re going to want to take a few additional steps to support your rental business financially.
Although the heaviest decline in travel is being seen in cities across Europe, cities in North America are still seeing some effects. The largest effects of the travel decline are in flights, larger gatherings, large group accommodations, and hotels. Travel trends report that more people are opting for vacation rentals as opposed to traditional accommodations (hotels and serviced apartments), as they are not confined to spaces with groups of guests. Additionally, Vancouver’s largest demographic of tourists come from within domestic cities, the U.S, and Australia.
Here are our recommendations for staying ahead.
First, try instituting a more flexible cancellation policy for new reservations for the next 30 days. Many tourists are still travelling, but being an uncertain time, guests will look for safety in flexible cancellation policies. Airbnb’s cancellation policy remains as below; however, it has seen a few refunds given to guests by Airbnb regardless of the origin of the guest. Other platforms such as VRBO and Bookings.com leave it solely to the host.
1. Guests who are travelling to or from severely impacted areas (for a list of areas impacted and covered by this policy, see below)
2. Hosts who are hosting in or welcoming guests from severely impacted areas (for a list of areas impacted and covered by this policy, see below)
3. Anyone who can’t complete their trip due to official travel restrictions, medical or disease control duties, flight or ground transportation cancellation initiated by the provider due to COVID-19, or suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
Allowing flexible bookings will help support occupancy for the next 30-45 days; however, make sure to monitor the situation very closely and adjust the situation in response to changing advice and guidance.
Secondly, consider focussing marketing efforts towards more staycations as, for those with annual leave and canceled plans to travel abroad, a staycation provides an attractive alternative closer to home. Understandably with local guests, you will have to be more cautious and opt for additional screening to ensure you are finding the right guests, and not those looking to host events. At HostGenius, clients can rest assured that we will continue to maintain our strict guest vetting protocols when approving guests, with all local guests being manually checked to ensure compliance.
Lastly, as a number of local events are being postponed until June/July, we recommend encouraging all guests who enquire about cancelling their bookings to re-book once circumstances improve.