Hosting Tips & Tricks

April Host Wrap Up - We can get through this!

April Host Wrap Up - We can get through this!

Howdy to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars. Yes, even with the pandemic in effect you are all still rock stars!  Now, this is the part where I usually say to you "hope your April was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews" but right now just getting through it is good enough. I hope you are staying safe out there. In an attempt to provide hosts with information this month, we are going to look at the two big Airbnb controversies and try to understand what the CARES act says about mortgages. Not the most exciting topics, but I will try to keep it short and to the point. Good luck out there! Let's take a look back at the April Host Wrap-Up!  


Airbnb's New Cleaning Policy

Airbnb has announced a new cleaning policy. The policy is essentially a 24-72 hour down period between guests and a set of cleaning procedures outlined by CDC doctors that hosts can become certified in. Nothing I have read from Airbnb says any of this will be mandatory, but the certified hosts will have it noted on their listings. Guests will be able to search for properties that are doing these new cleaning procedures and it seems these properties will get a bump in the rankings. How much getting this certification will actually affect bookings is a guessing game right now. You can read about the policy in Airbnb's own words in this blog post. 

I am seeing a lot of backlash against this policy. But I think we need to see it for what it is. It is a publicity move to make guests feel more comfortable with short term rentals. When people start traveling there is going to be a battle in consumer confidence between traditional hotels and short term rentals. It looks like Airbnb is making the first move to win this battle. If the average traveler believes that short term rentals are safer and cleaner than a hotel, there could be a massive boom for hosts. But if stories of people contracting COVID from staying at a short term rental start entering the news, this downturn for hosts could last way longer. So although the specifics of the policy might not be to your liking, hosts need to see it for what it is; a move to win the battle for consumer confidence. Us hosts need to do our part to make sure that guests feel like STR's are their best and safest travel accommodations.



Airbnb Money to Host 

As many of you have heard, Airbnb promised to pay out 250 million to help hosts. One of the ways was to payout 25% of the canceled bookings due to the COVID cancellation policy change. What they made it sound like was they were going to pay out 25% of the booking income you would have gotten. In reality, it was 25% of the amount you would have gotten if your cancellation policy had been honored. For example, if you had a $100 booking and based on your cancellation policy it would have required the guest to pay half ($50), then you will be receiving 25% of $50 or $12.5. Not quite the deal they are making it out to be.  Also, those with strict cancellation policies are getting much higher payouts than those without it, despite them encouraging hosts to use a moderate cancellation policy for years. Now, something is better than nothing, but just be aware that these payouts are much smaller than advertised. Personally, I am not pulling any of my listings over this, mostly because I always just viewed Airbnb as a way to access guests in the same way eBay is just a way to access buyers. But I understand the anger many hosts are feeling. Airbnb is doing a poor job of explaining itself to hosts and thus setting poor expectations. Hopefully, they will do better.

Listing Spotlight:
North Georgia Wilderness Wonderland

This month's listing spotlight is a North Georgia Wilderness Wonderland. If you are going to be stuck in isolation, wouldn't it be nice to be stuck in a place as lovely as this? It's a rural cabin near a lovely lake, but the interior looks completely modern chic. This is a great example of how you can go against location type. Meaning just because your area is known for something doesn't mean you have to design around it. Your beach house doesn't have to be covered in seashells and urban lofts don't have to be a hipster haven. Going against type can make your listing stick out and increase your booking rate. 
Got a listing you want us to feature? Send it our way at


Hosting Tip:
What the Cares act says about mortgages

The CARES act has been in effect for about a month now and all the headlines are going to the PPP program and the states messed up unemployment systems. But for real estate investors (which hosts very much are) there didn't appear to be much for us in the bill. But there was one important clause. Federally backed loans are required to offer a 180-day deferment on mortgages without plenty, fees, interest charges, or negative impacts to your credit.  But what the bill does not address is what happens at the end of the deferment period.  Will it have to be paid back in one lump sum? Tacked on to the end of the mortgage? Spread out over a few years with an increased mortgage? No one, not even the banks, knows how they are going to handle this. I don't know your situation, so you need to do what's best for you, but I would look very hard at taking advantage of this deferment as a means of holding on to cash. Just make sure you do two things. First, check that your loan is federally backed otherwise they are not required to do a deferment and doing one could destroy your credit. Second, hold on to those mortgage payments until we know if they will have to pay a lump payment. For more information on what the bill says please check out this very help write up. 


Question of the Month

Rental hosts rarely receive the opportunity to see how other hosts operate. Which makes it difficult to learn and improve. The solution? Every month I ask a question so we can all learn from each other. Let's take a look at last month's question:

How do you feel Airbnb is handling the COVID19 crisis?
  • 42%  - Pretty good all things considered.
  • 43%  - Ok, it could be better.
  • 15%  - Terrible. A piss poor job.

Honestly, this was a lot more tempered than I thought it would be. If you look online there seems to be a lot of anger and venom being thrown at Airbnb by hosts. But it seems like that could be coming mostly from a loud minority of hosts. Or maybe people were hopeful those payments would live up to the hype.  Personally I am still in the "Ok, it could be better" but I could see myself going either way from here depending on if they can win back the guests or not. Because in the end, the professional hosts will go wherever the guests are. 

For this months question, I want to know about the Airbnb payouts:

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