Hosting Tips & Tricks

March Host Wrap Up: Airbnb's COVID19 Response & Unemployment FAQ

March Host Wrap Up: Airbnb's COVID19 Response & Unemployment FAQ

Howdy to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars! I hope your March was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews. But let's be honest, it probably was not. We all are just trying to survive in the post COVID19 world. Like I said in our COVID letter, there is not one single solution for all hosts so each host needs to look at their unique situation and do what they can to get by. Rentals will come back at some point. Anyone that is saying the point is before June/July is not listening to the scientists. Personally I think it's going to be slow for most of the year as even when we are on the backside of the infection curve, travel will still be discouraged to avoid a second flair up like Hong Kong just experienced. But at some point, people are going to be desperate to travel and bookings are going to explode. It's just a matter of surviving until then. Good luck out there but for now, let's look back on the March Host Wrap-Up!  


Airbnb's Response to Covid19  

Oh boy. I know this is a red hot topic that has people steaming mad. But it is the biggest topic being discussed by hosts right now so we need to take a look at it.  For reference, I am referring to their cancellation policy as stated by Airbnb here (just expanded until May 31st). I have seen host rant and rave about it, and I get it. They are messing with the policies that you set. They are overriding your rules and thus your business. So your anger is not without reason. At the same time, they are desperately trying to keep guests on the platform, because ultimately hosts have to go where the guests are. So they are acting in their own self-interest and trying to protect themselves. Does this mean we the hosts get screwed a bit? Oh yeah. Is the screwing over good in the long run? Possible. If too many guests get upset at having to cancel without getting a refund, many of them may never use STRs again. Which will mean fewer guests for all of us. So this short term pain might be in our long term interests. Maybe. Possible. But it still sucks.

The major issue going forward is what can we do about it. Because no matter what you or I think about it, Airbnb is always going to do what is in their best interest. That is the nature of any free-market business. So if you want to make sure your policies are enforced how you want, you need to start developing your own direct booking system. I would recommend staying on all the popular platforms, but working to get re-bookings to book with you directly. That way at least some percentage of your bookings are completely under your control. Keeping guests entirely within your system is really the only way to ensure your policies are enforced. This will make things more difficult in the tracking area, but long term it might serve hosts well to have their own means of direct booking. 

LAST MINUTE EDIT - In case you missed it these payments to hosts were just announced by Airbnb. We haven't even had time to break it down but wanted to pass along the info.


Temporary STR Bans May be Coming 

I know bookings are bad right now, but you need to be aware it could get worse. How you might ask? Some areas are just outright banning STRs on a temporary basis. Brooklyn is talking about it, Florida has already done it, and so has Ocean City New Jersey. Keep abreast of your local law changes and follow them. Even if you think they are crap, breaking these regulations will likely cause you to lose your license or receive massive fines. Governments are not messing around with these shutdowns. 
I know one of my listings is still has a handful of bookings, so this kind of ban would be painful for me. Yet I understand for the greater good it may be necessary. People should not be traveling right now, especially interstate travel. But what these lawmakers don't understand is STR's can actually help slow the spread. I know people that live with elderly house members and work in essential businesses so they are looking for temporary housing to decrease the exposure. There are lots of special cases where people need temporary housing in this environment, and an STR is a much safer option than a hotel. I know in my listing that is still getting the occasional booking I am taking extra precautions. I am warning guests ahead of time, that no one will be entering the property while they are there so please do not ask for that type of assistance. Also, I am allowing the place to sit for 72 hours before cleaning it (I do a quick peek to make sure it is not destroyed). And naturally, I am using a more rigorous cleaning procedure and having the cleaners wear masks and gloves while cleaning. 

Listing Spotlight:
New York Architectural wonder

This month's listing spotlight is a  Cozy home w/incredible ocean and beach viewsI am sure most of you are stuck at home with not the nicest view so I wanted to choose a place that had a spectacular view. I found this fascinating listing that has to be one the furthest gaps between what it is and what it could be. It looks like a true under promise over the delivery place. First the good! The writer is on point to address the COVID measures being taken, has a bullet point break down, and decent salesmanship. Now the bad. These pictures! The lighting is terrible, the angles are weird, no small detail pics, and it looks like something from a 90's digital camera. The place itself looks lovely, the pictures are doing a major disservice to it. Hosts have the time now. Go and make sure your pictures are as good as you can possibly get them. Get that perfect time a day. Take hundreds of shots to find the right angle. Get pictures that sing and I promise when bookings pick up, your occupancy rate will soar.

Got a listing you want us to feature? Send it our way at


Hosting Tip:
Understanding the Stimulus

So this section is normally used to share some tips and tricks to hosting. But given the current climate, I think a better use of this space is helping hosts learn to survive. A big way is finding what kind of government support you might be eligible for. Airbnb/STR hosts generally fall under the category of self-employed or gig workers. Thus, they are not allowed to file unemployment. However, as part of Congress passed the stimulus bill, they have temporarily allowed these types of workers to file for unemployment. Don't be prideful. If Airbnb was a major part of your income, go file and get some help through this time. Now I am not an expert in the law, so I found this FAQ from the New York Times very helpful in understanding what all was in the stimulus package. Check it out and see how it might be able to help you.


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 many Booking Platforms do you list on??
  • 53%  - One
  • 45%  - Two
  • 0%    - Three
  • 2%    - As many as I can find

This makes sense. Tracking calendars across different platforms is not the easiest and accidental double bookings are a pain in the butt. So limiting it to 1 or 2 platforms helps minimize that issue. Once you figure out how to track calendars across 3 platforms, you might as well go get as many different platforms as you are able to find. I wonder how many of the 2 platform hosts, counted direct bookings as a second platform.   

For this months question, I want to know about your feeling towards Airbnb:

image polls

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