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.
Temporary STR Bans May be Coming
New York Architectural wonder
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:
- 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: