Fun + Unique Airbnb News, April ’207 min read

Want Airbnb news? Look no further. I’ve done the legwork of reading countless headlines and articles to bring you the most relevant and interesting. I unabashedly ignore news related to temporary annoyances like overly restrictive city regulations, supposed housing crises and topics-of-the-day like hidden cameras. This post covers fun, interesting, and unique news from April 2020.

Update on Listings Around the World; Airbnb's new Cleaning Protocol include 24-hour vacancies between bookings; Airbnb bets on longer term rentals; Airbnb's new Online Experiences from the comfort of your house; Strong holiday… Click To Tweet

 

Update on Listings Around the World

Much has been said about Airbnb and the host community in the last couple of months, one of them being the rumor of an exodus of hosts transitioning into long term rental.

Airbnb responded to these claims by publishing stating:

  • Today, there are more listings on the Airbnb platform than there were a year ago.
  • In large cities popular with tourists, such as Las Vegas, Montreal, Rome, and Paris, the number of active Airbnb listings have increased over the last 30 days.
  • Among the top-20 U.S. and Canada cities, 80 percent saw a net change of fewer than 200 listings over the last 30 days.
  • There has not been any meaningful change to Airbnb’s supply in our top-20 U.S. and Canada cities or in our top-10 European cities.

    Image taken from www.france24.com

While this information seems to be cherry-picked, it talks about Airbnb’s approach and position in this situation. We need to remember Airbnb was founded amidst the 2008 recession, it is no stranger to crisis and knows how to thrive in dire circumstances.

It has already started improvising and adapting through longer-term stays and online experiences, but, will it be able to overcome COVID-19?

They seem to believe so.

Airbnb’s new cleaning protocols include 24-hour vacancies between bookings

Starting May, Airbnb will launch its new cleaning protocol in an attempt to protect guests and hosts. The protocol will be taught through a certification and require hosts to use specific products and follow a set of detailed guidelines, including a 24-hour vacancy window.

Listings will then show whether the host is enrolled in the program or not.

 

Apparently, if a host decides to opt-out of this initiative, they will automatically be opting in for what they call a “Booking Buffer,” and the platform will automatically block a 72-hour window after each booking. In other words, do you decide not to partake in this program, you will potentially lose up to 5-6 nights per booking. I am interested to see how this will reflect on short term stays. If I am not enrolled, and I get a 1-night reservation for Friday at 3 pm, in theory, my listing will be blocked from Tuesday at 3 pm until Friday at check-in time, and then again from Saturday at 11 am until Tuesday at 11 am. Why? Because the search algorithm will be leaving out any listings that had a guest in the last 72 hours or a booking starting in less than the next 72.

I must add, that even though Airbnb does not give a third option for hosts it doesn’t  specify whether  or  not it will be mandatory. Are they waiting to see everyone’s reaction before clearing it out?

What do you think? Will the benefit be higher than the potential damage? We also need to consider how will this impact nightly rates. As a host, would you charge a premium fee for following these regulations? On the other hand, if you opt in for Booking Buffer, you can either afford having the 72 hour gap in your bookings (high profit margin) or can’t afford to follow the guidelines (using  specific products), which would mean you can’t give yourself the privilege of missing out on those 3 nights. I would LOVE to read your comments on this.

Airbnb rolls out new features aimed at its next big bet: longer-term stays

Image taken from www.cratehire-uk.co.uk

As we learned from Airbnb’s update on listings around the world, the company is betting its chances to longer-term stays. If you have been to the website lately, you might have noticed this “new option” is being featured on the home page. The company has stated that now 80% of Airbnb hosts accept longer-term stays, including discounts to guests who decide to stay for a month or longer.

The idea behind this move is to attract students, medical staff, and companies looking for housing for their employees. To this date, the longer stay booked has been for over 700 days, what do you think? Will more people adopt my lifestyle and choose to live full-time in Airbnb’s?

Are my predictions becoming a reality?

Enjoy the magic of Airbnb Experiences from the comfort of your home

At the beginning of the month, Airbnb announced the new modality for Airbnb Experiences: Online Experiences! In this ingenious move, the tech giant has granted hosts already offering experiences a new stage to provide their services. Humanity has given a massive leap since the bubonic plague! You can now learn from experts, hang out with Olympic athletes, and improve your asanas from the comfort of your own home.

Short-Term Rentals May See a Strong Holiday Season – Should You Start Prepping Now?

Good news, everyone! Now we see the end of the tunnel!

Image taken from www.embertravel.co.uk

What happens when you step on a hose and don’t let the water run? You will get more pressure once you take your foot off it! According to this article:

Guesty sees a year-over-year 40% uptick in Christmas bookings across Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and more. There are 38% more Thanksgiving bookings than this time last year, too, and even New Year’s Eve has seen a jump, with a 23% increase over the year.

The projection points to the fact that travelers will be wary of staying at large hotels where they are forced to interact with dozens or hundreds of guests. The tendency will be to look for more private spaces, places where we don’t have to share common areas and can control the cleanliness during our stay.

But we need to be prepared!

How? Well, first, familiarize yourself with the “Cleaning Protocol” I mentioned above. Spend the rest of the quarantine wisely, fix anything that needs to be fixed, and revamp your space to the best of your abilities. And now that online learning is on the rise find a course on hospitality to level up your game.

The Bull Case for Airbnb’s Future From Here On

Image taken from www.skift.com

2020 seemed to be Airbnb’s year. Instead, it has proved to be quite a challenging time for the company. The current pandemic has driven it to take actions that don’t necessarily make its guests or hosts happy. As I  have said before, I wouldn’t want to be them right now.

But there is more than meets the eye, Airbnb was able to get a billion dollars from two investors, Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners.  The terms to the loan are quite stern and harsh for the company; nevertheless, if you get two megalodons to give you such an exorbitant amount, then there is something in you that not many are seeing. The company’s chances might be better than what the catastrophic predictions make us believe. And even better, by having such investors backing you up, smaller investors won’t take long to offer their help. As Malik says: “What’s good for the sharks is good for the pufferfish, right?”

Image taken from www.abc.com

There is a lesson to learnt here. It is time to expand beyond “real life” services and into “virtual life.” Airbnb is certainly taking note as it just launched Online Experiences earlier this month.

On the other hand, with Airbnb’s current business model, we find that hosts who have been affected the most are the ones that created their own emporium with over ten listings. Malik suggests this will force the company to purge the community from professional hosts running “micro-hotels” under the STR facade,  who, he says: “have perverted the original idea of Airbnb, which primarily entailed individuals making a bit of extra cash by renting out a room or their apartment when traveling. The simpler, shrunken ecosystem could be a good thing, in my opinion.”

Malik’s prediction for Airbnb is that it will shrink to a more manageable size, but will remain  relevant for many years to come.

This was Airbnb news in April!

I'm Danny, the Airbnb expert

About Danny Rusteen:

Starting in 2012, Danny has been an Airbnb employee, Superhost, and Airbnb property manager. Danny lives in Airbnbs (1,000 nights). As a guest, Danny has traveled to 33 countries and sifted through thousands of Airbnb listings, so he knows what makes a listing stand out and how to offer a world-class experience to your guest. Follow his journey.

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