Fun + Unique Airbnb News, March ’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 March 2020.

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Will the Coronavirus Kill Airbnb?

Will Coronavirus kill Airbnb?  This has been widely discussed during the last few weeks, but the reality is, no one knows exactly what will happen. There are three attendees at this party: those who oppose Airbnb, Airbnb hosts, and  Airbnb itself.

“Airbnb has waived cancellation fees for reservations booked before mid-March and were supposed to take place between then  and mid-April.”

This has upset a LOT of hosts since their income was decimated overnight. Now we need to understand that there are two types of hosts: those who rent their house’s spare room or an additional property they own, so even if this affects their finances they know they will be ok, and then there are the hosts who went ahead and either bought or leased multiple (even dozens) of properties in order to create their short term rental emporium,  they are in deep trouble, especially if they depend on a high occupancy to make ends meet.

The logical step for many hosts who can’t afford to sit and wait is to flip to long term rentals. And Airbnb agrees with them, that is why the platform now entices both hosts and guests to opt for longer stays.

There have been claims made, stating there is a large number  of  Airbnb hosts switching to long term rentals:

In response:

“Airbnb supplied some recent statistics based on their markets in… the same cities referenced in Morris’s tweet) A cross-referenced sample found that only 2.8 percent of short-term rentals taken off of Airbnb had made their way onto the long-term rental market in those cities as of this week.”

I believe it is still too soon to know what exactly will happen with Airbnb and short term rental as we know it. Things are changing, we simply don’t know to what extent. What I do know for a fact, and I agree entirely with this article, is on this pandemic being a wake-up call for hosts operating through the arbitrage rental scheme, especially if those that have multiple listings. Running short term rentals is a business, and as such, you need to watch your numbers constantly and make sure you are prepared even for the worst scenario.

 

Your profile picture can impact your occupancy rate

You will often hear me talk about the importance of your listing’s pictures and giving out tips on how to improve them. Well, there is one photo a lot of hosts don’t pay much attention to, but now we know it is very important to your guests: your profile picture!

Photo taken from www.sixtyandme.com

 

Profs. Eyal Ert and Aliza Fleischer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s department of environmental economics and management ran a study titled “What do Airbnb hosts reveal by posting photographs online and how does it affect their perceived trustworthiness.” They discovered guests do pay attention to the host’s profile pictures when choosing for a place to stay. And even more, they found the winning pictures to increase your chances of getting more bookings.

Ready for the formula?

First, they discovered that women are more trustworthy than men, especially older women. An honest smile is also crucial, smiling faces were favored over neutral expressions, just as attractive faces were chosen over unattractive ones. You might be thinking: “Damn! I am a 20-year-old male!” Well, there is still hope for you. Pictures portraying hosts interacting with friends or families also rated higher than solo pictures. The last factor they found to improve the host’s chance to get more bookings was the quality of the picture, the better the resolution, the better the host was rated.

So, in conclusion, use high-resolution pictures of you with your friends or family… and remember to smile!

 

How your Airbnb host is feeling the pain of Coronavirus.

_ Coronavirus versus Airbnb: How to Win and Strategies

There are a total of seven million rental listings on Airbnb, and hosts around the world are feeling the impact of COVID-19 in their pockets whether you rent your spare bedroom or lease 20 apartments to sublet them on Airbnb.

The virus is taking a massive toll on the $688 billion online traveling business. But while big travel companies like hotel chains and airlines can afford to restructure (aka let go of employees) and modify their strategies to stay afloat, online travel sites depend on hosts to shoulder the losses. Hosts don’t always have the resources to do this.

Ultimately, it is not only hosts counting the losses at this time, but short term rental hosts have also created mini-economies around them. They have employed cleaners, property managers, providers, they refer guests to local restaurants and attractions. In a way, Airbnb hosts have become an essential link in local communities

It will be interesting to see what strategy Airbnb implements in the next weeks to support hosts in the community. On my part, I will be posting different strategies to help hosts defeat COVID-19.

 

Airbnb is pushing its hosts to install smart ‘party sensors’ to stop big bashes once and for all

After a series of events and complaints about Airbnb listings being used as “party houses,” Airbnb has committed to take action. The easiest way for a host to know in real-time whether or not there is a party going on in his house and at the same time respecting the guest’s privacy is through noise detectors. These devices do not record sound, instead, they keep track of the decibel levels in the house and alert the house owner once a certain level has been surpassed, that simple.

My favorite choice for noise sensors is NoiseAware; here is my review on them.

Go to NoiseAware right now and get 50% off on their noise Sensor.

 

Coronavirus: Airbnb CEO offers apology, $250 million to hosts hurt by refund policy

airbnb ceo message coronavirus

“I’m sorry we didn’t consult with you as partners. We want to fix this,
I know this is an incredibly painful time (and) many of you are struggling.”

These were Chesky’s words when addressing Airbnb hosts during his 15 minute online appearance. Airbnb’s announcement stating it would be offering full refunds for guests who had decided to cancel their reservation due to COVID-19 has translated to host’s losing thousands of dollars in bookings. In an attempt to mitigate the financial impact of this decision they have announced that:

  • Airbnb will pay hosts $250 million toward the cost of coronavirus-related cancellations for bookings made on or before March 14. Hosts are eligible for 25% of what they would have received after a cancellation under the previous policy.
  • Additionally, a $10 million “super hosts” relief fund will offer grants of up to $5,000 for “hosts who are hurt the most” and need help to pay rent or mortgage..
  • •The company will facilitate financial contributions from guests who want to support  hosts facing a coronavirus-related financial crunch.
  • U.S. hosts also are eligible for relief under the COVID-19 relief legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president.

Chesky ended by saying something that I love: “Things are never quite as bad or as good as they seem.”

Nothing truer has ever been said.

We’re stronger together and we know how much we both need each other. But, in times of stress, our true colors shine through. We appreciate this announcement and the initiatives that Airbnb has started to implement.

Moving forward, please treat us more as partners rather than address our needs later. Again, I’ll reiterate that I’m not envious of Airbnb’s position, but I fear these decisions were hasty. Airbnb has to answer to numerous parties: guests, hosts, and investors. Big decisions like these need input from all three as they affect all three. Clearly, you’ve gotten yourself into trouble with one of these groups, I hope not all three.

Update! Read my full article on this announcement here

This was Airbnb news in March!

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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