COVID-19 Cheat Sheet

Table of Contents
Overview

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had tons… and I mean tons of conversations with our users about the impact which Coronavirus is going to have on their AirBnB’s. In these conversations, we’ve frequently discussed mitigation strategies, how best to push through this crisis, and what resources are needed if guests are still booking your rentals.

First off, it’s very important to recognize the fact that everyone in hospitality - each AirBnB, vacation rental, boutique hotel, or larger establishment is suffering. As are all the companies which provide services and products for all of these rooms and rentals. This is a temporary scenario, and our whole industry is going to bounce back once this is over.

If you decide to stick it out and not abandon your Short Term Rental or AirBnB business, you’ll find that once this clears up, there’s going to be less competition, and a huge demand for vacations, and especially business travel as the global economy picks up.

That being said, there are still people who really need a place to stay. Tons of students all across the united states are stranded with nowhere to go. Doctors need a place to quarantine themselves to protect their families, as do nurses and other medical / first line of defense persons. Last but not least, plenty of people who have underlying conditions are choosing to distance themselves and minimize the risk of getting sick.

We’ve put together a few recommendations and suggestions which should help you through these challenging times.

How to Get More Bookings During Coronavirus

Most leisure and business bookings have dried up, but there are definitely opportunities to attract guests.

1. Eliminate date-based pricing. Pricing needs to be very level right now, as anyone who’s renting at the moment doesn’t really care if it’s Monday, Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday. When people start traveling again for weekend getaways, you can bring weekend and holiday pricing back.

2. Lower Prices. Hosting guests at a reduced price sucks, but it’s better than having no guests at all! If you used to rent your vacation home for $300 a night, slash that to $50 or $60. It hurts, but it’s better than getting $0.

3. Target people who are traveling due to the virus. Find traveling nurses, aid workers, and other such people. There are Facebook groups for them, reddit communities, and other forums where they look for accommodations. These are some of the very few people traveling right now!

4. Move to AirBnB’s flexible cancellation policy. Any incentive you can give guests in order to get them to book is worth it. At the moment, guests are prioritizing rentals which don’t have strict cancellation policies, and AirBnB is prioritizing these types of rentals in their search results.

5. Reach out to hospitals and care facilities. Many hospitals and care facilities are trying to move some of their patients to safer locations. They’re working really hard to keep at-risk people safe (people with heart problems, cancer patients, and those recovering from a stroke, immune disease, etc.), and could be a great resource to find people who need a place to stay. You’ll be helping people survive, and staying afloat at the same time!

6. Get exposure for your property on Facebook and Instagram. Now’s the time to get more active on these social networks. Find groups where people are looking for accomodations and look to your own network for potential guests. People might be looking for a second place to use as a temporary home office, or a getaway out of the city while lockdowns are in effect.

7. Drop whatever requirements you typically have. Don’t like pets? Too bad. Right now, you need to be as easy to book as possible, and getting rid of personal preferences in terms of who you host will definitely help you get more bookings.

8. Offer and Advertise more long-term rentals. Book people for longer than you regularly would. This ensures that you’re getting consistent income, and reduces the amount of work you need to put in due to turnover, cleaning, etc. There are a number of sites and resources to help you find tenants for month-long stays. These include Kopa and Homads.

9. Most Importantly, move towards offering Quar-BnB’s. This is a made-up term, but one which encapsulates a lot of the current demand for AirBnB units. There are plenty of people who are voluntarily guaranteeing themselves. Doctors and medical professionals who want to keep their families safe, those who lived with older relatives and want to keep them isolated, and anyone who might have a) a higher risk of serious complications if they get infected, or b) anyone who is trying to isolate themselves in order to protect their neighbors, roommates, or loved ones.

10. Offer Discounts on Future Stays. Whether guests book or cancel, you should be offering them a coupon or discount on the next booking they make with you. While most visitors who cancel are unreliable ones, these are extreme times. Most of these people are cancelling for reasons beyond their control, and making sure they come back is a great way to accelerate your business once the industry bounces back.

How to Prepare Your Listings for Bookings During COVID

The most important thing you can do to your listing right now is to NOT mention coronavirus. Everyone knows it’s a thing. By mentioning it in your listing, even to say that your rental is perfect for people who are impacted by it is inevitably going to create an association between your listing and coronavirus.

Right now, competition is incredibly high. You need to be showcasing how clean your unit is, and how much you’re committed to keeping incredibly high hygienic standards. Take pictures (if you don’t already have them) showcasing how clean and put together your rental is. Show off pictures of cleaners, and cleaning supplies.

If you don’t already have amazing pictures for your rental or AirBnB, now is the time to take them. Check here for a guide on how to take great pictures for your AirBnB. Take advantage of the newly available time to stage your rental, find the perfect lighting, and capture it in the most appealing way possible.

Any features your rental might have which apply to COVID (location, parking, isolation from other apartments, people, etc.) should be front and center. Whatever your rental has which is relevant to the current situation should be marketed and used to attract more guests.

Communicate with guests (in the listing and when you’re messaging with them) that you’ve been implementing far more stringent cleaning procedures reassures them that they’re going to be safe.

Move All Engagement and Communication Online

Social distancing is absolutely key. No matter how many guests you’re planning on hosting in the next month or two, the need to move all interactions online is going to be required.

Have answers to COVID-19 questions ready. Prepare links to CDC pages, WHO pages, and local government pages. It’s better to redirect guests to official best practices - the information that these pages have will always be up-to-date and accurate. We’ll have these links live on our COVID resource page, so be sure to check them out!