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12 Months Later: What We’ve Learned a Year after Lockdown, Part II

Earlier this month we shared some of the lockdown lessons of the past year.  This is the second part of the article: we learned so many lessons we couldn’t fit all of them in one article!

Longer Stays

While short term rental guests no longer book stays weeks and months in advance (very often they are making bookings just days in advance) when they do stay, they are staying longer.  Often the reason for these longer stays include being closer to loved ones, the ability to access nature, the chance to have more space, or the chance to save money.  Hosts might consider opening up longer stay windows than they have offered in the past to cash in on this new demand.

Remote Workers

Airbnb reported that of those guests who are booking longer stays, 60% were working or studying during their stay, and of those, 65% reported Covid-19 was a factor in their decision to book a longer-term stay.  In a previous newsletter we’ve discussed creating a friendly space for remote workers to get their work done.  These statistics back up the necessity to do that.  Hosts should be willing to look at their space with new, “remote worker” eyes to see what can be changed or improved in order to attract more of these bookings.

Simplify

Part of the charm of some short term rentals might have been the knick-knacks or books that you were free to examine and play with.  But with the enhanced cleaning protocols introduced by Airbnb and other platforms, these fun bits of flavor for your listing might be an extra cleaning step for you and something your guests might avoid.  With so much concern for surfaces and cleanliness, consider removing from your listing some of the items that are more difficult to sanitize (like the cute teddy bear that perhaps sat on the bed, welcoming guests).

Offer Sanitary Supplies

In the past hosts have enjoyed offering some small welcoming treats, be it some snacks or beverages.  These days guests might appreciate some hand sanitizer or masks.  No need to dump the treats!  Just make sure to add a few additional items that people might need to comply with the health rules in your locality.  No one would have ever guessed masks would be part of welcome gifts to a guest, but these days, it’s a simple and thoughtful addition.

Be Extra Sensitive to Guest Concerns

The last twelve months have taken a toll on people unlike anything they may have experienced in their lives.  There’s no way for you as the host to know what this year has meant to your guest.  What you do know is that they are seeking refuge and comfort with you.  Remember that whatever your own personal views are regarding the pandemic and the rules of your locality, your goal is to make your guests feel welcomed and safe.  Don’t downplay concerns that they may have regarding health and sanitary conditions, but go the extra mile to understand their points of view.

Remember that the most successful hosts have paid attention to trends and changing guest demands in order to continue to attract visitors and earn revenues during this time.  Is there an item you would have added to our two-part series?  Reply to this email and tell us!

This article originally appeared in our Guest Book newsletter.

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At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
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I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
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Blog

12 Months Later: What We’ve Learned a Year after Lockdown, Part I

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since large parts of the world went into lockdown…in part because 12 months later some parts of the world are in or are entering their 3rd or 4th lockdowns.  But we’ve learned a lot in the past year about how the short-term rental market has changed and what hosts have had to do to adapt and continue to earn revenues during this time period.  We’ve learned so much, in fact, that we’ve had to break the lessons into two different articles!  Let’s get started!

Flexibility Matters

With governments making decisions on a week-to-week basis, guests are no longer able to book trips far in advance.  Guests are looking to book just a few days to a few weeks in advance, at the most, and are looking for listings with flexible cancellation policies.  While it’s true that listings with more generous cancellation policies attract more visitors, it’s also true that those same guests may take advantage of the cancellation policy and cancel at the last moment.  Individual hosts will need to make decisions based on what they know about their local market and their own listings.

A New Look at Cancellation

Airbnb is still dealing with the fallout of the decision they made to override the cancellation policies of their hosts worldwide during the earliest days of the lockdown. They made a decision to offer free cancellations to all bookings made before Mar 14, 2020 and that had devastating effects on the income of hosts. While Airbnb went on to set up relief funds for hosts and Superhosts, there was damage done to the relationship with hosts, as they were not consulted in any way about this decision.  Airbnb is no longer offering this generous cancellation policy, leading to some guests taking it out on hosts when the cancellation policy is enforced.  While each case varies, hosts should consider being more flexible with guests and/or listing on other platforms rather than relying on just one.

Focus on Local

With airline travel in irregular shape, many travelers are focusing on more local travel.  Airbnb at one point reported that the majority of domestic US bookings were within 300 miles.  People aren’t taking their traditional vacations and are choosing closer-to-home “staycations.”  If you’ve been used to serving out-of-town guests, you might consider promoting your listing through various local websites and resources.

Cleaning Standard Step Up

Airbnb created a new 36 page cleaning guide in consultation with experts and has it available for free in many languages.  Not only did Airbnb offer a badge to early adopters that accepted the new cleaning standards, which included social distancing and mask wearing when interacting with guests, but they set a deadline of November 20, 2020 for all hosts to comply or lose the right to continue hosting.  While not all vacation rental platforms did this, hosts who featured their listings on Airbnb had to comply, and clean listings, always a driver of bookings and revenues in “normal times,” came under even more scrutiny.  We’ve always known that guests show a marked preference for high ratings in cleanliness.  This has only become more pronounced during the pandemic, according to The Economist.

Guestbook Refresh

You may have taken many hours to put together an awesome guestbook for your visitors, showing them the best local attractions and restaurants…except that many of those places are possibly closed at the moment, and some, unfortunately, are closed permanently.  Take the time to create a different version of your guestbook that takes current conditions into account.  That may mean calling restaurants or attractions to see if they are open and if so, what the conditions are for accepting guests.  It may also mean highlighting some virtual experiences that are still locally-focused.

There are plenty more lessons to share, but we’ll save those for Part II!  For now, consider applying these lessons to your listing(s) so that you can increase your bookings (and revenue) even as the pandemic continues.

This article originally appeared in our Guest Book newsletter.

Clean my
Vacation Rental


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  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
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Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

Blog

Increase Bookings during COVID-19: Airbnb Coronavirus Tips for Hosts

Increase Bookings during COVID-19: Airbnb Coronavirus Tips for Hosts

COVID-19 has changed the hospitality industry – if not forever, at least for the time being. Airlines, hotels, and vacation rentals are all having to cope with massive changes in order to keep both their guests and their staff safe.

These changes are coming about not only because of the highly transmissible coronavirus, but also because without them, travelers aren’t likely to feel confident about venturing out to places where they have little control over their surroundings.

So as a vacation rental host, you may be asking yourself what you should be doing to not only give your guests peace of mind when they stay with you, but also what you should be doing to drum up more business. 

Here are 7 Airbnb coronavirus tips to help ensure your potential and confirmed guests that you’ve got everything covered.

 

Airbnb Coronavirus Tip #1: Update your listing description.

Chances are you were already planning to do this (or already have), but it’s still worth listing in our tips. The point we want to make here is to be mindful of the language you’re using in your listing and to use specific key phrases.

 

1. Add the words “sanitized” or “sterile” to your vacation rental listing name.

Yes, we’re completely serious – this is not going overboard; it’s the bare minimum. Whatever cute name you had before can stay, but adding these words will help you immediately stand out from part-time side hustlers that aren’t using their Airbnb listings as a major source of income or treating them like true businesses. 

Check out how these hosts from Sedona, Kuala Lumpur, and London have updated their listing names.

While you’re at it, you might even want to throw in “COVID-19” or “coronavirus” with your “sanitized” or “sterile” to really beef up your new headline. 

 

2. Add a “sanitized” phrase or sentence to the top of your listing description. 

While your title definitely needs an update, your actual description could do with a reassuring facelift, too.

Guests are on the lookout now for every hint that you’ve meticulously turned over your vacation rental after previous guests have checked out. There’s no better way to put them at ease than to repeat yourself for good measure. 

At the top of your listing, be sure to highlight that you’ve either “sanitized” or “sterilized” your home from top to bottom. You don’t have to get crazy-detailed if that’s not your thing; a single sentence should do the trick. 

Need some help with this? Copy our sanitization message below and paste it into your listing:

 

**COVID-19 SAFETY UPDATE** This home is professionally sanitized and all high-touch areas are thoroughly sterilized between stays. We take the safety and health of our guests very seriously.

 

You can embellish if you’d like – check out this listing in San Diego for an example – or simply leave the message as it is. 

 

3. Add a photo to your Airbnb listing detailing the turnover cleaning process and keep it close to the lead photo.

Here’s another no-brainer: The more you can do to reiterate you’re taking COVID-19 and effective sanitization and sterilization seriously, the more confidence your guests will have in you as a host. 

While it’s true that people are visual shoppers and will be looking for the right words in your listing, they’re going to be even more impressed if you can literally show them what you’re doing to ensure their safety. 

To make this super easy, we’ve created a downloadable graphic in the MaidThis COVID Resource Center for you. Just pop this into your photo lineup and you’ll be good as gold. 

 

Airbnb Coronavirus Tip #2: Make some COVID-inspired changes in your home.

In all seriousness, your preparations and marketing shouldn’t stop at your listing updates. It’s imperative that you make some changes or additions to your home and how you run your business (for better or for worse, unfortunately). 

We’re not suggesting you go out and buy a sanitization fogger for yourself (though you could do that and possibly write it off on your taxes next year) but there are a few small-ish things you can do.

While you’re in the process of updating your listing, you might want to also make mention of the things you’ve done to make your vacation rental more COVID-safe. 

 

4. Switch your main door locks to keyless entry options.

Cut down on guests needing to use actual keys (and you having to disinfect them after every checkout) or touch much of your entry door by adding keyless entry locks.

Some locks are designed in such a way that guests can enter codes with their knuckles rather than their fingertips, further protecting the deadbolt system from becoming a new home for COVID virus particles or your guests picking it up from there.

 

5. Deck the halls with disinfectant. (Fa la la la la, la la la la)

At this point, no amount of hand sanitizer is too much. If you can manage to get your hands on enough, put hand sanitizer and/or sanitizer wipes in every room of your home. While it’s still a bit hard to come by in some places, you can still purchase bottles from a few major retailers

Additionally, consider adding a portable disinfectant stand by the door so guests can sanitize their hands the minute they walk in. Even if you’ve installed a keyless deadbolt, guests should clean their hands as soon as they can. 

This is a habit we’re all getting the hang of, so by putting a sanitization station immediately inside the entrance, you’re helping create a new habit and protecting your guests and ultimately your vacation rental. Put a photo of this in your listing pictures to market it along with your downloadable cleaning graphic.

 

6. Display your Airbnb turnover cleaning checklist.

Give your guests the ultimate peace of mind by leaving a copy of your cleaning checklist. Seeing exactly what goes into a turnover cleaning will help them better understand the amount of care and attention to detail you’ve put into ensuring their safety and comfort. 

Download and print out the COVID-19 Cleaning Checklist provided by Airbnb from the MaidThis COVID-19 Resource Center and leave it on the kitchen counter or in another obvious spot in your home. Your guests will appreciate it and may even go as far as to mention it in their review.

 

7. Air out your Airbnb between guests.

While the norm pre-COVID may have been to stack as many check-ins and check-outs back-to-back as you could muster, now the opposite is true. 

Airbnb Official Guidelines recommend that you leave your home vacant for 24-72 hours between guests to help eliminate viruses. If you can, open windows to help circulate fresh air. Make a point to mention all of this in your updated description, too.

 

While it’s true that we’re all heading for a “new normal,” this isn’t the end for Airbnb hosts. As travelers gain more confidence and begin learning how to better protect themselves as they move around the globe, things will get better. 

The best way to ensure your success is to make changes now, whether big or small. The more you can do to reassure your guests by using these Airbnb coronavirus tips, the more likely you’ll be to bounce back quickly and finish the year on a high note.

 

Clean my
Vacation Rental


single-blog-sidebar-vacation-rental
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Cleaning Report with Pictures
  • Never a No-Show. Guaranteed.
Book Now

Testimonials

At first I tried to take care of all of the cleaning process myself, and it turned out to be a bigger headache than anything else. So a friend told me about MaidThis and its been fantastic. I’ve been working with my cleaners for a few months so far. I recommend you check out the service for yourself.
Brent
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved

I definitely think that as a company we've been able to make more money, not only because we're saving money by using Maid This, but also because they're helping take a few of the necessary evils with doing vacation rentals off of the property managers plate.
Laura G
Airbnb Host in LA
90+

Hours
Saved