COVID-19 and Airbnb Hosts, how to get additional direct bookings, more Airbnb/Booking.com traffic and turn these negative events into a positive one.
The past week has been full of challenges as we are facing a new reality, a reality that we had no control whatsoever, no warning and no time to prepare. As a host of over 100 apartments, I can tell you there are two different attitudes you can take with this current situation; a negative and a positive one. I will be writing this article for hosts, who like me will want to take a positive and pro-active approach to mitigate the effect this horrible situation is having on all of us.
1. Pricing Strategy for COVID-19 and Airbnb Hosts
Reducing pricing, is not enough, instead of reducing singular pricing, increase the 2 week and monthly discount. A mandatory 2 weekly quarantine will be in effect in many if not all countries, increasing your 2 weekly discount at a minimum 20 percent, will put you ahead of the competition for people looking for Airbnb’s in those areas.
2. Facebook groups (Hospital Staff)
COVID-19 coronavirus being highly contagious, all nurses and doctors are searching for apartments, so as to eliminate the risk to contaminate their relatives. I have posted everyday in these groups and I have managed to secure some monthly bookings. The advantage with using such a system is that all the hospital workers would require such apartments until the situation is under control, which for us is perfect as “under control” means everything is coming back to normals and bookings can re-commence.
3. Facebook groups (People stuck in the city)
Another important market to cater for is people stuck within the cities borders. Post as often as possible in Facebook groups to try and get those monthly bookings for people who would require to stay in your city and which have no access to you Airbnb. The price for such a strategy to be competitive get the normal rate of long let, and do it x20% which should give you an edge on other apartments (Including water and electricity)
4. Mandatory quarantine apartments
In my city, we have a mandatory quarantine period for anyone who is coming within our borders being local or foreigners. This will be for sure mandatory and used as a strategy in all countries, create a Facebook ad, which will definitely help! You could title it “Quarantine Apartments”, with pricing for an average 1200 Euro apartment being the following:
1 Bedroom: 30 Euro Daily
2 Bedroom: 40 Euro Daily
3 Bedroom: 55 Euro Daily.
Villas: 100 Euro Daily.
Post the ad at least once in the morning and another in the evening, so as to increase ad flow.
Call the landlords, explain the situation, explain the difficulty and ask for a reduction in the price for the coming months. For this to work you need to show a calm and soft side in your conversation however you will require to show the person that him not accepting the terms will automatically result in giving him back the apartments. Either way, with this current market and uncertainty he will not find a tenant immediately, for sure not if he keeps the current price.
Remember this situation can be a win-win especially if you just started as it will give you the possibility to change your position since after this crazy period has passed, there will be many more good deals within the market.
Do not stop looking for apartments to use arbitrage, always search for good deals, the more the uncertainty the better deals you will find. If you are closing a deal, re-negotiate the terms and make sure that the contract starts in May/June.
Note: Do not overexpose yourself, it is important to grow and keep the dreams and targets alive, however in such crazy times you need to safeguard the work that you did, by keeping the apartments and business going.
6. Note to USA and other non-EU countries
I am Maltese, my business is based in Malta do not make the mistake that many are doing, you need to take action IMMEDIATELY as the economic impact of this will not give you time and you will realise within 24/hr once it hits, that you have no bookings whatsoever. Upon reading this article 10X action is required and safe guard yourself. Europe is around 1/2 weeks ahead of USA with this virus, do not make the same mistake many did and leave it until it hits you as you will loose a very big advantage point.
Small note from the author re COVID-19 and Airbnb Hosts:
Whilst I thank you for your time, I wish in some way or another I helped each and everyone of you. Certain times are tough it is easy to let go, however do not falter, use the extra time to think, read and grow. We as human beings are the only creature on Earth that can effect his/her surroundings to suit his/her needs, use that for your advantage to grow and remember the highest paid people are always the people who can solve the largest problems.Matthew Zammit, 360 Estates, email@example.com