17th August 2020
3 Hosting Tips for Surviving Lockdowns
All Airbnb hosts can agree that lockdowns due to Covid-19 are a particularly challenging time for the industry. This is due to mass cancellations from guests no longer able to travel as well as hosts unable to continue listing their space due to local regulations.
While Airbnb hosts in New Zealand started to see a revival in bookings in July following the nation-wide lockdown that begun in March, the recent announcement for a Level 3 lockdown in Auckland shows how unpredictable the situation remains. This is why as hosts we need to stay adaptable in case new restrictions are put in place.
Read on to learn how you can continue to operate safely and efficiently under a lockdown.
Make your lockdown cancellation policy clear to guests before booking
With travel restrictions meaning that guests are no longer able to get to your Airbnb, you are likely to get cancellations very quickly as soon as a lockdown is announced with many guests asking for consideration of a full refund.
Although Airbnb granted full refunds for guests who booked before the 14th of March this year, it is no longer considered an extenuating circumstance for guests who have booked after that date. This means that the decision to refund guests is up to the hosts.
Some hosts may still choose to refund their guests in full or at least offer a date change despite having a Strict or Moderate refund policy. If you’ve made the decision to give full refunds if a lockdown occurs, highlighting this in your listing may help to secure more bookings when travel restrictions are eased. This is because potential guests will feel more comfortable booking your space knowing they are guaranteed a refund if forced to change their travel plans.
If you are unable to give full refunds for guests under these circumstances, you can keep your policy set to Strict or Moderate which will mean guests cannot expect a full refund if cancelling. Highlighting your refund policy in your Other Things to Note section can also help to set guest’s expectations. Just be wary that this policy may slightly reduce the amount of bookings you receive.
Establish a Safe Check-in Method
With different levels of lockdowns meaning different guidelines and regulations for interacting with guests, it is important to make sure you have a check-in method that works for each level. Setting up a way for guests to check themselves into the apartment with little to no contact with anyone else is essential to continue operating safely throughout a lockdown.
At Level 3 in New Zealand, businesses are still able to operate with limited customer-facing activities (e.g. takeaway orders or click and collect shopping) therefore a quick in-person key handover from a pick-up location is still possible if you are wary of using lockboxes. However, setting up a secure lockbox, digital lock or contactless key pick-up method will help you to remain operational in case of a sudden Level 4 lockdown.
Consider a Professional Cleaning Company
As cleaning is considered an essential service, hiring professional cleaners for turnover cleans is important for being able to welcome new guests during a lockdown. Data from Airbnb has also shown that guests are happy to pay a higher fee during this time to guarantee that the apartment has been sufficiently disinfected and therefore safe for them to stay in.
Finding a cleaning company that will report any possible damages or missing items to you as well as place keys back into lockboxes will certainly benefit you if you are unable to leave your home due to a lockdown. Make sure you find a cleaning company that you can trust to meet your standards as well as the strict protocols set out by Airbnb here.
While lockdowns are certainly disruptive for Airbnb guests and hosts, it is still possible to keep your Airbnb going by remaining adaptable in your operations. As we saw after the last lockdown, people still desire using Airbnb for their domestic travels and bookings are likely to pick up again once travel restrictions ease so don’t be too disheartened if a lockdown occurs. By following these tips, you can reduce the impact that lockdowns have on your Airbnb.