The Coronavirus or COVID-19 has caused global concern - and has had far-reaching repercussions, especially in travel and manufacturing. People are not only worried about their health but how this disease is affecting the economy.
...but let’s not panic.
Let’s look at how the virus is affecting the vacation rental industry.
Vacation Rental Marketplaces Take On Coronavirus
Our industry has been hit hard. No doubt. Drive to destinations are faring only slightly better, but any place that caters to travelers with a heavy convention or tourism base is suffering.
It doesn't help that Airbnb has sent out emails to every person who booked to travel in the US, offering them a 100% refund, no matter how safe your area may be. Vrbo, on the other hand, recommended travelers reach out to owners and work out a possible later visit.
Airbnb treated our inventory like they owned it, whereas Vrbo treated us like owners. Airbnb has seen a huge public backlash and hopefully will change its policies going forward.
However, I still recommend being on Airbnb. Many people go straight to www.Airbnb.com and never see any other inventory.
So, we know that travel has been disrupted worldwide temporarily. The trick is using this time to perfect your listing to get to the top of the list when travel comes back again.
China is now seeing a slow down in the rate of new infections due to the lockdown. So, with the preventative measures that the US has undertaken, we expect to see a slow down in a few weeks or a month, with things getting back to a new normal in a month or two.
What Vacation Rental Owners Can Do While Riding Out the Coronavirus
This is where you have to stand out. Get creative with your marketing, and sit tight. You may have to use funds you have set aside to get you through this slow patch.
Like in the past when we have seen a slow down in travel, such as 9/11, things WILL return to normal but will take time.
In the meantime, here's a checklist of 10 doable actions you can take right now to work your way up and get more bookings when people start traveling again.