Urban Door - Our response to COVID-19 - Short term rental market
19th June 2020

The last few months have been a rollercoaster, with the travel/short term accommodation industries being one of the hardest hit in the current pandemic we find ourselves in. However we are true believers in that the travel industry is a resilient industry. We have adapted. We’ll figure out what adaptations we need in order to travel and host again. The survivors are the brands and companies that can adapt and can maintain their brand integrity. 

Businesses in the short term rental industry relied on domestic and international travellers from tourists to people travelling for business. Booking platforms such as Airbnb & booking.com are one of the main sources for these types of bookings, and then for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cancellations coming in over a matter of 48 hours was heartbreaking for any rental agent. Businesses have to quickly put a new plan in place with how they were going to tackle this crisis without allowing the businesses to go under. To keep some bookings in the pipeline a lot of agents introduced a Covid-10 cancellation policy for guests who couldn’t travel due to the pandemic, meaning that guests could receive a credit voucher to rebook their holiday for future dates.

AirBnB style management companies have had to totally flip their business module and offer their short term rentals for mid-long term residential rentals and switching to use search engine sites such as Domain & Real Estate.com to secure 3-6 months rentals to get them through the rocky period and to keep a regular income coming in their homeowners.

Market updates:

Industry experts have seen the higher end of the rental market still standing strong, whereas the lower end has become very volatile, there are a lot of properties on the market right now, meaning that the market is competitive and causes rental prices to fall.

Executive rental agents stand apart from the traditional real estate agent with their service, which is very attractive to homeowners and tenants, with everyone feeling very uncertain about the property market right now. Also, meaning that as soon as the industry picks up again, they have the opportunity to flip their properties back onto short term rentals and optimise on the rates where the demand is highest and to maximise the return for our owners.

Using this downtime to engage with the audience:

  • Agents have been using this time to reconnect with their audience and find out exactly that the future holds for short term rentals.
  • Engage and inspire all audiences with travel inspiration through social media platforms, and get them excited to travel again.
  • Educate travel partners about their portfolio and the services.
  • Guiding homeowners on preparing the properties, hosting Airbnb Masterclasses, regular Zoom meetings to update them on the current market.
  • Supporting local businesses including some of their own homeowners and their businesses.  We believe that small businesses should stand together and support other small businesses.

Interactions with our clients and finding out which destinations they will head to first to get an idea on travel patterns, different shifts in terms of behavioural patterns so we can be ahead of the game as soon as travel is allowed again.

What we expect is in store for the short term rental industry:

People will travel less frequently, but maybe for longer stretches of time. And maybe their preference will be to travel with friends or family that they’re close to, meaning that big houses will be in demand.

Everyone will probably gravitate towards brands they know and trust when booking their private accommodation and opting for holiday rentals over hotels with the benefit of being more isolated, potentially, or being able to control the environment a little bit more carefully. 

Guests will be looking for reassurances with home standards and housekeeping standards, potentially even externally certified cleaning needed to be provided.

That we will all appreciate the luxury and freedom to enjoy life, and the simple pleasures such as travel.