When the pandemic hit and lockdown was announced, there was concern that it would kill the travel and tourism sector in affected countries. It’s undeniable that things have changed, but perhaps not entirely in the way you’d expect.
Initially, things did take a dive, with Airbnb reporting a 90% drop in bookings and $400 million in adjusted second quarter losses.
But by July 2020, the story had changed; they were seeing a 22% year-over-year increase in consumer spending, and on 8th July specifically, saw “guests book 1 million nights’ worth of future stays in Airbnb listings”.
The sense is that people are still looking to travel, but are now considering different, less obvious and less densely populated destinations than they might have previously. In the US, UK, and France specifically, Airbnb’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky says there are “booms in domestic travel”.
The draw of booking a stay with Airbnb over a more traditional hotel has always been about prices and variation (choosing a converted stable over the cookie-cutter hotel room, for example).
With coronavirus safety guidance in minding, hotels don’t feel like the most social-distance-friendly spaces. It’s easy to see how a demand for self-contained, socially-distanced accommodation would be on the rise.
Working from home might have been novel for some to begin with, or may have been a total nightmare from the start. Either way, it’s more difficult for us to get a change of scenery now – and with local lockdown rules in place, it can be even more difficult again.
I think that work staycations – workcations? – will be a major part of the future of Airbnb. Business owners can book a high-end seafront short stay for them or their staff members as a work retreat; you can focus and refresh at the same time.
If you can work from home, you can potentially work from any home – including one with stunning views over the Gower Peninsula, or with sea breezes wafting through the window while you take part in your team meeting on Zoom.
The Future of Airbnb in a COVID World
If you’d like to know more about hosting on Airbnb, or are concerned about the lasting changes coronavirus will have on you as a host, you may be interested to know I’m running a webinar on Tuesday 13th October (2020) The Future of Airbnb in a Covid World. It’s free but you ill need to register though Eventbrite so reserve your ticket today to avoid disappointment!
If you have property to let between SA1 and SA11 and you aren’t sure whether it’s better suited to residential lets or short stay/holiday lets, get in touch and we can have a chat. If you have multiple properties, or if you’re feeling the strain of changing housing laws and are thinking about selling, it’d be worth considering diversifying into holiday lets.
If you’re interested in Airbnb, why not join the Swansea Airbnb Network on Facebook too? It’s a group for hosts and guests to chat and get support from our community.