How the Novel Coronavirus Is Negatively Impacting Airbnb Hosts

Here's how the novel coronavirus pandemic and outbreak has negatively impacted Airbnb hosts in all regions of the world.


We've all watched as coronavirus disease has swept across the world. Cases are rising by tens of thousands a day, and a third of the world is under lockdown.

As everywhere shuts up shop and heads indoors, a whole lot of industries have been hit. One of the biggest is the travel industry, where millions of jobs are at risk. 

If you're one of the thousands of Airbnb hosts, you're probably pretty concerned by this point. But as with everything, the way to survive is through knowledge. By understanding what's going on and how you could be affected, you can create a plan to see you through.

Read on to find out how Airbnb is dealing with the crisis and what you can do.

How Coronavirus Affects Airbnb 

As people cancel vacations and more planes are grounded every day, Airbnb hosts have taken a hit. No vacations mean no bookings.

This has been happening to hosts across the world. In Beijing, there's been a 96% drop in bookings since the start of the year. The number of properties booked dropped dramatically from over 40,000 to 1,600.

Rome's also seen a drop of 41% of Seoul has dropped by 46%. The same figures are seen in cities around the globe.

Airbnb has taken a huge hit, with hundreds of millions of dollars expected in losses. Their previous plans to go public this year have also been thrown up in the air, making it doubtful it'll happen at all.

Airbnb Hosts Take the Biggest Hit

But the real losses come when you look at the Airbnb hosts. 

Unlike large chain hotels, the individual owners who looked into becoming an Airbnb host usually aren't prepared for something like this. While the hotels will suffer, they'll also have plenty of resources to fall back on.

Airbnb hosts are less likely to have this. Many will have little savings to fall back on, and the lack of bookings will leave a big dent in their income. They're not protected, which is why this is so scary. 

This is why you have to take some extra steps as Airbnb hosts, which we'll look at now.

What Airbnb Have Said

To start with, you must stay up to date with the information from Airbnb. This is your primary source of knowledge and what may be able to help you. 

The company has said that any bookings made before (and including) the 14th March 2020, with check-in between 14th March and 14th April 2020, can be canceled. The guests will receive a full refund. If the host cancels, it won't affect their Superhost status or impact negatively on them. 

Airbnb has also said they'll refund any service fees 

For bookings made after 14th March 2020, your usual cancellation policy will apply. This means that if you have a 'no cancellation' policy, your guests will have to pay. Any cancellations before the 14th March will be dealt with according to the extenuating circumstances rules at the time.  

Stay up to date with news from Airbnb through their website and social media. 

Diversify Your Business

A great way to see this time is as an opportunity. Optimism is the best way to get through tough times and come out the other side better for it.

While bookings may be slow in the next couple of months, spend the time that you would have been hosting looking to improve your business. One way to do that is by diversifying. 

Airbnb isn't the only way to rent your property; there are plenty of alternative options. Take a look and see if there are any that could work better for you.

Going solo is also a great idea. By creating your website and listing privately, you can create your own rules so that Airbnb isn't controlling how you respond to a situation like this. You can start managing risks by yourself, giving you more control.

Yes, it's always a good idea to refund your guests for extenuating circumstances. But at least by going solo, you'll be able to make a choice instead of being forced to do so. 

Use this time wisely. When the economy bounces back, your work during this time could make you more successful than ever. 

Double the Demand

As time moves along, we get closer to the end of Coronavirus. With every day we move towards the bounce-back of the economy and the revival of the travel industry.

When this does happen, we'll start to see the effects of the money that governments around the world have been putting into their economies. In America, we've already seen money being pumped into our market, such $1.5 trillion from the US Fed. 

Hopefully, this boost should help our economy get back to normal and thrive.

Another positive to look forward to is that the demand for travel is likely to boom. After being stuck inside and having vacations canceled, surely, we're all going to want to get out and explore again! 

Although nothing is set in stone, it's incredibly likely you'll see an increase in bookings after the virus compared to before the outbreak. Canceled vacations will be re-booked, and people will want to get away from their homes after being stuck in them for months.

Learn More  

As an Airbnb host, there's no doubt this will be a tough time. How you respond to it will shape the future of your business. 

Stay ahead by learning more about how the economy works and other Airbnb hosting tips, like advice on Airbnb taxes and property investment, on the STR University blog