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SANDY WALKER WRITES
We are continuing to accept guests.
The obvious question is whether or not we (or other hosts) who are continuing to host are doing so because we MUST keep hosting in order to survive financially. Airbnb income isn’t our only income, but it’s a substantial portion at this point. Staying “open” helps us financially. Several other factors influence our decision.
Our 3 units are all separated from our home.
Two of them are 1st-floor and 2nd-floor efficiency units in a 2-story detached garage. The 3rd is a camper. They are separate units with entrances separated from each other and from our home. The only shared space is the laundry room, which guests can simply avoid.
Our units are close to our home.
We don’t feel that they are SO close that they present a danger to us or to our guests; we can maintain social distancing. However, since they are close, we have easy access to our units if we need it. If something comes up, we are close by.
Having the units close allows us to handle the cleaning ourselves. We know that everything is cleaned and disinfected according to our standards and in accordance with Airbnb suggestions.
Our location is attractive to people who need to travel or to self-quarantine.
We are located 3 miles from an airport and within walking distance of a hospital and medical complex. People who must fly into Greenville-Spartanburg Airport can easily access our rental units. Medical personnel who want to separate from their family in order to protect them could do so.
We understand why other hosts aren’t.
Even if your location and rental situation mirror ours, you may have already voluntarily blocked your calendars for several months. You may have health issues that put you at risk. You may vehemently disagree with our reasoning. You may think we’re reckless. We accept that.
Each of us has to evaluate the situation and do what he or she thinks is best. Only hindsight is 20/20 vision. This is uncharted ground for all of us.
We are taking special precautions.
We have increased our cleaning regimen.
We are VERY careful with linens and pillows. We always wash the sheets, comforter and mattress pad. Now we wash throw pillows and replace bed pillows. Guests find 2 new pillows --still in the wrappers--on the bed when they arrive. They can bring their own pillow cases or use ours. When they leave, they take the pillows with them.
We run an ozone generator in each apartment after the guests leave. This isn’t the norm for us. We know these machines can be dangerous if used excessively or in unventilated areas. In this case, we think the generator is warranted. We run the ozone machine after the guests leave, and allow the unit to thoroughly ventilate before we clean.
We place the remote control for the TV and the heat/AC unit in plastic zip-top bags. When guests leave we replace the bags with new ones.
We clean and disinfect thoroughly. This was normal for us before COVID-19 arrived. Now we are especially careful. We use a mild bleach-water spray to disinfect knobs, handles, switch plates, etc. Guests also have access to disinfectant wipes (as long as we can get them.)
We limit face-to-face interaction with our guests.
We don’t chat with our guests like we used to. When we do, we maintain 6 feet or more of distance between us and them. It feels a bit unorthodox, but we’re adjusting.
For now, our plan is to continue hosting. Those plans might have to change. We’ll see.
Pricing is tricky, whether you're marketing hair dryers, deep fryers, robes for choirs, strings for lyres . . .or vacation properties for rent. A critical factor to remember when you're pricing your vacation rental units is that the "right" price for you is the price that lines up with your other goals.
You'll be able to determine the best price for your units when you can also answer questions like the ones below. The bullet points suggest areas to consider. They aren't meant to be exhaustive.
What's my compelling motivation for listing my property on Airbnb or another vacation rental site?
What's my occupancy goal?
If increased competition drives price down, will I:
These questions don't cover all the ramifications of price. Nor can they be entirely isolated from each other. But formulating answers for each of them will drive intentional Airbnb pricing decisions, and allow you to be proactive rather than reactive.
I'm Sandy . . .
I write crisp, accurate, engaging copy and content marketing for my B2B and B2C clients. My favorite topics are vacation rentals, urban homesteading, sustainability, and inspirational posts.