In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting lockdown, staying home and maintaining social distancing is the only way we can ensure our safety. This means put an end to all our vacation dreaming and travel planning. Unless there is a vaccine or immediate end to the coronavirus pandemic, the future appears grim and uncertain.
Many homeowners and investors, alongside travelers and bloggers, were reliant on Airbnb for rental income and safe accommodation. However, the travel and vacation rental industry has slowed down in an unprecedented manner. Airbnb continues to make efforts to revive its falling occupancy rate, and it has adopted five major trends to attract new clients with creative efforts and prioritized care.
Let’s take a look at these five key trends:
Airbnb’s Response to the Pandemic
The coronavirus crisis has stirred humanity, making us more responsive to the plight and suffering of others. We aim to become more generous and attuned towards others around us with selfless gestures of kindness. As with every corporate sector and industry, corporations and businesses seek to lending a helping hand and be mindful of their clients.
Airbnb has introduced a new platform, Frontline Stays, to collaborate with healthcare organizations throughout the work to facilitate medical professionals with free or discounted accommodation. So far, Airbnb has provided accommodation to over 100,000 frontline fighters and healthcare professionals.
The home-sharing site has also created a relief grant program, worth $7.4 million, for super-hosts who are suffering due to the ongoing pandemic.
Allowing Guests to Stay Longer
Hotels and resorts are allowing their guests to extend their rental terms, and this trend has also been adopted across the vacation rental industry. Guests are being allowed extended rental terms, so they can stay as long as they need to. Since lodgings and rentals are unlikely to attract new clients, it is ideal to retain or extend the rental terms of existing guests.
Expanding the Client Audience
Now that vacation rentals allow longer stays, it is easier to penetrate new market segments and broaden their client base. Usually, vacation rentals were in-demand during travel seasons and holidays. However, now vocational rentals present a short-term housing solution for various segments and people.
For instance, homeowners who are selling off their house and purchasing a new property need a rental to smooth out the transition. Closing a deal can often take weeks, while buying a new house and moving is another lengthy and drawn-out process. Vacation rentals provide an affordable short-term lease, and they are fully furnished to offer a smooth transition to a new house.
Students who have been displaced from their college dorms, or require a more suitable accommodation can choose vacation rentals. They are much more affordable, and do not require the lengthy paper while renting an apartment or condo. Vacation rentals can also function as a quarantine pads for those away from home, or seeking to relocate to a neighborhood with lower infection rates. Hosts are now marketing their vocational rentals as ‘destination isolation’ where people can escape and quarantine peacefully.
Responding to Consumer Demands
Airbnb has exhibited a talent for anticipating the needs of its target audience and responding to market demands. Vacation rentals are providing a livelier and attractive alternative to being isolated at home. People who want to escape their usual surroundings and change their environment without traveling can book themselves an Airbnb rental.
Airbnb also provides rentals to people who want to get together in spacious areas and make connections without violating the social distancing rules. Many states and localities are now allowing gatherings of 10 and more people as long as safety precautions are followed.
Many hosts have turned vocational rentals in safe co-working spaces that allow freelancers and remote workers to collaborate. Such rentals can also be booked for social gatherings for small groups of people.
A Creative Touch
The vacation rental industry is strife with competition over creative strategies deployed to increase bookings. Vacation rental companies and hosts are collaborating with local businesses, events, and cultural attractions to boost their bookings. The idea is to introduce people to new experiences and entertainment avenues without violating the social distancing rules.
Airbnb has introduced a striking strategy focused on human connection, leisure and adventure, work and learning opportunities and even safe dating!
Romance and dating has suffered a huge dent in the wake of the pandemic and the resulting shutdown. All the single ladies and gentlemen are forced to seek out their better halves online, and Airbnb has introduced a virtual solution in a collaboration with Bumble. This collaboration isn’t all about romance, because you can also use the BFF app to make new friends, or the BIZZ app to network the market for associates and collaborators.
Airbnb allows lodgers and vacationers to explore new activities and exciting destinations through immersive virtual experiences. These activities are designed for animal lovers, families with children, groups of friends, cultural enthusiasts, history buffs, social workers, music lovers, cooking enthusiasts and fitness freaks among others.
For instance, vacations can enjoy guided medication sessions, or interact with a renowned Shark Scientist from South Africa. They can tour the streets of Paris with a Parisian tour guide, attend a Tango concert in Argentina, or rejoice the lively tunes of Flamenco by a Spanish artist.
Online learning is another dynamic area where Airbnb has made some lucrative collaborations to allow its guests some truly unique learning opportunities. For instance, vacations can learn the culture of Japan and origami, take ukulele lessons from a renowned musician, or master the art of Tiramisu with a world-famous Italian chef. From dog training and coffee making, to learning how to make a podcast and setting realistic goals. Vacationers can explore a wide array of learning opportunities and courses while they focus on staying safe and isolated.
The economy is bound to reopen, and normalcy will eventually return, however, as we navigate through the various cycles of the pandemic and resulting lockdown, isolation is going to be the new normal for us. Isolation and social distancing, as important and safe as it may be, always takes a toll on the human body and mind. It casts a dark shadow on our mental well-being, and exposes us to stress, anxiety, depression and fear.
It slows down our productivity in life and at work, and we begin to yearn from an escape towards normalcy. The vacation rental market is responding to the demand for entertaining yet affordable stay-cations that allow people to isolate without feeling isolated.