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The last few months feels like we’ve been living in a really bad movie.

While we are trying to get life back to normal, or as normal as we can make it under these circumstances, many are left feeling betrayed by 3rd party platforms and their treatment of hosts during these trying times.

So I’ve put together a few tips I hope will be helpful.

Tip #1: Remember your WHY.

Why did you start hosting, or why did you invest in vacation rental?

Was it because you wanted extra income to cover debt?

Was it because you wanted to own a vacation property that could pay for itself?

Did you start hosting so that you can meet interesting people?

Or are you using it to save for your kids college or take a trip around the world?

Remembering the WHY helps you stay positive, so take a deep breath and remember that this is only temporary and it too shall pass.

Tip #2: Time to Get Creative

You may be wishing you could break away from 3rd party platforms booking sites but are too scared to go up against such giants.

I say – why not have both?

Time to get creative – use your first Airbnb/VRBO booking and stay connected with your first time guests by getting them on your emailing list or following your social media channels to get you more direct bookings or referrals in the future?

Getting a website up for your listing isn’t as expensive or complicated as you think. Check out Natacha Pramantier who has helped hosts do just that and has great resources and tools to teach you how you can too.

Tip #3: Focus on what you CAN Do

If your listing is sitting empty or barely booked?

Now is the perfect time to make improvements so that when the dust does settle, and it will, your listing will be there to outshine them all.

To start you can check out these easy ways to update old or outdated kitchens and bathroom on a budget.

In addition, make your listing stand out with the upcoming Airbnb Decor E-Book – How to Create Instagram Worthy Listings.

Tip #4: WHO (No, not the World Health-Organization)

While it’s unclear when international travel will become safe again, it’s time to think WHO will want to book you listing and what will make them happy.

Could your new potential guest be more local such as families wanting a nice relaxing weekend away from the chaos?

Could they be health professionals or people needing a place to be isolated from their families?

You can offer your guests a staycation with these indoor and outdoor entertainment and activities they can enjoy without needing to leave the property.

Tip #5: Create Trust

Having minimal to no contact with the host is going to be a priority for most guests.

If you haven’t done so until now you’ll want to install smart locks. This Schlage model is highly recommended, but if you choose to go with another brand it’s best to choose a re-programmable model that can be changed after each guest leaves.

Guests will want reassurance that a listing has been cleaned. The Hilton, working together with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic, are planning on launching a new room seal in June so be on the lookout for similar solutions to emerge that you’ll be able to use as well.

The worst seems mostly behind us, as we prepare to live in this new reality, but people are entering “phase 4” as they call it, remaining optimistic and hopeful for the days ahead, and so should vacation rental owners, as Summer is nearing and listings begin filling up again.

Yael Fuerst

Yael Fuerst

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  • These are great tips! I had a bunch of Airbnb cancellations at the beginning of the pandemic, but there were still a few that followed through because of business or family matters. I made sure to let them know that I had the house professionally sanitized to create more trust between us. I also installed the smart locks that you mentioned to guarantee there was no in-person contact. The extra time and money it took to get the locks installed and the home sanitized was worth it for the business!