How Management Companies Can Navigate COVID-19

Devyn LaCamera
Devyn LaCamera

April 7, 2020

On April 2nd, Breezeway’s Founder and CEO, Jeremy Gall, participated in the latest of Guesty’s webinar series: ‘Guesty Goes Virtual’. Joining Jeremy in the webinar was Tom Caton, CRO of AirDNA, Anurag Verma, Co-Founder of PriceLabs, and Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO of UnderTheDoormat and Chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA). The panelists covered a wide range of topics - pricing strategies, housekeeping protocols, cancelation data, and loan programs - and offered  actionable tips and insights to help managers navigate COVID-19’s impact on their short term rental businesses.

Tom kicked off the event by sharing booking data from AirDNA’s platform. His trends suggested that while booking rates for the coming months have hit a low, cancelation rates have remained steady. May showed strong numbers with increased reservations through the summer, suggesting that guests  are holding their future stays. Echoing Tom’s findings, Anurag shared that despite a low volume of bookings, the number of nights booked per stay has increased. Anurag advised augmenting or implementing length of stay (LOS) discounts and a flexible cancelation policy to accommodate this shift in stay duration. Focusing more on the regulatory impacts of COVID-19, Merilee informed the audience of the government’s guidance surrounding loans and offers and the resources available from NHS.

Jeremy spoke to COVID-19’s impact on the future of vacation rentals, and how emphasis on quality will be at an industry high.  As business pace picks up again, travelers will gravitate towards drive-to-destinations, avoid larger crowds, and have a heightened awareness of hygiene in physical space. Professional managers who can adapt to these expectations and the “new persona” will be critical for facilitating the guest experience. Those who take advantage in the coming months and prepare for this new normal will be able to effectively differentiate their management services. Jeremy outlined three areas for managers to consider:

  • Housekeeping Programs: Increase the frequency of your ‘deep cleans’ and augment your protocols by with recommendations from leading health organizations like the WHO, CDC, and EPA
  • Remote Work: Audit your internal processes to coordinate remote work and evaluate how to streamline inefficiencies.
  • Communication: Purposefully communicate with your guests and owner clients to promote the precautionary steps you’re taking at each property. Providing transparency instills confidence.

While the impact of COVID-19 has caused a “short, sharp pain” for vacation rentals, optimism for the industry’s future was the common thread of the panelists.  In fact, data from AirDNA suggests that revenue for short term rentals is still predicted to outpace that of 2018 by $70 million. Domestic tourism should be the first area to revert to the mean, and drive-to-destinations should be the most attractive option as people regain the opportunity to travel. Managers shouldn’t just wait for the pace of travel to resume though - planning today will help positioning for tomorrow.   



For more information and resources, visit our COVID-19 Resource Page where you can find communication templates, FAQs, and more. 

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