Lodgify Lowdown

Lodgify Lowdown (August ’23): Records, Reports, and Rebellion

As you kick back, relax, and savor the last moments of summer this Labor Day Weekend, we bring you a curated roundup of the most compelling vacation rental news stories that unfolded throughout August—a month full of highs and lows, surprises and controversies.

From Airbnb’s record-breaking Q2 profits to the ever-evolving battle in the Big Apple, and from Lodgify’s very own Labor Day Weekend report to a legal showdown in Summit County, Colorado – we’ve got it all covered.

Airbnb celebrates most profitable Q2

Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, shared some intriguing financial news at the beginning of August. During the second quarter, the company reported a remarkable surge in net income, reaching $650 million. This impressive figure represents a substantial 72 percent year-over-year increase compared to the $379 million recorded in the same quarter last year.

Notably, Airbnb achieved a net income margin of 26 percent, marking its highest second-quarter performance to date, up from 18 percent in 2022. The driving factors behind this substantial growth were attributed to robust revenue expansion, diligent expense management, and accruing interest income, all while gearing up for a promising summer season with a surge in bookings anticipated.

vacation rental guests

He said, ‘“Our Q2 results show the desire to travel and host on Airbnb remains strong. We had over 115 million nights and experiences booked and added a record number of new listings – ending Q2 with over 7 million total active listings. We also saw 18% year-over-year revenue growth and Free Cash Flow of $900 million.”

How Airbnb’s Q2 success may impact short-term rental hosts

Airbnb’s stellar performance in the second quarter of this year is undoubtedly impressive. But what does this mean for individuals who operate short-term rental properties?

Increased visibility

With Airbnb’s continued growth and success, the platform is likely to attract even more travelers. This means that hosts could gain increased visibility for their listings as more users flock to Airbnb. Hosts may find that they receive more inquiries and booking requests as a result.

Competitive pricing

Airbnb’s rising popularity could also have an impact on your pricing strategies. Higher demand often leads to increased pricing flexibility; therefore, hosts may have the opportunity to adjust their rates, potentially charging more during peak seasons or special events. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between competitive pricing and offering value for money to keep guests satisfied.

Improved guest expectations

Furthermore, as Airbnb continues to invest in its platform and services, guests may come to expect more from their accommodations. This could include enhanced customer support, improved booking experiences, and access to additional amenities. Hosts should stay informed about any new features or services Airbnb introduces to ensure they can meet these evolving guest expectations.

Local regulations

As we’ve seen around the world, Airbnb’s success draws a lot of attention from local governments and authorities. As the demand for vacation rentals continues to rise, hosts should remain aware of any regulatory changes in their area and ensure they are in compliance with local laws and ordinances.

Airbnb’s NYC showdown: Legal battle over STRs thrown out

Starting from September 5th, the Big Apple is cracking down on Airbnb like never before. Thousands of Airbnb listings are teetering on the edge of uncertainty as the city sets its sights on enforcing strict host registration laws for short-term rentals.

And Airbnb isn’t taking any chances. They’re flipping the script by turning off calendars for stays with hosts who don’t meet the city’s eligibility criteria one day after Labor Day Weekend.

new york city

How can I keep my NYC STR open?

So, what makes a host eligible for the NYC Airbnb game? First off, registered hosts can only welcome guests for stays under 30 days, and here’s the kicker: they must be present during the guest’s entire stay!

Hosts also need to jump through bureaucratic hoops by registering with NYC’s Office of Special Enforcement. You’d think the city would be flooded with registrations, but nope, only 257 lucky applications have earned the approval stamp so far, as reported by Skift.

In the heart of the city that never sleeps, the vacation rental landscape is evolving faster than a New York minute.

Lodgify Labor Day Weekend report: The thrilling rise of spontaneity

On August 23, Lodgify released an in-depth industry report dedicated to Labor Day Weekend in the U.S., revealing some eye-opening stats. It seems that spontaneity is becoming the new norm in one of the report’s main talking points as over the past two years, there has been a remarkable surge in last-minute Labor Day Weekend bookings, making the holiday even more exhilarating.

In 2021, 19% of bookings were made within a week of arrival. However, fast forward to this year, and we’re anticipating a jaw-dropping 25% of all Labor Day bookings—whether they’re direct reservations or arranged through online travel agencies—to be last-minute adventures.

Labor Day- Booking Window by Bin

You can read the report here, which comes with an array of insights and tips to make the most of the latest trends.

Summit County’s short-term rental rebellion

In a dramatic twist of events, 101 determined homeowners in Summit County, Colorado, are taking a stand against what they deem a “blunderbuss response” by county commissioners in regulating short-term rental homes. The stage is set for an intense legal battle as these homeowners, united by a common cause, seek to overturn the recently approved regulations that have left them feeling like they’re caught in a whirlwind of misguided rules.

With unwavering conviction, they’ve filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, boldly proclaiming that the county commissioners’ actions have led to a chain reaction of increasingly severe, misguided, and potentially unlawful regulations. Their mission is clear: to restore balance and fairness to the vacation rental landscape.

summit county, colorado

But this battle isn’t just about regulations; it’s about principles. The homeowners assert that the commissioners’ justifications for these stringent short-term rental rules, including claims that such rentals deplete the county’s local workforce housing, are nothing but smoke and mirrors. They argue that the county is attempting to place the burden of solving its own housing crisis on the shoulders of private homeowners, an act they consider both fabricated and unjust.

Honolulu Mayor extends a helping hand amidst wildfire crisis

Honolulu’s Mayor Rick Blangiardi has hit the pause button on a strict vacation rental ordinance that required a minimum 30-day stay for visitors. This move could come as a lifeline to those affected and displaced by the recent devastating wildfires.

The temporary suspension of this rule is like a breath of fresh air for those who urgently require emergency housing. Mayor Blangiardi also passionately called upon property owners and managers to open their doors and offer free or discounted temporary housing to those who had lost so much. Furthermore, Airbnb.org has teamed up with Hawaii Governor Josh Green to provide free temporary stays for at least 1,000 people uprooted by the wildfires.

Across the islands, Airbnb, and eventually Vrbo, are offering full refunds to guests with existing bookings in Maui.

maui wildfires

If you’d like to read more about how you can help those affected by the fires, visit Airbnb.org’s dedicated page here.

Swift success: Taylor’s tours boost short-term rentals

When Taylor Swift takes the stage, it’s not just her fans who are dancing with delight. The latest data from KeyData reveals that the superstar’s tour stops have created a symphony of success for short-term rentals in the United States. We’re talking about noteworthy surges in RevPAR, occupancy rates, and ADR that would make anyone’s heart skip a beat.

KeyData have dived deeper into the tune of Taylor Swift’s impact by comparing concert weekends against the year before and the weekends both preceding and following these mesmerizing performances in 2023.

As a host, what can I do if Taylor comes to town?

To make the most of events like Taylor Swift tours in the future, property managers should be proactive in setting their rates ahead of time. Start by attracting early booking guests with slightly higher Average Daily Rates (ADRs) to build a strong foundation.

As the event date approaches and market occupancy rises, consider increasing your rates further. Remember that many event travelers are looking for shorter stays, so insisting on longer bookings may lead potential guests to explore alternative accommodations. In such cases, implementing a two-night minimum stay requirement could strike a balance.

Regularly monitor your booking trends and pick-up reports to ensure that your pricing strategies are yielding positive results. This way, you can maximize your revenue during high-demand events like Taylor Swift tours.

You can read the full report here.

Until next time!

As we bid farewell to the summer of 2023 on this Labor Day weekend, it’s evident that the vacation rental industry has been nothing short of eventful in the month of August. However, one thing is certain: the industry remains resilient and adaptable in the face of challenges. While we can’t always predict what the future holds, we can be sure that the spirit of hospitality will continue to thrive.

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