We do the donkey work, so you don’t have to scroll your way through reams of text to stay on top of what’s happening in the vacation rental industry.
The Story: Will airline woes and rising gasoline prices tank the industry?
Want the good news or the bad news first?
We like to end on a positive note, so here goes with the bad tidings – as airfares and gasoline prices continue to go through the roof, vacation rentals, are holding their collective breath to see if travelers will in fact continue to travel.
In May, the consumer price index was a whopping 130% higher for gasoline and 73% higher for airfare than in May 2022. Airfares have been driven up by higher demand, smaller fleets and an increase in the cost of jet fuel and staffing challenges. Domestic air travel in the U.S. is about 50% more expensive than it was last summer and 25% higher than it was in 2019.
Also, Skift reports that their score for flight searches (which combines the performance as reported by Amadeus, Skyscanner and Sojourn) dropped from 68 percentage points globally in May to 42 in June compared to 2019.
So, what is the good news?
It seems that for now there is little correlation between the number of new guest reservations being made per active vacation rental unit and gasoline and airline fares. The reservation activity has kept more or less steady, following similar trends to 2019 and 2021, according to Key Data.
Luckily, it seems, therefore, that most vacationers were so desperate to travel again, that they don’t seem to mind spending more on holidays – at least up to now. They also probably have a bit more to spend thanks to having stashed away more savings during the pandemic.
No need to worry then?
Not so fast. Not yet, at least.
In the long run, there certainly could be a slow down as family household budgets increasingly become under pressure, especially with so much talk about recession doing the rounds.
They have reportedly seen a 50% increase in properties adding EV chargers across their client base of 7,000 properties in the UK and Ireland. This corresponds with a recent February report by Airbnb, which found that the demand for EV chargers is higher than ever.
This is the latest bomb Airbnb dropped among hosts, announcing that hosts who cancel a reservation now risk paying a fee to Airbnb of between 50 and 1,000 U.S. dollars. This is 10 x more than the previous $100 maximum fee. The changes come into effect on August 22nd.
What’s more, this fee may even apply after check-in, if for example, a guest spots a stain on a towel or ants in your kitchen. Whether the guest has a point, will be up to Airbnb customer support.
Why on earth are they doing this?
Well, it’s not very nice to cancel on your guests now, is it? It’s clearly not professional. Also, the company believes that this type of behavior affects the reputation of all hosts and the industry as a whole, not to mention the reputation of Airbnb.
But how is this fair?
The aim of the new measure is to deter hosts who willy-nilly cancel on guests “for preventable reasons.” This includes, for example, if you cancel because suddenly you want to use the house yourself or for your cousin from Spain, or if you have had a double booking.
But it’s not always the host’s fault…
We know. We know… Imagine a newbie host still fumbling his or her way around the platform and not knowing how to synchronize calendars, accidentally ending up with a double booking – and a nasty surprise.
So, can I ever cancel on a guest?
Yes, but you have to prove that you had to cancel for unavoidable reasons, for example, a burst pipe in your house that required emergency repairs.
And in case you missed it…
Why there is no time for Piña Coladas on the beach as a host?
Watch our interview with hosting biz besties Annette Grant and Sarah Karakaian of the Thanks for Visiting podcast where they come clean on mess-ups, hosting myths and wallpaper magic.
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