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Desert Sun claims “Airbnbust” for many short-term rental homeowners in Palm Springs: Why this isn’t the case for Open Air Homes


By: Brad Greiner, CEO of Open Air Homes and OpenAiRE Brokerage

August 9, 2023

According to a recent article in The Desert Sun, Palm Springs has experienced a drop in short-term rental (STR) prices and occupancy, with some owners struggling to fill their calendars. 

Despite this alarming news from some anecdotal homeowners, Open Air Homes, stands out as an exception.  We continue to provide promising rental revenue numbers and high occupancy for homeowners.

Ocotillo by Open Air Homes

Open Air Homes: A Success Amid Challenges

While the rental market may be experiencing a downturn, especially over the 2023 summer season, Open Air Homes is thriving for our homeowners. 

How? Our vision for the future sets us apart, focusing on delivering the best experiences in the STR business. This strategy translates into higher reviews per listing, with a company-wide average of 4.9+ stars on Airbnb.  This leads to higher algorithmic placement, and in turn more views per listing, and thus, more bookings and higher occupancy. 

For a long time, our concentration has been on design and the quality of our amenities offered. So, while rentals are slightly down for us too, especially due to summer, our homeowners are, on average, very content with their rental income, number of rentals per year, and overall occupancy.

Consistent 5-Star Reviews and Family-Friendly Approach

Open Air Homes is devoted to consistently generating 5-star reviews through our quick communication and texting service for guests.  This, combined with proper property maintenance, means fewer issues for our guests, and glowing reviews.

Our reputation is built on marketing our homes as family homes and never as party homes. This strategy attracts families that stay for longer periods of time, with our average stay across our portfolio in Los Angeles and Palm Springs being 11.7 nights (as of August 7th, 2023).

We encourage the medium-term rental option (30-90 days range) to many of our homeowners, and these longer-term rentals now constitute a significant portion of our business. Guests that stay for longer periods of time lead to higher occupancy numbers, less wear and tear on the home, and generally happier neighbors. 

Discounts and Community Respect

Despite rentals being a bit down, especially over the summer, Open Air Homes is still enjoying great occupancy. We offer substantial discounts for week-long stays and continue to see positive results. We have many guests renting this summer for 7-10+ day stints, and a significant number of our Month+ homes are also filled this summer.  

Our responsibility doesn’t end with the homeowner and guests. We aim to be respectful of the communities in which we operate. We give the neighboring homeowners our texting service, monitored all day and into the night by our international team, allowing us to get ahead of any issues, from routine maintenance to ensuring guests comply with our clear no-noise rules.

Quotes from The Desert Sun Article

A homeowner cited in The Desert Sun article stated, “My calendar is wide open,” while highlighting a 25% jump in rental homes as a possible cause for the drop in prices. Another noteworthy comment came from a property manager in Palm Springs, who indicated a change in preferences, with people opting less for pricy homes.

Granted, over the Covid period, a number of buyers flocked to Palm Springs with the idea of owning a second home, and with supply higher, now is the time to invest in the experience your home offers to continue to stand out with higher algorithmic placement.  

Debunking Misconceptions and Looking Ahead

Open Air Homes, however, remains an outlier, proving that success in the current market is possible. By designing our homes with families in mind, focusing on quality, and maintaining open communication with both guests and neighbors, we’ve created a business model that works even in challenging times. Families stay for longer periods of time, and we almost never have to deal with the unruly party crowds that still want to flock to the desert for a fun (and loud) weekend. 

We acknowledge that the summer has seen a slight decrease in rentals, but with our emphasis on medium-term routes and offering substantial discounts for longer stays, we are still flourishing.

Our Palm Springs homeowners need not fear the drop in STR prices reported in The Desert Sun. With Open Air Homes, the future looks promising, and now may indeed be the time for a change if you are a homeowner struggling with the changes to this market. 

One Final Piece of Advice

If you are looking to make the switch to Open Air Homes for your superior property management needs, we will likely require a serious reconsideration of some of the offerings for your home.  With supply higher than ever, now is the time to rethink how you can now compete in this highly competitive market. The agency-to-agency transfer time takes 45 days, and we aim to use this time to rethink your property, from design to experience to marketing, to set you up for long-term success, with happy and respectful renters looking for longer stays in the beautiful Palm Springs Desert. 



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