Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Operating a Short-Term Rental Property
An article, originally published in nerdwallet titled “Airbnb Hosts Are Sick of Airbnb, Too” made the rounds in numerous publications in late September 2022. We understand why it circulated so widely. As a 10-year strong company in the short-term rental industry, many points resonated with us.
At Open Air Homes, we have a great partnership with Airbnb. We love the platform and are fortunate to have a team large enough to handle all potential issues. Our team even includes members who have previously worked at Airbnb and understand their inner workings. While we’ve found ways to work well with their system, smaller hosts have been vocal about their experiences. They are hopeful that Airbnb will begin to prioritize their needs as much as the needs of guests.
To say that the pandemic hit the hospitality industry hard over the past two years is an understatement. From luxury resorts to budget hotels to Airbnbs, accommodations have felt the sting of a pandemic and recession. While we have also felt these effects, we’re taking steps to mitigate the issues mentioned in the article. Despite the hurdles we’ve encountered, we strive to provide the best possible short-term and Month+ rentals and property management. Here’s how.
Following Short-Term Rental Regulations – and Adopting Our Own
Most cities have adopted policies to regulate short-term rentals as alternatives to an outright ban altogether. While necessary, they do make it more challenging for hosts to succeed. These regulations came about due to individuals who acted in bad faith – from hosts who allowed raucous parties, to guests who consistently broke the rules set forth by booking platforms like Airbnb.
As a mid-sized property management company focusing on luxurious, well-designed properties, we are better equipped to handle this tough time than most. However, we’re also feeling the effects of these significant changes to our industry.
At Open Air Homes, we follow the guidelines set forth by the 10+ jurisdictions we operate in. We also take it a step further by making every single guest aware of our Good Neighbor Pledge. All guests must read and sign the pledge before setting foot in any of our homes. We’re serious about finding a path forward where short-term rentals can peacefully exist in residential areas and even improve neighborhoods.
Putting Community First
In the above article, hosts mention competition from large property management companies. While Open Air Homes manages homes for individuals, we are a far cry from giant investment firms that put profits above all else. Civility, community, and mutual respect are our driving principles.
Focusing on longer-term rentals, which we refer to as Month+, is one way that we respect communities and residents. Marketing homes to groups that tend to rent for 1-3 months is the best way to mitigate challenges that pop up in this industry. Multi-generational families, digital nomads, retirees, and other groups tend to rent homes for longer periods of time. They also tend to be more mindful of neighborhoods and are way less likely to cause any disturbances.
As the CEO of Open Air Homes, I am in a fortunate position to choose where I put the majority of my focus. I have a great team who works to ensure the guests in our short-term rentals have a great experience and respect our community. This allows me to focus more on Month+ rentals and marketing to families.
Respecting and peacefully coexisting in communities is a crucial element to successful vacation rentals and something that Airbnb hosts often ignore. This is why we’re committed to being a voice for change to better the industry as a whole.
Related: Can You Operate a Short-Term Rental While Being Mindful of Community?
Focusing on Direct Bookings
We’re grateful for the variety of booking platforms that are available for short-term and Month+ rentals. Placing our homes on Airbnb has allowed us to reach a wider demographic, hone our audience, and fine-tune our marketing approach for each one of our unique homes.
However, we believe that direct booking should always be one of any hospitality company’s goals. Direct bookings for vacation rentals gives hosts more control over who stays in their homes. This lowers the likelihood of damage, upset neighbors, and safety incidents. At Open Air Homes, our direct bookings made up 55% of our revenue for 2022.
Creating a Positive Impact in the Short-Term Rental Industry
At Open Air Homes, we make a point to acknowledge and address issues caused by short-term rentals in communities. We also look to partner with homeowners that equally commit to this goal.
The vacation rental industry has a long way to go, and there’s no guarantee that every guest will be a stand-up individual. However, since implementing the actions above, we’ve seen positive changes. Being mindful of residents and community members is key to operating a successful Airbnb or Month+ rental.
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