COVID-19: How to stay informed during the pandemic

April 13, 2020

There is currently an abundance of information around the impact of COVID-19 on the short-term rental industry, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

Despite initial predictions of 2020 being a boom year, the industry finds itself struggling to cope in the face of a "black swan" event, prompted by global lockdowns and travel restrictions.

As a short-term rental property manager, it's now more critical than ever that you stay well informed about industry trends, in order to best optimize your business during this difficult time.

What Do I Need to Stay Informed About?

OTA Changes: What changes are happening to the channels I am operating on? Will I be impacted by cancellation and refund policies, or the ability to list my property?

Survival Options: Right now, what options do I have to increase my chances of survival? For instance reducing costs, optimising my operations and/or pivoting to diversify my revenue streams temporarily.

Support Available: What support is available for my business? Can I apply for any financial aid or relief packages from local government?

Market Projections: What data is there to indicate when the market might recover, and what that recovery might look lke? What can I expect when this happens? How can I prepare for this?

What Sources Should I Look To?

OTAs: For any news regarding specific OTAs (Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, etc.), we recommend you acquire all information directly from them. This is to ensure you get the most accurate and up to date information about any changes and how this will affect your business. For instance, Airbnb have a help centre where hosts can enquire and seek support directly.

Industry Data and Projections: Sources like AirDNA offer reliable and objective data that is directly relevant to short-term rental managers. Although you may have to pay for some of their data/reports, they've released a number free reports focused on COVID-19. Their most recent one is available here.

Industry Forums: A key source of news and best practice is in specific forums and communities. We recommend The Professional Host Alliance, who have a highly-vetted community of short-term rental property managers comitted to informing and shaping the future of the industry. They hold webinars sharing relevant information and thought leadership, allow members to seek specific operational advice and post topics for discusson. They also post a weekly digest of industry news and its specific impact on short-term rental property managers.

Search Engines: You may wish to set up Google Alerts for keywords like ‘Airbnb’ or ‘Short-Term Rentals’. This will essentially send you a regular email of the new reports to do with the key-words you’ve set up. Be sure to filter through the results that are sent to you, to find those from the most reliable sources.

It’s easy to get snowed under with the wealth of information available right now, so most importantly of all, only act upon information that is relevant to your business. The world is in survival mode, and businesses will all choose to cope with this differently. Be sure to make the decisions that are right fit for your business and the aspirations that you have within this industry.

We will be releasing more information about your options for survival during this pandemic - from financial optimisation, through to optimising the infrastructure that underpins your business.

As experienced property managers ourselves, we know just how tough it is to run a complex human operation, and how sensitive underlying profitability is to external market changes. That is why we are here to help you during this time, even if it’s just for a chat. We want to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We're all in this together.

About Lavanda

Lavanda is a next generation property management system (PMS) for urban and rural short-term rental operators. Our SaaS platform is designed to unlock scale and profitability, whilst accelerating growth through industry partnerships. We're backed by leading venture capital investors, and have so far invested $10m+ into short-term rental technology and innovation.

Our award-winning technology is different because it has been honed through our first-hand experience of managing a short-term rental portfolio at scale. Operational efficiency is what we strive for, so we set about creating the missing toolkit. We're here to change your game.