Worldwide travel has come to an obvious halt, and one of the largest markets that’s felt the direct effects of that is the tourism industry. More specifically, many Airbnb hosts are planning to sell their properties as a means of making up for the money they would normally be earning from the beginning of the summer vacation season.
The real estate market in general is really unbalanced at the moment. Depending on what part of the country you’re living in, how badly the pandemic has impacted your region, and how many individuals are even still willing to proceed with their real estate transactions while the economy is so low, many aren’t able to bring their real estate realities into fruition.
Airbnb hosts are gearing up to lose thousands of dollars in lost bookings, cancelled trips, and an overall lack of business. The struggle comes when it’s time for hosts to pay for things such as housing bills, maintenance costs, mortgage payments, and any other payments that are normally covered by the money they earn from hosting. This is hitting homeowners who own multiple properties especially hard as well.
“We have been working to support our community through multiple efforts, including committing $250 million to help support hosts who were affected by COVID-19-related guest cancellations and $17 million to our Super Host Relief Fund. Our internal data points to guests’ desire to travel and we are preparing to help hosts welcome them as soon as possible, which includes new cleaning measures as well,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement.
Airbnb has had to lay off about 25% of their workforce amid the pandemic, but also began making these major job cuts before coronavirus even entered into the States. In March, Airbnb hosts were already protesting the company they worked for, claiming that executives rely too heavily on its hosts to make money for the company.
The protests came specifically after Airbnb announced that it would be paying its hosts only about 25% of what they would normally make back from the company after a client cancellation. Normally, if a client cancels they still have to pay a decent fraction of the renting price (a policy that each host must specifically outline), so that the host has some revenue to make from the transaction and lost time.
“[I] shut down two listings during the coronavirus crisis, one of which was pre-planned. Some of the owners [I] work with are considering winding down more properties, or are looking for long-term tenants, further throwing her business into uncertainty. I’m scrambling trying to figure out what I’m going to do, and what’s going to happen in the future. I’m not making money. With the Airbnb business, I am just trying to minimize my losses. Only one of the houses is meeting its expenses, meaning my rent and utilities,” Christina Zima, an Airbnb host in the San Francisco Bay Area, said to CNN.
Some hosts, like Zima, are turning to Facebook Marketplace to either further rent out their untouched properties, or sell their furniture and other goods to make ends meet. However, selling your valuables online doesn’t compare to making a steady income through a business you previously ran rather independently.
Other hosts are remaining optimistic that as new safety precautions are dealt out for hosts that their renters will begin to book their properties again. For now, like for every other industry in the country, it’s a waiting game to see how much worse the country and its economy gets amid the pandemic.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.