Hosting Your Home - Airbnb host stories podcast

Debi and Rob vs the Pandemic

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The pandemic and short term rentals in Oregon.

In mid March, 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic began impacting short term rental reservations in Oregon.  Airbnb saw its global reservations drop like a rock.

For three months, the pandemic has basically eliminated the STR market.  Debi and Rob Hertert of Hosting Your Home use this episode to talk about how the pandemic is affecting them personally and other hosts they know. Debi and Rob are very concerned about the small towns on the Oregon coast.  The  towns are desperate for money but cannot sacrifice the health of their citizens.  Visitors can partially mitigate this conflict by spending most of their time at the vacation rental or outdoors.  They can wear masks and distance themselves when patronizing businesses.

When hosts look at their Airbnb income reports, they look at graphs that have mostly dropped to zero.  Those who depend on the hosting income are in a very difficult position.  The more debt on the home(s) the worse the problem. And in the pandemic environment, the home sharing type of listing sadly disadvantages hosts who share space within their home; neither party is likely to want to share the same space. Debi mentions Host2Host, the nonprofit trade association that serves the host community in Oregon. Host2Host now uses Zoom for weekly "virtual coffees" and for monthly educational meetup webinars.

The myriad of financial victims is spelled out in countless other articles but Debi mentions here the groups known as "DMOs", or Direct Marketing Organizations.  These include Travel Portland and Travel Oregon among others.  They are (were) funded by a tourism tax that is levied in addition to occupancy taxes.  So the far reaching travel marketing that brings tourists to Portland and Oregon isn't happening at anything like the previous levels.  Portland uses the STR occupancy taxes to fund affordable housing. That has also dropped to near zero for the past three months.

It all seems like too much.  But - as Brian Chesky, Airbnb's CEO, said recently on an outreach call,  people love to travel.  They are reluctant to travel right now, but they will travel again.  It will definitely come back if hosts - and Airbnb - can survive beyond the downturn.

Just before we recorded this podcast episode, the civil unrest beginning with Minneapolis flamed into being and is cause for all of us in the hospitality industry to improve lives, lessen burdens, and share opportunities.  Debi is going to try her best to learn more and share through Hosting Your Home.

Links:  is the Oregon-based nonprofit trade association serving STR hosts. Membership is open to anyone. You can hear about how it was created:  Host2Host is About to be Born!

Airbnb's new cleaning protocol is a big change for STRs.

Airbnb has over the years worked on inclusion. Their latest effort is  "Project Lighthouse"

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