As many of you might have heard, Airbnb has had its fair share of trouble with the COVID-19 crisis. With the shelter in place mandates and very little traveling, reservations for Airbnb properties have been cancelled around the globe. This has put both the company and the hosts in a bind, especially those who have taken out large loans for their properties or depend solely on Airbnb for their income.
Feature Photo by Ethan Waldman
Many tiny house owners rent their homes out on Airbnb.
If you are familiar with tiny houses on Airbnb, you probably know that they are some of the most popular locations on the site. From the Aptos mushroom dome to Kristie Wolf’s Hobbit House and M J Boyle’s Tiny House Village, guest clamor for these tiny spaces. Many of these tiny homes and their owners have also had cancellations. However, renting out a tiny house puts the owners in a much better position than someone who has a larger home or an apartment in a city.
Airbnb guests are looking for more secluded, private properties.
According to Airbnb, the “new world of travel” includes the latest trends that guests want in a rental: last-minute, private, flexible, and clean spaces. I would add unique to this list since that seems to be one key to Airbnb success. This description fits most tiny houses to a T.
Separate and ultra-clean spaces are on guests’ radar.
I’ve been an Airbnb host for nearly eight years. I rent out a tiny cottage on my property in a quiet, rural area. It is separate from the main house and has its own indoor and outdoor space. Sure, I’ve had cancellations, but the open dates were quickly reserved again by other guests. With this experience and success, I have a few tips for putting your tiny house on Airbnb in these new, unusual times.
Airbnb has implemented updated cleaning protocols.
- Abide by new cleaning protocols: Airbnb has new cleaning protocols set up for any Airbnb hosts. This includes both cleaning and sanitizing to providing cleaning products for guests to use. In addition to cleaning, the CDC recommends waiting 24 to 72 hours between guests. If you depend on having your tiny house booked 95 percent of the time, you may want reassess renting it out.
- Reconsider loans: Airbnb hosts who have been hit the hardest are those who have financed more than they can afford. Some properties can’t be purchased without loans, but try as hard as you can to pay cash for your tiny house—whether it’s your primary residence or your rental.
- Offer something more: You already offer a unique rental experience, but separate yourself from the masses by offering something more. Is your tiny house located in farmland or a winery? Include some fresh eggs, produce, or a bottle of local wine. Do you live near an artist community? Offer local handmade goods for sale inside the house for a commission. This is your time to get creative.
- Interact with guests from a distance: Airbnb still encourages hosts to interact with guests, albeit from a distance. Make yourself available for questions, conversations, and any issues that could come up. Be flexible when it comes to cancellations and reservation changes.
- Write off as much as you can: This will require a conversation with a tax professional, but save as much money as you can by writing off as much as you can. This includes all rental supplies, repairs, and professional services. In addition, keep meticulous notes and all receipts for your rental.