GlobalData: Airbnb Could Lose Portion of Hosts to Long-Term Rental Sites

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Airbnb hosts around the world have been losing the vast majority of their bookings in recent months, and many of them need a reliable form of income sooner rather than later. A growing number of hosts have deleted their Airbnb listings to make way for month-to-month leasing, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

“Former Airbnb hosts are now listing their properties on longer-term rental platforms,” said Ralph Hollister, travel and tourism analyst, GlobalData. “In the U.S., hosts are using listing services like San Francisco-based month-to-month rental service Kopa and Austin-based full-home medium-term rental platform Homads. The worry for Airbnb is that hosts may not return to the company when the impact of COVID-19 lessens.”

Jack Forbes, CEO, Kopa, said that rental sites such as Airbnb have an average annual occupancy rate of under 50%, whereas sites like Kopa aim for an occupancy rate of 95%.

“According to GlobalData’s survey, 51% of Americans are extremely concerned about the COVID-19 outbreak, and 77% are expecting the situation to worsen in the next month,” said Hollister. “This may explain why hosts in the U.S. have been so quick to state their loyalty elsewhere in order to boost their income.”

Usually, when a guest cancels on Airbnb, hosts receive some compensation, but Airbnb created a policy whereby hosts are forced to give refunds to guests canceling due to the pandemic.

Hollister concluded: “Due to a significant amount of financial loss mainly due to COVID-19, Airbnb received a $1 billion vote of confidence from major Silicon Valley investors. The new funds included $5 million toward special relief grants to head off growing dismay among hosts. However, this dismay may have already tipped many hosts over the edge, resulting in a permanent loss of loyal users for the company.”