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  • James von der Lieth

These 5 Types of Short Term Rentals Will Be Most Immune to the Coronavirus

A lot of U.S Short Term Rental owners and mangers have been hitting the panic button since the new Airbnb extenuating policy came out yesterday that now includes the U.S.

I've been predicting this would happen for a few weeks now, so I'm not surprised at all. Honestly, the fact they restricted the policy to March 13 - April 1 is very positive compared to how Airbnb leadership reacted in Asia. Of course, most people are speculating that this April 1st date will continue to be pushed out.

Airbnb is the leader in the industry, so it's expected that other platforms will follow suit with similar policies in the coming days.

It's not all bad news for Short Term Rental owners and hosts. STRs have unique characteristics that make them more immune to the negative economic effects.

#1 STRs That Promote Free and Easy Parking

The silver lining in all of this is that there are now a lot of people who are working remotely or on paid leave until the virus blows over in the next couple months, God Willing 🙏. Traveling via car will not be impacted, so expect an uptick of travelers from states close by who are going stir crazy. In places where parking isn't free and easy, it's not a bad idea to highlight your property's parking on the list title.

#2 STRs with Flexible Cancellation Policies

Let's be honest, having a Strict Cancellation policy on Airbnb doesn't mean anything in the age of coronavirus and natural disasters. The extenuating circumstances clause in every Airbnb contract always ends up being flexible in the guest's favor during difficult times. For example, I had a strict cancellation booking last year able to get out of their rental due to a hurricane. On their check in day the airport was open, no flights were cancelled, the sun was shining and the roads were open. I was stuck with a $1800 cancellation last minute, unable to fill it.

At the same time, Airbnb announced that in response to the coronavirus fears, they will be rewarding hosts who have the most flexible cancellation policies. The following is from their new policy, detailing how hosts with flexible policies will be rewarded.

#3 STRs That Have High Cleanliness Ratings and Promote Them

If you have a 4.9 or 5.0 rating of cleanliness on Airbnb, that should be a part of your marketing pitch. Now, more than ever, guests will be zeroing in on that rating. STRs that hire the best cleaners, pay them well, and check behind their back will be rewarded.

#4 STRs in Secluded Areas

Let's be honest, staying at a STR in a city or populated area is going to be the last place people want to be.

#5? STRs in Warmer Climates? Hopefully, but still TBD

Scientists say there is not enough data yet to conclusively say if warm weather helps stop the spread of virus. Like influenza, the new disease is a respiratory infection belonging to a family of viruses that typically survive longer in colder environments. The key word is typically. Since the virus only started in December 2019, there simply isn't enough data to say yet.

However, Dr. Mohammad Sajadi, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, thinks weather might play a role. He and colleagues found a striking temperature similarity among regions with sustained outbreaks of COVID-19: They all have outdoor temperatures between 5 and 11 degrees Celsius (41 and 52 Fahrenheit).

Like influenza, the new disease is a respiratory infection belonging to a family of viruses that typically survive longer in colder environments. Most people experience only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, but older adults and people with existing health problems may have more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.

Let's hope this narrative of the heat killing the virus is true.

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