Its June in London and the city is noticeably warmer and sunnier. However we are now into week 12 of the corona virus lockdown in the UK. I have has only one airbnb guest since late March. I try not to think of the income I have lost from this shutdown as it would certainly run into many thousands of pounds. However it does seem that things could be very slowly returning to normal.
When will we be able to have private room airbnb guests again after covid-19?
Airbnb has automatically blocked my listing calendars since the virus lockdown began. My listing calendar did open up for June and I got one booking for the first day possible. But shortly afterwards airbnb locked the calendar again until July 3rd after the government extended the restrictions.
It seems that from July 4th I will be able to start having airbnb guests again. The restrictions could be extended once again but I think this time they won’t. The coronavirus in the UK seems to have been on the way out for some weeks now. New cases are low, especially in London. But will things really return to normal?
Will my airbnb bookings bounce back to the way they were before the virus?
Even if the global pandemic was to end tomorrow it could be some time before my airbnb bookings bounce back. Eventually the tourists will come to London again in large numbers even if they delay until next year.
I am more concerned that my regular guests will stop coming. The one thing that made my hosting experience so bearable these past 5 years was that I had a high number of recurring guests. These guests are working in London and just need a hassle free cheap place to crash after work. They pay me in cash and tend to come on specific days every week. I much prefer these regular guests since they are very predictable (leave early for work, come home late, shower then sleep).
It is my biggest concern I will have so much fewer regular return guests. This will make hosting so much less attractive to me and may be the beginning of the end of my hosting experience. Why will these regular guests stop coming? The coronavirus forced many people to work remotely from home and now it’s been proved viable for so many people its not hard to see it continuing post lockdown.
Will there be fewer hosts after the pandemic?
There may be a reduction in airbnb hosts as people reassess their situation but with most of the market now consisting of ‘professional’ hosts (i.e. basically a corporate business in all but name) I can’t see this happening much. Most hosts will try and revert to the way things were before but with more hand sanitiser in the bathroom to show they are in the ‘new normal’.
I suspect the average price of a private room in London to rise after the lockdown is over. This is partly because hosts will want to make up for lost income over the last few months and partly because prices were too low for some time previously. I do think we will see customers start to go back to more traditional hotels after several years of the airbnb ‘experience’.
Why will hotels benefit from the coronavirus and airbnb hosts suffer?
The main reason, in my option, why airbnb became a ‘thing’ in the first place was the sky high cost of hotels. Even bad hotels seemed to charge silly high prices; especially in central London. Now that hotels have seen their business disappear in the wake of airbnb they have got their act together slashed their costs, simplified and automated their services.
Its this automation of services which probably means the hotel industry will become sustainable in the long run. Guests arriving and unlocking their hotel room with their phones. In many cases never even seeing any hotel staff apart from the occasional security patrol. Why anyone would go to the hassle of finding a unmarked airbnb listing and taking a chance on not being raped and murdered is going to be a hard sell.