The pandemic of 2020 has had a significant impact on travel, even beyond the immediate downturn due to worldwide travel restrictions. As travel restarts, it does so changed. People are shifting from traveling at the same time to the same places to traveling to any place and spending much longer there. The work-from-home scenario experienced by many workers has no doubt enabled this rise. The future of travel may likely be a merging of living and traveling, to be undertaken simultaneously.
According to a recent report from Airbnb, surveying consumers across five countries (Australia, France, Canada, Mexico, and the UK) and three US states (New York, Florida, and California), nearly as many consumers view traveling as more of a lifestyle as those who view it as a series of one-off trips.
What You Should Know About Airbnb Long Term Rentals
According to the Airbnb definition, any stay that is 28 days or longer is considered a long term booking or rental. Long term stays are usually preferred by those looking for a place to stay while working or studying though they may combine a vacation along with that. There are also those taking time off work or between jobs to enjoy an extended break. According to Airbnb data, over 80% of Airbnb hosts accept long term stays. Airbnb also introduced a dedicated ‘monthly stays’ section for guests to find the right listing for their needs.
Take into account both the advantages and disadvantages when deciding whether to offer long term Airbnb rentals.
Ensure steady revenue even during the off-season
A highly beneficial cancelation policy
Less guest turnover so less work
You don’t have to stand out with extra amenities to attract guests
Could lead to better reviews and ratings
Lower ADR (average daily rate)
Can’t adjust price higher to maximize profit
Less freedom to manage your property according to your preferences
If you have bad guests, you will be stuck with them for a long period
The percentage of long term stays (28 days or longer) booked on Airbnb has nearly doubled from 14% of all nights booked in 2019 to 24% of nights booked in the first quarter of 2021.
Guests looking to book a long term stays will generally expect a discount. Considering the much longer length of stay and the assured income that long term rentals provide you, it makes sense for you to offer one as well. According to Airbnb (as of March 2020), approximately 50% of all global listings provide discounts for stays of month or longer, and those who do get highlighted for it.
Long term rentals mean less turnover between guests, less hustling to fill in those vacant days, less administration work, and less time spent on guests overall, saving you time, effort, and cost.
Guests who book long term have different requirements and behave differently to short term rental guests. Long term rental guests will expect to use your kitchen to cook their meals, have access to more living space and spend more time there, use up more utilities like electricity and wi-fi, require more storage space, etc. They may also expect to have a friend or partner over. If they bring their pets along, which most pet owners are likely to do, you will also have to cater to a cat or a dog for a longer period. Make sure your long term booking listing caters to your guests’ requirements ahead of time and prepare for maintaining the space.
Because you have more opportunities to interact and connect with your guests over the longer period, you are better able to connect with them and cater to them. Long term rental guests can also be more forgiving when things happen to go wrong. All this makes it more likely you will receive better reviews and more stars.
Even if you have decided to forego a short term rental agreement for short term rental guests, ask your long term rental Airbnb guests to sign one. This will help protect both your guests and you while ensuring the terms of stay are spelled out in a clear and concise manner.
Payments for long term stays work a little differently on Airbnb. For stays longer than 28 days, Airbnb automatically collects 1 month upfront at the beginning of each month.
Airbnb long term rentals. i.e. stays longer than 28 nights, are automatically subject to its Long Term cancellation policy. Accordingly:
For a full refund, guests are expected to cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 28 days before check-in
If the guest cancels after, you will be paid for a full month (30 days)
If a guest cancels mid-stay, you will be paid in full for all the nights they spent plus for 30 additional nights
If less than 30 days remain on the reservation when the guest cancels however, you will only be paid in full for the remaining number of nights
For long term bookings that are less than 28 days, consider opting for a strict cancellation policy such as the Super Strict 60 Days or even the Non-refundable option.
Long term rentals attract distinct types of guests, from digital nomads and college students to remote working families with pets. In the US alone, approximately 25% of the workforce may be working remotely by 2025 while post pandemic, 74% of consumers in Airbnb’s five country, three state survey was interested in living somewhere other than where their employer is based. Fifty-five percent of long term rental bookers reported they were working or studying during their stay.
Meanwhile, long term Airbnb bookings were most popular among older adults (aged 60-90), with 28% of stays longer than 28 days booked by them in the 12 months ending 30 April 2021. The second largest share of nearly 25% was claimed by 18-24 year olds.
Make sure you engage in niche marketing for your Airbnb with targeted marketing campaigns aimed at these specific groups. (You may even want to consider niche vacation rental booking sites to reach even larger niche audiences.)
The best way to deal with bad guests is to prevent them from staying at your Airbnb vacation rental in the first place. Having a bad guest stay for weeks is much harder to deal with and can cost you so much more than one who’s only there for 2 days. Make sure you put each and every long term rental booking through a screening process for bad guests.
Take into account how a short term rental is defined in your city, county, or even state before opting for long term rental Airbnb guests. Some cities may consider a short term rental to not be more than 30 continuous nights for example, preventing you from taking in guests for longer. There may also be laws related to squatting that can put your Airbnb vacation rental in jeopardy of being squatted on.
Setting up your Airbnb listing for long term bookings is not hard.
You can set both weekly and monthly discounts which will apply to reservations of 7-27 nights and 28 nights or longer, respectively. These will be highlighted in guests’ search results.
Make sure you review ‘additional settings’ in Calendar Availability such as
Include a guidebook that is geared towards the long term booking guest. Make sure you include useful tips such as the best spots to purchase groceries, great places to exercise, or where you can walk your dog safely.
Make sure you provide a house manual that includes useful instructions for day-to-day living such as how and when to put out the trash, or how to take care of the plants.
The number one response of those surveyed by Airbnb in its five country, three state survey to the question of how their travel would change if they had more flexibility in how they work, live, and travel was that they would take more trips. The second most popular answer was that they would travel for longer. As Airbnbs become even more ubiquitous and remote work gains further traction, long term rentals are bound to be a significant part of the future of travel. However, not all hosts may be suited for the highs and lows of long stays. Take into account the pros and cons before embarking in either direction.