Here’s an update:
We’ve unblocked our calendar following travel restriction timeline, but we have not turned Instant Book back on. All types of STRs may resume business now, but there are strict cleaning and personnel requirements. I’m in Massachusetts, and our guidelines may be much more thorough than most other states. How businesses follow them may be another question.
Since they lump home-shares in with everything on up to mega hotels, I need to pull from the guidelines what applies to me. I don’t employ anyone or have lobbies, but I follow physical distance guidelines and keep common spaces clean. Since I am an STR with 2 hosts (my partner and me), I feel like I have certain advantages an STR with many dozen employees may not have: far fewer people.
We’ve had 4 guests since March. Two were already here and left early, one was here on business, and the latest is visiting family now that vacation and leisure travel has resumed.
We’ve discussed how we can resume bookings. Since we can maintain physical distancing, and we think we’re pretty good about cleaning surfaces, we believe the risk is low. I also set a one day buffer btwn bookings to allow ample time for cleaning, and screen Inquiries and Requests. If I had not blocked my calendar for the last 3 months and set the booking parameters I have now, I truly believe we’d have been booked solid.
My partner has been planning how he can return to his career as well, massage therapy. He’s seen a few “medically necessary” clients, but he has turned down quite a few requests. We’ve been fortunate to qualify for SBA funds, and local grants and loans. It’s been 3 months and those resources are slowly drying up.
We’ve cautiously resuming bookings, with far less frequency, and closely monitoring state guidelines. I’m also an essential employee for my day job, so I’m keen to pay attention to what the governor says and how my employer will be responding to the people we support.
Technically, we do not rely on the STR income, but we’ve been hosting for 4 years and have come to rely on the extra income for bills, home repairs, savings, and our relatively comfortable lifestyle (i.e., travel). We could survive without the extra income, but it would be a significant impact on our budget.