Greetings from Bombay, India, everyone.
I had a fairly busy winter - I guess it’s the time most foreigners visit India. However, things have now gone dead, not surprisingly. India just suspended all tourist visas to India (till 15th April). And Maharashtra has partly shut down its major cities. Schools, colleges, cinemas, parks, are closed in Bombay. Mass gatherings prohibited. Etc. The impact of the virus isn’t significant here yet. The number of infected people is currently reported as a bit over a hundred for all of India, though that number is almost certainly a big underestimate.
I didn’t have any bookings, anyway. My last guest just left today (15th March.) I have one guest coming from 26th March to 29th March. He was here earlier this year, and is coming back from travelling in India. He’s already paid (not through Airbnb).
Anyway, I’m debating whether to snooze my listing or not. I haven’t yet. But if I do so, I’m not sure when I would want to unsnooze it. But if I get booking requests, I’m not sure what I would do. I’m not sure about subjecting myself to the unknowable risk of infection. Obviously travellers need fast decisions, not dithering from a host. Of course, this issue may be academic, since bookings don’t seem terribly likely right now, and probably even Indians are travelling less.
Thoughts? There is of course virus related discussion here, and I was just reading through some of it.
Do what you want, seriously. We can’t run your business for you; only you know the situation locally, and how it affects your property.
I’m not snoozing mine but I sure don’t expect any bookings. I don’t want ABB, in their infinite wisdom, to drop my visibility when this is all over. And, seriously, I could imagine them doing just that
I could also see them dropping any hosts who were troublesome or uncooperative in the search ranking. And why shouldn’t the hosts who play it Airbnb’s way be rewarded (to the extent Airbnb can control such a thing)? Pay now or pay later.
Oh yeah, I agree. No WAY I’m calling ABB with any troubles at this point. Just keeping a list of questions, hoping I can figure them out on my own, or that they take care of themselves.
I don’t agree with “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. For this Jeep gal, the squeaky wheel gets changed out and made into a spare.
You mean like hosts that complained to Airbnb when Airbnb overrode their strict cancellation policy?
Well, simply complaining, probably not unless their names make national news.
We have long speculated that Airbnb punishes certain hosts. We know that if you decline a bunch of bookings your rank in search drops. If someone complains about you they suspend you while they “investigate.” Their supply of hosts has always exceeded demand, why should they tolerate troublemakers? That’s not to say that this crisis won’t precipitate a paradigm shift.
I wonder for how long they can bank on the supply if hosts really snooze the listings for extended periods, or just quit, or switch to LTR since all their bookings just got cancelled, or sell the properties to cash out what equity they have…
We are in uncharted waters.
Thank you for the responses, everyone. I think for now I’ll just leave things as they are. I.e. I’ll leave the listing active and if I get any booking requests, I’ll play it by ear. I’m really not sure what else to do. It’s not like there is a guidebook for this kind of thing.
Though, is anyone aware if there has been a comparable situation since the advent of Internet-based STR?
Obviously we haven’t had a pandemic before, but I suppose major weather events had a similar effect on a more limited geographical area.
We had a hurricane in my area last year and had both a flurry of cancellations and a wave of reservations at the last minute, as visitors cancelled their travel plans and were then replaced with evacuees.
I did my best to make things easy for everyone, keeping in touch and offering full refunds as needed, and everything worked out fine. I was just glad that I could help people during such a stressful time.
A sort of addendum to this thread: I hope everyone is doing ok with the virus. The news is full of alarming portents of doom, particularly for the US and the UK. Two countries which one doesn’t normally expect to be in trouble, though they might make trouble for others.
So I hope that everyone is staying safe and that Bad Things don’t happen to you.
Best Wishes from Bombay, India.
Off topic, but I spent 9 days in Bangalore in late January, and loved every day of it! I was there for a wedding, travelling with three others, and had a wonderful time. India has a warm spot in my heart now.
I’m pretty sure that’s correct and will continue to be. It might sort of the wheat from the chaff - by which I mean get rid of some of the less scrupulous hosts.
There was SARS in 200? (2003?) but there were no really organised internet STR platforms then. There was a handful by the time Swine Flu came along. (Again I’m unsure of the date - 2009?) But although I think Airbnb existed then, I don’t think it was much of a player by that time. I read somewhere that this current virus developed from SARS. But there’s so much nonsense being written at the moment that who knows what is true?
I also read (here we go…) that Swine Flu was contracted by 20% of the world population so all of us here have lived through a pretty gloomy virus scenario before.
We truly are in uncharted waters…sadly today I snoozed my listing. Covid has exploded in my Arizona mountain town and with only one reservation on the horizon, we are shutting down temporarily. My one upcoming guest was very gracious about cancelling her reservation. My entire family and multiple coworkers have had or do have COVID. The local hospital reached out to me as they have a traveler who can not find housing and wants to come for 3 mths. We are going to try to accomodate them outside of the platform. Will check in with you all. Stay safe!
We are currently hosting a traveling health care worker but before we accepted him we had a very frank talk about precautions. We set up expectations, wrote a lease that included what would happen if either party came down sick, and ran a background check - all of which made him more comfortable as well. His 3 to 6 month assisgnment is now in its seventh month with no end in sight. BTW - he does his own cleaning and laundry - all spelled out in the agreement but periodically I do a deep clean (masked and with windows open).
Because I want to keep our listing active, we set a more Craigslist price than Airbnb price and had him register through Air. This costs us some money but maintaining a presence on the platform is worth it to me.
@Mountainhost - Be safe, be well. I hope your family and co-workers are better soon. Take care.
@Terryathome - How kind and helpful. It is good to read these things. Thank you for sharing and for your gentle heart. The medical professionals, and the toll this is on them, with no end in sight, is overwhelmingly sad.