Short-term Rental News Digest – March 2020

Any host who wants to have a successful short-term rental business should always keep up with the basic industry news and trends. Read the short-term rental news digest below and learn about the most important events in the industry!

The coronavirus pandemic dominated the headlines this month. While the whole globe and virtually all industries have been affected, the short-term rental industry, in particular, has been hit hard.

It’s during challenging times, though, that we find out our real strength. This has been shown by the number of hosts all over the world who continued to march forward the month of March. Let’s find out more about the opportunities that are available to help us sustain the industry!

Airbnb Changes Its Extenuating Circumstances

Airbnb has altered its Extenuating Circumstances policy in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This policy enables guests and hosts to cancel reservations without incurring charges or other penalties. 

Any reservation or Airbnb Experience that was booked on or before March 14 that will take place between March 14  – April 14 is protected by this new policy. The only exception applies to domestic bookings in mainland China, which will follow the normal policy from April 1. Airbnb has also stated that they were busy working on initiatives to help aid hosts during this extremely challenging period. 

Airbnb Pauses All Airbnb Experiences

In the light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Airbnb has also decided to pause all Airbnb Experiences till the April 3, when they will reassess the current situation. They have explained that human connection is what makes their Airbnb Experiences so unique. This, though, makes social distancing nearly impossible, which is needed to help flatten the curve of the pandemic across the globe. 

People who booked an Airbnb Experience that would have taken place on or before April 3 will be refunded in full. This means that Airbnb service fees will also be refunded, and Airbnb will not receive any fees connected to these canceled bookings.

$1 Million Fund for Unusual Designs

Do you have wild dreams for your vacation rental? Airbnb has introduced the Unique Airbnb Fund aimed at identifying and financing unique accommodation. The following criteria will be used to assess the entries: social good, creativity, sustainability, and feasibility. The competition will close on April 15. A panel of judges will announce the ten winners by May 15.

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Co-founders of Stasher Make Forbes List

Stasher, a startup that offers luggage storage, has made the sharing economy proud. Their two co-founders, Anthony Collias and Jacob Wedderburn, were included in the fifth annual Forbes “30 under 30” list for Europe. 

The company was launched five years ago, in 2015, and after only three years, Collias and Wedderburn have already grown their network to Asia, North America, and Australia. Some of their other achievements include launching in more than 200 cities across the globe and partnering with big names like Marriott and Sonder. Stasher’s 2020 also kicked off with a $2.5 million funding round that will help them make even more headway in the travel sector.

Airbnb Renews Effort to Tackle Human Trafficking

For the past two years, Airbnb has worked together with Polaris to prevent human trafficking. Some of the previous initiatives that Airbnb and Polaris have worked together on include creating a training curriculum for customer support agents and crisis managers working for Airbnb and putting in place new ways to flag suspected exploitation.

Airbnb has now announced that it will strengthen this partnership and expand its scope. In the future, they will be working with Polaris to create training that will assist guests, hosts, and staff members of Airbnb to understand trafficking better. The training will be virtual as well as in-person. The focus will be on identifying alarm bells and how to report possible trafficking. 

They will also bring up to date their staff training and curriculum so that it will be possible to expand their efforts internationally. 

Tracxn Identifies Promising Startups

A business analytics software platform, Tracxn, has made a list of promising startups that will help shape the future of the travel industry. Lyric, an emerging platform concentrating on serviced apartments, is one of the names that stand out. Other names that were also mentioned include vacation rental supplemental platforms like Hostmaker and HometoGo.

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IBM to Sue Airbnb

The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has filed a lawsuit against Airbnb. This comes in the light of alleged copyright infringement. According to IBM, Airbnb has been employing technology that they hold a patent for and have turned to the courts to prevent Airbnb from using this technology further. The patents include various of the website’s current functions such as navigation, temporary data storage, and advertising.

IBM is also seeking damages for previous infringement. This lawsuit comes after six previous attempts at negotiation have failed.


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