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The Latest on Airbnb & COVID - A Boom Expected

March 9, 2021

Before the words regarding the roadmap out of lockdown even finished leaving Boris Johnson’s lips, Brits were online booking up a storm for a much needed getaway. Bookings for holiday lets, Airbnbs and hotels surged as the update was delivered, with some selling out in just minutes.

The Prime Minister’s announcement on 22 February detailed that self-catered breaks in holiday lets will be possible from April 12, while hotel and B&B stays will have to wait until May 17.

Though holidays abroad may not yet be possible, the news that staycations would be allowed by mid-April has given the national travel industry a much-needed boost, as well as a serious incentive for those considering Airbnbing their homes.

Taking a phenomenal rate of one booking every second, owner of self-catering holiday company, staycation giant Awaze, reported taking a record 10,000 bookings in one day following the announcement.

So, if you’re one of the many considering a UK staycation, why not put your vacant home on Airbnb while you’re away to pay for your holiday? Or, if you - or your tenants - have migrated out of London during lockdown or moved in with a partner or family, why not capitalise on your empty home? With demand increasing for Airbnbs in London and beyond, here’s the key dates and information you need to know.

Airbnb: Key dates

  • 12th April - Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can reopen
  • 17th May - Hotels and BnB stays permitted. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - although this will be kept under review as to whether it is safe to increase this
  • 21st June - It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed

So, providing that Covid-19 infection rates continue to slow and the vaccine proves effective, UK-based getaways are finally a reality we can look forward to and now plan for. So, what does this mean for the Airbnb industry, including Airbnb Hosts, landlords and travellers?

Current travel/Airbnb regulations

The current regulations for Airbnb-based travel is limited, but hopefully not for much longer. Right now, you are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

  • are visiting your support bubbleare unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or careare homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or someone escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

What happened last year?

The unimaginable effects of Covid-19 disrupted the property sector as expected, resulting in Airbnb changes such as:

  • An increase of average length of stay from 5 days to 12 days
  • A reduction of average nightly rate by 20 – 30%
  • A reduction of occupancy from 65 – 40% (sometimes lower)
  • An increased number of bookings for people isolating and or working from home

It goes without saying that the Airbnb sector took a colossal hit amidst the lockdowns, with operators making significant concessions in a desperate bid to stay afloat. Now, the promise of a summer boom is on the cards and preparations are underway to capitalise on this new approaching chapter.

What we are expecting for the rest of the year

If restrictions do ease as anticipated, the number of Brits hankering for a break away from home will inevitably induce a boom in staycations this summer, with bookings for June/July already coming through thick and fast.

This is expected to result in:

  • Reduced length of stays - although we still expect to see more work-related stays compared to the pre-pandemic levels
  • Reduced average length of stay to go back to pre-pandemic levels (5-7 days)
  • Increased nightly rates to make the most of the demand rush

We expect the rest of the year to be very busy, with people having put their plans on hold for almost a year. Guests will be looking for some time off, time away from the confined conditions of lockdown, a chance to meet up with their families - to simply spend some time outside their homes or shared accommodations - especially if they have endured lockdown in cramped or otherwise difficult conditions. This will be the perfect time to make the most of your property, especially for landlords with vacant properties in areas that have seen rental revenue decrease.

There is also the opportunity for those selling to list their property on Airbnb for a few months if it is on the market as we would expect some delays until at least July due to the extension of the stamp duty holiday as part of the recently published 2021 Budget.

Read More: How much can you earn on Airbnb?

Is it time to consider Airbnbing your home?

Like the rest of the country, you are probably itching to get away from it all - so when you are finally away enjoying your getaway, why not make the most of your property and Airbnb your home?

While many of this summer’s popular destinations are areas like Cornwall, Devon and the Lake district, there is equally a high demand for those having been stuck outside of metro areas to book city stays in London. We also expect an increase in demand for Airbnbs in outer, green London areas like Richmond, Chigwell and Woodford.

If you have a property in a major city like London, your property could easily be earning you money while you’re away, trying to sell or looking for a tenant.

AirDNA data of Epping Forest (Chigwell and Woodford areas)

Related: 10 Tips For Making Money On Airbnb

Is Airbnb a viable buy-to-let alternative?

Airbnb hosts in the Greater London area can only rent out their property on the platform for 90 days per year, unless they secure planning permission for a change of use. For this reason, Airbnb is considered more of a short-term solution for homeowners and landlords in London. While looking for a long-term tenant or your property is on the market for sale, listing your home on Airbnb can help you avoid void periods and bring in extra revenue.

Don’t know where to start?

We can help! At Portico, we run a comprehensive Airbnb management service - Portico Host - operating in London and Brighton.

This service is supported by Airbnb as part of their professional co-hosting programme. Our management services range from an essential package (starting from 15% plus VAT) which includes a dedicated account manager who will assist you in setting up your property and managing your listing, to a comprehensive option that includes free insurance that covers both the Host and guest, property inspections and more.

With our most comprehensive packages, you can essentially just give us the keys and leave everything with us!

All packages include the options for cleaning and linen services and full account management. Our comprehensive packages also include a bespoke and extensive insurance cover. This insurance re-insures your current home insurance (which usually won't cover you for paying guests) and gives you additional cover for theft or damage with up to £1m public liability.The prospect of Airbnbing your home out can be daunting, but you don’t have to manage it alone.

So, if you’re not sure how to proceed with Airbnbing your home, or simply want assistance to ensure that it runs smoothly, consider employing our management services to maximise your returns while providing you invaluable peace of mind.

Read More: Portico Host FAQs

Read More: Airbnb Mortgage Rules: What You Need To Know

Get 50% off Portico Host sign up costs until Easter

To assist anyone wishing to get into the Airbnb market in time for the anticipated summer boom, we have launched a Portico Host special offer!

We are offering people that sign up to our Airbnb Management Services 50% off sign-up costs until Easter. This means that you could get the ball rolling down a lucrative new path of Airbnbing your home by engaging our invaluable management services for just £150.

Owners will need to sign our T&Cs by Sunday 4th April to qualify, so don’t delay.

With a promising summer of eased restrictions ahead of us here in the UK, there has never been a better time to join the Airbnb community and maximise your property’s potential. Don’t hesitate to contact us on 020 7099 4000 with any queries you may have or simply jump on the above offer and get your property listed in no time. Here’s to a brighter year ahead for us all!

Use our online property valuation tool to find out how much you could make on Airbnb, or to find out the current value of your property or rental property.

We already know how much your rental property is worth. Type your postcode to find out and get an online valuation within 60 seconds.

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