Vacation rentals are back, but hosts and guests are hesitant to book

short-term rentals 01.03
There are fears on both sides of the business.

Vacation rentals are starting to come back online in many Florida counties, but hosts and guests are ready to go back to business as usual.

A new survey conducted by IPX1031 found nearly half of Airbnb hosts don’t feel safe renting out their properties as the coronavirus pandemic lingers while one in five hosts aren’t sure if they’ll ever return to the vacation rental business.

About 37% of hosts say they don’t expect bookings to get back to normal until the fall, while 16% say it will take until spring 2021. For 29%, there’s only a loose timeline — the development of a vaccine, which is several months away by even the most optimistic estimate.

The hesitance comes alongside a massive drop in actual and expected revenues.

The average host told IPX1031 they made $22,822 a year on Airbnb. More than half of their 2020 income — $11,996 — was expected during the summer. Now, hosts expect summer revenues of $6,761, a 44% drop. They say they’ve already lost $4,036 since the pandemic began.

On the other side of the business, seven in 10 renters say they are fearful to stay at an Airbnb. About a quarter say they’ll feel better about the prospect sometime this summer. The rest are fragmented — 12% say the fall, 9% say winter, 9% say spring 2021 and 10% say summer 2021.

Still others are waiting on a significant development rather than time. About one in six say they won’t feel at ease until public health experts say social distancing is no longer needed. The same number are waiting on a vaccine.

IPX1031’s survey was conducted May 1-13 and took responses from 500 Airbnb guests as well as Airbnb hosts. The average age of hosts was 36 and the average age for guests was 33.

For hosts, 31% operated Airbnb full-time while 69% operated part-time. Types of listings: 74% entire home; 21% private room; 5% shared room. Settings: 45% urban; 45% suburban; 10% rural.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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